Whenever you hear a "latest buzz" in network marketing, it usually comes down to the same thing: a hot new approach to prospecting. A new and better way of getting more people in the door.

Prospecting is an important topic, no question. Perhaps not as hot or exciting, but in a very real way far more important, is retention: once you bring people in, how do you keep them in?

I vividly remember the days when "The Tape System" was the hot new technology on the block. Finally, a systematized way to prospect, one that anyone can duplicate! The world was suddenly awash with deceased physicians who eschewed prevarication....

And yes, it worked--and ultimately led to chaos. We lost our balance. There's prospecting, and then there's sponsoring. Not the same thing. "Prospecting" is bringing them in. "Sponsoring" is taking care of them once they're here. If prospecting is giving birth (ouch!), then sponsoring is bonding.

In the film industry, CGI (computer-generated imaging) is all the rage; it has revolutionized the business (just like the Internet and our business). When "Gladiator" took the "Best Picture" Oscar(R) it sent a clear signal: gigantic epic-films were back. But the film would never have been made if they'd actually had to build a Coliseum. And last year's smash hit, "Lord of the Rings," would have been impossible only five years earlier.

It all got me thinking about when CGI really cut its teeth--on the film, ironically, with all those dinosaurs.

I saw a The Making Of...video about "Jurassic Park" once. When they started pre-production, they still planned to shoot many of the dinosaurs with old-fashioned, stop-action animation; the fully staffed department had built complex animatronic models and everything. Halfway through the process, they realized, CGI technology had come so far, they could shoot all their FX via computer.

Were the robot guys obsolete now? They thought so, at first. Said one, "These new tools were so sophisticated, we thought it might be like you just sit at a console and push button 'D' for dinosaur."

Instead, they discovered, they had even more work to do! CGI was a tool that did its job better than any human could. Its job: make dinosaurs. Their job: make movies.

That's like you. The tool's job: make a presentation. Your job: make a connection. Your online, digital, CGI-quality tools are a better brush; people's lives are the canvas. You're the artist. Paint.

JOHN DAVID MANN is Editor of Networking Times.