January 2000


Owning Your Business Who Wins Big? - Steve Spaulding

Alot of people are uneasy about being involved in Network Marketing because they've had bad experiences in sales situations. We've all had others approach us with the pushy, covert, aggressive, selling posture that is almost universally unappealing. It's no surprise, then, that the idea of bringing sales into a more intimate setting -- with our friends, our family, our contacts, where we live in the world -- is for many people a scary and disconcerting one at best. They hold the belief that to market their product or opportunity within their personal network would involve taking advantage of relationships ("making money off friends") and acting disingenuously ("that's just not me").
Steve Spaulding

The best Network Marketing leaders today, however, do neither of those things. They create success by marketing through contribution and being themselves. If this sounds ideal but unrealistic, know that it is ideal -- and realistic, too. It requires a shift in your thinking, though, so consider the following questions: Who wins big when you sell your product to customers or sponsor new distributors? Who are you in the selling situation?

Who Wins Big When You Sell Product?

Many of us get involved in Network Marketing because we're excited about a product that's made a difference to us and want to share it with others. You'll hear these people say, "I don't want to sell anything, I just want to share this product with people." Past experience causes them to steer clear of the marketing plan and instead give product away or sign people up to receive it at cost.

What they're not understanding is that they are a contribution to the people they're offering the product to. If your product has really made a difference for you, then wouldn't the most effective way to help the greatest number of people be to take the marketing effort on as aggressively as you can? Only by being an effective marketer can you help the most people.

Let's look closely at the interaction. If someone buys your product, they're healthier, happier, receiving a high quality product with high value service, and/or saving money. Certainly you'll make a retail profit or some residual income if they're on auto order, but one person isn't going to make you successful -- their orders aren't even close to enough to make you win big in Network Marketing. The benefits they receive far outweigh the little bit of profit we make. The customer is by far and away the big winner.

The beauty of Network Marketing is that if you can do that many times, a lot of people doing a little, your income will be significant, residual, and long-lasting. But in the local interactions between you and a customer, the contribution to the customer is greater than the contribution to your business.

"But what if I got in because of the business opportunity, and in truth, while I think my product's great, it's secondary?" Let's look at that.

Who Wins Big When You Sponsor?


If I get 100 percent commission on everything you do and you do zero, how much do I earn? Nothing.
You'll hear all the time, "Oh, the only reason you want to get me into this business is so you'll make a bunch of money." In a sense, that may indeed be true -- and the only way that can happen in Network Marketing is if you go down and work with that person and produce sales and produce volume in their organization. If I get 100 percent commission on everything you do and you do zero, how much do I earn? Nothing.

In workshops, I frequently ask the following questions to shed light on who wins big in sponsoring:

  • If you sponsored me into the business and I didn't have a ride to the training, would you come by and pick me up?
  • Would you charge me gas money?
  • If the leads on my names list required three-way calls to be done at six in the morning, would you be there to help me?
  • Would you hook up the three-way on your phone?
  • If I didn't have product and brochures to go out and start selling because my order hadn't come in yet, could I borrow some of yours to go out and start making calls?
  • If we had an interview with one of my key leads and we had a glass of ice tea or some coffee, would you pick up the ticket?

The answers to these questions are automatic for most Networkers. Of course you'd give me a ride and not ask me for gas money. Of course you'd do your best to help me sponsor people at all hours of the day and use your three-way calling. Of course you'd lend me product and marketing materials so I could get started building my business. Of course you'd be inclined to pick up the ticket on a prospecting interview.

Well, I don't know what you heard, but what I heard you say was, "Steve, if you'll partner with me in this and do the things necessary to make yourself successful, you get me, my car, my gas, my phone, my product, my supplies, my time, and my money whenever you need it. That's what I'm willing to put into this partnership."

Now it's become a pretty powerful conversation, hasn't it? You don't want to sign up your friends because it would be taking advantage of them? Wait a minute -- look at what you're going to do in the partnership. Wouldn't you say that, in fact, quite the opposite of taking advantage, you're offering to contribute quite a bit personally to see them succeed? The big winner is your new distributor, who will benefit from your willingness to invest in their dreams!

People ask me all the time, "How could I go talk about a business opportunity to someone when I haven't made any money in it? What if someone were to say, `If it's so flippin' fantastic, how much money have you made?'" They dread the possibility of a prospecting conversation taking such a turn, but is the opportunity you're offering any different from the one the top leader in your company offers? No! Take any top Network Marketing leader who's making $100,000 a month and take someone who hasn't earned any money yet, and the opportunity does not change one bit, no matter who offers it! The person making $100,000 a month may be more experienced and well-versed, they may have immediate credibility, but the opportunity itself does not change. It's not any worse or any better because they offered it.

If you go into a prospecting conversation knowing who you are, what you're willing to do, and the value of what you're offering, when it comes time to ask your prospect to do what they need to do, you'll feel a lot more confident. They may decide to join you or not, but haven't you come to the table with a huge contribution?

The Shift


The shift that will mean you both get the chance to win big is to focus on contribution -- exclusively.
How we hold ourselves when we go into a conversation is directly linked to how we show up. If you're out there saying, "I've been in this two months and no one's joined yet," obviously you're not showing up for people as a contribution. If you've had trouble sponsoring and your volume's low and you haven't been viewing your sales and prospecting efforts as a contribution, then you can bet that's why. You might be showing up as desperate, needy, pushy, self-serving, weak, maybe insincere, like it's all about you, depending largely on how you think of yourself in those efforts. People are highly intuitive. You can be saying all the right words about how good your product or business is for your prospect, but if in your mind it's not about them, they'll pick up on it. Something's off here.

The shift that will mean you both get the chance to win big is to focus on contribution -- exclusively. It's tough to trust this concept, because most of us have worked so long so hard for so little and it seems a little mother-oatsy to say, "Just go out and be a contribution." Rather than going into a conversation with a customer thinking, "If I sell this to Mary, I'm going to make ten dollars," it's "If I can get Mary started on this product and she receives the benefits of it, I've done my job today." Rather than going into a conversation with potential distributors thinking about the one-time bonus you'll receive or how they might make you lots of money, focus on what's important to them and what you're offering to do yourself. That gives them a powerful, compelling reason to get involved with you because you'd be a good business partner. Certainly paint the picture, certainly talk about the opportunity, certainly point out all the benefits, but go out knowing that you have something phenomenal to offer to the lucky people you meet today. You have something to offer the people who'll be fortunate enough to get into a conversation with you today that could really change their lives.

The attitude is that different -- and it changes dramatically how you show up for people. One of the reasons it's hard to make this shift, of course, is because people have difficulty staying focused on contribution when they've set specific volume or sponsoring goals. They go out looking for dollar signs rather than relationships because they don't trust that the money comes in Network Marketing as a result of helping others. Nothing pushes people away more than thinking you want money to meet a goal for yourself. Regardless of your own goals, your presentation and approach and the partnerships you're offering have to be about what's in it for that person.

The people who trust that Network Marketing works because of contribution, by the way, are always successful. If I focus all my attention on helping you become the diamond-studded Presidential, first of all, I have a partnership and relationship that I'm proud of at that point. Second, I guarantee you I'm more successful monetarily. But only because you won big.

If you're showing up knowing your prospect is the big winner, learning what their needs and hopes and dreams are, and if you are really interested in partnering with them in the business so it's a perfect fit for them, suddenly it's less about the words you say than how you say them. A lot of people change when they go out to "sell." If they don't know the answer to a certain product question, they'll avoid talking about it because they don't want to be embarrassed if someone were to say, "Here you are trying to market this product and you don't even know about it!" How bad would it be to reply, "You know what, I don't know everything about this product, but what I do know has impressed me. Let me find out specifically what you need to know and I'll get back to you"?

The distinction is that you're in the conversation, rather than avoiding it. The same thing is true for the comp plan -- a lot of people won't talk about it because they don't understand it, but everybody has an upline somewhere who understands the comp plan so they can get those answers. If someone asks you about that 83rd level super-inverted double glazed bonus and you don't know how to answer, just simply say, "I don't understand that bonus, but my upline leader earns that bonus every week. Let me get them on a three-way call so she can explain it to you." Even if you don't have any sales skills, it's okay to start out with a prospect by saying, "I've found something that I'm extremely excited about and have gotten involved with, and even though I hardly have any experience yet, I want to go ahead and talk to you about it to see if there's even an opening for a possibility." You're in the conversation rather than avoiding it.

You don't have to be someone you're not; you don't have to change into a slick marketer. Ironically, focusing on contribution and being yourself is the most effective way to build a business -- you just have to trust that that's the case.

Taking Ownership of Your Business

One of the best results of shifting into contribution is the ability to finally take ownership of your business. A little bit of magic takes place when we take ownership of something, and I say that one of the biggest contributions of ownership is it gives you an acute increased awareness level. If you've ever purchased a new car, or a new used car, you can remember how when you first started driving it, you suddenly started noticing a lot of cars just like the one you bought. They were out there the whole time, but you didn't notice them until you took ownership of yours. You had a new awareness for that car.

That's what we're saying in Network Marketing -- we're saying there's a huge opportunity out here, people want this product, people need this product, people want this financial opportunity, people need this financial opportunity, but if you feel like you don't have enough people to talk to or no one wants it, you're just not seeing it. For example, someone can say to you, before you have ownership of your opportunity, "Things are really tough in our house. Bob got laid off and we're having trouble financially," and you'll say something like, "Gee, I'm really sorry to hear that, that's too bad." But if someone says that to you once you own your Network Marketing opportunity, it's automatic -- you say, "I've got something for you. We have to talk about something that may be able to help this situation." It's amazing when people take ownership of it how things come up all the time. It's acute -- you notice it everywhere. You'll read the newspaper differently, you'll see things all the time that indicate that your product's a contribution and that your opportunity is a contribution, that people need it. That only happens once we have it in our heads and our hearts -- and that's when momentum will really begin.

So tomorrow, begin your day by focusing on the contribution you are offering people and the contribution that you are. And really, that's more "you" anyway, isn't it? "You mean I can succeed being me?" Amazing.

Steve Spaulding is a 26-year veteran of Network Marketing and the International Director of Leadership Development for Mannatech, Inc. Steve, his wife Susan, and their son A.J. are currently dividing time between their homes in Scottsdale, AZ, and Ascot, England.

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


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