As an active network marketer, in addition to my coaching practice, in my experience, when approaching prospects, one the biggest issues they cite as turn-offs about network marketers is that they are afraid of having to join a “cult” that tries to “convert” everybody that breathes.
I see this myself, when observing fellow distributors circulate in a networking situation, let’s say at the Chamber of Commerce.
The first thing these well-meaning distributors answer when someone asks them “what do you do”, is start blabbering on about the “best nutritionals”, “best company”, “Forbes”, yadda yadda. And I see the response on the listener’s face as they shut down and give that blank stare, or start looking around to see if the appetizers are being served…
This thought came to me as I was consulting Guy Kawasaki’s latest blog entry, which directed me to this comment, about spreading the word on the Firefox browser:
I quote here the last paragraph, replacing “Firefox” with “your company”
I’m not saying you should learn all the technical stuff about [your company], but I think that if you are going to try to show people that [your company] is a better choice, you should know why you think so. Be ready and able to show anyone that you’re not just repeating what everyone else says, like [product name] doesn’t have [bad stuff], so it’s better!’. Yeah, this is a valid argument, but do you know why it makes it better? Are you ready to talk to a [specialist] and give them all the reasons why you think [bad stuff] is not a good thing to implement? Make sure you have an answer to those asking “Why?” about your opinions. A good way to do this is tell people about your favorite features, such as [how it doesn’t feel whatever]. You probably know more about things like that than you will about more technical aspects, so you will be able to answer questions that people have. I also think if we take the time to become less of “[your company] fanatics”, and more just showing people that [your company] can be useful to them, that a lot of people will be willing to take us more seriously, and listen, even if they don’t always agree. There will always be people who won’t listen no matter what you say. Maybe you should spend less time on them and more time on people who will listen, so you can get to more people. Of course if you know enough technically to debate about [details] and technical aspects about [your company], do so, but don’t make youself look stupid. 😉
Two comments about inviting vs hyping:
1. Soften your statements. Remember, when one uses superlatives, such as “the best product”, “the best company”, etc, this automatically triggers the thought response “yeah right, prove it” in the listener’s mind. After that, no matter what “fact” you try to put forward, you hit the impenetrable wall of skepticism.
Instead, soften your statements, relating it to your own experience when possible: “In my experience, this is a great product, (because…)”, “What I like about (the product, pay plan, team, company) is…”
Be positive, be constructive, and above all, be real. Don’t overhype what you offer, and don’t disparage competitors.
2. Stop convincing and start influencing. Focus on listening for your prospects needs and on communicating your own experience. “Facts tell, but stories sell”
By all means, be an evangelist, spreading the word about what you offer, without being a fanatic, who’ll say anything to convince the world.