Do I have to talk to people?

Network marketing is often described as a “people business.”

But except for the opportunity meetings, that seems to be becoming a thing of the past.

How many networkers are hoping to make money hunkered down in front of their computers? Using the Internet, they buy gobs of online leads and auto responders, loud landing pages and websites, and hope that strangers will give them orders.

An online order-taking business. Sounds great. Sign me up!

It works for a company like Amazon, whose products, fair pricing and service are known.

But how well does it work for a network marketer?

Winnie is not known, her products are not familiar to others, and they require some explanation. Plus they’re pricier than the off-the-shelf alternative. Would you buy something like that from someone you don’t know without talking to a real person who’s familiar with the product first?

I talked to the owner of one of the largest leads companies in the business last night. He told me that he has huge numbers of people buying his leads. They then send out hypey emails to lists, followed up by auto responders directing them to red and blue landing pages offering their big income opportunity…

“They figure out everything they can how NOT to talk to people” he said.

Are you finding that, too?

P.S. If that’s where things are headed, the language being used had better be finely crafted so it doesn’t sound like the typical email blast – full of hype and promises – and clearly pitched to the herd, not to the individual who reads it.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I must admit, when I first joined my NM company, it was with the intent of doing solely online marketing of the product. Then I read the fine print about how that’s not allowed for the most part. So I was forced to market the old fashioned way…talking to people. It’s going a bit slower than I had envisioned but I have met so many great new friends along the way that my life is enriched. I look forward to my paycheck someday reflecting the abundance that I already feel in my life as a result of all these new relationships! Meanwhile, I think there are other products to sell online that do not require so much explanation. Nothing wrong with mulitiple streams of income, right?


  • As a sponsor (enroller, upline, whatever you call it) it is MY responsibility to teach my organization methods of advertising that will have people calling them. I don't recommend ever cold calling and chasing after someone. If your upline's "system" that they are teaching you involves either:

    1. Make a list of your friends & family


    2. Buy leads

    You do not have a duplicatable system and people will quit. You are setting them up for failure from day one.

    Give them a buffet table of ideas on how to have people coming to them. Once that begins to happen, it's magical. Your organization will grow slower at first, but it will spread like wildfire.


  • Roxanne,
    I’d love to her some of the samples on your buffet table. I admit that my company does have us make a list.
    I’d enjoy learning about a system that doesn’t include the dreaded list 🙂

    Cheers, Jax

  • The lies in networking must stop. Money comes from work not thinking about it. Gain the skills you need, talk to people like people not they are wearing a credit card on their forhead. Help them – it helps you.

  • I agree, I used to be in Primerica and I saw many people telling prospects things that weren’t true. If you are going after people that you dont want to work with you will have to lie. I say go after the leads you want in your organization, not people that are to timid to talk to anyone without lying.

    Derek Honeywell

  • Kim, many great points of thought you bring out in this post, which are important for people to look at. Not only looking at it from the persective of that this IS happening, but look at it from the perspective of understanding how to combat the mentality of chasing the easy button for business building.

    If it truly was that easy, we wouldn’t be even reading your post… and everyone would be stinking rich in this industry.

    I have found over the years that the Internet is often perceived as the time-saving “hands-off” automated easy money machine. However, the industry we are in is a people business and requires the development of relationships with our customers… which is essentially the backbone of a successful enterprise… and I do support using the Internet as a leveraging tool that supplements one’s overall business building efforts.

    The challenge I see is that the majority of people do not know how to effective communicate. They don’t want to talk with people, ayet these same people are “trying to write their way to success”… and then you mix in marketing and sales… what a mess! This is why your book, “If My Product’s So Great, How Come I Can’t Sell It?”, is a must have for every person in this industry. You provide great examples of how to create a script that will help the marketer effectively connect with their prospect. It can even be used to help craft an effective email letter.

    Personally I believe, after having coached thousands of people, that if a person learned how to effectively sell their product first, they will become an effective recruiter. But since people don’t do this, we have the problem you described about.

  • Michele has a valid point about some companies having strict prohibitions on internet marketing, but if the company provides you with a sales web page, you can usually satisfy the requirements by using websites that don’t specifically mention brand names or use copyrighted logos. You can create a page (or several) that “pre-sell” your product or service, and then once they have qualified themselves as wanting your product/service you then send them to the company sales page.

    The number of new MLM/NWM companies on the internet continues to grow, and will continue because the internet is rapidly becoming the primary mode of communications used by people.

    Unfortunately, Angela is right! A lot of people are using the internet to propagate the same misleading visions so frequently used “offline” in painting NWM online as an “autopilot” or “hands off” kind of business, where you just sign up a couple (or half a dozen) people, sit back, and wait for the big checks to start rolling in. It just doesn’t work like that!

    The only “leads” worth calling, in my opinion, are the ones that you have generated for yourself. Don’t buy them – attract them! In order to do that, you’re going to have to do some work and learn how. That can be a challenge for some people who aren’t savvy about the internet, but it’s well worth the effort.

    No real business of any kind can be built without some medium of communications – whether it’s conveying the benefits of your products and services, or providing training for the people in your downline.

    The internet doesn’t eliminate the need to communicate with individual people concerning your business, but it does make it easier and more efficient, enabling you to reach more people with your message and also giving them a means to reach you.

    Although I haven’t looked at any of Kim’s training materials myself, I can tell by the posts she puts on this blog that she’s definitely on the right track with what she teaches.

    The most difficult part about marketing online is figuring out who to listen to for advice. I recommend listening to Kim – she’s shooting straight with you!

  • Michele:
    You write”I think there are other products to sell online that do not require so much explanation. Nothing wrong with multiple streams of income, right?”

    What kinds of products are you selling like that? Seems that products that don’t require explanation are commodities – which are freely available and on which you mainly complete on price.

    I might be wrong…so tell me how you are getting around that..

  • Dear Kim,

    We once hired a woodworker who could not read a tape measure. Short tenure.

    How about a librarian that can’t read.

    I know we are part of the biggest self-improvement business on the planet, but why on earth would you suggest direct selling, Network Marketing, MLM or what ever you want to call it to someone that hides behind their computer because they are afraid of people.

    When computers start selling themselves to computers, then we humans can just step out of the loop and hope we don’t become one of the commodities for sale.

    Jeff’s point, “I do support using the Internet as a leveraging tool that supplements one’s overall business building efforts”
    is a good one.

    I think of it as a giant fisherman’s net. The holes are sized to allow the small ones (shy ones) to get away.

    Honestly folks, if a person can not get in front of people to promote their business, can they really make it? Oh I know ever zero knows a hero, but the zero still needs to open their mouth and talk to the hero.

    Can we talk?
    Tom Doiron

  • I would say that the phone is still absolutely essential in network marketing. Its just the methods have changed in terms of attracting leads. I do not recommend to anyone to buy leads. 1 lead you generate yourself online is better then 300 you can buy.

  • Kurt – you write: “1 lead you generate yourself online is better then 300 you can buy.”

    What are some things you are doing that are bringing you leads that are at least in the right ball park as it relates to your business or product?

  • Hmmm…. I’m with Roxanne…. we don’t buy or hype leads. We use our own online educational program with volunteer mentors to teach people the basics of communication and then refinements of building relationships… through CONVERSATIONS. LIVE Conversations.

    Most of us had not really learned how to CONVERSE. Often, it is dualing monologues – seeing who can strike first.

    In our free mentoring program, we teach the basic color personalities, have 9 interactive live phone calls/week on an ongoing basis to teach and coach people how to CONVERSE, LISTEN, and actually HEAR what another person is saying.

    Then we teach people how to go online – for free – and offer information, articles, resources to networkers to help them improve all these skills.

    Without spending one dime for our all-volunteer peer counseling programs.

    Our work is based on the teachings of Big Al Tom Schreiter who is long recognized as a master’s master of “belly to belly” marketing – preferably over food 🙂

    I have developed some incredibly new enriching friendships with some really amazing and inspiring individuals using this type of connection outreach online. My life – and business – are richly blessed because of forming REAL relationships with REAL people.

    I hope yours is, too.

    To YOUR Success,

    Pat Crosby

  • I have long been an advocate for major improvements in our industry – hence my avid following of you Kim. I have experienced many of the difficulties we all are aware of in this forum and have attempted to help my team members in all sorts of ways.

    By far the BIGGEST problem is getting people to talk with both family/friends or strangers. We all know what the fears are – rejection, embarrassment etc.

    Then there is the reality of someone like me who has been in NM for several years and in several opportunities who REALLY HAS burnt out their centre of influence and lost the welcome to the barbecue I once had.

    In that case, the alternatives include the 3 foot rule or spending thousands on buying leads and then tolerating the rejection, the low percentages and all that loss of self confidence that goes with that. As well as the waste of your cash!

    We are all told to duplicate what your upline does, make lists etc – but in 99% of my experiences, you are effectively duplicating failure, not success because your upline are struggling too!

    These then are some of the reasons why people prefer to try to succeed in their business by staying at the keyboard and running autoresponders and bulk mailers – you avoid the rejection issues. The only ones who benefit will always be the Leads Vendors! The other problem these days is that people simply do not want to go to meetings or homes – they prefer to stay at home. Add to that the increasing cost of travel by road, and still fewer will be arriving.

    The NM MLM industry needs a major shift from both the companies who create the products/payplans and from our perspective at the coal face to one where there is acknowledgment that product sales (customers) NOT salespersons are the answer to the high failure rate, with products which are price competitive with the normal market and where instead or wasting our money purchasing leads – to people who were never interested in us or our products anyway, to where the NM companies do the promotion and the advertising and create customers and we purchase those customers instead.

    Wouldn’t this model create a more successful and stable business with solid growth where customers far exceed salespersons AND a sales co-operative where everyone really do help each other without the MLM grab for associates that occurs. No-one then would get left behind and success would be better assured.

  • You definitely have to talk to people-even if that “talking” is done through regular and consistent emailing back and forth. How many of us remember having Pen Pals while growing up? We never actually MET these buddies but we wrote back and forth right? I’ve built some terrific Internet “relationships” this way as well! Such ones have become my clients and successline over the years. Great post Kim!

  • Jax,

    I apologize. I haven’t been back here in a while. Some samples from my buffet table are:

    Use social networking sites to make new friends. Sounds overly simple and it is. Just make new friends. I did a training recently on this. Make your profile 85 – 95% about you and then a simple link to a free report or something (NOT YOUR COMPANY SITE) that you can offer them. If they like you, they will click the link. Don’t shove it at anyone.

    Write a blog I give my team ideas of what to write about and help them get a blog going (if that’s what they choose). Then I teach them how to find other blogs to leave comments on. These must be good quality comments. If people like what you have to say, they will visit your blog where they can either call you, email you or get the free report that I talked about above.

    These are just two examples. There are a lot more. I’ve talked about a lot of them here in Kim’s comment space.

    Just think of ways that you can position yourself to have people saying “Tell me more about your company”. Don’t ever “sell” your company. I rarely ever even mention it. People call me and ask about it.

    THAT, my friend, is network marketing.

    Make it a great day!!

    Roxanne Green

Leave a Comment