Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Early Jackson, @Mr_Empowerment. Early Jackson has been involved in several businesses in the MLM industry since 1996. As a participant and trainer he has mentored others in the network marketing industry. As founder of New Direction Coaching Associates, Early continues to share growth principles, have a successful life and business. www.earlyjacksoncoaching.com/
SmallBizLady: What exactly is a network marketing or MLM business model?
Early Jackson: A network marketing business is a direct sales business selling products or services. It is commonly referred to as an MLM or Multi Level Marketing. It has given over 91 million people the opportunity to own their business. By becoming a distributor of sorts, you can directly determine the income you want. There are hundreds of direct sales opportunities in the market to choose from including Mary Kay, OrganoGold and Amway. A great portion of those who get involved in MLM businesses do so to supplement another income.
SmallBizLady: How to you describe a network marketer?
Early Jackson: To break it down to its simplest form, a Network Marketer’s job description is its very name. Network is a circle of influence that encompasses diverse people and resources. Marketing is just the process of promoting through multiple avenues. Put this together and it’s less about selling and more about connecting people with resources.
SmallBizLady: What are some myths about MLM’s and network marketing?
Early Jackson: There are 3 general myths many have about getting involved in network marketing. They are
If you recruit ‘sharp’ people you will definitely be successful. That is way off because finding people with a certain look is not the qualifier for business ventures. Unless you are able to recruit qualified people with a skill set and then train them, you won’t be successful.
If I recruit someone who is already in a successful profession, they will have the same results with me. Again, you have to develop a real system to qualify a recruit. Gut feelings just don’t cut it. People are generally successful at what they are passionate about. So just because a doctor or lawyer has achieved success in their arena, it does not automatically translate to a MLM. Training and networking will be the top skills to grow.
Popular people are a shoe-in for success, right? Wrong again! This is mainly why church functions, family gatherings and friends night out gets so uncomfortable. Because popular does not mean great recruit. So in the zeal of a new opportunity you bombard everyone you know because in your mind, they have friends who they can influence.
SmallBizLady: I know that successful MLM businesses need a sales force. What is the right way to recruit people to sell for you?
Early Jackson: It all starts with pre-qualifying a person. That involves assessing their current skill set to see if they would be a good fit for the opportunity you have. Ask yourself things like; where do they work? What are their passions? Where do they spend the most time? Once these questions are confirmed, you should reach out to set up a one on one with them. During the meeting, be honest about why you are interested in them. Share with them the strengths you see and how they relate to the opportunity you want to share with them. Be sure to share your personal vision and goals for building the business. Show them how they can contribute to and benefit from those goals.
SmallBizLady: What are some affective ways to cultivate a good client base?
Early Jackson: First rip up that random list of 40 people your up-line told you to write. That’s selling! Start with understanding the type of business you opted into. Once you understand what they do, ask who in your contacts actually could benefit? Once you do that, make it personal. Everyone listens to the same station, WIIFM (what’s in it for me) Remember, everyone else is going the same route, so you’ve got to get out of the box. Look at expanding your social media reach. There are a lot of new ways to reach out and connect. With that said, once in a while get out of the office and have real face time. Check your city’s online resources for various networking meet ups. Lastly, I also recommend volunteering or internships. These are great ways to interact with different people who would also have different circles.
SmallBizLady: How can a network marketer effectively share their new business venture with family and close friends?
Early Jackson: Be upfront and honest. No one likes an ambush! So those vague invites or fake luncheons that turn into business presentations are not in good taste. Let them know what they are walking into. And most importantly, don’t try to guilt them if they are not interested. Every opportunity is not for every person you know. They will respect you if you are a person of character with them.
SmallBizLady: How can network marketers be strategic with their time?
Early Jackson: There will be a huge temptation to spend every hour of the day hitting the streets or having a meeting at the local Starbucks, but that’s a mistake. You have to build a strategy for your time. This is currency and just like you wouldn’t waste your money, don’t waste your time. Involve your family in your scheduling routines so they can honor it as well. Lastly, create daily goals and check points to make sure you are utilizing your time best. Develop a separate place to get work done away from the many distractions of the house.
SmallBizLady: What should you do if you hit a rough patch in your MLM business and begin to feel down?
Early Jackson: Don’t allow yourself to be your worst critic. You are going to have some peaks and valleys along this journey so get used to it. Give yourself a moment to absorb the moment, tell yourself the truth about what’s going on, and then decide to get up and do it all over again tomorrow. During those tough times, it’s also a good idea to be around those who can relate to your unique situation. Other positive people in your industry can serve as a huge lift.
SmallBizLady: What is one thing about successful MLM businesses that most people miss?
Early Jackson: You must understand the climate and forecast of your industry. Your climate represents what’s popping right now. It is the knowledge you have and your ability to execute. Your forecast is all about the big picture. Where will you be and how do you plan to get there.
SmallBizLady: How can you develop a marketing plan for your MLM business especially recruiting vs. selling?
Early Jackson: First, discern where you are. For this, make sure to tell yourself the truth. What do you make? What do you want to make, and when? You cannot affectively assess other’s skills until you can first know what you are working with. Make a written list of the areas you are proficient in. Next, map out a firm timeline for accomplishing your goals. You must be realistic with your expectations. You won’t develop a million dollar business in 30 days. Go with a 3 month format to easily evaluate yourself along the way. Of course it is a good idea to seek out a mentor in your industry to bounce ideas off from time to time. A mentor can be a GPS system to direct your journey. Melinda, I know you’ve written about this on your blog extensively. Here’s part II of your How to Write a Business Plan blog series on developing a marketing plan.
SmallBizLady: How can you avoid ending up with NFL or (No Friends Left)?
Early Jackson: Spend some time reaching out one by one to people who could actually fit within the framework of your business. Business is about cultivating relationships. You can’t ‘friend’ someone and instantly try to use them to get to their network circle. Nurture your network for at least six months before you start calling people and asking them for business or to sell as a part of your team. No one wants to hear from someone they haven’t talked to in three years, who all of a sudden reaches out to sell something. Next, don’t be the friend always asking for something but never reciprocates. Also, people get upset when you add them to your email lists without their permission. No one wants to be spammed! When you are at family functions or in a casual setting, be subtle. Don’t spend the whole time plugging your business in every conversation. Your friends will appreciate it more when you mention things appropriately. Otherwise, people will make a habit of avoiding you at all cost. And last, don’t be ‘that’ person on social media bashing people and other businesses because they are not interested in yours. Nothing screams desperate more than a person who feels their ideas are the only good ones out there. Be open and engaging with people and chances are, they will do the same. You never want to end up with no friends left.
SmallBizLady: What are the top 3 principles to build a successful MLM business?
Early Jackson: Don’t exhaust your ‘warm’ market in the beginning. Your ‘warm’ market are those who know you – co-workers, neighbors or even church members. Instead, as I stated before, inform them of your new venture and share with them how it might impact their lives as well.
Diversify your circle of influence. This means get out and interact with new exciting people. A networking even doesn’t have to be a boring conference room. Seek out new and out of the box events to connect. When you add new people to your life, you learn, you are stretched and you grow.
Deliver extraordinary customer care and develop quality relationships. By having integrity in your recruitment process, you position yourself to have lasting relationships. In life, you are known by your brand. Every contact you have with someone, you are developing that brand. Before people will ever meet you, they will hear about what type of person you are.
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.