5 Steps To Network Marketing & MLM Success
Is network marketing right for you?
For many individuals, network marketing (often called multi-level marketing or MLM, for short) is the vehicle of choice for achieving financial independence. With the barriers to entry being incredibly low (startup costs are often as low as a few hundred dollars), joining a network marketing company is a viable option for ambitious individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit but limited business experience or capital resources. But just like in any business, you must “start at the bottom” and work your way up to the top to build your fortune.
The good news is that if you do it right, you just might be able to build a large enough sales network to earn 6 or even 7 figures per year in residual income. It certainly isn’t easy, but it is possible. That being said, here are 5 steps to help increase your odds of success in this highly competitive and lucrative industry:
1. Find a good mentor
Network marketing is a people business. People helping people is what drives its success. For that reason, it is important to align yourself with a good mentor. Finding the right person to join (the person who will become your upline/sponsor) can be a challenge because you will often come across many individuals promoting the same business. It’s hard to tell which of those individuals are there to stay and which ones will soon be quitting. You want to find a mentor who has been in the business for a while, and who doesn’t jump from one opportunity to the next. You want someone with integrity, strong leadership skills, and who has made the commitment to be in it for the long run.
2. Choose the right opportunity
There are literally hundreds, even thousands of different business opportunities available in the marketplace today. Some of these companies have been around for a few years, some for a few decades, and they exist in almost every sector – from health & nutrition, to telecommunications, to beauty products, to financial planning. It’s important that you join a business that is right for you – one that you will be proud to represent for many years to come. You’ll want to join a company that meets the following 3 qualifications:
- Good products
If you’ve ever held a sales position then you know how wrong it feels to sell someone something you would never buy for yourself. Believing in your product, its quality and superiority is critical to being able to confidently encourage others to buy it. Before you join a network marketing business, you may first want to become a customer of that business. Use the products yourself. Gather your own testimonials about them. If you like them, you can then use your own testimonials to sell them to others.
- Good training
Products seldom sell themselves. Make sure your company provides sufficient training to give you all the skills you need to succeed. This training may come in the form of audio or video recordings, webinars, live events, or even private coaching. To succeed in a network marketing business you need a lot of different skills – from prospecting, to selling, to recruiting, to training others, to managing money, just to name a few. These are skills that must be acquired and developed over time. It is often wise to utilize sources outside of your specific company or industry to acquire these skills.
- Good compensation plan
There are literally millions of people who are involved in network marketing but who barely make any money doing it. Just because you like the products and like the people you work with doesn’t mean you should neglect a very important element of your business: its profitability. Take a close look at your company’s compensation plan. You want to be able to earn a good commission from your customers’ one-time purchases and also recurring commissions from ongoing purchases (ie. monthly membership products, household utilities, etc.). You should also consider your company’s commission override/pass-up structure. The best compensations plans are designed to create the richest teams, not the richest company owners.
3. Choose a marketing strategy that you will enjoy doing and do it consistently
As we do business in the digital age, the methods and tools available to us to prospect for customers is mind boggling. Long gone are the days of relying solely on cold calls, knocking on doors, meeting over coffee, or giving a slideshow presentation at the office. While these methods may still be effective, it is critical that you market yourself and your business both offline and online. A huge percentage of the population, especially the younger generation, is spending a significant amount of time connecting with people over the internet. If you aren’t engaging with people online, you’re missing countless opportunities to grow your business.
Every company will have its own specific system for prospecting. That system will most likely be some form of “make a list of all your friends and family, book as many face-to-face appointments as you can, and when you run out of people to call, start prospecting everyone you come across, all the time. It’s all in the numbers.” This approach can work if you do it long enough and consistently enough. But most people eventually burn out or give up before they get the results they were hoping for. After all, there are only so many people you can personally prospect in a single day, and there is only so much rejection someone can handle before they begin to doubt their belief in themselves.
It is wise to balance telephone and face-to-face prospecting with online prospecting. Consider utilizing Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube, or even setting up your own personal website/blog to get your message out there. When you create content online, that content works to attract prospects to you 24/7. But don’t try to do everything all at once – this will typically result in overwhelm. Pick one or two marketing strategies that you will enjoy doing and implement them consistently (do them every single day) for at least 90 days before you consider trying something else.
4. Plug yourself into a community of people who support your success
One of the biggest challenges of succeeding in any business – not just network marketing – is resisting the pull of the people around you who are threatened by your ambition. For whatever reason, some of the people around you may not support your desire to be successful and build a business. They may discourage your ambitions, or even try to convince you to quit. To increase your odds of success, surround yourself with as many positive and encouraging people as possible. When you’re facing challenges in your business, it is always better to be able to lean on people who understand what you’re going through and can offer helpful suggestions because they’ve gone through the same thing.
It is not uncommon for some incredible friendships to form as a result of working in the same business together. This is powerful because most people will quit on themselves long before they will quit on a friend. By cultivating strong relationships with other positive and ambitious individuals, inside or outside of your company, you become a part of a community that supports your success. This can be done online and offline. Many companies will have private social media groups for people to interact with and share ideas with each other. It is wise to initiate relationships with the people in those groups.
5. Focus on helping others succeed
The last step to succeeding in network marketing is to focus on helping others succeed. It is one thing to be able to get amazing results yourself, but it is another to be able to teach someone else to create amazing results. People are attracted to mentors who have a proven track record of helping others succeed. They want to follow someone who is not only a top producer, but who has the leadership skills to empower their team to become top producers.
When you join a network marketing company, your focus should be on learning how to produce results and then teaching what you learn to others as soon as possible. The road to success is long and lonely if you don’t learn how to bring people with you. Your vision for your business must be so great that there is plenty of room for others to be a part of it. If you get into this industry to use people, make money, and then disappear, you won’t last long. Be in this industry to truly help people, to change their lives, to help them achieve their dreams. As Zig Ziglar said: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”