June 1999


Four Strange Insights To Build Your Network Marketing Business - Tom Schreiter

Tom Schreier


That's the sound of your competition falling down and falling behind because they aren't reading this right now. This article is in your hands now because you desire to build a large and successful Network Marketing business. The next few pages will give you valuable insights and strategies that will help you and your group: Locate more qualified, interested prospects, avoid painful rejection when prospecting, change the way prospects look at your business, develop leaders, and build a bigger bonus check. Let's quickly jump into our first business-building strategy.

Insight #1: Distributors aren't lazy.

Lazy people don't leave their favorite cable television shows to attend an opportunity meeting. Lazy people don't invest in an expensive distributor kit, promotional literature and products. And lazy people don't commit part-time hours every week to build a future for themselves and their families.

So why are my distributors not working? New distributors have two problems:

1) They don't know what to do.

2) They do the wrong things.

These are serious problems.

I conduct full-day Super Sponsoring Workshops throughout the world, and during the first hour of each workshop, I ask a simple question:

What is the first sentence out of your mouth when you make a business presentation to a prospect?

The silence is uncomfortable. The attendees avoid eye contact. The attendees pretend to look at their notes. The whole room squirms in agony hoping that someone, anyone, will answer that question. If I didn't say anything, nothing more would happen the rest of the day!

Finally I give them some relief. I explain that we have only one chance to make a good first impression. If our first impression is great, we can make mistakes for the rest of our presentation and our prospect will still like us...and probably join.

If our first impression causes our prospect to put up his defenses, mentally guard his wallet, and to evaluate every future statement from a negative, skeptical posture, then we're in big trouble. We could give the best presentation, complete with a laser light show, and the prospect won't join.

That's how important our first sentence is in our presentation. It's almost everything. Here's proof: Imagine a young man is making a marriage proposal to a young lady. He gets down on one knee, gently holds his girlfriend's hand, looks lovingly into her eyes and says:

"If you marry me, I'll take you on romantic moonlight walks in the park every Tuesday night. We'll have candlelight dinners every Friday night. And on Sundays, I promise to always take out the garbage, etc., etc., etc."

If the young lady loves the young man, this first sentence sets the mood for the rest of the "presentation." Because the first sentence was so good, the young lady will forgive the upcoming mistakes the young man will make for the next few days, few months, or even for the next few years!

Now, imagine the same young man is making a marriage proposal to the same young lady. This time, he gets down on one knee, gently holds his girlfriend's hand, looks lovingly into her eyes and says:

"If you marry me, you get to keep the ring!"

What kind of response do you think the young lady will have towards this first sentence? She will probably take offense at the young man's first sentence. Her attitude and perspective become adversarial. She is not going to like anything he says from this point on.

Because the young man used a wrong first sentence, there is little or no chance to recover. No matter how eloquently his presentation continues, his prospect is mad, defensive, and will twist everything he says against him.

The same first sentence principle works in your business. The first sentence puts the prospect on your side...or the first sentence puts the prospect on the defensive. It's easy to enroll a friend. It's almost impossible to enroll an enemy.

A bad first sentence will cause your prospect to fold his arms, put up his defenses, guard his wallet, and listen with a skeptical attitude.

A great first sentence will make your prospect a partner. Your prospect will forgive the fact that you can't remember the name of your company, that you get confused on the product ingredients, and that you don't have a clue how the compensation plan works. This is why I spend the first hour in my Super Sponsoring Workshops helping people develop a great first sentence. If the opening sentence is great, you can mangle the rest of your presentation and prospects will still beg you to join.

"I would rather have my distributors give lousy presentations to prospects who love them-- than give great presentations to prospects who hate them."

Back to the Super Sponsoring Workshops Workshop. I'm only a few minutes into the workshop, and I ask the attendees to write down the first sentence out of their mouth when they give a presentation.

The excuses begin. The attendees say: "Oh, I just kind of think something up, whatever feels good at the moment"..."I always start with the second sentence. I never use a first sentence"..."I'm confused. Do you mean the first sentence at an opportunity meeting? Or do you mean the first sentence at an in-home presentation?"..."I just wing it"..."It depends on the prospect, the weather, or how I feel"..."I concentrate on a multimedia presentation of the compensation plan. I never worry about how the prospect feels."

Right. Sure. Want to know the real translation of what they are saying? "I don't know what to do."

Their sponsors never taught them the importance and strategy of a good first sentence. They never received the first words they should say to effectively start a successful business presentation. That's sad.

When your distributors:

• don't know what to do

• don't know exactly what to say

• and don't know how to start a successful presentation

...guess what?

They don't do anything!

Distributors aren't lazy.

They desperately want to build a business.

They just don't know what to do.

You get only one chance to make a good first impression, yet untrained distributors are turning good prospects into anti-Networking vigilantes.

The second reason your distributors aren't working is because they feel rejected, dumped on, and like total failures because they did the wrong things. When a distributor locates 20 prospects, and none of the 20 prospects join, do you think that the distributor miraculously located 20 consecutive losers? Do you think this distributor located 20 people who have a lifetime commitment to avoid opportunity?

I don't think so.

A better-trained distributor or sponsor can give presentations to the exact same 20 prospects, and several will enroll. What's the difference? The better-trained distributor or sponsor knew the right and wrong ways to give a presentation.

The untrained, uninformed distributor talked to 20 prospects and every one of these prospects swore they were not interested.

Why? Because of the questions and statements made by the untrained distributor. The better-trained distributor talked to the same 20 prospects. Five of these prospects say they hate their job; they want time for their hobbies, friends, and family; they want more money and an exciting career; and they don't know how to find something to fill this need in them.

Why did they say this? Because the better-trained distributor used different questions and statements. It's just that simple.

Now the better-trained distributor has five hot prospects, and the untrained distributor is running a brand new ad, accosting strangers in the shopping mall, and begging more people to come to an opportunity meeting.

Our discouraged distributors do the wrong things, get rejected, achieve no results, so what's left for them to do? Quit.

Why suffer embarrassment, rejection, and frustration if you're not going to make any progress in your business? Why work hard for no results? It makes sense to the frustrated distributor to stay home and watch television instead.

Here's a neat little way to predict your downline's future. You know what kind of results your downline distributors are getting today with their present methods. You know exactly what the results will be if they continue with their present methods because they are living those results right now!

"If what your distributors are doing now isn't producing the kind of bonus checks they need, it surely won't do any better in the future."

If you'd like your distributors to change, to grow, and to prosper, you must give them different strategies and methods. Their present methods will only give them what they have today.

Here is another reason you should teach and expand the skills of your downline: They are looking to you for answers. Your downline distributors want you to teach them exactly what to say and how to say it. They don't want to experiment, get rejected, and waste time. They want successful results immediately.


Insight #2: Building leaders is easy once you teach them how to handle problems.

Networkers everywhere are killing their businesses and they don't understand why. Imagine investing hundreds or even thousands of hours into your business, and then systematically destroying your business with an incorrect point of view. I'm going to share with you one of my secret principles that makes Networking easy. This one secret principle might change your career forever! It's weird, but no one ever thinks about it.

First, a little background.

How many hours do you think the average Networking leader spends doing the following tasks: Listening to downline personal problems; listening to downline business problems; apologizing for incorrect statements made by the upline leaders or home office staff; playing referee between jealous distributors fighting over a single enrollment; berating home office staff who don't understand Network Marketing; worrying about greed destroying certain members of the organization; groaning about unfair treatment and lack of recognition; trying to recover business that was stolen by unfair competition....If you add up the hours, it's a 40-hour week!

These activities take time. How much time can a leader afford on these non-productive, non-revenue generating activities?

These activities take physical effort. Leaders are physically exhausted after marathon telephone conversations with professional victims complaining that the world is against them.

These activities take psychic effort. Leaders lose their mental energy fighting these losing battles. After one of these battles, the leader prefers to become comatose and watch television. There is no enthusiasm left for a prospecting campaign.

Who has the problem?

Guess what? The distributor doesn't have the real problem here. The leaders have the problem! The leaders have a wrong perspective or viewpoint. Here is what the unsuccessful leaders believe:

In order to be successful in Network Marketing . . .

100% of the home office employees must be perfect.

100% of all distributors must be honorable, charitable, problem-free citizens without a touch of greed.

100% of all distributors must never quit.

100% of the home office staff should become instantly available when they call.

100% of all upline leaders should be perfect role models who never make a mistake while speaking.

100% of all decisions must be perfect.

100% of all decisions must work out perfectly in the future.

Everything must be perfect, or they'll just complain and destroy their business, and then look for a new venture with the perfect leaders, the perfect home office staff, the perfect compensation plan, the perfect product at the perfect price that satisfies 100% of all people 100% of the time, etc., etc., etc.

Yuck! As Zig Ziglar would say, "That's some stinking thinking!"

People are human. Your company, your upline, and even your downline are human. And as humans, they have certain characteristics, such as,

they make mistakes. Humans are often selfish. Humans are professional quitters. They quit school, quit jobs, quit marriages, quit diets, quit New Year's resolutions, and quit MLM programs. Humans often fail to return telephone calls. Humans are often rude. Humans take people for granted. They don't show appreciation to their upline or downline when appropriate. Humans love to criticize. It makes them feel superior and helps them to forget their own personal problems. Humans make terrible decisions. Why do you think there are so many divorces? Or why do you think so many people lose at the horse races? Humans think they are always right. After all, who do you know that deliberately goes out of his way to be totally wrong?

Why not just accept people as they are? This is the perspective and point of view that successful leaders take. They don't waste time trying to change people, fix their perceived problems, or trying to eliminate all the problems in the world. Successful leaders accept that there will always be problems. They simply learn to live with the problems instead of stressing over each problem for the rest of their lives.

What do unsuccessful distributors do? If they see that their present MLM company has a problem, they quit! They join another MLM company and hope they never have a problem. What kind of crazy thinking is that?

All MLM companies have problems. Successful distributors and leaders realize that if all MLM companies have problems, you might as well pick the company that you choose to have problems with. Accept the problems and get on with business. Let your competitors try to fix the problems, fix human nature, and jump from one company to another. Encourage your competitors to do it. This will keep them busy while you build a large and successful Networking business. You'll have exclusive access to all the best prospects because your competitors are too busy trying to fix problems!

"But don't I have to fix some of the problems?" No. Our businesses will be quite successful if we just concentrate on developing three or four leaders. Once we have three or four trained people who think like we do...we're invincible! Developing leaders is everything in our business. Distributors may come and go, problems may come and go, problems may come and stay, but if we develop long-term, loyal leaders, we'll be here forever with regular bonus checks. All these other problems don't have anything to do with locating, training and developing our three or four good leaders. All the other problems are just a distraction that you can ignore.

"Hey! That's a pretty good perspective on how this Networking business really works. What would happen if my downline adopted this point of view?"

Massive growth. Massive sales. Massive bonus checks.

Can you imagine how powerful your opportunity meetings would be if everyone was positive and focused on their goal of locating and developing three or four good leaders? The atmosphere would be magic! With so much positive energy in the room, guests would join without even hearing a presentation! Prospects want to be involved with positive people who know where they are going.

But let's take a look at a typical crisis.

A few years ago, I gave an opportunity meeting presentation to about 50 people. It was in a small hotel room in the north of England. In the back of the room was a brand new distributor. She brought along her husband and her 11-month-old daughter. Also in the back of the room was a prospect with a $1,000 pin stripe suit, manicured nails, the perfect sun tan, a replica of a very expensive watch, and...an attitude. He looked like the stereotypical stockbroker.

As I proceeded with my presentation, occasionally the baby made a bit of noise. Okay, the baby cried. Not real loud, but it was distracting.

Does a baby crying have anything to do with locating and developing your three or four good leaders? No! So it's not a problem. It's a non-event. It's totally manageable by simply ignoring the crying and continuing with the opportunity meeting. So I did.

Guess what happened when the meeting was over? The well-dressed guest left! He was completely turned off by the baby's crying. His parting remarks?

"How could any professional business allow a crying baby to interfere or distract prospects during a business presentation? I couldn't possibly join a non-professional organization like that!"

Now here is the million-dollar question you have to ask yourself as a business builder and Networking leader: "If my prospect quits or doesn't even join because an 11-month-old baby cries, will this prospect ever be one of my three or four good leaders?"

The obvious answer is "No." This prospect believes that circumstances must be right in order for him to become successful. In other words, he is saying that success is outside of himself. Is this prospect ever going to develop into one of your three or four good leaders? No. The 11-month-old baby might have a better chance.

Leadership has nothing to do with the clothes you wear. Who would you rather have in your organization? The mother who brought her 11-month-old baby and her husband to the opportunity meeting, or the well-dressed, weak-willed prospect who takes directions and career decisions from an 11-month-old baby?

Leaders are everything. They are your long-term security. They are your keys to solid growth and consistent bonus checks.

Almost everything else you do in Networking marketing is trivial and a waste of time. Want some examples? Discussing company politics, arguing with know-it-all distributors, re-training uplines, arranging chairs at opportunity meetings, re-writing the prospecting brochure for the thirty-first time, arranging product displays, memorizing sales pitches, holding hands with weak-willed prospects, correcting people when they are wrong, scolding distributors for missing meetings, wishing you got more money for your efforts, demanding immediate shipment of backorders, demanding that everyone in every circumstance was treated fairly, listening to petty grievances, giving pity to people with hurt egos, trying to save professional victims, forcing distributors to go to trainings they don't want to attend, trying to find somebody to blame, wishing people had the same vision you have, telling management how to do their job, etc., etc., etc.

We don't become successful leaders by solving these problems! And we don't become successful leaders by sponsoring and replacing "temporary" distributors. We become successful leaders by locating and developing three or four other good leaders.

"MLM Crisis Center, may I help you?" Make sure this is not how you answer your telephone. You'll find yourself easily answering questions and handling problems when you are focused on locating and developing three or four good leaders.

For instance, distributors will ask: "Why can't we have Donut Blend #8 in chocolate?"

You can answer: "What does that have to do with locating and developing our three or four good leaders?"

Or distributors will say: "Mary spoke too long during the opportunity meeting."

You can answer: "What does that have to do with locating and developing our three or four good leaders?"

See? Once we have the proper perspective on our Networking business, everything gets easy!

Insight #3: Network Marketers don't do enough marketing.

Most Networkers have only a few good prospects-- with no new prospects on the horizon. That's scary.

To conserve the few prospects they have, Network Marketers beg, cajole, nurture, flatter and then wait for their prospects to make a decision. With only a few prospects, Network Marketers are:

• terrified of asking people to join

• scared to ask for initial purchases of sufficient inventory to build a business

• scared of rejection

•...and broke!

Without a large group of qualified prospects to choose from, Network Marketers settle for lower quality, unmotivated distributors. That's a vicious cycle that forces distributors to quit Network Marketing in frustration and disgust.

In 1987, I had a telephone conversation with Art Meakin. Art said that he worked hard, sometimes personally inviting up to 600 people a week to an opportunity meeting. Only one or two prospects would ever show up at the meetings, so Art was quite discouraged by the results of his "hard work" method of prospecting.

I asked Art a simple question: "What if everyone you contacted was already pre-sold on Network Marketing, wanted to start his own business, and could be productive from the first day he started?"

This changed everything! Art changed his sponsoring and prospecting campaigns drastically. He quickly implemented the following strategies:

• When you advertise, you get what you ask for. If you advertise that your program requires no work, then you get prospects who will not work. If you advertise for long-term prospects who are willing to learn Network Marketing, then you attract stable prospects who will invest months learning your business.

• Instead of mass prospecting for new prospects, make repeat contacts to your present prospects. Prospects enroll in you, not your company. The more you contact a prospect, the better your relationship. If you believe that prospects join you, then better relationships are the key to a consistent flow of new prospects joining weekly.

• Don't go fishing on dry land. If you are going to prospect for people who want to join Network Marketing, go where these people congregate. Spend your time surrounded by high-quality prospects who want to join your company. Don't waste your time looking for fish on dry land.

Do these strategies work?

Here's the bottom line: I know these strategies work!

I use these strategies myself!

These aren't some well-meaning but ineffective theories taught by some public speaker who read some book. These are field-tested strategies and campaigns that work today! I don't believe in wasting time with glossed-over generalities and theories. Don't listen to so-called experts who feel obligated to give you advice on these strategies. They are usually broke and have never risked a single penny of their own money on any prospecting campaign.

Strategy #4: There is always a way to accomplish success. You just have to find the right set of instructions.

Suppose you are sitting in a room with 20 people. I walk in the door and say: "I have a $1 lottery ticket for sale for tomorrow's national drawing. Who would like to give me $500 for my ticket?"

The person sitting next to you says, "This guy must be crazy. There's no way I'd overpay $499 for a lottery ticket."

That's how most people think. They make decisions based on the facts they have.

Big mistake.

Why? Because there are always more facts. For instance, I happen to know that only one ticket was sold for tomorrow's national drawing, and I own the only ticket!

This strategy escapes many beginning Network Marketers. Somehow they feel that if they continue doing the same thing over and over, magic will happen. Nonsense!

For example, let's say that a distributor gives ten presentations. He starts each presentation with a series of three questions. After the three questions, the prospects fold their arms, frown, become combative, argue and eventually ask the distributor to leave their home.

Do we see a pattern here? Of course. Every time the distributor asks those same three questions, the prospects become irritated and won't join his program. So what does our distributor do? He continues to ask those same three questions at every presentation...and hopes something magical will happen.

We know nothing is going to change until the distributor changes those three questions. But that won't happen. Why?

Because the distributor won't go to his sponsor's training meeting to learn new skills. He won't read his distributor manual to find alternate questions that might work. He won't invest the time and energy to learn new skills.

Will anything change for this Networker? I doubt it. The only thing that might change is that he will become an ex-Networker.

I have a friend who uses the following criteria to determine his potential leaders. He says he can predict with reasonable accuracy who is going to rise to the top in his organization. His criteria? He says:

"My future leaders are presently professional students of the business. They understand that there is a solution to any problem. A simple change or mid-course correction is all they need to get where they want to go. They are eager to learn new, more efficient ways to prospect, sponsor, retail, and lead."

My friend also observes that his future failures are the people who use the same unsuccessful methods over and over again. These people won't make the effort to learn new ways to get the job done.

Applying this success strategy is easy. If what you are doing isn't working, find a new (and hopefully proven) way to do it.

All your distributors can become successful leaders and earn the bonus checks of their dreams. They just have to find the right set of instructions.

TOM "BIG AL" SCHREITER started in Network Marketing in 1972. He is the author of five books on recruiting, the mini-booklet Are You Walking Past A Fortune and two audio-cassette training series. He publishes the bi-monthly Big Al Recruiting Newsletter, The Network Trainer Magazine, and the acclaimed ten-times-a-year Fortune Now newsletter for marketing professionals. Tom conducts two-day Power Marketing & Promotions Workshops and Super Sponsoring Workshops, and is an Upline Master and Contributing Editor. To subscribe to Tom Schreiter's publications, contact KAAS Publishing, 281-280-9800.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Schreiter Feature - June 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com


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