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Posted by  in Business Fundamentals

Ok, I’m sorry. I just have to vent.

It was 6:30 am. I was busy at my desk getting my morning marketing tasks finished when a Facebook chat box opened up on my computer with the words “Click this Link: www.vtxyylm.com” (not the real link). I looked to see who posted it. It was someone who’d recently joined the Facebook page of a local networking group I’m active in. We had never met. He had never introduced himself. There was no “good morning, how are you?” Just a link shoved in my face. When I asked him why I should click it, his response was something like “If you were open-minded you’d click it”.

Now, I would consider myself extremely open-minded, and always open for new opportunities. However, at 6:30 am when I’m in hyper-focus for the day ahead, the last thing I want to do is click on some unknown link from someone I have never met.

Another example. I received a note from a friend, which was sent to a large group of her friends, about an urgent family matter for which my friend requested prayer. The next day one of the people who received that same email hit “reply all” and sent us all an invitation to try out her new long distance service. I was shocked and embarrassed for this person. I cannot believe that kind of rudeness actually exists in our society, but alas, there it was plainly before my eyes.

I’m part of several different groups in LinkedIn, and on Facebook and Twitter. The truth is, you can tell an MLM marketer a mile away. It’s not usually their fault. Sure, some people are just obnoxious, but most are just so excited, and their uplines have told them about the 3 foot rule (which, in our computer age, has been reduced to the distance between themselves and their computer screen) where they need to tell everyone in their radius about their opportunity. No mention of context, qualifying, asking permission, or basic tact and good manners.

Like many people out there I have tried and been burned by MLM. In fact, it was the reason I started to research standard marketing practices. My MLM practices were creating awkwardness in my relationships (not to mention strain in my marriage) and were wholly ineffective. My friends all had that “help save me” look in their eyes when I opened my mouth. Like most people in MLM, I thought I was doing the right thing. Intentions matter, but good intentions won’t fix a bad presentation. I have been pestered to death by MLM people who just don’t have the first clue how to present their opportunity with tact, grace, and good business sense.

Here’s the problem: MLM is expensive and new business owners start to panic when they see the rising costs of running their business compared with what comes in at the beginning. After the first month or so MLM owners start to get frustrated about mounting bills without mounting returns, and the answer to their problems, according to their upline, is “It’s a numbers game! Just talk to more people”. So off they go, filling Social media with bad advertising, in-boxes with spam emails, and blasting their business in everyone’s faces. Yep. Been there, done that, and the very realization is shameful, but it creates compassion for those who are still caught in this lie.

The truth? It’s not a numbers game. It’s a relationship adventure.

Want to be successful without becoming a complete pain in the neck? Here are some ideas to try:

  1. Chose an area of specialty and a specific target market. For example: stay at home mothers (target market) with back pain (area of specialty)
  2. Find out as much as you can about your chosen specialty and the specific benefits of your product with regards to that area of specialty (remember, benefits answer the question “So What?”) For example “Our product increases the bone mass in your vertebrae helping to strengthen your backbone so you aren’t experiencing pain from bone loss.”
  3. Build relationships with your chosen target market (ideally it’s one with which you already have frequent contact) and become someone they respect and admire. If someone mentions back pain ask a few questions to make sure it’s the kind of back pain your product helps, and offer to let them try a sample dose for a couple of weeks. It might take quite a while for this to come up in normal conversation. Don’t force it.
  4. Start to write/speak/blog about your area of specialty and how it affects your target market. Give lots of value, ideas, and ways to help. You could talk about diet, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, medical findings, stories from others, tips and tricks. When people contact you with questions you could offer your product as one of the things they could try. In this way you become a respected “go to” person in your chosen field of expertise.
  5. When you’ve got one area fully in hand, feel free to expand to a second area, in perhaps a completely different target market.

These are just some ideas for building a respectable MLM business. There are plenty more that don’t require you to be a thorn in someone’s behind. You won’t lose friends, you won’t frustrate people to death as they spend several minutes every day deleting your unwanted spam, and you’ll create more respect for the Network Marketing industry – something they are in great need of – which will help both you and everyone else who decides to give it a try.

Next time you’re about to hit “send” on some in-your-face garbage marketing, ask yourself if what you’re sending is going to make people respect and appreciate you, or if it’s going to make someone hit “delete” with passion and purpose. Then act wisely.

Thank you.

Darlene

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