Don’t believe the MLM Hype that you should “Fake It ‘TiL You Make It”

I believe it’s time for us to retire this well-worn phrase. It represents an old way of thinking about enrolling people and sharing your MLM business. In essence, telling people to “fake it ’til you make it” is teaching dishonesty, and the language of “faking” does not imply personal evolution or personal change, but presents something that’s not really you.

I’m not saying this is the intention of Networkers who use this phrase. I can understand what’s behind it. It’s an intention to have people be out there stretching themselves even though they may be fearful. It’s the idea that acting like you’re a success will create the behavior that really will lead to success. People also say this in an effort to get new distributors off the idea that until they know everything they can’t take action. You know the cliche — the ultra-educated Networker who’s never sponsored someone.

The problem, though, is that something drops out in the execution, and it happens to be the most important asset in our business: people.

In the Eighties, we were inundated with information about how to sell this and how to sell that, how to negotiate anything, how to overcome objections, “fake it ’til you make it,” — oh, and the other one I really want to kill, “feel-felt-found”: “I know exactly how you feel, I felt the same way, but you know what I’ve found. . . .” To teach people in Network Marketing that you actually know how a prospect feels is teaching them to be insensitive. Unless you were born to the same parents, living in the same household, having the same life experiences, you do not know how another human being feels.

All those techniques worked in the Eighties, but now we’re in a new millennium and the techniques don’t work. People are savvy, and dishonesty and evasiveness — not being a straight-talker — dishonors you as the distributor and them as the prospects. Techniques make you sound like a used car salesman now.

I say we’re beyond that in this industry. What people want is authenticity. If you stumble… stumble… but be yourself, because that’s what people are drawn to — the genuineness of human beings. All of us want to know that we can trust those around us, particularly those we want to be in business with. There’s still a trust issue for Network Marketing; a lot of people out there aren’t certain they can trust this industry with their future. Can you trust someone who’s faking to be something they’re not?

If you are driving a clunker of a car, don’t say you’re just driving it because your nice one’s in the shop, say what’s true — even if it’s, “Mr. Prospect, I’m not there yet, as a matter of fact I’ve been in for two weeks, but here’s what I’m excited about. . . .”

If you feel like you don’t know enough yet, there’s another choice besides putting off talking to people or faking expertise. Again, tell the truth. “Ms. Prospect, I am still fairly new at this. This is what I’ve personally done, and here’s what I’ve noticed. I know people who’ve had this a much longer time and this is what they said.”

People love to buy, they really do, but they hate to be sold. When Networkers use techniques, prospects feel like they’re being sold, but when you’re honest, people are drawn to that and want to buy. The fact that you don’t know everything about the MLM product or service doesn’t get in the way of someone wanting to join you. Does understanding the product help? You bet. Does understanding the MLM compensation plan help? Of course. But what’s more important is the benefits of what you’re offering that will support the individual you’re talking to so they can better their lives.

If you’re scared of talking to people, don’t pretend to be confident and experienced. Try saying what’s so. “Mr. Prospect, I’m brand new in this company and, to tell you the truth, I’m a bit intimidated and frightened about even opening my mouth. At the same time, I am so excited about what has happened for me, I know there’s something here and I want to share it. I thought because you have experienced A, B, and C in your life that you’d probably be interested, too.”

Who wouldn’t be attracted to that? Being that truthful makes many prospects think, “Hey, I could really do this.” This is such an emotional business, but some of the unpleasant intensity of that emotion is relieved for people who stop trying to hide fears and perceived inadequacies, like concealing the fact that they live paycheck to paycheck. Tell your own story. There’s something that you saw in this or you wouldn’t even be involved, so tell your story. And make sure you’re building your MLM organization because it’s your idea, because you want to do it. Don’t do it for an upline.

Of course, it’s understandable why it’s so hard sometimes to be authentic in prospecting situations. When we’re on the hotseat in life, all of our fears, founded and unfounded, suddenly show up in full force. Guess what temperature it is when you’re talking to a prospect? It’s hot. Maybe that makes us babble, say things we just want to kick ourselves for, feel awkward, insecure. This is especially uncomfortable when we’re talking to people we love and adore because the last thing we want is for them to think badly of us. That’s one of the most painful things a person can experience, yet in Network Marketing the first thing we teach people to do is put together a list and use a (fake) script! The inauthenticity it’s so hard not to display is about self-protection. If you’re not really being you, then how can you really be rejected?

We yearn as human beings to be connected to other people but we’re scared to do it. What generally happens is people look at their upline or at top people in the company and think, “Oh, they’re so good. I don’t have that knowledge, I don’t have that confidence,” forgetting that they already know how to do what it takes to be successful — be themselves. Never give that up, and know that you are already equipped to succeed.

I hope you’ll share this with your MLM Team and encourage them to be “authentic”! 

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