Dear Bob: I'm involved with a network marketing company I really believe is a good value. Recently I was sharing it with someone, and he said, "I can't afford to join." Now, I know that the outlay of $320 can and will be the best investment my friend could make. I strongly suspect he has the money, but is just using money as an excuse not to join. Truth is, I feel that he cannot afford not to join. What's my best comeback; how can I make him realize this and best handle that objection? -- A Reader

Dear Reader: First, congratulations on finding and joining a network marketing company you believe in; that's certainly the first step toward your success! What you're describing is one of five classic objections you'll tend to hear as a network marketer:

There are others. All have logical responses--and by the way, a "response" positions you both on the same side, while a "comeback" tends to be more combative in nature. Either way, there are three reasons logical responses/comebacks can be less effective than you'd expect:

  1. They are usually logical--and people don't buy (read: take action and join) based on logic, but on emotion.
  2. They can feel argumentative, which is why it's important to answer any questions or objections with tact and diplomacy (what I call "winning without intimidation").
  3. Comebacks usually answer the stated objection--but this is usually not the real objection!
You noticed that your friend said he doesn't have the money, but might simply be making excuses not to join. A "perfect comeback" might answer an objection he doesn't really have, while ignoring the one he actually does.


Good Question!

When your friend says he doesn't have $320, what he's really saying is something like this:

Based on what I (don't) know about the potential of this profession and business opportunity and what I (don't) understand about the company, I (don't) believe it's worth $320 of my hard-earned money.

Perhaps you haven't shown him the benefits of your business clearly enough. If he thought the potential was worth $100,000, would it be worth it to him to spend $320? Are you building the dream enough during your presentation? Are you offering compelling evidence, backed by third-party testimonials?

So, how do you approach this? First, with kindness, turn his objection into a question.

Tom, that's an excellent question. And it's a very worthy one.

You've explained that it's more of a question, meaning it can be answered (as opposed to a stopping point, which can't). And you've complimented him on his thought-provoking question. Realizing he won't be attacked for his question, he's now more likely to drop his defensive stance.

Next, use a variation of the "feel, felt, found" approach ("I understand how you feel, I felt the same way, until I found that..."). I say "variation," because this approach is so well-used, it can sound contrived, and nobody likes to feel "techniqued." You can say something like:

I can relate to your question--after all, this business model is quite different than those you're familiar with. What so many now-financially-free people have discovered, though, Tom, is that for the relatively tiny financial investment, the payoff is extraordinarily high...

Then explain further, if necessary.


Not Every Prospect Is For You

At the same time, your friend may genuinely not want to join you, and you want to avoid the common trap of wanting your friend's success more than he wants it for himself. Some people are happy where they are; some are miserable where they are; and some are happy being miserable where they are. Your job is to offer them an opportunity--not to insist they take it. That part's up to them.

There are a lot of people out there. Do you really want to work with those who won't part with $320 to involve themselves in a lucrative business? (And if you do, why do you?) Ultra-successful network marketers treat it as a business, qualifying the people they recruit. As Michael Dorsey and "Motivated" Mike Lemire say, "Pros don't convince; they sort."

I'd rather see you go after people who are already ambitious and willing to do what it takes to succeed than those you need to drag into the business. Look for potential leaders.

Bill Gove, a dear friend and perhaps the greatest speaker of all time, once told me, "We are responsible to others but not for them." Give them the facts, build their dreams, do the best you can to help them become involved. Honor their life choices--and then go sponsor someone who is looking!

is author of Endless Referrals and Winning Without Intimidation,
and a free weekly e-zine on networking.