From The Desk Of:
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
"How to build your Network Marketing business,
without bugging your friends,
family or strangers on the street."
What is it?
Most people come into Network Marketing without prior business- or lead generation experience and usually run into the same problem: "After I have spoken to everyone I know, who do I talk to now?" Unfortunately, a lot of companies in the industry still promote out-dated lead generation techniques which have become obselete when the Internet became more accessible.
Lead generation is the process that allows you to make contact with people that are interested in what you have to offer. When building a Network Marketing business, or any business for that matter, you will need leads. I am of the opinion that a lot of small businesses fail, due to the owner's lack of marketing knowledge; and this especially holds true in Network Marketing. Being able to generate a client on demand is a skill that is absolutely essential for attaining true financial freedom.
The problem with traditional prospecting
When I initially got involved in Network Marketing, I was an Information Technology (computer programming) student, with no marketing experience. My up-line joined the company about two months before I did and also, at the time, had no idea what he was doing. As usual, we were told to make a list of people that we know and to contact them with our "gift." That was all we had to go on, as far as prospecting goes and that is exactly what we did.
There was a problem though... Before I joined, my up-line approached most of our friends about the opportunity - at the time, I knew most of my friends through him and his brother... Needless to say, my name-list ended up being fairly short. However, I did not back down and started prospecting by starting conversations with strangers.
I had some initial success, but I simply could not keep it up. Firstly, it seemed like a waste of time, since I could only meet so many people during the day. Even though I enjoy meeting new people, I have never really been a social butterfly and I simply could not see myself building a long-term business empire this way. The problem was that I was using a method that did not go along with my personality - kind of like trying to drive a nail into a piece of wood with a screw-driver... I simply just did not know any better.
"Making a list of names," is still the main method of lead generation taught by Network Marketing companies. The justification is that it is the simplest method available and the ability to duplicate what your up-line is doing, is essential to Network Marketing success. The question is, "If a method is not effective anymore, is it really that duplicable?"
Permission marketing vs. interruption marketing
Back in the days, before the Internet, sales professionals used to be seen as sources of information. If you were looking to buy a house, you would approach your local Real Estate agent and ask them to show you some properties based on your specifications and their expertise. You would personally meet with them to get to know them - and if you liked and trusted them, they would get your business.
You most likely found out about a particular agent, by seeing an advert or by simply driving past their offices. The point is: you went to them first, looking for information - they did not have to come to you. Lead generation, for the agent, was as easy as putting up a sign at their office or putting a basic advertisement in the paper.
Nowadays, people have all the information they need at their fingertips. The Internet is open to everyone and they simply do not have to go through the uncomfortable process of building a relationship with the sales-person, if they do not want to. And why should they - because, we need the sale? The problem is, that instead of adapting and learning new ways of attracting customers, the majority of sales-professionals have opted to chase their customers down instead.
I believe that this is part of the reason that Network Marketing has not shaken its stigma yet - it is simply more convenient for someone to log on to the Internet and do research on their own time, than sitting through a Network Marketing company presentation. Marketing a business opportunity touches on something that is a sensitive subject for most people - their finances. When it comes to money, chasing down potential clients simply comes across as way too needy and suspicious.
The problem however, is: how do you attract clients consistently?
The key to attracting new business, is to specialise and simply promote yourself as an information resource - to position yourself as an expert for your specific target market. Marketing used to be about "location, location, location" - today it is becoming more and more about "information, information, information." However, that is just a part of the puzzle. To learn more about positioning yourself as an expert, feel free to have a look at my page on "Attraction Marketing."
The second part of the puzzle is how you actually get into contact with your potential customers. There are generally four main ways to reach your target market:
- the Internet,
- and buying business opportunity leads from lead-brokers.
These four methods can be sub-divided into two categories: you will either spend time to put some systems into place or spend money to get it done for you. This section of the site, dedicated to "lead generation," exists to provide you with information that took me years to put together. Hopefully I can point you in the right direction and help you one step further on your journey to financial freedom.
Buying business opportunity leads, does not really qualify under the term "lead generation," since they are not self-generated. Generally it is acknowledged that generating your own leads are much more cost-effective - you have more control over your marketing message; and can pre-sell and pre-qualify your leads, much better.
As Bob Burg states in his excellent book, "Endless Referrals:"
"Networking is the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give-and-take, win-win relationships."
Apart from Internet Marketing, Networking is one of the most important skills you can learn when it comes to lead generation. There are quite a couple of methods available to you, some on-line and some off-line. Pick a method that is the most convenient - at the end of the day, an "effective method" that you refuse to use, seriously limits its effectiveness. To learn more about Networking, have a look at the section about "Referral Lead Generation," for more information on setting up your own referral lead generation systems.
Bill Gates, once the richest man on the planet and the ex-CEO of Microsoft, once said: "If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business."
I believe what he said is more true today, than ever. If you are not on the Internet, you can be sure that your competition is. The Internet is one of the most powerful tools ever created to promote your business to thousands of potential clients, quickly and cost-effectively - it levels the playing field between those who have a passion for what they do and those who have a big advertising budget.
For more specific information, click here to find out more about article marketing, here to learn more about how to get into blog marketing and here to get more information on press release marketing.
Another way to market on the Internet is to build a search-engine friendly, content-rich website. I believe this is by far the best strategy, since it has some very nice long-term benefits to your financial freedom - it does however need a big initial time investment as well as quite a bit of work. To find out more about resources to help you do that, click here to find out more about Site BuildIt! and how it can help you generate free leads.
Advertising is a great way to generate your own leads - as long as you have the budget to do so. Google Adwords allows you to advertise in certain regions - even down to the specific city, in some countries. Unfortunately, that is not currently the case in South Africa - however, we do have the option of at least targetting South Africans in general. To find out more about advertising on Google Adwords, please click here.
If you are interested in advertising locally for new business with other forms of off-line advertising, then click here for some ideas.
I learnt most of the information in this section from the school of hard-knocks, in combination with those who went before me. Feel free to have a look at the "Trainers and Resources" section to find out more about which gurus to follow - and which ones to avoid.