Network marketing is great.
It’s one of the cheapest, easiest ways to make money online. You get a team to work with, an already existing product line, marketing materials and often great tools and resources to build your business with. Best of all, you can usually get started for a very affordable rate. And the products are usually genuinely good products — ones you can enjoy, learn about, believe in and get passionate about. So why is network marketing scary?
It can be challenging to find your customers and even more difficult to find your partners.
Many new to network marketing aren’t necessarily comfortable chatting up their personal friends and family. I know I certainly wasn’t. It took a few years before I even mentioned it to a friend. I worked primarily online. I was attracted by the idea of having a large market, without having to necessarily embarrass myself in public.
But just because there’s lots of people online doesn’t mean I was getting noticed. After all, there are tons of people also trying to network and sell their businesses. How do you stand out in the crowd??
Do you feel like you’re shouting and all you’re getting is crickets?
It can be hard to stand out. There’s lots of network marketing companies, and well, network marketing tends to have a bad rep. Even if someone is looking to work from home, they might shy away from a network marketing company, thinking they’re all scams.
So what’s the secret to getting noticed, and getting quality potential customers? How do you cut through all the noise, and show that you and your company can be trusted?
The truth is, there are a few networking marketing companies that aren’t legit. They claim to be, but they are nothing more than big shell games. They don’t last long and they will hurt people.
The secret? Brand yourself, not your company.
When you brand yourself, you position yourself as the business you’re promoting, rather than your network marketing company. And that gives you a lot more credibility.
Many network marketing companies have rules about social media and what you can and cannot share. And many people automatically distrust anything to do with network marketing.
But when you brand yourself, you can attract people. You can showcase what your business can do, because you can be genuine. You don’t have to hide your own experiences or successes. So you can build that know-like-trust factor.
People buy from brands they know, like and trust.
While brand loyalty is dropping, name recognition is at an all time high. People buy from names they know.
Brand new products have a huge job ahead of them to enter into a market place, because they don’t have that name recognition. So they have to work extra hard to build that identity.
And if the name of a product or company is attached to any kind of scandal, the damage done to the bottom line is significant. People buy from trusted brands.
Some brands that have damaged reputations never recover. Think Volkswagen and the “emissions test cheating” scandal in September 2015. That tumbled their market share by almost 25% in just one year!
Brand yourself to develop the know-like-trust factor.
As a person, you’ve got a head start on most companies and corporations. You’ve already got a look and a personality. You just need to make that obvious.
Since you’re a real person, people can get to know you. And once they get to know you, chances are, unless you do something to self-sabotage, they will like you. And liking you leads to trusting you automatically.
And you’ll attract customers.
To turn your customers into partners, create a community.
Communities help foster that know-like-trust factor like greenhouses grow plants. And if you want to turn your customers into repeat customers and business partners, you need to grow the relationship.
Think of it like growing a plant.
You plant a seed — letting people know about you and your network marketing business. You have to plant a lot of seeds to see a crop, because not every seed will sprout, and some take longer than others.
Then you get shoots and seedlings — people who buy, once in a while. They try the products, but they aren’t always repeat customers. Keep watering — send out thank yous, special offers, and sales notices occasionally. Don’t over-water, or you’ll drown them! And that will kill any relationship you may have had.
Then you get young plants — people who buy from you more regularly. You’re the one they turn to when they want that product. They even occasionally recommend you to others.
Then you get strong plants — people who are huge fans. These are your VIP customers. Now you want to focus on cultivating them. Start a special email list or Facebook group for these customers. Offer them frequent reminders, share new info, and immediately tell them about every sale. These are also the people that you’ll make your business pitches to.
Make your opportunity known at every stage.
While you can remind your plants .. er.. customers.. at every stage that there’s a business opportunity as well as your product offerings (because you never know who might be interested), you’re more likely to find your partners in your fans. So give them frequent opportunities to join your team.
It takes multiple “touches” before someone usually buys in to something. On average, it can take up to 12 different points of contact before your potential customer will make a purchase, and it can take repeated offers after that before they become partners, if they ever do. And some never will, because it’s not something they want.
The relationship is what matters.
At every stage of growth, focus on the relationship, not the numbers. Nobody wants to be thought of as a goal to be gotten.
You want to make friends and partners, not just have sales. The best way to do this is to be helpful and give away value. (This applies to every business, not just network marketing!) The more value you give away, the more people will be eager to pay you. Because they know they are getting more than their money’s worth!
Look for ways you can be helpful to your customers. Can you offer incentives to buy? Free guides, trainings, extra info and gifts with purchase go a long way to creating that brand loyalty and attraction. When your customers know that you care about their experience, they will remember you long after they’ve purchased from you. And when they’re ready to partner with a company, guess who they’ll think of first?
When you make your offers, keep them centered on what’s in it for your customer, not what’s in it for you!
It’s all about the relationship, not making money. This is the key to success for any business, but especially for network marketing. Too many network marketers start thinking of their “leads” as numbers on a page, rather than real people with real problems. But real people with real problems need real solutions. And sometimes, you’ve got that real solution. Do they know that?
The only way they’ll know you’ve got a solution to their problem is if you can show them you understand what the problem is. And that means you’ve got to focus on what they need first. Put your customer first ahead of your business goals. Look for people you can help. Those are the ones that will be your customers.
OK, so many people will tell social media marketers that you can’t post anything negative. Keep it motivational and upbeat. NOT.
It’s OK to post your struggles occasionally. It will make your business seem doable and you seem more human. Don’t focus on the negative, of course, but don’t make your business seem unrealistic and out of reach.
Someone who only posts all the money they made, the trips they went on, or the amount of positive reviews they’ve gotten from their customers isn’t going to attract anyone. They’ll just seem fake.
When I go to shop online from a local business, I’m reading the reviews. And I’m looking for the negative ones, not just the positive ones. I want to see that the business can handle problems professionally. Because no company is perfect!
Be honest about the things you don’t like about your company, and share when they’ve made a mistake. And then share what they did to fix it. It will help build your know-like-trust factor faster.
Remember that it takes time to build a successful business.
Your network marketing team may show you statistics, but remember those are often averages. And they don’t always show the big picture. Some people go from one business to another and bring entire teams with them, and that can skew the statistics!
It takes time to build a reputation. And it takes time to create a community. But when you brand yourself, you can build a long-term, sustainable, successful network marketing business.
Show that you care about your customers, and they will be come your partners and biggest fans. That’s what will grow your business.
Network marketing is a tried-and-true success story.
It does work. But only a few make the big money. You could be one of them — if you have the charisma, the network, the skills and the money to invest. But if you’re an average business builder, keep your expectations in check. It will take you time, energy and perseverance to build your team. You can do it!
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