"We haven’t used those people up yet…"

“The challenge of success in the network marketing world is not about ‘how do I change the worldview of people who are biased against me?’ it’s ‘how do I find the people who are biased for me?’ because we haven’t used those people up yet.”

So said Seth Godin to John Fogg in an interview last December.

Let’s divide people up into three groups:

1. Biased against network marketing (mlm – multilevel marketing)
2. Biased for network marketing
3. Open, no opinion about network marketing

Anyone who’s been in the business more than a week knows the futility of changing the minds and worldview of people who are biased against it, and who think that only low rent people do it.

Of those biased for it, many are in the business, or inclined towards that sort of business – i.e. building up people networks. So they’re ours to lose by the way we talk about, promote and practice the business. Many people quit because they do not want to be perceived as taking advantage of or harrassing others, the way some networkers do.

Then there are the undecideds. This the group includes many people who would at least buy a product or service from a NM member, provided the person doesn’t drive them away with strong-armed tactics or by insisting on bringing up the business – you know, selling to their friends.

Undecided story.

Lulu, 5 years in the business but not yet very successful, talked to a Ms. Undecided last week about her product, which has helped her. Lulu told Ms. U her personal product story, and the Ms. U. said she’d like to see the product. They made a date for next week…

The next day, Ms U called Lulu and said, “Say I don’t want to sell this, or have home parties, ok?” (She’d obviously told someone else about this.)

Lulu: OK. No problem.

Lulu excitedly told her upline about the upcoming appointment, and asked for any tips. The sponsor told her to 1) bring all the scientific data for the product, so she could explain it all and 2)be sure to tell her about the business.

She came to me for advice about what she should tell her potential customer now.

What would you tell her? And how should she deal with her sponsor who of course will be calling to find out what happened?

Use the comments below. Give your reasons, and how long you’ve been doing the business.

Think of how many millions of undecideds there are for us out there to drive away and turn into the biased against camp, or win over or at least keep undecided.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I would go to Ms. Undecided and ask her the questions. What are you looking for with my product? How/why are you interested in improving your health? Then listen and respond to what her needs are. Then ask more questions. I’m not sure that I would sit down with all the scientific validations… that can be given in written form, or a DVD to watch or a phone call. This meeting should be more about asking questions and listening. I would only explain as much of the business aspect of this that she would see immediate personal benefit.. such as paying for the products she is already taking.

    Then I would be open with my sponsor about my approach and her responses.

    Wellness consulting 2 1/2 years.

  • You wrote that you would ask Ms Undecided:

    What are you looking for with my product? How/why are you interested in improving your health?

    Lulu was happy to get the appointment…this might be a kind of aggressive attitude at this point, think?

    And Ms U called Lulu especially to say she didn’t want to sell or do parties. So would you really suggest Lulu talk up the business despite what Ms U had already said about that?

  • From the tone of your description of the conversation between Lulu and Ms.U, she is interested in the products and certainly, not the business. At least to this point. I would suggest placing the product samples before her, and then ask what sparked her interest in the products. Find out what Ms.Undecided’s needs are and go from there. Let her tell her story, and based on that serve -her- needs not your own. She may try the products and then become a customer.. some customers eventually join the business. She might even join the business without being a customer but Ms.U has questions and has needs to be filled before she will even consider joining.

  • Hi Timothy:

    Lulu talked about her product with Ms. U. No more. She told her how the product had really helped her with something, and now she was marketing it to others who might like to know about it, too. The lady thought about it, and said, maybe she’d like to try it too.

    Then she called the next day to say she didn’t want to sell it, or have home parties.

    How would you feel about the possibility that Ms U might never do the business, and just be a customer?

    Would you think it’s worth Lulu’s time to go to see Ms U? Would you make product presentations to people who say they don’t want to sell, knowing they never will sell?

  • I’d give my eyeteeth for a whole bunch of Mrs U’s.

    The harsh reality is very few people ever purchase a product with the intent to become a sales rep, network marketing or traditional.

    Yet, they will happily purchase product and tell their friends about it all day long.

    I’ve found that you’re much better off with the direct sales and letting the chips fall as far as the business is concerned.

    It will increase your relationships dramatically to know you’re being of service to your friends.


  • Lulu should pick some halo product (Those which give very quick results). She should tell Ms U that this is a gift from her, and that all she asks in return is that if Ms U likes the product that she buys it from her (Lulu).
    If Ms U doesn’t like the product nothing is lost except a small amount of money.

    Ms U knows that LuLu loves her product so much she believes that anyone who tries will buy, and is prepared to back that up with free product. (Don’t try this if you have not got excellent products). Thus if she does love the product Ms U will have total faith in it and assume all the other products are as good and buy lots more.

    If lulu can find enough Ms Us she can build a very strong business.

  • Shari-

    It’s strange isn’t it how someone who’s been brainwashed right by their trainers, comes to project to the world that the only worthy customer is one who also sells the product to people they know…

    And they don’t stop nagging the potential customer to sell, until they’ve lost the person as a customer as well.

    Countless people have told me they’d never buy anything from a network marketer, for that very reason. Members of the NM community have somehow forgotten the meaning of the word, “customer.” Even though they themselves buy most things without selling them too, like their cable service, or phone service.

    I think that practice of insisting customers sell the stuff gave rise to the old question, “Does anyone sell the products?”

    For some people, guess not. The only “customers” are the ones selling it. Weird.

  • Kim,

    I would go to the appointment with Ms. U with the product in tow – a new one ready for her to purchase on the spot and take home, or if I didn’t have any, I’d take mine (the one I’m in the middle of using) plus printed information about the product.

    I’d go prepared to “tell her how it comes” – in other words – how can she, a customer, get her hands on some and what it will cost her – all the options available to her and ask her which option feels like the best one for her.

    Then I’d SHUT UP.

    If she brought any concerns up about the business end of it, I’d reassure her that I loved the product so much that I decided to go into business for myself and make it available to others – people just like her – and that there’s no obligation for her to do the same. She can be a happy customer forever.

    If I did it right, I’d come home having sold some product, at the very least, and maybe an auto-ship customer (you know – so she can get a price break, smart shopper that Ms. U is…) if it went really well.

    When my upline called, I’d relay that I listened to the needs of my potential customer and met them to the best of my ability. If pressed or guilt-tripped about why I didn’t press Ms. U into business-building, I’d say, “I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to make HER feel how YOU are making ME feel now. Would you like to run me off, too?”

    If someone is interested in the business end of your deal, they WILL let you know…promise. But, until that day, better to create and serve a happy customer. That, alone, will do more for ALL of us in NM, than anything else I can think of.

    – Suzanne

  • Suzanne:

    Good response if your upline started badgering you about not presenting the business:

    “If pressed or guilt-tripped about why I didn’t press Ms. U into business-building, I’d say, “I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to make HER feel how YOU are making ME feel now. Would you like to run me off, too?”

    Funny how upline can be so bossy when they advertise this business is a way to “fire your boss.”

    One lady told a class that when she used to go to work out at the gym, her husband was always waiting for her when she got back, with the same question each time, “Well did you talk to anyone?”

    She told him finally that if he didn’t let her go work out in peace, she’d quit the business. He didn’t. She quit. A year later, she said, they divorced.

    So much for bugging. Who wants to be at the other end of it?

    85% of networkers are part time for THEIR reasons. Do you want to drive them out altogether by the constant bugging?

    Bye bye bugs and nags.

  • Kim,

    Well, I WAS LuLu last week and had that exact situation, almost verbatim, happen, including the pushy upline call afterward. And, I DID say to my upline what I suggest in my comment…and guess what – it shut them right up and I referred your book and blog to them. 🙂 Oh, and my Ms. U became a customer. 🙂 Love it, love it, love it….

  • Hi Kim,

    When I posted my comments earlier I came across sounding like I meant to talk or badger someone into joining the business. What I meant to say was that if the person who is undecided just wants to be a customer, that is a good thing and sometimes customers end up as a rep. BUT being a customer alone is great. We all should love to have many customers.

    I’ve seen and experienced it to many times on the phone and in person to not recognize why people have such a disrespectful view of Network Marketers. My upline, who actually is a great guy, has always been pushy about recruiting and it never really sat well with me. Its just not my way (to be pushy). Customers, after all, are the heart of a business are they not? Customers, and happy ones at that are the ones that will spread the word of how good your products are … customers are great. Thats why I spoke of seeing to their needs.

    A ‘biased’ person isn’t going to radically change their view on something no matter how much talking you do.

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