One of the secrets of successful salespeople is that they know how to keep track of their numbers--and they do so, constantly and consistently. Top salespeople can tell you how many prospects they have contacted in the last 90 days, how many of those people purchased, the gross sale and net profit for each customer, which customers were first-time buyers and which were repeat customers...and that's just for starters.

What's that? You say, you didn't get into network marketing to become a professional salesperson? Fair enough; still, adopting some of their habits, actions and behaviors will only help you grow a successful network--and enhance your bottom line.

Network Marketing the Way It Was Meant To Be

Think of the potential presentation power of showing a new business-building prospect your customer list, along with your exact numbers and how you arrived at them. Now you're moving beyond hype and mystery; you're getting down to work.

Have you ever had a business building prospect ask you, "So, who sells this stuff?

Doesn't someone have to sell?" It's a legitimate question, and of course the true answer is that very few people in network marketing ever really sell anything: most network marketers are buyers, not sellers.

When the company itself is the only one doing the selling, then your distributor force is playing the role of a wholesale buying club more than a genuine distribution network... and that's not using the network marketing model to its optimum potential. How can you use the model the way it was really designed to be used? Build your customer base--and track your numbers like a scientist.

Doing so will motivate you, and even more, it will inspire your sponsoring prospects to believe in you and your opportunity. It doesn't take a sophisticate to deduce whether you are actually selling products or simply consuming them (and perhaps storing some inventory in your garage). An ambitious, business-savvy prospect (and isn't that the kind you really want?) wants a genuine partner in business, one who knows the ropes and can teach them. That means, when she asks you, "So, who sells this stuff?" your answer had better be, "That's an excellent question, and the answer is, I do! And I can show you exactly how to do it, too!"

Once you show your prospect your system and your numbers, you instantly create an atmosphere of honesty and trust. It's one thing to invite someone to join you in business, and a whole different level of credibility when you open your books to them. If you were buying a restaurant, wouldn't you expect them to do this? How about a dry cleaner? A bowling alley?

Which Numbers to Track

If you're going to sponsor serious businesspeople, you need to present like a serious businessperson who is savvy enough to know the numbers. Here are some of the numbers you need to know and why you need to know them:

  1. Take a tip from corporate America: Use 90-day sales cycles to track your numbers. This breaks the year into quarters and makes the numbers easier to track. For each 90-day cycle, set a goal for how many people you're going to contact to speak with about becoming retail customers.

  2. Set your goal for how many new customers you will acquire during each 90-day cycle.

  3. Set your retail sales income goal for each 90-day cycle.

  4. Keep track of how many people you actually contacted, how many presentations you conducted, and how many customers you acquired.

  5. Identify where you believe your prospects are in the selling process to determine your strategy for approaching them the next time. Here's an example of a sales process.

    Simply identifying where each prospect falls in the sales process will make it easier to move them up the ladder. As an added benefit, you can show your business-building prospects how many people you have on the various rungs of the sales process ladder. Your attention to detail will scare off the wannabes and attract the winners.

  6. Track where each of your customers is in the sales cycle. We define the sales cycle as the length of time required to close a sale, starting from your first verbal contact with the prospective buyer. Tracking this will help you compute the average time it takes to bring in revenue.

  7. Track the amount of your average customer order; this will help you determine where your time and efforts should be focused.

  8. Track the frequency of each customer order. Do they order monthly, quarterly or randomly?

The more you begin to sell by numbers, the more data you will want to know. When you know the numbers, selling becomes more of a game. And in addition to making it more fun, you'll also make more retail profit--and as a bonus, you'll dazzle your serious prospects with your business acumen!

Dawn Siebold is co-founder of the Gove-Siebold Group, a training organization that helps networkers develop world-class communication skills.