Network marketing is hard to do and it’s not your fault.

Three reasons:

1. Most folks coming into the business have never had a business of their own before, or done any commission sales.

2. Folks hear from recruiters that NM is supposed to be easy (you know, like recommending a restaurant). Women especially, blame themselves when it isn’t like that.

3. The approach language they’ve learned turns others off completely.

We probably can’t (and maybe shouldn’t) do much about 1. Here’s what I suggest for #2.

Stop telling people it’s easy in order to get them in. NM is sales, and that is NOT easy.When has sales ever been easy for an average person?

Oh, and please stop with the false restaurant movie analogy: “recommending” your product or business is not like recommending a restaurant or movie. You don’t hold your hand out and ask for money after. Do you?

Test my (above) statement: Have you ever lost a friend because of a movie you recommended? OK. Now, have you lost a friend because you “recommended” your product or business?

3. The approach language they’ve learned turns others off completely.

Say you’re leading with your product. What’s your opening line now? Jot it down and compare it to this.

Here’s my take on sales. People connect with people (v. product or company names they don’t know). Humans identify with shared values.

For example, say you play tennis and meet someone new, who also happens to play tennis. Don’t you have an instant mini-bond? Or if you find out you hail from the same little town, or are both environmentalists or painters – there’s an immediate mini-bond, yes?

Therefor, let your opening line start with a value that you have, that you seek.

“Hi there X, say I’m calling everyone in the neighborhood to see who is really into the environment and might be looking for some eco-friendly cleaning products that actually work. Do you know anyone like that?”

Notice three things:

1) You are asking for values first. Someone who cares about the environment. If they don’t, how much time do you want to spend doing therapy?

2) There’s no mention of the name of the product or company in the opener. Do you think anyone (who’s not in the company with you) cares at this point? It’s just techno-babble to them.

3) There are no promises about how great the product is. No gushing about how it’s amazing, blah blah blah.

If the other person has an interest or knows someone, they’ll ask a question or two. If not, say thanks and keep dialing. If it’s an acquaintance, let go. Keep the friendship instead. If they know someone, they might refer you if you’re not pushy. (Like they’d refer a cardiologist to you if you were looking for one.)

Your take?

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Excellent approaches. In my 20+ years in NM, the coaches have all said to either “start with the product”, or “start with the company” or “start with the opportunity”. No one, except you and John Milton Fogg says “start by learning their values and how what you have to offer matches their values”. Values is super important, and hopefully their values match yours!
    Thanks, Kim.

  • How about stop “pitching” all together? I have people all the time ask me about my business and my products because I focus on creating relationships with people and put myself in situations where people will ask “What do you do” or “What’s that green water you’re drinking” or “How have you lost so much weight?” or “Those cookies you’re always snacking on look good. What are they?” or “Every time I see you, you are so bubbly. How do you have so much energy?”.

    No pitching, therefore no rejection.

    Roxanne Green

  • Sales is NOT a “recommending” business like Kim helped us to appreciate here. In fact, isn’t it true that most women DON’T want anyone to know where they get their products from? Ask any lady where she got this or that and she might say…”Give me XYZ amount and I’ll get you one/get it for you” instead of disclosing where she actually bought it because she doesn’t want you to shop where she shops! Make sense? Some of us can be selfish/secretive that way right girls? (smile) Thanks Kim!

  • Kim,

    Good points, as usual. I tend to think of your number two and number three as being related. Promoting your product certainly isn’t like promoting a movie or restaurant if you have your hand out asking for money. It can be similar, however, if you approach it without an agenda. I realize that’s easier said than done. It seems to me that one’s attitude makes the difference.

    Most people don’t like to be sold. If you approach it like a salesperson, your not likely to have success.

    That’s why approaching the issue as you recommend and connecting with the person on a personal level by starting with a value is so important.


    Steve DeVane

  • Kim,
    these points make more sense than most people are willing to admit. Simply because a lot of people looking to start their own business are comfortable with someone they know and feel like that person would not lie to them. But what happens a lot of times is hype,and when you are caught in the moment of a hype party you can not think straight and you will whip that credit card right out, having no idea what you just got into. That’s why I totally agree with you on this because after 12 years in mlm have just figured it out…Where were you 10 yrs ago?
    Jimmy Williams

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