My Most Important Sale? But…this isn’t really a sales business, is it? I thought this was the business where teachers and moms and coaches and clergy and all non-business types could excel. Isn’t this the ‘person-to-person’ business, where the thrust of our networking effort is on relationships, on coaching and supporting people? Isn’t sales really just a minor, insignificant part of what we do?”

What I’m really doing is selling you on you. I am selling you on your worth; on the validity and achievability of your dreams; on your ability to do this business successfully; and on the things you do right every step of the way.

Hmm. Yes, everything you just said is certainly true…except for that last part. Indeed, to be successful here, you must become very good at selling.

Now, don’t wince. I don’t necessarily mean the literal “merchant’s sell”: the retailing of products to customers. Certainly, sharing your enthusiasm and personal experience with products you love, and putting those products in the hands of others (at least a few “others”) you care about, is something anyone in this business could do and should do—but that’s not what I mean.

The selling you need to master—or at least, practice—is a much broader matter than simply handing over a product and getting cash back. That broader-sense selling is at the very heart of what makes network marketing tick. The good news is, it is also precisely that kind of selling at which “teachers and moms and coaches and clergy” already excel. What we’re talking about here is perhaps the successful sponsor’s single most critical and important action.

It is Your Most Important Sale.

“Do you lead with product, or with the opportunity?” Networkers ask each other this question with all the earnest sincerity of divinity students debating the nature of the Infinite.

Some say it’s a classic chicken-and-egg dilemma; that a more powerful approach is to skip the question completely and “lead” with the benefits of network marketing itself (tax advantages of a home-based business, creating an income-generating asset, and so forth) before even getting to the particulars of your company and product. A good and powerful approach.

Others say that what you’re really selling in this business is yourself; that what you really have to offer people is the resource that you are, or could be, to them. Brilliant insight, and true.

But I believe there’s a yet deeper, more vital sell. When I first talk with you about my opportunity…when I answer your questions and sponsor you…when I help you get oriented and started…when I do three-ways with your best leads, show you all the ropes, work with you right up through the various achievement levels and help you help your people do the same—my Most Important Sale is at the core of what I need to do with you at every turn.

What I’m really doing is selling you on you.

I am selling you on your worth; on the validity and achievability of your dreams; on your ability to do this business successfully; and on the things you do right every step of the way.

I love this definition I once heard from Gilles Arbour:

Your job description as a sponsor is to be the steward of other people’s dreams.

That’s Your Most Important Sale.

To be an effective sponsor, you need to believe in the people you’re coaching. Often, you need to believe in them even when they don’t, to take their dreams more seriously than they do themselves. That is sometimes not so easy.

It involves two steps, really. First you need to create a picture in your own mind’s eye of that person being successful—a vivid, detailed, Technicolor, holographic sort of picture. Then, you need to sell them that picture.

By the way, we are not speaking here only of people who freely confess their lack of confidence, people who are quite up front about not being sure of themselves. Sometimes you sponsor someone who tells you:

Look out! I’m on fire—I’m serious—I’m going for it—I’ll be at that top achievement level in five months!—I’m committed and nothing’s gonna stop me!

Well…maybe. He certainly is putting out a lot of effort to sell you on him. But what is so often true is that this sort of talk is really the sound of one lip flapping—the sound of one trying like the dickens to sell himself on his success because he doesn’t really believe it. Most people, remember, have had life beat that kind of belief out of them long before they were old enough to sign your company’s distributor application.

Red-hot, bonfire-o’-passion enthusiasm is fine, at times. The real job of selling others on their own eventual success is more often a quieter, less dramatic job—a slow bed of coals, not a fireworks display. It’s a matter of being there, week in and month out, firm in your vision of what’s possible inside them, while they go through the ups and downs, wins and disappointments of their initial network-building efforts.

In time, when the size of their group, the level of their income and especially, the appearance of true leaders in their network all reach a certain point, their dreams start looking real to them, too. At that point, they take off the training wheels of your belief, and fly on the wings of their own.

Now, you’ve closed the sale.