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July - August 1999



The Notification Principle - Art Jonak

Art Jonak You're ecstatic! Your brand new distributor has signed the paperwork, sent it in and is now waiting for the new distributor kit and product to arrive. As a well-trained sponsor, you've set up a "Getting Started" training within the first 48 hours of your new distributor's Network Marketing career.

You sit down at the kitchen table with your new distributor, pull out your manual and immediately turn to the "Memory Jogger" section and start reading...

Who do you know with red hair?

Who do you know that drives a mini-van?

Who does your taxes? Your hair? Your lawn? Your car repairs?

Do you have your college directory handy?

How about your pre-school yearbook?

You keep going-- you know the drill well, you've done it many times before. You take a moment between reading questions to breathe, look across the table at your distributor's list and... there are only five names on it! There should be at least fifty by now! You look up to see fear and doubt on your distributor's face as he shrugs and says, "I really don't know anybody else...."

Out of frustration, you ask a few more questions from your memory jogger... but still, your new distributor comes up blank. Your excitement fizzles fast as you realize that once again you've sponsored a dud.

But did you really sponsor a dud, or did something else go terribly wrong?

We lip-sync through this uncomfortable exercise, yet we rarely take a moment to see if it actually works or not. Why not, for a moment, consider what is going through your new distributor's mind.

Could he be thinking, "I don't want to talk to anybody about this business until I make my first bonus check?" or "I'm not comfortable having my sponsor talk to my friends about the business" or maybe "The more names I put down the more rejection I might have to face"?

  "Our full-time job is educating prospects and letting them make their own decisions. It's nice to get that burden off our shoulders.''

Or maybe you have distributors who say, "Oh, I don't want to talk to my friends and relatives. They wouldn't understand. I couldn't convince them to join my program. Instead, let me talk to total strangers from another state. Maybe I'll just try to sell them over the phone or by mail. Where can I run an ad or mail some prospecting postcards?"

If friends and close contacts don't like your presentation, trust me, strangers will like your presentation even less. If we can't enroll people we know, people with whom we already have some sort of positive relationship, what makes us think that we can enroll total strangers? Maybe we just think things will change if we find new people who don't know us.

Let's face it. When we decide to talk to strangers instead of our warm market of contacts, we're saying to ourselves:

"I don't believe in me."

"I don't believe in my opportunity"

"I don't believe in my product"

"I'm too ashamed to talk to my friends"

"I don't think this opportunity is a good deal for others."

"I'm worried about what my friends will think of me."

"I'm afraid that my friends will not join and that I'll feel rejected."

"What if my program fails? I better make certain that I only sign up strangers who don't know me."

"What if I fail? I wouldn't want my friends and family to know that I even tried."

If we decide to keep our opportunity a top secret from our friends and family, is that fair to them? No.

Our Single Obligation as Networkers

Most distributors are not duds, nor are they lazy. However, they will avoid anything that involves rejection. Why not turn the exercise into something that your distributor wants to do? What if you told your new distributor, "You don't have to ask anyone on your list to join your Network Marketing business or even ask them to buy product"?

Not asking people to join your business
is rejection-proof.

Even before we read our distributor kit, before we start improving our presentation, before we start working on ourselves and self-image or asking our sponsor about mailing lists or ads, before anything else, we must first fulfill our one and only obligation in Network Marketing.

What is that obligation?

First, our job is to educate others about our products and services, and about the residual income possibilities of Network Marketing. Once our prospects are educated with the facts, it is up to them to decide what is best for them. Our job is not to convince our prospects to buy from us or join. Network Marketing is not high-pressure selling, convincing, manipulating, cold-calling, or coercing! Networking is simply giving prospects an additional choice in their lives, and allowing them to accept that choice if it helps them get what they want. That's our job-- educating our prospects. That's what we do as Networkers.

But that's not our one big obligation. When I sponsor a new distributor I say this:

"You are not obligated to make lots of retail sales. Sure, it would be nice, but it's not mandatory.

"You are not obligated to buy lots of products and services. Again, that would be nice, but you are not obligated to do so.

"You are not obligated to harass your friends to come to opportunity meetings.

"You are not obligated to go the company convention.

"You are not obligated to give recruiting presentations every night of the week.

"You are not even obligated to return my phone calls!"

  ``If you don't fulfill your obligation to inform your personal contacts... terrible things could happen.''

Wow! Now my new distributor is excited. He is thinking: "This is a great opportunity. I'm not obligated to do any of those things. But wait, he said there was an obligation. Just one obligation. So what is that obligation?"

Yes, we have only a single obligation to fulfill. Everything else in Network Marketing is optional. What is that obligation in our business?

We must notify our friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers that we have decided to start our own part-time Network Marketing business.

That's it. There's nothing more to our obligation. You see:

  • We don't have to sell our friends on our products or services.
  • We don't have to sponsor our neighbors into our Network Marketing business.
  • We don't have to invite our co-workers to opportunity meetings.
  • We don't even have to explain our business or products if our relatives don't ask us for more information.

I repeat: Our only obligation is to notify our friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers that we have decided to start our own part-time Network Marketing business.

You mean we don't have to learn fancy presentations or constantly try to show our program to unwilling relatives? Yes! Exactly. This is great news for beginning Network Marketers. We don't have to give presentations to our contacts unless they specifically ask us for such a presentation. We don't have to push or sell products to the unwilling. We don't need to make intrusive sales pitches during wedding receptions or family get-togethers.

Uplifting, isn't it? Network Marketing isn't so complicated after all. Our full-time job is educating prospects and letting them make their own decisions. It's nice to get that burden off our shoulders.

Why is informing our contacts that we have started our own Networking business so important?

Because we never want them to tell us: "You never told me about your business."

If we simply announce that we are in Network Marketing, many of our contacts will nod their heads and say, "That's nice." And that's okay.

If they were interested, they could ask us for more information or attend an opportunity meeting. If they're not interested, we can go on with our lives, knowing that they were given a chance to get the full story-- just by asking us for it.

Some of our contacts will say: "Hey, I'm not excited about my job either. I want a little more time with my family, too. Tell me a little bit about this Networking business, would you?" And that's okay. We can then give them as much information as they desire.

The Consequences of Neglecting to Notify

If you don't fulfill your obligation to notify your personal contacts... terrible things could happen. Imagine that you have been a part-time Network Marketer for the past six months. Your regular job paid your monthly expenses, so you were able to save all those extra monthly bonus checks and now have enough money to take that dream vacation to Tahiti.

As you enter the Air Tahiti 747 airplane, you think, "It was a great decision to do a little Network Marketing on the side. If my business continues to improve, I'll be taking one of these nice vacations every three months! Thank goodness my buddy told me about this Network Marketing opportunity."

When you arrive in Tahiti, you're taken to a glamorous beach. Gentle ocean waves help you relax in your hammock while the resort's staff delivers your favorite tropical beverage. The music is soothing. The wind is refreshing. You can smell the barbecue teriyaki chicken on the grill just a few feet away. Aaaahh! It doesn't get any better than this.

But wait! You spot a small dot on the horizon, and it appears to be moving. The dot continues to grow. It's moving towards you. You realize that the dot is actually a person dragging an old blanket behind him.

Soon that person walks right up to your hammock, spreads his old blanket on the sand, and plops down to catch some sun rays. You look down at the figure on the blanket and suddenly realize that this person is your... next door neighbor!

What a coincidence! You're both surprised to see each other. You ask, "How come you're here enjoying a nice holiday?"

Your next door neighbor's face droops. His brow wrinkles and he sadly mumbles, "Well, you know I live a miserable life. I have to keep three jobs going just to pay the rent for our family. I'm in debt up to my ears. My car loan is overdue. There is no chance to advance in my job. I don't have a penny to my name. I'm doomed! So I thought I might as well take a three-day holiday just once in my life, in order to have that single pleasant memory before I die. To get here, I maxed out all five of my credit cards, but what the heck. What about you? How come you're here?"

Now comes the moment of truth. You say, "I got started in my own part-time Networking business about six months ago. It's really great. I get paid for just letting people know about it. I saved up the last few bonus checks and here I am. This part-time business is so good, I'm thinking about taking another week's holiday here in three months. I tell you, this business is more than great! It's awesome. In fact, it's so wonderful that I... uh, uh... uh, I forgot to tell you about this, didn't I?"

Don't you think it is a little bit unfair not to tell your personal contacts about this great business? How would you feel if your neighbor quit his job, took family holidays every two months, and never told you about his secret good fortune-- while you slaved away at a job you hated?

Here's another unfortunate scenario you could face if you fail to notify. You're at your cousin's second wedding. That evening, you find yourself sitting at one of the dinner tables with about twelve other guests. You notice your aunt, who at this point has had a bit too much free champagne, sitting at the same table. She's dominating the conversation, and to your surprise, one of the first things out of her mouth as she sits down is: "I just joined this great home-based business last month called Chocolate is My Friend and I'm doing great!"

You can't believe it, you joined Chocolate is My Friend over a year ago and never once asked your aunt to join or even let her know that you got involved!

But it gets worse. She then proceeds to go around the table asking each person if they'd heard of Chocolate is My Friend. She's prospecting your warm market.

You begin to sweat-- not only are you angry about the fact that she could've been in your group had you only notified her when you got involved. What are you going to say when she asks you if you've heard of Chocolate is My Friend? Are you going to say, "Yes, I've heard of Chocolate is My Friend, actually I joined over a year ago but I didn't think you would ever do the business, so I never let you know about it."

If that wasn't bad enough, three months later you're at your company's national convention. With each passing hour you get more and more excited about all the new announcements. The distributor recognition event begins. The higher the pin level the more admiration you feel for those walking across the stage.

All of sudden you hear your aunt's name over the convention sound system. Could it be your aunt? Nah, must be someone else with the same name. You look up on stage and... and it is your aunt, in all her glory walking across the stage to accept her new triple-platinum executive pin. As you stare at her in awe, you notice her wink directly at you!

Life's not fair! You've been in the business a year longer, yet she's the one on stage five pin levels higher than you! Why is she on stage while you're sitting in the nose bleed section struggling just to get to the next pin level? For the next hour you zone out and make up dozens of different reasons justifying to yourself why she's on stage and you're not. "She got lucky and probably signed up three leaders in her first month! She has more time to build her business... she must have a better sponsor than I do... it's easier to build the business once you are at the higher pin levels... the people at the corporate office like her better than me... she's more outgoing than I am... it's okay if it takes me ten years longer than my aunt to get to the top, after all I'm at least ten years younger so we'll be even.... she's got a better house for home meetings and a better TV to show the company video on."

The bottom line is that she notified everyone in her warm market-- and you didn't. She also makes sure every leader in her group goes through the notification process. No matter what else you do in your business, if you aren't using notification, odds are your business isn't growing as fast as you'd like it to be.

Like I said-- if you don't fulfill your obligation to inform your personal contacts... terrible things could happen.

Remember, we must give our personal contacts the opportunity to ask us for more information. We don't have to force our presentation on them. We don't have to high-pressure them to become distributors. All we have to do is give them additional information if they ask for it.

Reality Check

Now let's take a look at notification another way. Let's imagine you opened a shoe store in a mall. Wouldn't you notify everyone you know that you've opened your own shoe store?

Of course you would.

You wouldn't pressure them to come and buy shoes that day. You wouldn't take some boxes of shoes with you to sell at Thanksgiving dinner, and you wouldn't be passing out shoe samples at funeral receptions, would you?

You'd simply notify everyone you know that you've opened your own shoe store. Then, when the time was right for them to purchase shoes, they'd contact you.

It's the same way in our business. Not everyone is ready to start their own part-time business today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next year. But for most of your contacts, today is not the day.

If your daughter was getting married, would you notify everybody you know about the wedding or would you first invite them to an opportunity meeting where you'd explain the wedding to them?

Out of every 100 people in your warm market right now, 10-15 of them are seriously looking for an additional way to make an extra paycheck every month. However, in most cases you never get the 10-15 people to raise their hands letting you know they are hot prospects! Why? In most cases your new distributor will only contact the first 5-10 people on their list. By that point, they've already gotten enough rejection to last them for the next five years. They will never get through the entire list to find the 10-15 excited prospects.

So, when you sit down and ask your new distributor to write down the names of everyone in their warm market, share the notification principle with them first. Share with them what could happen if they don't notify everyone in their warm market. That way, instead of having them lean backwards fighting you every step of the way, they will lean forward and be eager to write down the name of everyone they know!


ART JONAK is a successful Networker based in Houston, TX. For more information on the notification principle along with several successful notification letter samples, visit Art Jonak's MLM Slight-Edge Success Center online at You can reach Art Jonak by calling 310-228-9032 or emailing

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Jonak Feature - July/August 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,