December 1999

Ten Years of Upline

The Deadly Sins of Network Marketing - Randy Gage

The world of conventional marketing has a great deal of practical wisdom to offer Networkers-- especially in the areas of what not to do. If you're not careful, your own marketing misconceptions and misguided tactics could sink your business. Let's look at the Deadly Sins of Network Marketing, or-- more positively-- avoidable mistakes.

Not Having a Complete Understanding of the Market.
Most people really don't understand their market. They're enamored with the product and hit the market without even wondering if the market needs or wants what they're offering.

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many customers are there for my product or opportunity?
  • How many people actually need it?
  • Where are they located?
  • Do they have money to pay me?
  • Is the number of prospects growing or shrinking? (This answer will give you an idea of the future residual income.)

    And finally,

  • Can I get easy and sustained access to them on a cost-effective basis?

You Haven't Studied Your Competition.
You can only out-position and out-perform your competition if your opportunity or product is superior. The only way you can be superior is to know what your competition is doing and take measures to ensure you're better.

You Think Your Prospects Are as Interested in Your Product as You Are.
You're in love with your product and opportunity and you think your customers share your infatuation. In reality, people are interested only in "What's in it for me?"

So ask yourself: What's in it for them?

Failing to Lead with the Benefits.
Most of the marketing people create is feature-centered. That's of little or no interest to your prospects. If your marketing material or presentation is about your product or your company, it's feature-oriented. If it's about the prospect, it's benefit-oriented.

A benefit to the prospect should lead with the words, "You get." If you can't put those two words first, then it's not a benefit. People only buy benefits.

Not Establishing the Value.
As an example, look at an aloe vera drink that goes for $29.95. How important is it to establish its value? You must establish the value of everything in your business-- even yourself.

The most effective copy - letter, brochure, classified ad, whatever - is copy that sounds exactly the way people talk, simply because people feel it's personal.
Running Image Ads.
Nothing depletes your marketing budget faster without bringing you any direct response. Make your ads pay. Make an offer people can directly respond to. 

Not Using Headlines.
Any ad benefits from a headline. We've tested ads with and without them, and we've had a higher response ratios-- up to 4,000 times higher-- for ads with headlines. Put headlines on letters, too. Most of my sales letters don't use proper English, but they have powerful benefit headlines. The most effective copy-- letter, brochure, classified ad, whatever-- is copy that sounds exactly the way people talk, simply because people feel it's personal.

Not Testing and Tracking.
People place opportunity ads, and the phones seem to ring more. People also seem to order more products. They can tell that sales are up, but they don't know where the response is coming from-- newspaper, radio, yellow pages, which one?-- so they keep doing everything.

You must have response tracking mechanisms for everything you do!

Not Telling the Whole Story.
If I sent a letter saying, "I've got a Rolex that normally sells for $2,000, I'm selling it for $400," it's highly unlikely my offer will be successful. Why?

People are skeptical. They don't believe that someone will sell a $2,000 watch for $400. They'd say, "He must be crazy, or the watches must be stolen ... or counterfeit."

But if you say: "I bought a bunch of Rolexes when this style was hot and sold for $2,000. The company came out with a new model, and everyone wants that now. I have 125 of the old ones left. I paid $400 a piece. I'd rather sell them at my cost, because I can then take that money and buy the new models everybody wants."

If you receive that kind of letter, it's likely you would buy the watch, because I told you the whole story.

Not Following Up With Prospects Who Don't Buy or Join Right Away.
You get 100 calls. They're interested in your product or opportunity: 22 buy, 78 don't. Most businesses forget about the 78.

In reality, they weren't ready to buy then. Maybe they didn't have the money or time, or you didn't quite convince them. Send them a follow-up letter a month later, "Hi, just wanted to touch base. You inquired about XYZ opportunity, and we just wanted to let you know we're still here and are still offering a 30-day fast start program. If we can do anything for you, please don't hesitate to call us."

You might pick up 12 the second time. Sooner or later somebody sells the product or opportunity you could have sold if you had followed up.

Attempting a Two-Step Transaction in a One-Step Space.
Ever see ads or presentations with too much information? They're trying to pack in every possible benefit, feature, everything, but don't have the time or ad budget to do it right. It would be much better not to try to sell people in that one exchange, but to do a two-step process instead.

For example: "Our home-based business can make you wealthy. Call for details." Place two-step teasers, so you'll get qualified prospects, then you can work that lead and give them all the information they need to make an educated, successful decision.

Not Telling the Prospect What To Do.
If you were a salesman, this would be the same thing as never asking for the order. The more you leave to chance, the less people will buy. Say, "Get the blue distributor form, fill it out, make sure you sign your name at the bottom, include a voided check stapled to the front and put that in the No. 10 envelope labeled XYZ Co ... put a stamp on and send it to us." Tell people what to do.


Look for actual success stories of people who have done good things with your product and opportunity that a prospect can relate to.
Not Using Testimonials.
This business is built on testimonials! We provide seminars and people say it was the best seminar that they ever attended, the speaker was great, entertaining, very informative. Those are worthless! We want one where someone says, "These people solved my problem. Now I'm making money. I'm successful ... (whatever the desired benefit is), and you can be, too." Look for actual success stories of people who have done good things with your product and opportunity that a prospect can relate to. 

Not Giving the Prospect a Reason to Act Now.
If you send a prospect direct mail, he may get 15 to 100 other pieces that week. He thinks about responding to some and puts those on the desk. Once that happens, about 80 percent of people planning on responding to you will not do so.

Instead, tell people, "Send your order in five days and we'll give this special report. This is a limited offer, only good until April 12."

Give people a reason to act now.

Failing to Up-Sell and Cross-Sell.
If you call my company to order a specific tape, we'll send it to you-- and include a letter that says, "By the way, if you're interested, we also have a book. Because you bought our tapes, videos, etc., you can buy the book in the next 30 days, $3 off, but this is a limited offer." That's a cross-sell.

A good up-sell would be giving your new retail shampoo customer one of your skin-care products she hadn't tried at a discount as a special introductory offer.

Not Reversing the Risk.
Don't ask your prospect or customer to take the risk. Give them a guarantee, a better than risk-free offer.

"If you don't find this product is worth everything we said, send it back within 30 days. We'll send a complete refund, no questions, and you keep the free book as a gift."

Take the risk yourself. Hold their check for 30 days. Get a credit card number, but don't run it until they say they're satisfied.

A minuscule percentage of the population will take undue advantage of you, but you'll have so many more people deciding to buy that it will well offset those.

Finding One Marketing Method that Brings 90 Percent of Your Business and Stopping There.
No matter how successful a strategy is, don't rest on your laurels. You'll end up losing market share. Keep doing what you're doing, then test other marketing strategies and you will increase sales. A good percentage of them will fall down to the bottom line as profit.

To "sin" means to miss the mark. Missing once is fine, but the best Network Marketers learn from every missed shot and keep getting better and better.

RANDY GAGE is the author of the industry's best-selling tape-album training, How to Earn at Least $100,000 in Network Marketing, the Dynamic Development Series, and the book, How to Build a Multi-Level Money Machine. Now retired, Randy became known in the last ten years for his MLM Bootcamps and recruiting seminars. He lives in Miami, FL. This article first appeared in the April 1995 issue.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, The Deadly Sins of Network Marketing - December 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,


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