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The Network Marketing Road Less Traveled

Aug 17, 2007
When I started my home-based network marketing business, I fully bought into the "system" that came with it. You know the "system", make a list of 100 people you know, contact them all and talk to them about joining the business with you. If they are not interested in joining the business, they'll at least become good retail customers.

The idea behind this part of the plan is that a good portion of the people who know you, love you, and/or trust you will quickly see the benefits of joining the business with you and together you will all become wealthy running your own home business network marketing empires.

The other part of the plan is to tell anyone that comes within three feet about the business and why they should join. Through this part of the plan, simply talking to enough people will result in success.

I believed this wholeheartedly and tried to follow it.

I made my list of 100 people and narrowed that down to 20 hot prospects and then narrowed that list down again to the top 5 prospects. I set up meetings and started making calls trying to set up meetings.

By the time I had been in business for three months, not one person I knew, love, or trusted had joined the business with me despite the fact that I had followed the system I had been taught. In fact, a couple of these people were put off by the entire approach, thinking that I was trying to get them involved in a pyramid scheme (despite my thorough explanations of why the business is not a pyramid scheme).

So after three months, the point where 97% of network marketers quit, I had three clear options:
a. Quit and prove all the doubters right.
b. Keep working the same system.
c. Find another way to become successful.

In considering my options I analyzed why my company's system wasn't working for me. After revisiting my list with a more critical eye and considering the reality of my life, I reached a few conclusions:

1. Lack of Resources: Not everyone on my list was someone who had the resources to start a home business. Even though the start-up and marketing costs associated with network marketing businesses are much lower than those of traditional businesses, running a business, even a home-based business, requires money and many people just don't have the money to start and run a network marketing business.

2. Non-Viable Prospects: Looking critically at the people on my list, I realized that the vast majority of these people simply weren't a good fit for this business. Most often they weren't a good fit because they either: a) had no interest in starting any type of business, b) were happy in the career they had, or c) did not have the drive necessary to be a successful entrepreneur.

3. No Network: Network marketing is about marketing and distributing products through a "network" of people. Looking at those who had become successful in my company, they all seemed to have one big thing in common: a large built-in network. This network often involved a large family, a large social network, or a large network of established business contacts. On the other hand, I do not have a large family, my social network is made up a few very close friends, and a small network of business contacts. And it was not, and is not, appropriate for me to discuss a business opportunity in the context of my full time job. Without such a built-in network, most network marketers end up in the 97% who fail.

So what do you do if you want to be successful in your network marketing business?

You don't follow in the footsteps of others, you go your own way. You remember that you are running your own business and that the choice of how to run it and make it successful is ultimately up to you.

What do you do next? Here are some suggestions on finding an alternative road to success:

1. Determine Your Target Market: Look at your business critically and determine who is your real target market, both for finding other people to join your business and to purchase your products or services. These markets may or may not be the same.

2. Take Your Business Global: Network marketing systems are often very big on face to face meetings, group presentations, opportunity meetings, etc. But in today's world, you don't have to limit yourself to your local community to make your business successful. If you have a phone and email, you can reach out to a much larger pool of potential pool of business builders and customers.

3. Attract People to You: Once you know who is in your target market(s), market them and attract them to you and your opportunity. You will find many more people join your business and become your customers if they have come to you as opposed to you chasing them.

4. Internet Marketing: Through websites, article marketing, blogs, etc. you can bring qualified people that are looking for home business opportunities and/or your product and service to you. Through the right type of message, you can have people come to you that are not only in your target market, but are anxious to join you in your business or purchase your product or service.

These are just a few suggestions. If you decide to employ these suggestions in building your network marketing business, be warned that you may find some resistance to such methods from your upline. But remember - you started your own network marketing business so that you could be in charge. Don't give your control over to your upline. Just because they built their business the "company system" way, doesn't mean that you have to do that as well.

On the other hand, don't completely reject the "company system." There may be times when aspects of that system fit with your current situation. For instance, you may find that a group presentation is the perfect way to introduce a particular group to your product or service. Or you may come into contact with someone who mentions that they are looking to change careers. Again, that may be the perfect time to mention your opportunity.

In the end, remember that your network marketing business is just that - YOUR BUSINESS. You decide how to run it and how to make it successful. You can take the road taught by your company, or you can take the road less traveled.

Whatever road you take, make it end up at success.
About the Author
Suzanne Don de'Ville is a successful professional who runs her own home-based network marketing business. Find success with her proven, non-traditional network marketing system at my website, http://www.home-business-for-women.com
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