What Can You Learn From Network Marketing?

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What You Can Learn From Network Marketers?

What You Can Learn From Network Marketers?

Network Marketing does have a bad reputation in both the online and offline world. The question is this: is it because Network Marketing is a bad business model or because of the business model practices?

What Exactly Is Network Marketing?

In my young and innocent days, I was caught up in the mass hysteria of network marketing businesses a couple of times. They seemed so full of promise, and the people "selling me" on it were certainly hyping the potential.

But after a few false starts in 3 different businesses, I came to realize a couple of things. (Yes, over a period of 4 years, I actually did try three different times! What can I say? I'm stubborn.)

  1. I am not a good face-to-face salesperson. I just don't like to do the "rah-rah, buy from me, join this program, you can't lose" thing.
  2. I have a hard time pitching something I don't believe in all the way down to my gut level. I wanted to believe, but as time went on, I couldn't sustain it.
  3. The Network Marketing business model is actually two business models — signing up a downline (sub-salespeople that you help and manage) and selling products or services (the supposed justification for the program to exist legally).

It was the third revelation that got me to come to my senses. I hated the downline recruitment — it was just more selling of a dream to people who thought they were buying the product/service model when in fact the real money comes from the downline side. Yes, you sell the product or service, but the "multiplication factor" that drives your success comes from having those salespeople under you.

And of course that is what they're doing, too. They try to sell a lot of products or services, and then they discover that it's nothing more than a home-based distributorship. How many of us know enough people to build up a commission-sales customer base that supports us in gross/net sales? Of course, they tell you that "you know people, who know people, who know people."

Does that really work? No. It's not a viable, sustainable business model for most folks. Do you think Wal-Mart would have been a success with only ONE salesperson? You have to convert a percentage of those customers into a downline and convince them to build a customer base, and then they add a downline, and so on ... That's what builds your business to a sustainable level.

Of course, that means you have to like recruitment, you have to believe in the dream model you are recruiting for, and you have to be good at it. Otherwise, you won't succeed. The problem is that most of us in Network Marketing are told that we are selling the product, but are then shown that we should be selling the downline recruitment. Talk about confusing!

So I got out. Please understand me — I'm not saying you can't succeed at Network Marketing. I'm saying *I* can't succeed at traditional network marketing. It's not my thing. But ...

What Can You Learn From the Network Marketing Model?

Learning from network marketing methods, just like learning from any business
model, is certainly possible. Every viable business type has something
that you can learn from. In fact, most things in life have something you can
learn from both personally and professionally — IF you are open to learning despite disagreements with the source of your lesson.

So what did I learn from network marketing?

  1. I learned from network marketing that a good business model for one person does not equate to a good business model for every person. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and our success in a business requires us to capitalize on those. If too much of the business requires methods you can't stand and don't want to learn, you probably won't succeed. This is a fact that few online marketers take into consideration early on. Just because the guru says the system works for him and some others does not mean it will work for you. You may have a totally divergent mindset and skill set. This goes for real life personal situations as well.
  2. When you take on a business model, you must understand what you are selling. Are you selling a dream, or a method of distribution, or advice, or a system, or a product line, or a ... (fill in the product or service here)? How can you succeed if you can't market it? And you can't market what you don't understand.
  3. Play to your strengths. Don't try to be what you aren't. People today are more cynical that in decades past (now I'm dating myself) and have B.S. detectors that are much more powerful. You need to come from a position of strength in order to convince others of the usefulness of your product or service.
  4. And the last thing you can learn from network marketing is that persistence plays a big factor in success. Those who do succeed with this business model — online or offline — do so because they take action, try many things until something works, multiply their success, and never give up.

So, as you can see, you can learn from network marketing. Frankly, you can learn from just about any life experience — positive or negative — if you approach it from a position of openness. What can I learn from this? What can I take away that will serve me in the future?

If you're floundering in your business, your marketing, your product development, your customer service, whatever ... then take a step back and look for lessons in your life and the lives of people you know. Just as you can learn from network marketing, you can learn from anything. If you persist.

What do you think? Have you or someone you know tried network marketing? Were you successful? What did you learn?