I’ve seen a lot of people get started in network marketing who get wildly excited about their new business (and why not? It’s an exciting time!). They go out and talk to everyone they know about their opportunity, and they show their products to their friends and family members.
Maybe a few people sign up at the beginning, and things are looking promising. But once the initial excitement fades, and people aren’t lining up to join their team, many new distributors are left scratching their heads and wondering why their business isn’t growing.
Maybe you’re struggling with the same thing. Maybe the sales and self-promotion side of network marketing is hard for you because you’re like me—you’re not sales-y by nature. You might be asking yourself questions like this:
- How do I make authentic connections with people… if I ultimately want their business?
- How can I avoid spoiling relationships with my friends and family when I present my business, or follow up, or ask for a decision?
- What’s the secret sauce that’ll get people to want to work with me?
It can be hard to know whether you can do any of these things well enough to make money and preserve your relationships at the same time.
That’s where Authentic Networking comes in. Here are a few essential tips to build your business with authenticity, and cultivate healthy, long-lasting relationships at the same time.
Essential Tip #1: Your Network Marketing Business Is Never About You
When I first got started in network marketing, I didn’t know how to talk about my business without sounding sales-y. Every time I talked to a friend or family member about my products or my business opportunity, I felt a little icky.
I couldn’t bear to force my network marketing business on people. And it stopped me from succeeding for a long time.
Like many other network marketers, I made the mistake of only focusing on two activities: selling my products and recruiting people to my team.
In other words, I made it all about me. My products. My business.
It’s an easy mistake to make. After all, network marketers are commissioned salespeople for the companies we represent. And a lot of the time, the training for new distributors focuses on product education and recruiting—and not much else.
The problem is, regardless of how noble your intentions are, the people you’re talking to probably know that you’re trying to earn a commission from them. They know that “what’s in it for them” usually doesn’t exceed “what’s in it for you.”
This can make it difficult to gain their trust.
Unless… you’ve already earned it. And you’re having a conversation on their terms, at their invitation, to solve a problem they have identified.
In other words, the conversation is never about you.
Any solid relationship is build on mutual trust and appreciation. That has to come before you unpack your business opportunity on someone.
I believe that as network marketers, our first obligation is to the people we serve—not to the companies we represent. I’ve come to realize that we’re actually in the business of relationship marketing, not network marketing.
Your individual relationships should be more valuable to you than your network. Your primary interest should always be in growing and preserving relationships with people you know, and new people you meet.
Of course, building and nurturing meaningful relationships takes time, effort, and no small amount of patience and persistence. Your strongest relationships are the result of many small encounters that build trust, mutual understanding, and loyalty.
When I talk to somebody about my network marketing business, it’s usually for one of two reasons:
- They’ve specifically asked to see my business presentation
- We’ve had enough conversations and built enough trust that they know what I do, and they’re not going to feel “prospected” by me.
One easy way to begin building trust with someone is to refer business to them. Send them leads, customers, referrals, testimonials, or anything else you can think of. Invite them to networking events, share their social media posts, and do whatever you can to let them know you’re in their corner.
An even easier way to build trust is to remember the important details of their life, like their birthday, their wedding anniversary, or their kids’ names. An unexpected card in the mail can go a long way.
Eventually, they’ll probably ask what they can do for you. And to answer that question, you’ll need to tell them a little about your business. Here’s your cue to have an open and honest talk about what kinds of people you’re looking to work with, and how they might help you find those people.
Essential Tip #2: Treat Your Network Marketing Business Like a Business, Not a Hobby
One of the things I like most about the network marketing business model is that it’s a true equalizer of people—anyone can join, and there are very few barriers to entry.
In other words, you don’t need to have a business background to succeed in network marketing. But you absolutely do need to treat your network marketing business like a business. This means:
- Be professional in your correspondence, your phone manner, your dress, your follow-ups, and your record-keeping. Be someone your customers can trust with their business. Be timely and courteous, and always keep the other person’s interests in mind.
- Don’t sell to everyone. Successful companies target their products to specific types of people. Develop “ideal client” profiles for your customers, and seek out people who fit those descriptions. In sales language, qualify your leads before you start pitching. And avoid the Three-Foot Rule (i.e., prospecting everyone within three feet of you).
- Sell with permission. Many people dislike door-to-door salespeople because they show up uninvited. But if you have invited someone to tell you about their product or service, it’s a much more pleasant experience for everyone. You can ask people to join your Facebook group or like your fan page, or you can build an email list of people who want to hear about your network marketing business. These are the people who are much more likely to engage in a conversation about your business than the people who you chase down, in person or online.
Remember, an amateur network marketer will focus on the results of their actions (“Buy my products! Join my team!”)… and not on the actions themselves.
What actions am I talking about?
Building trust. Showing loyalty. Offering value for free. Doing what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. In other words, showing that you are worthy of someone’s business.
As Eric Worre says, “Go Pro.” To a professional network marketer, relationships are everything. If you don’t nurture authentic relationships with your customers, team members, and contacts… your network marketing business will go nowhere at the speed of light.
Essential Tip #3: Build Yourself Before You Build Your Network Marketing Business
There’s a crucial first step you need to take as you are getting started, and many new network marketers people don’t take it.
It happens before you start selling your products and showing your business opportunity to people.
It’s a step that involves much less doing, and much more becoming.
How, you ask?
Starting a home business automatically gives you the chance to establish some real clarity: to set goals, get organized, and learn by doing. Before you can blink, this process begins to shape you into a better version of yourself.
You’ll read the classic success books written by famous authors (then you’ll read them again and again, and find that they offer something new every time). You’ll listen to the podcasts and recordings of people who’ve done exactly what you want to do. You’ll get inspired to change your bad habits, to lose your self-sabotaging behaviors, and replace them with constructive routines that work.
And as you implement what you learn, you’ll surround yourself with other network marketers on the same journey, from your own company and from other companies. Some will be slightly ahead of you, and others will be slightly behind you. You’ll have people to learn from and people to teach.
You’ll gradually acquire the skills and habits of a network marketing professional. And you’ll join a community of like-minded people who will support you in every step of your journey.
As you apply all of this to your network marketing business, consistently over time, you’ll find that it’s easier to build and maintain authentic relationships because you have a deeper inner well to draw from.
People will sense your confidence and your belief. They’ll appreciate your patience and understanding when they talk about their own life challenges. They’ll be drawn to your ease around people.
Eventually, they’ll choose to work with you—and that’s when you’ll make a sale or recruit a new distributor. When someone likes and trusts you enough to work with you.
Your success in network marketing will be a direct result of all your personal work.
So many people have told me that even if they had never made a dime, they would still have gotten started in network marketing… because they have become better versions of themselves along the way. And they have built meaningful, lasting relationships along the way.
So if you’re just getting started in network marketing, and you’re excited about having the opportunity to help people improve their lives, let me give you one piece of advice.
If you begin with improving yourself, it will be much easier to help others.
My network marketing business has helped me make sense of my life, my relationships, and my own mindset. It has brought me greater courage… and then tested that courage, over and over again. It has brought a growing network of amazing people into my life, each of whom has contributed something positive to the person I am today.
I’m so happy I braved the leap.
There you have it: three success secrets to building your network marketing business that you probably won’t learn until after you get started.
If I had known these three secrets when I get started in network marketing, it would have saved me quite a bit of time, effort, and expense. I hope it helps you in some small way.
It’s a noisy world, and people have busy lives, and not everyone makes time to build relationships. But if you want to succeed as a network marketer, make building authentic relationships your #1 priority.
How do you sustain meaningful connections with people amidst the noise and hustle? Let me know in the comments.