Who Do I Talk To? How To Find Customers

Boy oh boy, this is the holy grail in network marketing.  How to find customers is THE number-one concern for new business people.

There are lots of variations of this concern.  “But I don’t know anybody.”  “I never meet new people.”  “I’m shy, I don’t like talking to large groups.”

In my opinion, people who have this concern are looking at the problem backwards.  Going up to perfect strangers in the grocery store and prospecting them for your business is the LAST thing you want to do!

The very FIRST thing to do is to take a thorough stock of the types of problems your product or service solves.  A nutrition company helps people with obesity, fatigue, and a host of other health problems.  A cookware company helps those who love to cook but don’t have the proper tools.  A skincare company helps people who are concerned about their appearance OR want more natural products to pamper their bodies.

Once you thoroughly understand all the products in your line and the types of problems they address, you can begin to define YOUR ideal customer.  There are WAY too many people out there for you to serve them all.  This is actually backwards to what most network marketing companies push.  To them everyone with a pulse who walks on two legs is a prospective customer.  Ha!  That’s a recipe for confusion and frustration.

As an example, MY network marketing company has four lines of products:  nutritional supplements, weight loss products, nontoxic cleaning products, and a natural skin care line.  I have LOTS of opportunity and LOTS of marketing possibilities.  However, I find myself drawn to two types of customers:  those who want to lose weight, and those with health problems that benefit from nutritional supplementation (like fatigue, migraines and stress).

My ideal customer is an obese person who wants to lose weight, or a person who wants to use supplements to address a health concern rather than (or in addition to) medications.

Once you know who your ideal customer is, you have to figure out where they are, then go to them.  I’m very blessed that usually my network marketing customers walk through the door of my main business!  (I’m a family doctor, if you didn’t already know that.)  However, the concept is the same.

For instance, for a cookware company you might host a series of cooking classes (“brought to you by XYZ company”) and market them inexpensively on Facebook or Twitter, in your church bulletin or by word-of-mouth.  After the class you give away a small door prize in return for the attendees’ contact information.  This gives you more people to market to, to ask for referrals, and build your network.

In addition to standard marketing activity, when you become comfortable with your product line you will find yourself hearing friends, family and sometimes strangers commenting on problems that your products solve.  Then it’s very natural to say something like “I just heard you say that you’re having trouble losing weight.  I know of something that can help with that.  Would you be open to hearing more?”

You CAN have a thriving network marketing business without alienating everyone you know.  It takes training, patience and stick-to-it-iveness!  However, if entrepreneurship and home business ownership were easy, everyone would do it.

If you haven’t read my previous network marketing posts, you can find them and do some catch-up reading here 🙂

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Choosing A Network Marketing Company

Okay, so you’ve decided you’re going to start a home-based business.  You have picked a great product.  It’s consumable and unique.  It has a large and growing market.  It is expected to remain in demand for years to come.  And best of all, it truly makes people’s lives better.

So how do you go about choosing a network marketing company?  There are SOO many out there!  Suppose you want to sell skin care products.  Everybody and their mother has an Avon lady and a Mary Kay lady (or two or three) that they know.  There are numerous companies out there for just about every possible type of product.

Well, first of all, DON’T go to Google.  Just about every company out there has negative reviews.  Anybody who is a disgruntled former distributor can put out a negative review.  It’s impossible to know whether the reviewer has a legitimate complaint about the company or if they just couldn’t make a go of entrepreneurship and they’re looking for someone to blame.

Here are three things to consider when choosing a company.

1.  Who will be your sponsor?

When I sponsor a new businessperson in my company, it is a significant commitment and investment I’m making.  When I joined with Donna as MY sponsor, we already had a great friendship and knew we enjoyed working together.  We have built our businesses in different ways but always in partnership, learning from and leaning on each other.

Do you know someone who has a thriving business selling the type of product you’d like to sell?  Do they love their business?  Do they have good people skills?  Are they organized?  Do they return phone calls?  Most importantly, are they someone you would like to spend a LOT of time with?

People who are actively working to build a business with me as their sponsor hear from me A LOT.  We work closely together, hold meetings together, work on training together, etc.  There is a lot of coaching involved!  PLEASE do not join a company without a sponsor that you consider a friend and role model.  You may very well leave your sponsor in the dust, income-wise, but at the beginning you have to learn the basics, and that takes time and effort.  You will not learn well if you’re learning from someone you don’t like.

2.  Better Business Bureau

Go to the Better Business Bureau website and enter the city and state where your prospective company is headquartered.  Then enter the name of the company, and check out their profile.  Don’t just check their rating.  See what types of complaints the BBB has received, and how they were handled.  It’s very illuminating to see how companies handle complaints!

3.  Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission handles allegations of improper trade practices.  For instance, if a company makes unrealistic claims about the income a new business person can expect, complaints are investigated by the FTC.  Also, improper advertising, marketing, or product claims are handled by the FTC.

Go to the FTC website and search on the name of the company you’re considering joining.  Hopefully no investigations or federal actions come up on the search!

So now you’ve decided what type of unique, consumable, popular product you’re going to sell.  You have a sponsor that you like and respect, and clean reports from the BBB and the FTC.  Now it’s time to REALLY get to work!

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Home-Based Business: How To Choose One?

So you’re interested in starting a home-based business. Good for you!

Now you come to a screeching halt. How do you choose what product or service to offer?

There are many things to consider. Here are three critical factors when choosing a product or service.

1. Consumable product

It’s very important that whatever product you choose to sell or service you choose to provide is CONSUMABLE.  This means that eventually it runs out.

If you choose to sell a product that is not consumable, as soon as you make a sale you are unemployed again, searching for your next customer. Consumable products mean recurring sales, assuming that your product does what it’s supposed to do and your customers are happy with their results.

Examples of consumable products and services include medical and legal services, skincare, nutritional supplements, and food items.

2. Large and growing market

Let’s face it, you can be the best sales person in the world and you will not make any money selling eight-track tapes.  There just isn’t any market.

Think about the markets that are growing. It’s estimated that the biggest markets over the next 15 years or so are going to be in health and wellness, skin care, and legal and financial services.

3. Unique product or service

Why would someone choose you to buy this product or service?  Why not go to Wal-Mart?  The easiest way to ensure you don’t lose your customers to the guy down the street selling something cheaper is to make sure your product is patented, copyrighted, or otherwise UNABLE TO BE COPIED.

If your product is NOT unique you will have trouble keeping customers.  Many people are looking for the cheapest thing they can find, and if there isn’t an important difference about your product or service that cannot be provided by a cheaper competitor, you will lose them.  You cannot compete with Wal-Mart on price, I guarantee that.

By the way, I didn’t come up with these three factors to consider all by myself.  I have benefited enormously from training I purchased from Tim Sales.  If you’re interested in learning more about home-based business and network marketing, you should definitely visit his website at First Class MLM Tools.  Sign up for his blog and you’ll learn a lot!

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Home Based Business: Do You Need A Plan B?

Why would someone consider a home based business?

Unfortunately I see many people in my office who SHOULD have started a home-based business several years ago.  The number of unemployed and underemployed people out there is just staggering.

Folks in their fifties whose companies have folded are now finding it hard to compete in the job market.  Their skills need updating and they’re competing with younger people just coming out of college.  Let’s face it, older people are more expensive to employ.

Here are 3 reasons YOU should consider starting a home based business:

1.  Job insecurity

More and more employers are downsizing, outsourcing and automating.  The days of job security are long past.  What will you do if your company closes?  If your position is eliminated?  If your company hires a supervisor who dislikes you?  If you work for yourself, you have the best employer ever, LOL!  No one can take away your home based business.

2.  Family commitments

I have had the experience of encountering an unexpected family illness.  It can play havoc with your work life!  Many parents would like to work less hours in order to be available for their kids’ activities.  A home based business has the advantage of a flexible schedule.

3.  Hedging against disability

No one can be completely sure that they will be able to work at their job until they are financially ready to retire.  Accidents and illness happen.  Having a home-based business is a way to have a second source of income in case your main source is lost.

A home based business is something you can cram in the corners of your everyday life.  It requires some discipline but you can grow a very healthy business in just a few hours a week.  I work full-time-and-then-some at my medical practice, but still find time to make phone calls to my customers while I’m in the car.  I write for my blog in the evening after the kids are in bed, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The best time to start a home based business was 5 years ago.

The second best time is right now.

Watch for future posts on topics like choosing a company, finding customers, keeping happy customers, building relationships, and others.

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