The Pain and Pleasure of MLM Prospecting

Have you ever procrastinated?

Yes? Good. (I was afraid I was the only one.)

So why do you think you and I do that?

I think I know — we procrastinate because we associate more pain with the process of doing than we do pleasure from achieving the result.  Maybe you put off cleaning out the garage, because you perceived a greater pleasure in watching a football game. Or perhaps you procrastinated for so long that it eventually became easier — less painful — to just take action and complete the task. For example, if it takes a half an hour every time you try to find something in the garage and your spouse is constantly on your back about getting it straightened up, the thought of not cleaning the garage is probably more painful than actually cleaning it.  We mostly act on our emotions and then rationalize our actions with logic and thought.

Didn’t you fall in love with your car and then rationalize how you could stretch to pay for it? Did you do the same thing with your house? You fell in love with it and then rationalized how you would pay for it, or figured out a way to fix it up. The
controlling force in our lives is almost always pain or pleasure.

Before we take a look at how this applies to Network Marketing, here is another illustration of the point: Have you ever been on a diet or started an exercise program? Why did you go on that diet or start exercising? Was it to look better, or feel better physically and emotionally? Maybe you wanted to fit into your clothes, be more sexy and even live longer?

Why did you stop?

The pain you associated with your actions was greater then the pleasure you might get in the future. What I mean is, the pain of going to the gym every day and not eating the foods you like now, was greater then the pleasure of feeling better or being healthier later. Besides, you probably thought you would put all that weight back on anyway.

Part of the problem is that we have all become accustomed to instant gratification. It used to take two hours to make dinner, but nowadays we stand in front of the microwave urging it to hurry up. Think of the pleasure you would get from opening a box of Godiva chocolates and eating a rich piece of mouth-watering dark Swiss-mocha-mousse after facing something frustrating. That instant pleasure is what most people think about. They don’t think about how fat it would make them, or how their arteries would clog up or how many complexion challenges they would get.  Their first thought is of the pleasure. People whose first thought is the pain will not eat it.

Now let’s talk about how this relates to your Network Marketing business (although everything you do is business related). Like Zig Ziglar says, “You have to be before you can do, and you have to do before you can have.”

In MLM, Prospecting is perhaps the biggest area of procrastination for people in this business. And when you look at it in terms of the pain/pleasure paradigm, it’s certainly understandable. How much pain is there for you in prospecting someone? You might experience rejection, humiliation, or feel like a failure—yes?  Don’t forget the commandment that was drilled into our minds as children: “Never talk to strangers.”

Note that the pain itself does not prevent us from acting. It’s the fear of pain, or as the familiar acronym says, F.E.A.R.— False Expectations Appearing Real. The pain is not real at that point, it’s only our perception of the pain that seems real to us. We feel fear when we turn a negative memory or association into an expectation.

On the other hand, what causes desire? Again, it’s a memory or an association that becomes an expectation.

Sound familiar? The definitions are the same. Why do some people fear jumping out of an airplane or riding roller coasters while others desire it? It all depends on whether we associate the activity with pain or pleasure. Most people spend more time avoiding pain than they do seeking pleasure.

Do you?

Here’s an example of how you can gradually replace negative associations with positive ones:

A couple of weeks ago I had a friend over to my house. He was deathly afraid of dogs. I have two dogs in my home, one of which is a German Shepherd, big, very-black, utterly beautiful and extremely friendly. Her name is Maya Angel. She wants to say hello to everyone. She thinks she owns the house and has to check everybody out. Hey, it’s her house? Even if Maya is on the other side of the room, my friend would be pinned to the opposite corner in fear.

In an effort to help him get over his fear, I asked him to pet Maya. He laughed and said, “No way?” While we were discussing the dog, I also started talking about different subjects to break his state of fear. We talked about what it would be like for him to become successful in his MLM business, then back to the dog, and back to the business, and back to the dog. He didn’t realize that I was doing this deliberately.

I asked him what he thought would happen to him if he did pet the dog. He said that he thought he would literally die. He really was deathly afraid. I put the dog by my side and told him that it would feel like a fur hat. He also mentioned to me that when he was a child his mother had a fur blanket that he used to lie on.  I got him to associate pleasurable memories to dogs. To make a long story short, he petted Maya and he didn’t die. Now it doesn’t bother him when Maya is in the room. Although they may never be the best of friends, he felt so good that he’d faced and conquered his fears by reinforcing his positive associations with the dog. Each of us has much more control over our associations than most people think.

One of my fears is drowning, yet I am an avid swimmer and own a pool. The reason is that I don’t associate swimming with drowning. I associate it with freedom. Freedom is also one of the reasons that I got involved with Network Marketing.   When I am diving in the water, I am totally free. I am weightless, I can move in three dimensions, I have no mortgage payment or any bills, no upline or downline. In fact, I have only the moment and the beauty that surrounds me. I associate so much pleasure with swimming that the only pain associated with it is the pain if I don’t go.

How much pleasure is there in prospecting someone? Maybe you experience pleasure in having accomplished something, or maybe you find pleasure in overcoming a fear. We could take pleasure in knowing that we are closer to our goals, or that we can help someone reach theirs.

But as we all know, pleasure is usually not enough to overcome fear. Since the fear of pain is stronger then the desire for pleasure — like the fear of loss is stronger then the desire to gain — you have to think of it differently.

To slightly change your perspective, ask yourself how much pain is there in not prospecting somebody? Think about the fact that every prospect you don’t approach just said “No” to the business.  The result is exactly the same. Think of what you might lose. You could have just lost $100,000 per year, a good MLM profit. If you don’t prospect, you may lose your new home, sexy car, your chance at early retirement. You also just denied yourself the opportunity to live the lifestyle you’ve always dreamt about.  You also miss out on connecting with the real mlm hitters out there.

These are also the pleasurable things that you will gain. If your belief system is strong, you will also realize what you just cost your prospect by not sharing what you know about this business.  How would you have liked it if no one ever told you about Network Marketing? Associate so much pain with not prospecting, that you will have no choice but to prospect!

I used to say that we are not responsible for our first thought.  We grew up in a negative society and are conditioned so our first reaction is one of negativity. If you don’t think we’re effected by conditioning, let me give you a few examples!

Have you ever had to go to the store on your way home from work, but instead of turning toward the store, you turned toward home as if you were on auto pilot? Did you ever see anyone eat a lemon and your mouth waters just looking at them? Why are yawns contagious? How do you spell relief?   Most people’s first thought is ROLAIDS, but it’s not. It’s r-e-1-i-e-f. I bet you can think of many more examples of our conditioning.

Since we are now learning to be positive thinkers, what about that second thought? We are totally responsible for that thought.

If negative conditioning is keeping you from your goals, ask yourself, what action will I take after receiving that first thought? Will it be negative or positive? Will it be fight or flight? In order to make a decision, you must think of both outcomes and what you truly want. You must make a decision, and you must act upon a commitment to follow through. The follow-through action might be one of taking no action at all. This whole process might take just a fraction of a second.

The challenge here is that you have to think about it. What if your first thought is to prospect this person? What if fear, and pain, were not even associated with prospecting? What if prospecting were pleasurable and fun, right from the first thought? Would you have any problem doing it then?

But how do you get to that point?

You’ve probably heard some successful MLM distributors say that action cures fear. Well, it absolutely does! If you actively prospect enough times, eventually you won’t be scared.  However, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can change it right now — this minute! Start associating so much pleasure with prospecting that you can’t wait to do it.

I make it a game. To me, prospecting is fun because I find people fascinating. I love to see how they react. I’m just waiting for somebody to do something new. Usually they don’t do or say anything I haven’t seen or heard before, but I’m still expecting it to happen.

Didn’t you used to play jokes on people when you were a kid?  Didn’t you ever ring somebody’s doorbell and run? Wasn’t it fun?  Now, did you run completely away or did you just run far enough to hide behind a bush so that you could witness their reaction?  That’s what I associate prospecting with, something fun.

You see, my first thought is not one of pain. It’s one of pleasure. Because I’m human, I don’t do that 100 percent of the time, so naturally I’m still working on it and growing. What I have been able to accomplish is that if it’s not my first thought, I quickly link the pain of not prospecting to my second thought — how I would feel if I let this opportunity slip away and what I might lose if I don’t follow through.

Let’s do an exercise: Here are four questions. Please, be completely honest with yourself. Nobody else has to see this.  Write down a list and make it as long as possible. This will put some leverage on your side to help you change your prospective.  Really get into it and allow yourself to feel the emotions associated with these questions. I’ll help you with some of the answers I’ve heard, but please add your own personal touch to this list.

1) What is the pain I’ve associated with prospecting in the past?

Rejection, humiliation, feel like a failure, uncomfortable, loss of a friendship, lack of approval, etc.

2) What is the pleasure I took from not following through in the past?

Don’t say “nothing.” There are things, just think. Comfortable, secure, more TV time, certainty, no rejection, no change, etc.

3) What will it cost me if I don’t follow through now?

Make it hurt! I want you to associate so much pain with not following through that it really, really hurts. How does it make you feel not to have these things for you and your family? What kind of person would let that happen? Visualize what it would be like without them!  No early retirement, no freedom, fewer friends, no peace of mind, no success, no new home or car, no time with family, debts will increase, no $100,000 or worse no MLM – Network Marketing fortune, no self-respect or self esteem, no way of achieving goals, no growth, won’t be able to help any one else, etc.

4) What pleasure will I now associate with prospecting?

Make a game out of it, see who on the team can get the most no’s, have fun with people, success, choices, freedom, fun, personal satisfaction, helping others, self-respect and respect from others, etc.  A lot of this boils down to knowing what you want, and knowing how badly you want it.

A lot of people are “relatively happy,” which means that they’re not unhappy enough to make themselves actually do anything. We need to hit some sort of bottom, an emotional bottom. Everybody has a different “bottom.” The bottom is yours and can be whenever you decide. It must be a bottom that will compel you to act.

I’m trying to bring you there now. Some alcoholics hit bottom when they are living on the streets cleaning windshields with old newspapers and begging for money to get another bottle. Some hit their “bottom” when they total their new Lamborghini.  (I know I would).

They can’t get any lower in their minds, and that’s when they decide to act. Some never make it and die drunks.

Do you want to die where you are now, or do you want to make a difference? You can create a “bottom” for yourself by realizing that you have a choice right now. There are no circumstances or excuses, because no matter where you are or what you are doing, there is something that you can do now to make it better—if you want to. Are the actions you’re taking getting you the results you want? You can think of the movie Network and say to yourself, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Or you can be like Popeye and say, “That’s alls I can stands and I can’t stands n’more.” Then what did he do? He broke out a can of spinach, ate it, and then took massive action to accomplish his goal.

There’s a lot to be learned from Popeye. One, spinach is good for you. Does it really give you super-human strength? What was that spinach actually? Wasn’t it a psychological trigger he used to break out of the state he was in? Wasn’t it something to interrupt his negative thought pattern of procrastination, helplessness, no self-worth, anger and frustration? Didn’t Popeye use it to trigger positive emotions of high self-esteem, power, success, contribution, and action?

He decided when to eat the spinach. He could have eaten it right at the beginning of the show and avoided all of the trouble in the first place. Of course, then there wouldn’t be any cartoon and I wouldn’t be writing this right now. (Thanks, Popeye!)

The point is, he hit bottom. He decided when that bottom was, snapped himself out of it and took action.

Can’t you do that, too? You bet you can, anytime you choose. In this case I’m only talking about MLM prospecting, but you can do this in any area of your life and business. You can change the four questions to relate to doing follow-ups, dieting, exercising, getting to work on time —anything you would want to improve.

Can we get our downline or other people to act? No! Only they can.

It is our job to help them realize when there’s a problem and present the solution. You already know that pain can be a greater motivator than pleasure, so go ahead, create some pain, help bring them to their “bottom.” Normally, you might ask a prospect what it is they want by asking the question, “If time and money meant nothing to you, what would you be doing now?” How about asking instead, “What are some of the things in life you really want that you’re not getting now—or have no way of obtaining with what you’re currently doing?”

Create some pain —and then some value. Some people don’t know they have a problem. Ask probing questions and actually listen to their answers. The reasons you became a Network Marketer might or might not be the same for your prospects. They have the problem and your MLM opportunity is the bridge to their solution. Are the actions they are currently taking going to solve their problems?  I doubt it! What about your downline — are they taking the actions necessary to solve their problems? If not, find out their pain and pleasure.

How about you? Are you taking the actions necessary to solve your problems? If not, why not? What association with pain is holding you back?

Don’t be confused. Going to personal growth seminars and listening to tapes and reading books is not the action that will build your business. Yes, it is great to get all of the personal growth that you can. I truly believe that this is a personal growth business with a compensation plan attached. I know, that may sound contradictory, however, many people use personal growth to hide out. The pain of personal growth is less then the pain of doing the business.

Here’s the choice it comes down to for a lot of people: Not doing anything at all is too painful to deal with, doing the business is too painful also and so is personal growth. Whichever action is least painful is the one they will choose. It’s like water or electricity, they will take the path of least resistance. Every good personal growth trainer will tell you the importance of action, and in Network Marketing (and, I think, everything else, too) that means talking to people—that’s how you will build your MLM business.

It is up to you to decide when you “can’t stands n’more.” You can do it any time you want and it’s easy. Find something that will be a psychological triggering device, something that when you see it or touch it, reminds you of the action you need to take.

Every time I need some motivation, I reach for a coin that I got from my husband for achieving a goal he thought was impossible. The main subjects were action and belief. When he gave it to me, the day was filled with energy and I was in a state of excitement and enthusiasm. I’ve kept this coin with me since that day. It anchors me and helps me associate the appropriate feelings that I need to do this business. I can change my state just by reaching, grabbing and fingering that coin.

Another little pointer: Change your physiology. Sit up tall, breath deep. Try this: Plant a huge grin on your face. Too small? Make it bigger. Hold it! Now, without changing your expression at all, become depressed. You can’t do it, because your mind and body would be in conflict.

How do depressed people look? Don’t they have their heads down, shoulders and backs slumped, faces limp, shallow breathing? If you walked around like that long enough, you would have no choice except to be depressed.

Try walking with the posture of a successful person. Make a 10-day commitment to do it and see what happens. Model one of the greatest networkers. Think of some of the top income earners in your MLM company, what do they act like? When you take on the physical posture of a positive, successful person, you will also attract more people to you. Give it a try—it works and it’s fun to do.

Some people have told me all this “sounds like brainwashing.”  Well, aren’t you and I already brain-washed? All I’m saying is, as long as we’re brainwashed, I want to be the one scrubbing my brain. Call it what you will, but it is really just reconditioning. The way I look at it, if you’ve been working two full-time jobs for five years and getting nowhere, maybe your brain needs a little washing! 

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