A few years ago I was talking with someone close to me. He was lamenting the fact that what he saw as his “best five years” had been spent working for a guy who used him up and spit him out.
Without thinking I said, “Those weren’t your best five years. Your best five years are your next five years.” I’ve tried to remember that insightful moment since then.
Way too often we waste time thinking about what might have been. We wish we had done something different. Or we wish someone else had done something different.
The way it is is the way it is. We can’t change what happened or how we got here.
We can change how we approach the current situation, and that would make things better in the future. It will certainly make things better now.
Preparation pays off in business. It pays to have a system that gets you ready for any situation.
One of my favorite books about golf is “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” by Mark Frost. The book details how amateur golfer Francis Ouimet defeated the great Harry Vardon in the 1913 U.S. Open. The victory is credited with helping grow the game of golf in the United States.
The book is well worth reading, especially if you’re a golf fan. One of the most striking passages to me described a pivotal moment in Ouimet’s drive to become a great golfer.
Francis Ouimet had developed a plan on how he could win the U.S. Amateur Championship, but didn’t have the inspiration he needed. He found it when he attended an opera with his mother. He wasn’t very engaged with it until a young soprano started singing.
“Good Lord, thought Francis, will you look at this woman? She had committed herself to this song so completely, she appeared to be in a kind of trance. Then the source of it came clear to him; a clean, concentrated light in her eyes that Francis intuitively understood to mean she’d given up her very soul to let this music come through here, nothing stood in the way of it, he could see she wasn’t even aware anyone else was watching her, and at that moment, the tumblers in the lock he’d been trying to open to reach the heart of his own talent clicked into place.
“That is just what I want for golf,” he said to himself.
In a way, isn’t that what we’re all searching for? Don’t we want to give up our soul to let our talent flow through us.
I find my source of inspiration in helping people. I feel fulfilled when I play a part in people reaching their dreams. This video describes the method I’ve found to best help me achieve that.
Don’t give up on your search. Keep looking until you find inspiration that leads to the type of commitment that will change your life.
One of the best ways to reach your goals is to find someone who has accomplished what you want to accomplish, then do what they’ve done.
Business presentations go nowhere if they don’t show people the wisdom of the opportunity. And numerous casual conversations contain some degree of convincing the other person to see your point of view.
Jason Nazar, the CEO of Docstoc, wrote a powerful article on the Forbes website called “The 21 Principles of Persuasion.” The piece is well worth the read, but several of his points are especially relevant to network marketing.
Persuasion is not Manipulation – Manipulation is coercion through force to get someone to do something that is not in their own interest. Persuasion is the art of getting people to do things that are in their own best interest that also benefit you.
Network marketers sometimes think that they need to almost trick people into joining their company. People who are manipulated into signing up will never be valuable to your business. You want people who see your opportunity for the value it gives them.
Persistence Pays - The person who is willing to keep asking for what they want, and keeps demonstrating value, is ultimately the most persuasive. The way that so many historical figures have ultimately persuaded masses of people is by staying persistent in their endeavors and message.
Many network marketers give up on prospects at the first hint of rejection. If someone isn’t interested now, keep in mind that a year from now, or perhaps even a month from now, they could be looking for just the opportunity that you’re offering. Don’t bug people, but don’t bail on them either.
Images Matter - What we see is more potent that what we hear. It may be why pharma companies are now so forthcoming with the potentially horrible side effects of their drugs, when set to a background of folks enjoying a sunset in Hawaii. Perfect your first impressions. And master the ability to paint an image for others, in their minds eye, of a future experience you can provide for them.
Tom “Big Al” Schreiter, one of the top MLM trainers in the profession, stresses the importance of telling stories in presentations. This allows the person hearing the story to form an image in their mind’s eye.
One of my favorite stories from Big Al asks the prospect to take his next paycheck, hold it up and ask himself, “Is this really all I’m worth?” The person will immediately imagine his paycheck and the dollar figure on it.
Confidence and Certainty - There is no quality as compelling, intoxicating and attractive as certainty. It is the person who has an unbridled sense of certainty that will always be able to persuade others. If you really believe in what you do, you will always be able to persuade others to do what’s right for them, while getting what you want in return.
This is the downfall of many unsuccessful networkers. For whatever reason, they are hesitant to share their business with other people. Perhaps they have friends who hold them down. Or maybe something in their past is keeping them from having the confidence they need.
No matter what it is, the reason is certainly bogus. The thing that is holding you back is you. The great news is that you can change that anytime you want.
Persuade yourself that you will be successful. You’ll be well on your way to persuading others.
One of my mentors recently summed up the network marketing profession this way: “We get paid to talk to people.”
1. Find people to talk to.
2. Talk to them.
Keep in mind, of course, that simple does not necessarily mean easy. Talking to people is easier for some people than others. But the great thing is anybody can do it, and everybody can learn to do it better.
So where do you find people to talk to? You have two choices: people you know and people you don’t know.
Many new network marketing professionals eagerly talk to everyone they know. Most quickly discover, however, that a good number of their friends and family don’t want to hear about their “business opportunity.”
Many find that people they know even actively discourage involvement. They have either had a bad experience or just have a negative view of anything new.
This has led me to generally advise people who are new to MLM to avoid talking to people they know. I have adjusted that belief for a couple of reasons.
First, network marketers should be proud of what they do. They are building businesses that can change their lives.
The MLM business model is the best opportunity for nearly everyone in the working world to get ahead in life. We should proudly offer it to anyone who wants to move forward.
Second, people generally join people they know, like and trust. It’s easier to convince someone who already knows, likes and trusts you to look at your business than it is to get someone who will look at your business to know, like and trust you.
Third, you want to be in business with people you like. You already like your friends (or at least you should), so why not ask them to become your business partners.
Of course, you also should talk to other people. Any conversation about your business will, at the very least, help you become better at talking to people about your opportunity.
So, what do you say to people once you find them? Simple, tell them a story. Don’t vomit statistics and facts about your product or service on them. Just tell them about a great experience that you or someone you know has had.
Here’s a example of what I say to people.
“My brother weighed more than 335 pounds. He was miserably overweight to the point that he couldn’t even play with his four-year-old son. He found a system that helped him lose more than 20 pounds in less than a month and he’s still losing. He told me he feels better than he’s felt in years.
“Now he wants to help other people have that same feeling. Do you know anyone who wants to lose some fat or have more energy?”
Then, I listen to their response and go from there. Nearly everyone knows someone in that situation. Many say, “Me.”
Every conversation doesn’t go perfectly, but that’s OK. Every time I talk to someone, I’ve done my job.
So that’s my simple, two-step recruiting system. Find people. Talk to them.
One of my mentors in network marketing, Tom “Big Al” Shreiter, taught me that the network marketing professional’s job is to help people make a decision.
Once you understand that it’s OK if the decision is no, that takes a lot of the pressure off during your presentation. After all, network marketing isn’t for everyone. If so, everyone would be doing it, right?
My friend, John Milton Fogg, shared a video on Facebook that shows a great way to help folk make a decision. The video Eric Worre is a seven-minute seminar on “Closing in MLM.” I’m not crazy about the term “closing” because it makes me think of high pressure closing tactics, but Eric’s strategy is low-key.
One of the things I like about this approach is its emphasis on asking questions. The first question, which asks the person to rate their interest on a scale of 1 to 10, is a straightforward way to find out where the conversation stands.
The next three questions simply identify how much money the person wants or needs to make each month, how much time the person is willing to commit each week, and how many months he or she would be willing to spend to make it happen.
The final question asks the person if he or she is ready to go forward if you can show them how to make that happen.
These questions might not be right for you. Perhaps you’d prefer to find out why the person wants or needs money. Then you could connect your business opportunity to their dreams.
But whatever questions you ask, the important thing is to ask questions. When you ask relevant questions, you’ll find out about the person to whom you are talking.
And don’t just ask questions because it will help you “close” people. That is not a strategy for long-term success.
After you ask a question, listen intently to the answer. Ask another question based on that answer. Learn about the person.
The process is simple. Find out what the person wants, and show them how you can help them get it.
It might turn out that you can’t help them get what they want. If so, let them know. They might be looking for something other than what you are offering. If so, you’ve helped them make a decision. That’s your job.
The other day I was thinking about a time in my life that wasn’t very pleasant. I went through some struggles and faced a few challenges.
I began to wonder about some of the decisions that I had made back then. I started thinking about whether my life would be better now if I had done some things differently back then.
After a while it occurred to me how useless that kind of thinking is. The brutal truth is that I can’t go back and undo the decisions I made back then. I am where I am and things are like they are.
It reminded me of a classic scene from one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13.
The astronauts are frustrated and disappointed that they aren’t going to get to land on the moon because of mechanical issues. Tom Hanks’ character, James Lovell says to the other two, “Gentlemen, what are your intentions?” He reminds them that they have work to do in order to make it back home.
We all face similar, although much less dramatic, situations in our lives. We can get aggravated about how things are, or we can think about how we can deal with it.
Worrying or complaining about how things might have been better if you’d only done this or done that will not change the ways things are. You can only deal with it now.
Here’s another way to look at it. Think about yourself a year or two years from now. Consider the possibility that you will be looking back at the decisions you make now.
Make choices that will take you to where you want to be in the future. If you continue to do the same things, you will almost certainly get the same results.
Decide now to take action. Do what needs to be done, and you will be pleased with what you accomplished.
A post on Benjamin Fitts’ blog called “12 Things We Should Be Able To Say” is worth reading for anyone who wants to get ahead in life, but is particularly applicable to network marketers.
Fitts said he copied the information from Jay McHugh’s newsletter, but I did not see it on McHugh’s site. I heard about Fitts’ post through John Milton Fogg’s Facebook page.
Fogg is author of the networking classic, “The Greatest Networker in the World,” which every networker should read.
I strongly recommend reading the entire post on Fitts’ site, but here are a few of the points that I felt were especially relevant for networkers.
“I am making a difference.
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
Nearly all network marketing companies share the goal of helping people.
The products are, in many cases, life-changing. Some are nutritional. Others are service-oriented.
And, of course, the business opportunities often transform lifestyles.
So network marketing companies make a difference in people’s lives. Even those who are not extremely successful financially often become healthier people with a better outlook on life.
“I am growing into the best version of me.
“Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.” Live by this statement. There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes.”
Most networking companies offer some sort of self-help or motivational tools for their distributors. Good sponsors help their downlines to grow as people.
Nearly every successful networker will tell you that personal development played a strong role in helping them reach their goals.
“I am good to those I care about.
“In human relationships distance is not measured in miles, but in affection. Stay in touch with those who matter to you. Not because it’s convenient, but because they’re worth the extra effort. Many times it’s our actions, not just our words that really speak what our heart feels for another.”
This, in my opinion, is one of the keys to network marketing. You have to care about the people you sponsor into the business. That doesn’t mean you do their work for them, but it means you care-fully help them realize their dreams.
“I take full accountability for my life.
“Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them. Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will. And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.”
One of the most important steps to becoming your best self is realizing that you are in control of your life. Blaming other people or your circumstances will never get you where you want to be.
An added bonus to this attitude is the increased likelihood of taking action. Once you know you’re the one in charge, you’ll be more likely to do what you need to do.
Network marketing has financial rewards beyond most people’s wildest dreams, but the personal benefits can be even more rewarding.
I recently came across a video of a speech about motivation that has important implications for network marketers.
Here’s the video, which has more than 9.5 million views on YouTube. I will discuss his main points and their implications for network marketing below, but it’s worth 10 minutes to give the video a look.
Pink cites research that calls into question the belief that performance increases if people are offered money for doing better. The theory behind the belief is that if you dangle a carrot of money in front of someone, they will strive to get it.
The studies showed that the reward incentive worked for simple mechanical skills, but the opposite occurred for complex cognitive skills. Higher incentives actually led to poorer performance for complex tasks that required creative thinking.
The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue off the table, Pink said. In other words, people will be motivated by the thought of having enough money so they don’t have to worry about money anymore.
Think about the implications for network marketers, specifically how you present your business opportunity. All the Powerpoint slides or bullet points about making loads of cash might very well be useless.
Instead, perhaps our business presentations should show how network marketing can end all worries about money. Maybe people will be motivated more by having enough to pay their bills than by having enough to buy a luxury car.
Pink doesn’t stop there. He goes on to talk about the three factors that lead to better performance once people have enough money: autonomy, mastery and purpose. All three are perfect incentives for network marketing
Autonomy is the desire to be self-directed. Pink mentions an Australian company that allows its employees to work on whatever they want one day every three months. That one day of autonomy has led to a number of successful software fixes and ideas.
Network marketing allows people to have tremendous autonomy in their business and ultimately in their lives. If you’re a self-directed person, you have a great opportunity to succeed in this business.
Mastery is the urge to get better at something, Pink said. One example is people playing instruments on the weekend because it’s fun and they want to get better at it. Another is people who do sophisticated work on a volunteer basis because they want to be challenged.
Imagine the opportunities for mastery that successful network marketers enjoy. I once met a network marketer who told me that one of the greatest benefits of his success was that it gave him time to learn to play the piano, which is something he had wanted to do since he was a kid.
Purpose is making a contribution to the world. Profit, Pink said, should be connected to purpose.
The best recruiters in network marketing lead their prospects to find their purpose and see how the business can help them achieve that purpose. Making the world a better place is a much worthier goal than making a million dollars.
Organizations that flourish are animated by their purpose, Pink said. The takeaway, he said, is to treat people like people.
That, I believe, is excellent advice for networkers. Don’t turn your business into a numbers game. Help people see how network marketing can end their money worries, become self-directed, master their goals and find their purpose. Do this, and you shall have success.