February 2000


10 Keys to Recruiting Gen-Xers - Jennifer Cummings

Jennifer Cummings

Energetic and enthusiastic.
Entrepreneurial and open-minded.
Action oriented and coachable.
Determined and self-reliant.
Internet ready.

Is this someone that you would like to have in your downline?

Would it surprise you to know that this is the profile of a typical Gen X Network Marketer?

Read on if you'd like to learn how to attract Networkers from what Forbes magazine calls "the most entrepreneurial generation in the history of America." According to a survey recently compiled by The Young Networkers Association, successful Gen X Network Marketers ranked the following ten factors as the most important for attracting Gen Xers to Network Marketing. Implement just a few of these suggestions and you can take part in one of the hottest trends in MLM: The Young Networker.

1. Reframe the way you see Gen Xers.

The University of Michigan and Marquette University found that Generation X is responsible for 70 percent of all new start-up ventures in the United States this year. This is a dynamic group of people whoaren't afraid to take risks -- a far cry from the "slacker" label frequently slapped on them. J. Walker Smith, Gen X expert, says that the "slacker image" of Generation X "was a baby-boomer projection of their disappointment onto the generation behind them. They sort of latched on to the worst possible stereotypes to characterize an entire generation." These stereotypes do not sit well with Gen Xers. Tom Maguire of American Demographics suggests a "more positive characterization; Strivers, not Slackers." Chernoff, who conducts studies on this age group, characterizes them this way, "Xers are upbeat, they are focused on the future and determined to succeed."

Do whatever you have to do to understand the energy and excitement that these young people are responsible for in the world today. Subscribe to the positive Gen X magazines, join the Young Networkers Association, read books about the new vision of Generation X. Reframe your vision of these young people, and they will be ready to listen to your presentation.

2. Emphasize their core value of freedom.

Time/CNN reported that one out of every three Gen Xers wants to be his or her own boss. This is evidence of the ambition and ability to think big that this generation possesses in abundance. Explain how Network Marketing offers an unparalleled opportunity to become successful with little financial risk. Xers also want the freedom, autonomy, and control that comes with being your own boss. Teach them how Network Marketing is the best way to achieve these values in a short amount of time. They are interested in how being a traditional boss is different from being a Network Marketing leader. They will love the freedom that a Network Marketing leader enjoys.

3. Call attention to the flexibility of an unconventional business.

Time magazine reported that Gen Xers are "planning their escape from the 9-5 routine." This is a generation not afraid of out-of-the-box thinking or unconventional business opportunities. In fact, this generation embraces innovation and unconventional ideas. Gen Xers are willing to work long and hard hours for the promise of future freedom. But if you show them how they can be flexible with their schedule from the start in Network Marketing, they'll be intrigued.


This is a generation not afraid of out-of-the-box thinking or unconventional business opportunities.  
4. Recognize them as serious entrepreneurs. 

Forbes magazine calls Gen Xers the "most entrepreneurial generation in the history of America." Build on their energy and enthusiasm for striking out on their own. Encourage their creativity and natural leadership talents. This is the raw material that Network Marketers dream of. If you show them that they already have what it takes to succeed and let them know that you have a template they can follow, they will definitely hear you out. They are driven to succeed and are therefore extremely coachable.

Most Generation Xers will look at Network Marketing as a career option, not as the part-time home-based business that drew many of the Boomers. With all of the information that is available to Network Marketers in books like Richard Poe's Wave 4, put together a professional report geared towards their needs. Make it technical, well printed, and informative. Keep in mind that Xers dislike hype and are focused on the bottom line and honesty in relationships, according to Smith and Clurman, authors of Beyond Rocking the Ages. The Young Networkers offers a professional quality presentation geared towards Generation X on their website, www.YoungNetworkers.com.

5. Show them how they can make a difference on a global scale.

Generation X is also fueled by the desire to make a positive contribution to the world. Let them know that the only way for them to succeed in this business is to help others become successful. Emphasize the win-win concept. They are already familiar with the term. They coined it.

Besides, Gen Xers love to travel. As the most diverse generation in America, they feel they are part of a global community. Smith states that the Gen X phenomenon is a global one. Because of technology, the world is a very small place to a Gen Xer. Instead of thinking of his country as a corner of the world, he thinks of his world as a corner of the galaxy. It is a small world, and with technology, having a business center in five or ten countries is exciting, not daunting to this global entrepreneur.

6. Teach them that they can build their business with technology.

Remember this is the most technological generation that has ever lived. Even the Xers that don't consider themselves computer literate often knock the socks off older people that have used computers for years. Let them know that their computer and technological skills are an invaluable asset to them. If Network Marketers have been as successful as they are without the Internet, imagine the power that these young people have at their fingertips. They can build empires and never leave their rooms.

7. Educate them on the power of leverage.

Lay it out in a concise, clear page of information. Explain that if they trade their time for money, there either isn't enough time, or there isn't enough money. Also, a tool that is highly effective in communicating vision to this generation is a list of the average starting salaries in some of the most common fields out of college. They also know that with every advance in technology, there are less conventional jobs available to them. This is the reason that most Xers work in sales and service professions (which, by the way, is experience that will serve them well in Network Marketing). We've found Tim Sales' video, Brilliant Compensation, to be successful in explaining the power of leverage that Network Marketing has to offer.

8. Focus on the opportunity to create wealth and security.

According to Meredith Bagby, marketing and financial guru, author, and Generation X expert, "[downsizing] drove home [the fact] that corporate America was not going to provide security and that you could work all of your life and still get fired: If we want security," she says, "we're going to have to build it for ourselves." An American Demographics survey showed that 46 percent of Gen Xers say becoming wealthy is a priority, as compared with only 37 percent of Boomers. More importantly, however, Gen Xers want a balanced lifestyle while they are creating wealth and security. They are more concerned with how to become wealthy than with the trappings of wealth itself.

9. Introduce them to positive role models.

No matter how much you can think like a Gen Xer, the best way to recruit a Gen Xer is by introducing her to another Generation X member who is successful.

10. Use recruiting and training tools specifically tailored for Gen Xers.

J. Walker Smith says "the Xers' dream is to be entrepreneurs. `I want material success, but I also want balance in my life. My real dream is to live life as an entrepreneur . . . to have entrepreneurial focus in all aspects of my life. To really build my life and my lifestyle on my own terms, with my own skills, resources, and competencies.'" If marketers from any field make the effort to understand the defining values and desires of a generation, they will be successful in marketing to that generation -- "I'm very savvy about marketing. I don't like exaggeration and hype. I don't want to be stereotyped."

Network Marketing is a perfect fit for this ambitious generation. It represents all of the values of Xers. It rewards creativity and initiative. It develops and encourages leadership for everyone. It promotes confidence and self-worth through a sense of contribution. It provides a level playing field without glass ceilings. All of this adds up to give Gen Xers the values that they are looking for: flexibility, autonomy, and control.

With a little effort, you are in a position to recruit a highly dynamic group of people. If you harness that energy, optimism and ambition, not only will you be surprised at the successes you will have, but also you will facilitate success for the young people of today, and make tomorrow brighter for the generations to come.

Update on The Young Networkers Association

Upline first introduced you to The Young Networkers Association shortly after they were founded in early 1998. Since then, some things have changed -- membership has grown, the newsletter has gone online, the association has applied for non-profit status, and founder Kentucky Douglas, while still integrally involved, has turned over the leadership of the organization to Jennifer Cummings.Within two years of joining Network Marketing, Jennifer went from moving back in with her mom at the age of 26 to living semi-retired with a six-figure residual income. Most of her organization are Gen Xers, and now she's passionate about helping Networkers of all ages more effectively introduce young people to the industry.

Under her leadership, YNA will be focusing this year on creating "tools geared to young people with two purposes: to attract, and to train." They have several projects in progress that will be complete this spring -- a prospecting tape featuring successful Gen X Networkers and a training audio album, modeled after Conversations with the Greatest Networkers in the World, including YNA's Young Masters. They're also at work creating a series of teleclasses for Gen X Networkers and organizing a Speakers Bureau of successful young Networkers who will tour the country promoting Gen X involvement in the industry. YNA is actively collecting stories of successful Gen X Networkers -- to tip them off to such a person in your organization, join the association, or just keep abreast of what they're up to, visit The Young Networkers Association on the web: www.youngnetworkers.com.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Cummings Feature - February 2000, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com


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