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May 1999


The Last Word

Think About This... - John Milton Fogg

I'm not that big on what is called thinking anymore. Most of what passes for thought is just people talking to themselves. One of the "people" in that conversation cannot be a real person-- I mean, who's the real you when you and yourself are talking to each other? One of you has to be an impostor-- yes? So who is the real you?

`Tis a puzzlement.

I still want you to think about something anyway. I suggest that to clear up any tendency you may have towards the aforementioned schizophrenic self-talk, you make this a conversation between you and another real and distinct person whose mind-workings you admire.

Here's the deal: Much is being written in the wake (nice pun-- yes?) of the passing of baseball legend and All-American Hero Joe DiMaggio. George Will, a journalist I hold in the highest regard, has written about Joe in Newsweek. In a piece entitled "The First Michael Jordan," Mr. Will-- noting DiMaggio's un-erroring prowess as a "Golden Glove" center fielder for the always winning New York Yankees-- pointed out something baseball writer Leonard Koppett said, which I've since learned is known as "Koppett's Law."

Poor fielding will lose more games than good hitting will win.
You can score only one run and still win a game, but you must always get 27 outs!

The moment I read that, I knew I'd been exposed to something profound. "That's true," I said aloud-- and, what's more, I'd never thought of that before. I also knew Koppett's maxim held something insightful for Network Marketers. I just didn't know what that was-- yet.

So, I did what I do (and what I recommend you do, too): I called some smart people and asked them what they thought it meant.

Friend (Webmaster, Network Marketer and card-carrying member of The Young Networker's Association) Luke Melia, thought Koppett's Law spoke about follow-up and follow-through. Those " 27 outs" were all the returned phone calls, getting people stuff on time, sending thank-you notes, handling people's objections honestly and thoughtfully. The basics, he said.

Luke and I both wished the analogy was "cleaner," easier to translate into Network Marketingese.

"Maybe it's because baseball has winners and losers," I offered.

"Yeah, maybe," Luke said. "It still doesn't work quite right."

Well, Network Marketing has winners and losers, I thought to myself-- and he's right, it still doesn't work quite right.

Okay, I'll call Big Al.

"The problem," said everybody's Uncle Tom (Schreiter), "is that the inverse is also true."

"Which means what?" I asked.

"You make 27 outs, but don't score any runs-- you lose," he said.

Then Tom added, "But you're enlightened and I'm endarkened. I'm sure you'll figure something out."

"Thanks, Tom. Bye." (If I'm so enlightened, how come his check is 5,237 times bigger than mine?)

Duncan Maxwell Anderson-- Editorial Director of Network Marketing Lifestyles magazine! A very smart man, indeed.

"Well, at the corporate level, mistakes will kill you. MLM companies grow themselves to death all the time."

"Poor fielding," he said.

"Uh huh," said I.

"From a distributor standpoint," DMax added, "the irony is that Network Marketing protects you against such poor fielding. Making errors doesn't have to be terminal `cause you can always recruit yourself out of trouble. It's a counter example," he told me. "One new recruit, one heavy hitter, you can win with just one run, poor fielding and all."

An old Harry Belafonte song came to mind.

"It was clear as mud/And it covered the ground/The confusion made the brain go `round."

I'll call Spaulding. He'll know (I hoped).

Steve agreed with Luke-- at first. Forget the home runs. Koppett's right. It's the put outs-- the constant calls and follow-ups. If you go out looking for the home runs, forget it. Besides, he added, most heavy hitters are already in their own deal. You're not about to sign up Mark McGuire or Sammy Sosa from your warm market.

Good point.

"It's so hard to get a handle on," Steve said, "because baseball has rigid rules and Network Marketing doesn't. We have so much more freedom than any ball player."

"Of course."

"Now, maybe it's just that we don't notice our good fielding," Steve added, "but we sure see the mistakes. DiMaggio catching a long, tall fly-ball up against the fence in Yankee Stadium was par. But boy if he dropped one. . . ."

That's very true.

"Remember-- and I know it's cliché-- Babe Ruth, Arron, probably McGuire, too, they struck out a lot-- more than most. Lots more," Steve reminded me.

"You know DiMaggio didn't," I told him. "In `41 when he had 541 at bats, Joe struck out only 13 times."

"Poor fielding-- I wonder how many times he dropped the ball?"

"So, Steve," I asked, "What's a run in Network Marketing?"

"Good question: Sponsoring a business-builder."

"Okay, what's an out?"

"Getting people out?" he asked and answered.

"You mean like getting them off your list? Getting a committed `No?' "

"Yeah. And we've got better averages in Network Marketing," he added.

"How so?"

"You'll get 15 `Nos' for every `Yes' in this business on average. That's a fact."

"So the outs are literally getting people out. You've got to get x-number of people to say `No' to you, before you can score a run-sponsor a business-builder?"

"Seems that way."

"There are 165 games in a baseball season. With 27 put-outs in each game that's . . ." (I got out my calculator) . . . 4,455 outs. That's a lot of outs-- a lot of `Nos,' Steve."

"Yes, it is."

"I'm still not sure that's what the "It only takes one run to win, but it always takes 27 outs," thing is really all about for Network Marketers. Maybe the important part of Koppett's Law for us, Steve, is the "Poor fielding will lose more games than good hitting will win," bit. Like, we've got to have the skills, keep in shape, have to be alert and stay focused on the game-- be aware of what's going on all the time so we know where to throw the ball next and throw accurately, too."

"And of course, don't drop the ball."

"And score at least one run in every game."

"At least."

"It always comes down to how many games you win in a season, doesn't it?"

"Yeah-- and of course you know, poor fielding will lose more games than good hitting will win."

"I knew that."

-- JMF

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, The Last Word - May 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,