The first Tupperware party was held in 1948. It created a new way to sell. It is a model that has been copied by many companies selling everything from vitamins to lingerie. Independent distributors created networks of friends and friends of friends. For people who are happy to have a network of tens of customers, that is fine. However, as a model it starts to fall over if you want to build a network of hundreds or thousands.
Things are changing in the world. That is a given. In 2011 is it time to retire the network party? Is it time to use the new tools to change the way we go about network marketing?
As I was thinking about this, I decided the best place to start is by understanding exactly what network marketing is.
This is how I see it. You have a product to sell. You need to find people to buy that product. You make some money from the sale of that product. So far, I could be writing about any type of marketing.
OK, so what makes network marketing different? The product is not distributed via a shop in the local mall. That is different from the way a lot of products are sold. But with the growth of online selling, that is not unique.
What else? You make additional money by recruiting additional distributors. This is different. Or is it? Plenty of companies offer incentives to clients who recruit other clients.
Network marketing is marketing. Full stop.
Really, I reckon selling via a network is exactly like selling any other way. The more products you sell and the more sales reps you have, the more money you make.
Network marketing is a proven technique. But now, 62 years after that first Tupperware party, it is surely time to change the way it is done.
A lot of people still try the Tupperware model. Almost everyone starts with immediate family and friends and colleagues. But then it gets too hard, people get discouraged and give up.
One in ten gets network marketing right and makes a lot of money.
So here is a very personal opinion on the secret of network marketing success -
It isn’t who you know. It’s who you don’t know that’s important.
The old way to do network marketing was to talk face to face to family, friends, colleagues. This week you talk to one person, next week you talk to six people, the week after that you talk to two. It’s a S-L-O-W way to build a network. And you soon run out of people you know.
The new way is to use emerging networking tools to build your network beyond your family, your city, even your country. Facebook, betternetworker and Twitter aren’t called social networking sites for nothing. Very few businesses understand how to use them.
My networking principle is simple – help customers find networkers, not help networkers find customers. I don’t know about you, but I want people to want to join my network before I even ask them. That means learning how to excite potential networkers. The social networking sites plus things like YouTube are brilliant ways to reach people you do not know.
The old rules about advertising communications apply in these new media – entertain, inform, connect, give reasons to believe. Your presence on Facebook or YouTube is an interruption just as a 30 second commercial is on TV. But if someone likes what you do on Facebook or YouTube they will share it with others. And so awareness of you and your network grows and grows.
The new rules of network marketing
My rules for networking in 2011 would be -
1. You cannot succeed on Tupperware parties alone. Parties are great for selling products, but you cannot build your team internationally by hosting parties. Network building by social gathering alone worked in the days of Bewitched. It is less effective in the times of True Blood.
2. In choosing a network, choose one selling a unique product. If I can buy a similar product in the local supermarket or health store, I do not need to join your network.
3. If you do 2, then 1 is unnecessary. The benefits of a unique product will have been proved by scientists, by doctors, by people like you. There will be plenty of persuasive evidence to convince potential customers – on the Internet, Facebook and YouTube. That means you do not need to demonstrate the benefits in your loungeroom.
4. Do not sell the product you are selling. Huh? I mean do not push it. If you use it and love it, your enthusiasm will be infectious. People you talk to will want the product for themselves. They will WANT to join your network.
5. Know your audience. I worked in advertising for 30 years. Every creative project starts by describing the audience – not how old or where they live, but what they love, hate, fear, want. Get an insight into your audience then adjust your story to match their emotion. Do they like to help others? Have they suffered a financial blow? Are they bored in their jobs? That is easy with people you know. Harder with strangers. But not impossible. There are plenty of tools to help you read people. Tell your story several different ways and different people will relate to each message.
6. Use the Internet. You can reach people pretty much anywhere on planet earth – and maybe some on planets far away. Start a dialogue. Let people come to know you and decide if they like you. They will soon decide if they want to join you in your business. As psychologists tell us, we are more likely to believe and buy from people we like.
7. Have fun. You probably started network marketing because you were not happy in your office job. So do not turn your new network business into the kind of job you left.
8. Have fun. If people see you are enjoying yourself, they will want to share your happiness.
9. Have fun. Even if you have something serious to say, say it with humour. Check what psychologists say about how we relate to people who make us laugh.
10. Have fun. Life is short.
I hope this helps. | Network Marketing |