Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to be taken more seriously as a network marketer.

Whether you're new to direct sales or not, you may have noticed that there can be a stigma around it. You may have experienced people giving you the cold shoulder, second guessing you, and just generally being skeptical of everything you say. Does this sound familiar? Is this a problem you face when you're out talking to people about your business? Has this negative perception of your passion prevented you from making sales or adding people to your team? If so, I'm here to help you.

The Problem(s) - A Hypothesis (from personal experience) of Why This Perception is Pervasive

I'm sure there are lots of reasons why the direct sales industry perhaps has a bad rap. For starters, I certainly know plenty lot of people who are skeptical of the "pyramid" structure and believe every social selling company to be a scam. This is a valid point worth considering, however, for me, this is not the most important issue. There are other more problematic concerns. This is going to be hard to hear. I have NO interest in joining a direct sales company. I have my reasons, but mostly it because I already have a full plate with my photography business. No, I don't want to hear about the unlimited earning potential. Or the passive income. Or the freedom that comes with owning my own business. This might be counterintuitive. You might not understand how I could say no to that. And right there. That is the fundamental problem. Countless times I have been touted the benefits of joining a direct sales company. I've heard how the top earners are so successful. They have time to do what they love. They have the money to do whatever they please, whenver they want to. I've heard how it's gratifying. I've heard about the benefits of all the products and services. I've heard about the compensation plans. I've heard how the upline is always there to help. I've even heard your passion and inspiration after attending a conference with your company. But how many times has someone actually taken the time to inquire about my actual situation, my desires, my goals, my dreams? How many times have I been asked any of these questions? The Answer: NOT NEARLY ENOUGH.

Sell more: Step 1. SHUT UP!!! Step 2. LISTEN!! Step 3. SOLVE A PROBLEM!

If you've taken any modern sales class, hopefully, you've heard that rule Number 1 of sales is that selling isn't about YOU or what you have to offer, it's about understanding your customer's hopes, fears, and dreams, then lisening to find a problem and offer a solution. Convincing is not a part of selling. For example, just the other night, I was at a networking mixer for professionals and business owners. (It's not such a strange occurence. Actually, I attend quite a lot of networking events.) This particular one was more of a mixer style, in a bar/restaurant setup, where it's up to you to just go up and talk to people. Pretty standard fare actually. I met a man who was working with a direct sales company that offers health related products. I could tell he was quite passionate about what he is doing and the products he is promoting, which is GREAT! What's the problem then? I couldn't get a word in edgewise. He was so busy trying to convince me how awesome these products are and how the American diet sucks and how we need to feed our bodies on a cellular level. ETC ETC ETC. If he'd have stopped talking and actually cared to learn about my situation, he would have been able to, perhaps, present the information in a way that would have gained my confidence and intrigue. He didn't take the time to find out that I'm actually already a health conscious person, that I just ran my second half marathon, and have lost 50 lbs. He didn't take the time to learn these things and search for a "problem" that he could solve with his products. He didn't take a second to find out that I ACTUALLY have been really interested recently in exploring a more optimized sports diet, with which his products could potentially help. Instead, I wanted to run across the room. I stood, politely smiling and nodding, but in my head, searching for how to leave the conversation. DON'T LET THIS BE YOU!

Keep the passion and drive, but please, calm down.

Look, here's the thing. I get it. You are excited about what you're doing. You're excited about how the thing you're selling has helped you. And, not only that, but you may have quotas you need to fill in order to keep your business open. It's ok. Really. But if you want to start to get people to actually care, and if you want to take your business to the next level, it's high time you start to realize that 1. Selling is really about helping people - you must believe that what you're doing will help people and be motivated by that, not by "getting the sale" or the money; 2. what you're doing is a business so you need to treat it like one and learn about business strategy, marketing and sales - and preferably from outside of your company; 3. no one really cares about the company or products or services that you sell, they only care about themselves, what they are going through. That said, your job as a direct selling professional is not to talk. It's to listen. It's to relate to people. Understand what they are going through, find a compelling problem, and offer your products/service as a solution to that problem. Remember, you want to help them, and what you offer will help them. So, your job is to help them see that what you're offering will help them. Then, you have to realize, some people will never say yes, no matter how compelling the offer. Remeber that you are asking people to make a CHANGE and that brings up a lot for people. It can be uncomfortable and scary, so you must have patience and be able to connect and alleviate the fear. In order to do that, you must be trustworthy and believable. How do you do that? By listening and genuinely caring about what they have to say. It's circular. And it takes time.

How to become more trusted.

There are a lot of ways to earn someone's trust. You can read all about relationships in other places, such as "How to Win Friends and Influence People." But, honestly, if you want to begin to change the perception of direct sales, and sales in general, the first step to earning trust is to stop trying to sell people. Another way is to do your business as a professional. What I mean by that is, take it seriously yourself, and treat it with professionalism. Learn about business, marketing, branding, etc. Having an strong understanding of the fundamental concepts of business will help you do things like 1. create a mission and vision for your business, 2. develop a target market, 3. become a trusted expert. Why do you need these things as a network marketing person? Well, like I said, to become more trustworthy and achieve the success you desire in your business. For now, this post is getting pretty long, so I'll talk more about those topics in future posts. If you want to receive updates when those posts are up, sign up for email updates here. And, until next time! Thanks for reading! ABOUT WNFP Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
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