Sunday, 18 January 2009

Tactical Victory Or Strategic Disaster?

Next week I'm facilitating a group of European Sales Managers to develop their sales strategy for the next few months - it's tough out there and they're wondering how to bring in nearly $100million in the next quarter. Why would you want to know this? Well, while preparing for this task today it seemed pretty obvious to me that they have the same challenges as so many of the mlm operators I meet.

In these tough economic times so many sales people are told to "get out there and sell, sell, sell!" to the point where they get desperate. The same desperation can quickly develop in the network marketer if they fail to think and act strategically (see Obstacle #4 in my Manifesto. Download it here if you don't already have it...) and only focus on the tactics.

Imagine this situation: you've been talking to a prospective recruit for weeks, building a rapport, telling them about the details of the products and compensation plan on offer, and so on. You have so much in common it seems, that they are 100% going to sign up any day now. Except they don't. Much to your surprise. You see, they went with another mlm operator, with a different mlm company which actually offered a slightly less attractive proposition.

So how come you've lost this recruit? All that time you spent is now wasted - you can't get it back. For many mlm operators, especially in the early days of start-up, time is a very scarce resource, and you can't afford to waste it with all this effort to recruit an individual who then doesn't go for your downline - perhaps one reason why the automated downline building and recruitment websites are popular...

What you didn't do was think about your strategy - you were only focused on your tactics. What does strategy in selling actually mean? Well, in this case of ours you didn't think about competition, in the form of the other mlm company. You didn't think about the fact you were selling to more than just 1 person - you didn't have to influence 1 person to decide to go with you, you also had to get their spouse on board. What your competitor did was to get the spouse interested and 'sold' on their offering as well. What you did was not even realise the sales situation was more complex than you thought. You can't just 'get out and sell' like this and expect a good return for your efforts.

So as you set about your recruitment campaign, think on the following:

  • Who is your ideal recruit - what kind of people do you want in your downline? (And are you prepared to reject those that don't meet your criteria?)
  • Who else other than the recruit needs to be 'sold' on your offering?
  • What needs to happen for all parties involved to feel comfortable giving you the 'sale'?
  • Your biggest competitor is not some other mlm company or even downline builder, it's the inaction of the prospect/recruit - what can you do to overcome this apathy?
It's my experience that most sales are lost not because of price or an unattractive proposition but because of a lack of a process for making sure both the tactics and the strategy are taken care of. Now while it's true you can learn a little more about processes in general in my Manifesto (see Obstacles #5, #10 specifically), it seems to be the case as well that having a process seems to require more time, and so operating a sales process may mean that you can only build relationships with 1/2 or even 1/4 of the number of people that you could without a process. Yet you are more likely to have a conversion rate of 80% than the much lower rate (less then 20%) when no process is followed. So while you may seemingly talk to less the relationship is a higher quality one, and you are engaging with just the kind of people you want.

Simple maths tells you that for the situation with the sales process, 0.8 x 0.25 = 0.2 or 1 in 5. And if you have a conversion rate with no sales process of at best 20%, you will, at best, have 1 in 5 successes. Which relationship will be the more enjoyable and fruitful in the longer term? The numerous but quickly and arguably, shallowly engaged one, or the one where you take more time to really understand what is going on, and where there is a deeper personal connection. Which situation is going to result in the person staying with you longer?

So, with your next sale/recruit - are you on the verge of a tactical victory, or a strategic disaster?

Happy recuiting & selling!



Sunday, 11 January 2009

Automating The Wrong Things In Your MLM Business

On one of the forums ( I came across a posting from a lady who was frustrated seemingly with the quality of the downline she'd managed to recruit. Various people suggested a variety of things to try out. One of these involved automation of parts of the mlm operation.

Those of you who have read my Manifesto & Workbook will appreciate that 3 of the 12 obstacles I identified in my research may apply here: Obstacle #5 (Poor Business Design), Obstacle #7 (Poor Decisions About What To Outsource) and Obstacle #8 (Not Using Leverage & Scalability).

As I see it, automating your sales process is a key element of overcoming Obstacle #8, and when done so with reference to Obstacles #5 & #7 then the customer experience will be great, speedy and you will be selling stuff even though you're not there... or even awake!

What I believe some of the posters on the thread I mention at the start of this post are suggesting is to automate the recruitment process. And I say a most emphatic No! Why? Well, Obstacle #1 is all about treating this whole thing as a serious business. If you were seriously thinking about joining an organisation that said it was serious about being very successful, how would you feel if the only way in was to fill in an online form and then get on with business? I know I'd be very unimpressed. I'd have a ton of questions I want good answers to before I invest my time with a particular employer or business. As the MLM operator I want to be sure I'm only signing up people who I can work with, who 'get it', who have energy and self-reliance, etc. For me to be sure of this I'd want to meet each person at least once, if not several times, maybe have both formal and informal interviews, possibly even do some assessments and tests - this is serious stuff after all!

So just because automation is easier and more convenient for you, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do - remember Obstacles #5,7 & 8!

Good luck!

Resistant To Attrition

While I was continung my research I came across this blog posting. I like the essence of it, and the term "resistant to attrition" - it seems that 50% + of MLM operators quit inside of 3 months - this quitting is the attrition mentioned in Jacqueline's term.

Jacqueline's posting is courtesy of Michael Lemm who also runs

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Kicking And Screaming? I Don't Think So!

I came across the beginnings of a discussion on one of the MLM forums. It tells of a new recruit who said she signed up "kicking and screaming" - sounds like she was the victim of a hard sell. This doesn't sound much like a recipe for success, as you'll certainly know if you've read my Manifesto.

You can see my contribution to this discussion, plus the rest of the thread if you hop over to

So beware!

And best wishes...

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Labour Of Love

OK. It's here. At last.

Ever since I saw early signs for the impending economic storm, I've felt driven to create The Second Income Manifesto, also known as the MLM / Network Marketing Manifesto.

And now it's here, available to all, for free download, from

After you've read and worked through this Manifesto, you will be in a fantastically better position to make an informed decision about your next steps towards starting, or significantly growing, a second income. This is as true of you are totally new to all of this, or an established mlm operator or MLMer.

The Manifesto is both an information source and a workbook, helping you to assess your own unique situation to figure out the next steps. There's stuff here you won't find anywhere else, as well as some of the more well known concepts and tools - I want this to be the most convenient way to access what you need.

Anyways, enough said here - you'll find so much more about a home based business in network marketing, and what is in the Manifesto, plus details of how to freely get hold of our own copy.

Later, as you reflect on what you have read about and in the Manifesto, your mind will be racing with all the possibilities that become known to you - almost too pumped to sleep, glad that you did download your copy...

Click on over to now!