Network marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM) remains a popular business model today but is anchored with an undesirable reputation. Many people often associate the word “scam” to this strategy as many pyramid schemes attempt to present themselves as legitimate MLM businesses. The bad image of this strategy makes it harder for many distributors and MLM companies to get ahead and be successful.
There are several ways to succeed in the world of direct selling such as building self-confidence, developing excellent communication skills, and creatively introducing the products to the others. But before distributor gets this far, it must actually start with an understanding on what network marketing is and how to properly look at it.
According to Don Teague, an online marketer based in United States, a distributor must understand that network marketing is a business opportunity and not a get rich quick scheme.
“Any network marketing opportunity should be considered a business opportunity and not a get rich quick scheme. Any reputable opportunity is going to take hard work. If it were a ‘simple’ way to get rich quick, would anyone really tell you about it? You should also treat anyone whom you may do business with as a potential business partner. The only way to be successful in network marketing is to have a network of trusted alliances, who can help build your business foundation,” Mr. Teague said.
And since many people see network marketing and a pyramid scheme as the same thing, a distributor must know its difference. Mr. Teague cited an excerpt from a statement made by the Federal Trade Commission, an independent agency of the US government that protects consumers and promotes competition, to show the discrepancy of the two.
“Multi-level marketing programs are known as MLM’s, and unlike pyramid or Ponzi schemes, MLM’s have a real product to sell. More importantly, MLM’s actually sell their product to members of the general public, without requiring these consumers to pay anything extra or to join the MLM system. There are two tell-tale signs that a product is simply being used to disguise a pyramid scheme: inventory loading and a lack of retail sales,” the excerpt reads.
In the Business Reference Guide of Amway Corporation, the world’s top direct selling company, Amway presented tips to succeed in MLM business.
“Building a balanced business requires three components: use the products yourself so you get to know them better, sell the products to customers, and help new IBOs (Independent Business Owners) to do the same,” Amway said.
The company explained that product sales are the key to earning money, so an IBO should think of the products the customers would likely order again and again by experiencing it firsthand.
“Product experience is the best tool,” Amway said, noting that being familiar with the products help an IBO talk about the products with confidence and make it easy to sell to customers. “Share your favorites, and friends and family will likely be interested in buying them too,” the company added.
After becoming familiar with the products and introducing them to customers, the last key to succeed in MLM, according to Amway, is to build for profitability. This can be achieved by expanding the business and sharing the MLM opportunity through sponsoring others.
In the case of Amway, the IBO may earn monthly performance bonuses based on its sales, as well as on the monthly and annual leadership bonuses based on the sales of downline IBOs.
These tips are actually the structure to stride the ladder of success in MLM, and it still depends on the capacity of an IBO or distributor to get through it, specifically in selling the products and building the network.
Social media seems like an obvious choice for marketing; there is Twitter and Facebook. But as Mr. Teague explained, there are still other social networking sites and there is a best way to post content over these 50 websites at once.
“Sure, you know about Twitter and Facebook. However, did you know there are over 50 different websites that could be considered a social network site?” he said. “OnlyWire.com will allow you to post your content to 50 social networks through one easy platform.”
Blogs are another great tool to build network marketing opportunity. However it takes work to build a blog, with one of the most important factors being regularly updated quality content, Mr. Teague said. In this matter, consider automating the posts through software packages that have the ability to schedule posts, and have them go ‘live’ on the site at preferred date and time.
Another tip for building network marketing business is webinars. Mr. Teague explained that a webinar is a great way to share your message with a large group of people at one time. “You could hold a webinar each week with continually updated content, which would keep people coming back for more if your content is valuable,” he said. — Mark Louis F. Ferrolino