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January 2000


What Do You Say

... to "My sponsor isn't helping me"?

This is why you got into Network Marketing! You have several leaders who have gotten strong enough to "graduate" from your training, and they give your business -- and commissions -- a solid foundation. When you took a three-week vacation last month, your income actually increased! Your downline is (finally) a successline, and your former prospects are seeing the fulfillment of their goals and dreams.

Except for Bill. He keeps calling you with concerns, questions, and complaints. He isn't experiencing the progress you would expect. Since Bill was sponsored into the business by someone several levels below you, you've encouraged him to talk with his sponsor and upline leader for training.

Bill doesn't seem to hear you. You finally ask directly, "Bill, why aren't you calling your sponsor and immediate upline with these questions and concerns? They are eager to help you, and you are part of their team. I certainly don't mind helping you with your business, but I don't want to undermine my key leaders."

Bill replies, "I'm really frustrated with my lack of results. I don't understand what I need to do in this business, and my sponsor isn't helping me."

What do you say?

This month we turned the question over to the Young Masters of the Young Networkers Association. They are a five-member industry-support team modeled after the Upline Masters, and they hold regular "Mastermind" sessions to discuss issues and challenges facing Generation-X Networkers. We'll include the two Young Masters who were unable to reply before we went to press, Kristan Sergeant and Jennifer Cummings, in a future column.

Kentucky Douglas, founder of the Young Networkers Association and facilitator for the Mastermind sessions, lives in Victoria, BC. His current focus is generic support and high-tech communication.

I'd say: Bill, I'm going to need to communicate with your sponsor and the folks in your upline, my downline. If those team members simply don't know how best to support you, I'll be happy to work with all of you.

I have to tell you, though, that I won't waste my time with negativity and whining. If your sponsor has tried to coach you, and you are unwilling, it would be better for you to try some other business. If you have a personality conflict, but you both are coachable, we can work through it.

This may sound harsh, but I believe there is no reason to cater to whining. I would rather lose a soldier and keep my generals happy than undermine my leaders and their teams. If the breakdown is along the lines of a generation gap, a gender bias, or cultural/racial issues, I absolutely need to know about and address it. Fast.

Claes Lundström has earned his way to the top position, Diamond Executive, with Quorum. He works with his international team of Networkers from his home in Stockholm, Sweden.

Since both Bill and his sponsor are an important part of my business, I would want to find out more about the situation. I'd say: Okay, Bill. Let's get together for 30 minutes and see what you do and don't. I am also interested in why you do this business and what you expect of your sponsor. Please bring your list of goals to go over together when we meet. What about Tuesday at six, just before the meeting?

Notice that I am clear and specific about the time I will give to Bill. I don't tell him to call me whenever he needs to talk to someone. If somebody is hunting me, I usually take some time to sit down with them and talk. You never know where your leaders will be. I'll sit with him and explain why and how he should work with his sponsor, and then I will speak with the sponsor as well. This little time investment can be mean profit in the future.

Jason Fisher is a member of the Young Networkers Association, and he has distinguished himself as one of the youngest North American distributors to have reached the top ranks of Herbalife. He lives in Long Island, NY.

It's important to learn the facts of Bill's situation. If he is not getting the help he needs from his sponsor, I have a responsibility to find out why. I might start by asking: What kind of help do you need? What have you already learned from your sponsor? How are you working your business right now?

If Bill's answers show me the sponsor is failing to help, I will step in and take the role of guide and trainer. On the other hand, I may find that Bill is a complainer who wants to waste everyone's time and his sponsor is tired of playing games.

Whatever the situation, I really need to find out why he is not getting the help from his direct upline. There may be a good reason, like just mentioned. It's important to me that my people get the support they need, and that includes both Bill and his sponsor.

Shane Klippenes is a Young Master with the Young Networkers Association, and a Five Star Executive with SupraLife International. He has been full-time for three years. Shane resides in Helena, MT.

When I am approached by a person in Bill's situation, I do two things. First off, I approach the "worthless sponsor" and determine what issues are present that may be contributing to the problem and to get the sponsor's perspective. Oftentimes they are unaware that Bill is so willing to work and may indeed be a diamond in the rough. When they realize this, most sponsors are willing to work night and day with Bill to help him achieve his potential and to add to their own residual income.

On occasion, the upline realizes that Bill wants training, but they are not confident in their own ability to train him. This often happens with people who have not been adequately trained themselves. And whose fault is that? Hmmm. If this is the case, I train the sponsor and Bill together and give myself a smack upside the head for not doing an adequate job training the sponsor in the first place.

Regardless of what may have caused the problem, I tell Bill: I'll offer you all the help that I can. I want to give you the best chance for success by providing training and support. When people succeed in our companies, it gives the industry a good name. If people are left hanging with no training or support, and subsequently fail, the industry gets a black eye. Besides, this is a people-helping-people business. Our paychecks are contingent upon the number of people that we help in a given month. If we forget that, we fail at more than Network Marketing.

By the way, Bill, I will need to work with your sponsor, too. You are both part of the same team with me, and we each have a better chance at success if we work together.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, What Do You Say? - January 2000, 888-UPLINE-1,