Despite the negativity and myths surrounding network marketing, it's a viable, affordable way to start a business from home. Unfortunately, people who get involved in network marketing often make mistakes they probably wouldn’t make if they were starting a business from scratch.
Network marketing is a business model that depends on person-to-person sales by independent representatives and, as a result, it needs to be managed and marketed as any other business would.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid mistakes new network marketers often make.
Choosing Hype Over Common Sense
Many network marketers are over-the-top in their presentation of the business. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and they make selling their products seem easy.
It's true that making money is important, but professional choices shouldn’t be based exclusively on money. The high failure rate in network marketing is partially due to people who get excited about the potential income without analyzing the business or whether they’d be a good fit for selling a specific product.
Not Loving the Product
Successful network marketers generally have one thing in common: they love whatever product or service they're selling. They use it every day and would buy it even if they weren't being paid to sell it.
A career in network marketing is directly connected to the ability to share this enthusiasm and knowledge of the product with others. This is why successful network marketers often start out as customers, grow to love the product, and then want to share it with the world for their personal financial gain.
Not Targeting the Right Audience
Some organizations stress that new network marketers should make a list of 100 people they know, then pitch them their product or service as a means of practice.
The problem with this strategy is that it can waste time and have the counterintuitive effect of creating discouragement faster than it produces confidence. Not everyone is a prospect. If someone were to start a business from scratch, they might let their friends and family know what they're doing, but smart network marketers identify a target market and pitch that group instead. While some do indeed recruit friends and family, the majority of business comes from people they didn’t know when they started.
Instead of worrying about a list of 100 associates, or striking up a sales pitch with the guy standing in line at the grocery checkout line, network marketers should determine who wants what they're selling and go after them. It’s easier, less time consuming, and won't alienate friends and family.
Not Following Up
Many network marketers miss opportunities to grow business by not following up on legitimate prospects right away.
Follow-up is done with people who have expressed interest in the product or business. Most prospects aren’t going to buy on the first call and this is often because they need time to think about the value of a proposition and do some independent research. By developing a consistent system for following up with prospects, smart network marketers will never miss an opportunity to create value.
After pitching the product or service, if a prospect still isn’t ready to join, it's wise to make an appointment to call them back in a few days. If they’re still not interested, follow up again and ask if they will join a personalized email list that will include helpful information and tips, not just sales emails.
When people are adamant that they aren’t interested, a reasonable person will let it go. They may come around once they've seen the brand elsewhere, or perhaps they never will. In either case, successful network marketers don’t want to hurt their reputation and other relationships by overbearingly trying to recruit people who aren’t interested.
Reinventing the Wheel
Learning from the company’s marketing materials will help any network marketer sell faster. Talk to the most successful reps and emulate their formulas when it makes sense. One perk of network marketing is that a problem-solving methodology may have already been developed for common challenges.
Not Reading the Fine Print
Read all documentation before signing. A senior network marketing representative won't spill everything there is to know about the company in their sales pitch. While they’ll provide the important details, it’s up to every individual to read and understand the contract and business plan.
Specific notes to pay attention to are commission pricing and recruitment strategies. The fine print will detail how to terminate a contract, return products, and implement company policies and restrictions. Successful network marketers will read the fine print before investing any of their time or money.