You Gotta Get Yourself Connected

Network Marketing and the Information Age

Network Marketing and the Information Age


The lights are about to go on. Here's the scoop: There's a new technology that's either here or on its way fast, depending on what company you're with. I'm talking about real-time access to genealogy and volume information via the internet.

Uhhh . . . what? Let me give it to you in plain English, and then we'll talk about what it means for your business.

You know the stack of paper that comes every month, often with your check, that lists your downline with volumes, group volumes, commissions, etc.? Some people call it their "printout," we'll call it your "genealogy." This information is to your business as sales, profit and loss, and balance statements are to traditional businesses. It's why this month's check is what it is, and it can indicate important trends and growth patterns in your organization. In other words, running your business without this information is working in the dark.

Unfortunately, text on a page is awfully inflexible and confusing. For that reason, many of your colleagues have been complaining to their companies directly or through distributor advisory boards. The companies have, in turn, put pressure on their software providers, who are answering this call.

In fact, the software companies are excited about this. Typically, Network Marketing companies want the lowest common denominator of technology so that distributors can easily learn and teach it. But as the industry comes of age, the average distributor is getting more technologically savvy, so the software companies get to play in the exciting world of Internet software, not to mention create a brand new income stream.

Here's what the new world order looks like: You connect to the internet and visit a website that prompts you for your Distributor ID Number and a password. Once accepted, you're taken to a screen with several options, including viewing your genealogy. Instead of viewing it just one way, you have options galore that you can adjust. Perhaps you're interested in seeing everyone's group volumes, or in finding out which distributors have recently advanced in rank. Just want to see your leadership? It's all right there.

You can look forward to saying goodbye to intimidating distributor applications and to being on hold with order entry, too. Some of these systems let you sign up new distributors online and place product and sales aids orders directly over the internet. Internet technology is cutting out customer service reps in the same way that ATMs cut out bank tellers.

If you're a technology junkie and all of this is old news to you, here's something to whet your appetite: What's going on now is only the first generation. Generation 2 is marrying online information access to first-class downline tracking and contact management software-- packages like Ascend, Downline Builder, and ACT.

Think about the possibilities: Scheduling automatic training calls and follow-ups with new distributors; weekly or monthly "welcome to the team" note cards; full-color graphic display of your downline as it is right this minute.

The information age is finally hitting Network Marketing, and it's going to change the way each one of us does business. It's almost like switching the lights on....

Luke Melia wishes he had a bigger downline to look at on his computer. Luke is Upline's Technology Editor and welcomes comments and ideas about this or other columns. You can e-mail him at

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Upline Technology - November/December 1998, 888-UPLINE-1,


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