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The Sharing vs Selling Debate

The economic situation of the last couple of years has made people, perhaps through necessity or even desperation; revisit their attitudes towards network marketing. Particularly in the States the industry seems to be very healthy.  Generally Network Marketers are much more sensible and restrained about how they go about it, which means in return people are more sympathetic towards it, but there is still some suspicion.


There is fear of Network Marketing scams and general uneasiness with "get rich quick" and pyramid schemes. Most people generally are still pretty clueless about Network Marketing.


Above all else though people just don't like being sold to and the perception remains that this is all about selling.


Somewhere along the line someone did a fairly good job of selling to you if you have already joined up to a network marketing program. If they messed up then it probably entrenched your negative view of it.


But anyway, did you trust that person? Were they sincere?


Did you feel you were being sold?


My first experience of MLM was many years ago. I was in my twenties when the sister of an old class-mate mentioned about this business that she and her brother had got involved with and they drew me in with talk of serious money.


They were definitely doing MLM the traditional way (pre internet!), the way they had been taught - listbuilding, working their warm market and getting people along to meetings while giving as little away as possible.


I went along to a couple of meetings and when they explained MLM it blew me away. WOW! Surely everyone I know will be interested in hearing this...


With due respect, my class-mate had not been an exceptional achiever at school but he was focused, committed and working with some success. If he could make a go of it then certainly I could!


What is MLM? - A teaching and sharing business, not selling! That is what we were told and that's what the books said at the time...


My friends were totally sincere in their desire to make money and be successful. So too were they totally sincere in wanting to share this opportunity with their friends and family. People they cared about.


All they were doing was sharing information and letting me make a decision so that I closed myself.


Hmm. You could say that that was good salesmanship! So what's the difference?


In Network Marketing today there is more acceptance that it is a sales business. Money transacts and goods change hands or services are provided. Sales is something a lot of people just don't enjoy because you are faced with rejection. No-one likes facing rejection, even if it is the product or opportunity they are rejecting and not you.


An unpleasant experience is not something I would want to share with anyone, yet alone my friends and family!


Yet a lot of people work in shops and stores without any issues.


You ask "Can I help you?"


You find out what it is they need and go get it off the shelf. If you know your market well you can give them tailored advice, but what you are doing is giving someone the solution to their problem - a fulfillment of a need?


They came into the store - they are looking for something to buy!!


What if you were only speaking with genuine business opportunity seekers? Well in today's economic climate there are many more such people around. Any number of prospects volunteer themselves as wanting some extra income, yet alone security and freedom!


The evolution to using "attraction marketing" techniques probably saved the industry as it re-wrote the text book to say you should pre-qualify your leads. They used to say use the 3 foot rule - pitch anyone who came within 3 ft of you - or nowdays the internet equivalent of spamming!


Talking to people about something they have shown an interest in - opt opted into,  is an awful lot different from going knocking on people's door and trying to sell them something them have not even asked for...


So yes, Network Marketing today is selling, but it is also providing solutions and meeting people's needs. And who is it that you would you most like to help if it is not those people you already know? As well though the internet has brought us INTERNetwork Marketing which allows you to reach and teach a multitude of people you could not previously reach.


It is like moving from being a door to door salesman to being a business consultant and nowadays that is how network marketers are positioning themselves - as mentors and trainers. Perhaps all that personal development stuff that goes along with it has actually had some effect.....

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