Some leaders on a recent conference call fascinated me with the grasp they had of high-tech marketing. They spoke of radio co-ops...online advertising..."customer acquisition ratios per click"... spreadsheets and sales forecasts...auto-responders and "lead capture Web pages"... streaming audios and PDF files. Dizzying! High tech for network marketing? You bet--some of the best, most organized, and effective I've ever encountered...

And then there was a shift.

A leader asked about ways to show appreciation to customers during the holiday season. You know--high touch. All of a sudden, the people on this call switched from the technical to the personal...from automated e-mails to hand-written cards--from spreadsheets to fresh-baked cookies. It was fascinating!

Before we get too techno-intoxicated, we'd do well to remember this business is about relationships. Web sites, auto-responders, Palm pilots, and fax machines don't build network marketing businesses, people do.

Last night I did a three-way call with one of my leaders to a prospect. I was able to support Steve in his business. Afterwards, we chatted for a couple of minutes about his family and some work he's doing around the house. High touch with a partner.

That same call was high touch for the prospect. He'd already been "high-teched" with a series of e-mails, and had gone to the company web site. But when we picked up the phone and called, that's what made it happen. We found out about his family. How he's going to school to pursue a degree in counseling. We asked questions. Listened.

Just before we hung up, he said, "Thanks for the phone call. Nobody else has ever called. I think you're just the kind of people I want to work with."

Man, did that reverberate after we hung up: Nobody else has ever called....

Do your prospects have a way to get to know you as a person? A good start is a Web page with your picture. Your life story. One that introduces your family and hobbies to them. Notice: high tech and high touch.

You can also let people in on who you are through a newsletter that's not about the company or the comp plan, but just from the heart about a subject or experience you want to share with people. If people look forward to your newsletter, your sig line will be all they need to lead them to find out more about your business or products.

We're all using high tech to track our downlines and see what volume is moving. It makes sense to balance technology with some humanity. Love your people. Serve them. Recognize them before their peers. Plan some fun together. Do what friends do--and watch what happens.

High tech and high touch. An oxymoron? No. A winning network marketing combo? Yes!

RUSTY PETERMAN is president of TheGreatestNetworker.comUnity (www.greatestnetworker.com) an online community for network marketers.