Introduction: The Problem of the Traditional MLM Approach
To be successful in network marketing you have to build a large network of people who, individually, want and buy the products of your particular MLM (multi-level-marketing) company. The MLM business model is very powerful and there are many very successful people in the MLM industry (‘MLMers’ for short), but the majority of those who try and emulate that success fail to make any real money. Why? The traditionally taught approach to building your network is to firstly ask everyone you know (family, friends and business acquaintances), then everyone you meet and then to call people on lists of ‘leads’ you have bought (who may or may not have any real interest in what you have to ‘offer’).
This method of approaching people is awkward and uncomfortable for many people. Even when you convince yourself (as I did originally) that you were not ‘selling’ to these contacts, but were actually offering them a great opportunity (and for your friends it was almost your ‘duty’ to tell them about it, it was so good an opportunity), it can be difficult and unrewarding. Some MLMers can feel the need to try recruiting (or sponsoring) new people into their organisation at every opportunity – my wife said to me: “You’re not going to become a ‘xxx’ bore are you?” – you need a better way of doing business! If you already have a large network of contacts who know you and with whom you have good business credibility, then they may well accept your ‘sharing’ the new business ‘opportunity’ with them and you’re off to a great start. But if you’re new to this and are trying to start a business from home without that ready supply of contacts you are more likely to fail.
The other drawback, when starting with the ‘family and friends’ approach, is that in a small group those who have joined the business below you (known as your ‘downline’) and the few contacts that they too know really begins to look like the pyramid associated with unlawful ‘pyramid selling’ (which MLM is not).
So why am I even advocating MLM for new home businesses?
Because for a business of any sort you have to have something to offer – something to sell to your customers. This can be something you make or perhaps grow yourself, it can be a service you perform, it can be selling your experience and advice or it can be selling someone else’s products (which is after all what the high street retailers do). MLM is a way effectively of selling someone else’s products in a manner that doesn’t entail you buying up lots of stock in advance and tying up your own cash hoping to make the sales (if the scheme you’re looking at requires you to do that it might be more of an illegal pyramid sale scam!).
There is an MLM company out there for almost any area of interest you could have so you can have your business in the area that is comfortable for you.
Why does Internet Network Marketing make such a difference?
The new boom of social and interactive websites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and information sites such as Squidoo and this EzineArticles site (all together referred to as Web 2.0) are easy to use (once you’ve got the hang of them) and enable literally any home computer user with a bit of training and guidance to market themselves and their experience.
The presentation of useful information in the informal settings of the social websites attracts your potential customers to ask you for more information or advice. When you are responding instead of asking you can build the information to the point where your ‘leads’ want nothing more than to join your mlm company.
You are then in the position to help your new downline present themselves to the world and to duplicate what you have done. Accordingly your network can grow and with it your income – just as described in all the traditional network marketing books – but without the anguish and pain of perpetual ‘cold calling’.
We all have something a little different to give as we market ourselves so we can attract that part of the market which leans in the same way as we do ourselves. That way you and the team you build up can grow without ‘bumping’ into each other. This just wasn’t possible on the old style internet with expensive, fixed websites and the old style network marketing can’t touch these new methods.
That is one part of the ‘Why’. The ‘How’ will follow in further articles.