MLM: No Sales Required

Have you worked like crazy in your Network Marketing opportunity for months or years, talked to hundreds, maybe thousands of prospects, and achieved very little result? Ever wonder why those ex-truck drivers and ex-welfare moms posing next to their Lamborghinis and million dollar homes can do it and you can’t?  Have you ever thought “What’s wrong with me?”

If so, you’re in good company. Thousands of would-be successful distributors are giving up or starting over yet one more time, and most of them are headed for a familiar dead-end result. You see, they lack one little piece of vital information. If they knew and accepted this little morsel of truth, a futile and continuous round of failure would be transformed into a path of assured success and fulfillment. It would transform their hours of teeth-clenching and gut-wrenching “working the numbers” into pleasant exchanges with interested and qualified prospects, many of whom would join their organizations. Knowing this tidbit can do the same for you!

What is this closely held and much-denied secret? It is that effective Network Marketing requires selling!

Horrors! You say they told you that you didn’t have to be a salesperson? There it was, right there in their ad: “No Selling Required!” They said, “Just share the products and the opportunity with a few others, help them do the same!” They may have overstated the simplicity and ease just a bit.

So why would they lie, being such nice and upstanding people in every other way? Well, maybe they weren’t lying — it could be that they didn’t know. They were actually very good at sales and didn’t know it! How could that be? They are hugely successful!

How could they not know? How could someone be really good at something and not even realize it?

The simple answer is that most people do not know what effective selling is. To the person being sold, effective selling is simply a friendly and helpful conversation.

The Used-Car Salesman Myth
What images come to your mind when you think of the word “salesman” or “salesperson”? Nine times out of ten, you think of that pushy person who hassled you at the car dealership or in the Sears appliance department; the telemarketer who interrupted your dinner, yet again; or the young stranger that came to your door and begged you to order the last three magazine subscriptions he needed to earn a trip to Mexico to help the homeless with his youth outreach group. Those you are remembering could be called hustlers, not true salespeople, sincere as they may have been.

So what is a true salesperson? More fundamentally, what is “sales”? Let’s start by talking about what sales is not.

  • Sales is not talking someone into buying something that they don’t want or need. The legendary person you’ve heard about who could sell ice to Eskimos or a suit with two pairs of pants to a widow for her deceased husband’s burial is not a true salesperson. He is a hustler.
  • Sales is not foisting shoddy goods at high prices on
    unsuspecting victims. He who misrepresents what he sells is a hustler.
  •  Sales is not using high pressure tactics to convince people of something against their will. An individual who does that is a hustler.

What is Sales?

Here’s a definition I like for sales: The process of helping a prospective buyer determine if a product or service offered for sale will satisfy their pre-existing need, and then making it easy for them to buy it. Let’s break it down:

Prospective buyer. We all buy things every day, sometimes from “salesmen” (long distance service, clothes, automobiles, etc.) but mostly from people who are selling and don’t realize it (a new idea, new recipe, different way to do something, invitation to a party or function, etc). What makes us a prospective buyer for any particular offering is our perception that we need or want the thing that’s being offered. By asking ourselves the question, “Will buying X get me Y?” we determine whether or not we are a prospective buyer — a “prospect.” If the answer is “yes,” we are a prospect. A “no” answer means we are not a prospect. We identify prospects by determining if they have a need that our product or service will fulfill. Sometimes we try to “sell” non-prospects on the idea that they do, in fact, “need” our product or business. That leads to rejection and disappointment. No wonder it’s not fun.

Product or service offered for sale. Remember, people don’t buy something because they want the thing. They buy it because of what they believe it will give them. No one wants more money. (I realize that’s a bold statement to make.) Don’t believe it? Why then, tell me, do people get rid of it just as soon as they get it? Money is just fancy paper with green ink on it. What people really want are the things money will get for them or do for them. Here are some more. No one buys a 1/4 inch drill bit because they want the bit. They buy it because they want a 1/4 inch hole in something. And they don’t buy a vacuum cleaner to put on display. They want a clean floor! Or better yet, they want their friends to think of them as being a good housekeeper! They want the desired result the thing can give them. Once you know a person’s desired result, you can determine whether what you are offering will get it for them and hence, whether they are a prospect for your MLM product or MLM opportunity or not.

Pre-existing need. That’s pretty well explained above. People have to have a need before they’ll listen to you. The process of “sorting and sifting” is to find people who have needs appropriate to your offered solutions.

Making it easy to buy. To become a customer — or a new MLM distributor — the prospect has to decide to buy. For you to be successful, however, he must decide to buy from you. If he does, it will be because he thinks your solution is more likely to give him the desired result than all of the other possible solutions he’s considered. Buying becomes easier when the “fit” looks good to him and obstacles are cleared out of his way. You can do this by explaining your MLM opportunity or describing your MLM product in a way that fits his need, then helping him resolve whatever problems stand in his way.

All this is well and good, but at this point, you are most likely saying to yourself, “Okay, I understand what effective selling is and it sounds pretty simple. But how can I do it?” Let’s go now to the “Cheryl lab” of practical application.

Effective Selling in Action

The following story illustrates the process of finding a prospective buyer, determining if a person has a need for your MLM opportunity, and making it easy for them to “buy” it through friendly and helpful conversation.

Recently I was on a flight from Los Angeles to San Antonio returning home from a business trip. The plane was crowded, with nearly every seat taken. I made my way toward the back of the cabin and spied an unoccupied seat, about halfway back, between an elderly gentleman and an attractive young woman. The older man in the window seat was engrossed in a novel, but as I paused and made eye contact with the gal, she smiled and promptly stood up into the aisle to let me into the center seat. We traded pleasantries and then I asked if she was travelling home? I discovered she was a nursing student in her last semester prior to graduation. She told me about her university experience and her family. Her father was an engineer and manager for a large company in Los Angeles and her mother was self-employed as an interior designer. Both were successful but were working too many hours, especially considering the two-hour commute each way that the two endured every day.

The conversation then turned to her chosen profession of nursing.  She was interning at a San Antonio hospital and loved the stimulating environment and the association with interesting and talented people. “But,” she said, “with HMOs dictating salaries of medical workers, it hardly seems worth it to go into the medical field any more.” “How’s that?” I asked. She continued, “Doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners end up owing so much in school loans and spend so many years of tremendous effort getting an education, it is a disgrace that their salaries are set so low.” At this point we were about an hour into the conversation.

Then I said, “The problem is, they’re working for money.”

She looked a little shocked. “What do you mean?” she asked.

I explained, “When people work for money, they believe that the service their labor provides should earn a ‘fair’ wage. And indeed, it should. But what is ‘fair’ is a judgement call.”

She was a little puzzled, “I’m not sure I follow.” I continued, “The people who set the wage levels are money managers, not doctors and nurses. They went to business school, not medical school — and for a much shorter time, I might add. They judge what is ‘fair’ by evaluating the ‘meat market’ price on the street, regardless of how insensitive that sounds, for the
service the medical professionals provide.”

I continued to illustrate how, in our rapidly changing economy, laborers who work for wages, regardless of their skill levels, will always be subject to market forces and societal changes.  Today, these forces are unfavorable to employees, regardless of their skill levels or how much time, effort, and money it cost to achieve them. Employees are not in control of their own destinies, and conditions for them are worsening.

The plane landed and our conversation concluded with this intrigued young woman giving me her phone number and email address and showing some “genuine” excitement when I told her I could show her a better way. This gal is a prospect, and she is motivated to find out more about what I said.

Furthermore, her mother and father are potential prospects I will most likely be able to reach through her. It took one hour of easy conversation to discover her problem, about ten minutes to explain why she had the problem, and five minutes to invite her to investigate a solution.

This story is not yet concluded. Next I begin email dialogue to see if she is regularly online (my preferred method of working with new distributors) and then I’ll give her the website and help her “fit” the solution to her situation. I’ll do this using the same kind of friendly and helpful conversation we had on the plane. To be sure, she will have issues along the way.

With her best interest at heart, I will develop a good
understanding on other issues and then, with her, search for ways to handle those issues. As we work through the process, from start to end, what we talk about will change, but the method of being friendly and helpful, keeping her needs first in mind, will remain the same.

Being friendly and helpful is the key. Remember the ex-truck driver and the ex-welfare mom? They most likely succeeded because they learned how to be good sales-people by being friendly and helpful to others. It’s not difficult, but it does require practice and a genuine interest in helping people solve their problems to get out of life what they want.

Incidentally, do you see why focusing on what you want results in failure? Success requires putting your needs second and the prospects’ needs first — and that’s effective selling. Then, and only then, can you focus on what they want and how you can best help them get it.

What Motivates People
All animal life, including human life, revolves around two powerful motivators:
1) Pain, 2) Pleasure.  (and I’m sure I’m not the 1st to tell you)

Every minute of every day, you and I are trying to avoid pain (problems, frustrations, and dissatisfactions) and/or seek pleasure (dreams, desires, goals, and aspirations).

Of the two motivators, pain is by far the greater. People will do almost anything to get out of pain. (Think of the desperate people who travel to Mexico to purchase questionable drugs that are illegal in this country to treat their illnesses. Think of the Cubans who risk their lives on rafts to get to America in
search of a better life.)

If you know the specific pain your prospects are concerned about and the pleasures they’d like to experience and if your products and services and your business program can help meet those needs, the odds of them being attracted to you and your business are extremely high. (This is, of course, conditional upon your presentation not being the pushy or aggressive type.)

What Motivates People To Take Immediate Action
All significant buying decisions are based on emotion. It doesn’t matter whether someone buys a toy for a child or a multi-million-dollar office building, emotion plays the major role when making buying decisions.

Now, think about this: The more emotional a person becomes about particular issues, the more likely he or she will take an action to address those needs. In fact, emotion plays such a major role in buying decisions, it often leads to actions and decisions not previously considered. For example, a person who would normally never consider Network Marketing becomes worried about layoffs or downsizing. Insecurity sets in. All of a sudden Network Marketing becomes more attractive.

When approaching potential prospects, your first goal should always be to uncover specific problems they may have. Once you do that, you can elevate those problems through a dialogue exchange to such an emotional level that your prospects are ready to look for solutions. Then, and only then, do you show them how your MLM products, MLM services, and your MLM business program are the solutions they need.

This is the sales strategy of the most successful salespeople, business people, Network Marketers, and corporations on earth.  It’s called, “Selling by Attraction.”

The Key to Generating and Elevating Emotions
We start the emotional ball rolling by getting our prospects to share their dissatisfactions, needs, and desires. Asking good questions easily does this.

We then elevate those emotions by asking even more questions that cause them to elaborate on the pain or pleasure they are concerned about. As they begin to discuss and think about their situation, they begin to see the emotional impact of not having solutions to their present and future needs.

For example, suppose a prospect reveals to you that in his present position, he’s not being paid what he’s worth. A key question from you and he’ll be telling you how frustrating that is and how much of an impact it’s going to have on his children.  He’ll probably tell you about his retirement worries, his credit card debt, and his broken-down car that he cannot afford to trade in. The more he discusses his particular dilemmas with you, the more emotional he becomes.

Keep in mind that you’re not creating pain for your prospects, the pain is already there. You’re simply helping them see the pain for what it really is. You’re helping them see the impact it’s having on their lives and their families. Isn’t that what a good doctor, attorney, coach, or therapist is trained to do? Why should it be any different for professional Network Marketers?

Remember that all of this emotion must take place before you show them your website, product/service, and business plan. The benefits of what you have to offer will be presented later in your demonstration … as attractive solutions to their unattractive problems.

Four Reasons People Get Into Network Marketing Generally speaking, people are attracted to Network Marketing because they are looking to solve one or more of the following problem categories: 1) Financial Problems, 2) Freedom/Time Problems, 3) Job Dissatisfactions, and 4) Health Concerns.

In each category, there may be endless sub-problems. For example, sub-categories of financial problems may be retirement concerns, credit card debt, too much month at the end of the money, etc.

In the job dissatisfaction category, your potential prospects’ motivators might be things like they hate their jobs, they have a long commute, they would like to fire their boss, they get no recognition, or all of that and more. Any one of these sub-problems could be the single emotional dissatisfaction that could attract someone to buy your product/service or join your business — or both.

You should know that most people have most (or all) of these problems. Generally speaking, people today feel that they’re being underpaid, they don’t have enough free time with their families, they hate their jobs, and they need to get out of debt.

When you know how to get people to discuss their emotional issues with you, it’s very easy to attract them into your business.  Unfortunately, the problem with most Network Marketers today is they’re so busy shoving their agenda down prospects’ throats, they never really get to experience the joy of helping people with the specific needs that are important to them.

Let’s summarize

  1. All motivation is based on the avoidance or elimination of pain and/or the seeking of pleasure.
  2. All buying decisions are based on emotion.
  3. We stimulate emotion by asking well-structured questions that uncover needs. Then we elevate those emotions by asking key questions that help prospects see the overall impact of not having those needs met. Their motivation for change then becomes accelerated and your presentation is more attractive.
  4. Uncovering emotional motivations and elevating emotions take place before you show your website, product/service, and the MLM company’s business program.
  5. The ideal prospect is motivated by his or her dissatisfactions regarding financial, freedom, job, and health concerns.

I teach all my distributors in my downline that just having conversations (with NO agenda) will always uncover whether they are talking to a prospect or not and that if there is a connection it is best to leave any business talk for the next meeting.  I am proud to say our prospects are part of our business 98% of the time.

So I can “honestly” say “No Sales Required” because it is the art of the conversation that brings people into a willingness to buy.

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