If you had a choice of people to add to your team, which type would you prefer?
Distributors who buy and sell products and teach others to do the same
Distributors who prospect people who want to up-level their lives and buy their own products from their business
If you find yourself even slightly undecided, keep reading to better understand the difference and how to shift your perspective if you want to build a sustainable network marketing business.
I define the first category of people as being product-centered: they focus on the buying and selling of products. I define the second category of people as people-centered. Also, before you scream that this is an MLM pyramid scheme, please realize that I prospect using a hybrid of the two approaches, and all bonus money originates through product flow. So, you can start breathing again!
The major differences of my method are:
- How I leverage the products to make the initial connection and
- How I bring up the business conversation.
My goal is to shift the focus to the prospects and their life goals by leveraging the products to start the conversation.
People vs. Product-Centered Prospecting
Let’s get into the language of product-centered vs. people-centered prospecting so you can better understand them and how they are different at a core level.
Product-centered distributors include practices like:
o Sharing the products
o Holding group product demonstration classes
o Doing home parties to introduce the products
o Pushing corporate BOGOs (Buy One, Get One free)
o Offering your own end-of-month BOGOs and specials
o Focusing on monthly product sales rather than rank
o Focusing on selling products, rather than focusing on adding distributors
o Holding make-and-take classes
o Doing farmers’ markets, street fairs, and health fairs
o Selling your personalized adaptations of products
o Using tech tools to determine prospect’s product needs
o Memorizing product uses
o Building product selling websites
o Recommending products for ailments (eeek! — FDA noncompliance!)
o Becoming the product expert in your community
o Big, empty frontlines in your organization
o “Icky” feeling when trying to convert buyers into builders
o Small monthly bonus checks ($10’s to $100’s)
Can you see the pattern? Everything revolves around buying and selling products. These activities would seem like logical ones to do as a product-based company distributor, and we have been taught and encouraged to do just that if we want to grow our business.
However, my experience has shown it is much more effective to look for business network builders rather than customers.
Let’s contrast this with people-centered prospecting, which includes practices like:
o One-on-one meetings rather than group meetings (great if you have a fear of being in front of people, like I did)
o Going out and making friends
o Learning social styles to better relate to people
o Dream building
o Talking about possibilities
o Planning clear paths for people to improve their future
o Helping people develop confidence
o Asking more personal financial questions to give more effective answers
o Discussing how to make money with the comp plan
o Creating a network of builders
o Receiving bigger monthly bonus checks
As you may have noticed, people-centered prospecting focuses on finding people who are looking for a better future for themselves rather than on finding people wishing to buy and sell products for health, wellness, or other reasons. We use the language and an approach that is more (you guessed it) people-centered. The secret is how we blend this business-building language with our product business.
The goal of people-centered prospecting is to get to a personal one-on-one conversation with the prospect to find out if they might be someone you’d like to work with.
It could start by talking about the products, but would quickly shift to a business focus or start right with the business conversation with a simple question like “Would you like this year to be a better year than last year?” Hopefully, this could trigger an interesting conversation. Honed questions can shift the conversation from products to people and help you find the team builders you are looking for.
From the first meeting, this approach could leverage the products to start a people-centered conversation to find prospects who are open to developing an extra side income or full-time income to change their future. What could that look like for them? But, the sooner you can get onto the business rather than the products, the sooner you will find those elusive business builders.
Don’t worry if you think this would be uncomfortable. Check out Secret #8 (“Practice ‘Icky-Free’ Prospecting”) for more examples of how to connect with your prospects.
Trust me; when you find them, you will think you have found kindred spirits to run with on your journey to Diamond and beyond.
Realize that all serious business-building distributors will always buy products. They will be very consistent and you will not have to continually “encourage” them at the end of the month to place an order. They will understand that if they want to get paid, they must put in their minimum order if required to qualify for their bonus payments. As they experience more and more products, they will eventually have and use them all, even if they don’t join with the largest starter kit. Product knowledge naturally happens. Once your builders experience more and more of your company’s products, they will organically want more for themselves so the minimum monthly orders will become part of their lives. The more products they experience, the harder it will be to limit their orders to the minimum because they are so liked!
How Successful Leaders Prospect
If you ask most successful Diamonds and above how THEY prospect people for their personal enrollments, they will tell you they do one-on-ones rather than home product demo classes. Why? Because they can more effectively connect with prospects who want to build the business and less on those who want to buy and sell products. This approach to prospecting allows them to tap into the higher bonuses all MLM companies pay out.
Unfortunately, most leaders teach us how to do product classes from day one, explaining that it’s the way to go if you want to build your business. All you have to do is convince your friends (sometimes it feels like herding kittens!) to come to your house (which has to be cleaned up) and then teach them about products (shaking in your boots the first few times or more). The goal of the class is to sell them a kit, but honestly, any sale will do if you can enroll them as a customer.
Over time, though, many of the people who come to those classes don’t continue to buy, let alone become your business leaders. Why? Because they saw how uncomfortable you were and didn’t want any part of it. Sure, some do stick, but it’s an uphill battle.
Promoting the Business Opportunity
I have always promoted the business opportunity along with the products on a one-on-one basis. I do use the products as the conversation starter, but I always focus on how a home-based business could provide them with the possibility to make their lives better on the financial front.
Why one-on-ones? Because I can have more in-depth conversations with them to find their WHY. I also let them know I would love to help them break free of whatever is holding them back and to guide them toward the greatness they deserve. Maybe it is as simple as helping them find a way to buy a new car or pay for daycare or quit their job in six months to a year. I help them craft a step-by-step map, showing them how to get there. I also let them know I believe in them, because that faith can give them the confidence they need to make it happen. I assure them that I’m there to help them stay on track as their personal business coach. (I also mentor in the beginning if they have not made a firm commitment.)
So, why are leaders teaching distributors both from the stage and in their courses to hold product classes in their homes to enroll people if that’s not how they do it themselves? I came up with five different reasons:
Ø It is what they learned when they first signed up
Ø It is what most leaders say to do
Ø It is easier to teach people how to sell products rather than to teach them how to prospect for business builders
Ø Diamonds don’t want to go against other leaders
Ø It is what the MLM company recommends
Just to set the record straight, these approaches do work, and there are plenty of Diamonds to prove it, but in my opinion, it is just a slower path to get to the higher levels, and when you get to the higher levels, you don’t use it anymore.
One-on-ones are much more effective. If you personally know any Diamonds or above, ask them to tell you honestly how they prospect for their personal enrollments. Then ask them why they don’t teach what they do! If you think I am not saying to buy products, that is not the case.
For at least a couple of reasons, every serious business builder will buy products without being prompted! Here is why they will buy the products:
- Builders need products for their own health, wellness, or other reasons.
- Builders know there is usually a minimum monthly purchase requirement to receive a bonus, so all serious builders do their monthly orders (Note: Not all MLMs require personal purchases to earn bonuses.)
I’ll bet that if you are a business builder and I offered you $150 cash NOT to order this month, you’d reject the offer. Why? Because you KNOW the value of placing the order. True?
How much time could you save at the end of the month not having to hunt for people to put in their minimum orders so you can get your bonus? I know Diamonds who struggle with this because they are focusing on product-centered building. Developing a network of builders, rather than customers, solves this problem because their builders will always put in their orders to qualify for their bonuses.
So, you can breathe again. We are not building an illegal Ponzi scheme by signing up people with the promise of making money from everyone you sign up and no product flow. Every business builder will buy products, so they get paid.
Are You Open to Change?
After reading this blog post, will you continue to talk only about the products when you prospect? I know they’re cool and amazing and powerful and life-changing, but are you open to learning how to prospect for different types of people using a different approach? Would you be open to having a bunch of business builders on your team who are focused on helping to empower others to become business builders? How would this change your current lifestyle or enable you to manifest your transformation to the new, improved version of yourself?