To some people, network marketing is a suspect profession, and does not necessarily spell value, honor and integrity. Yet to us, it does. How do we bridge that gap and shine some light on our chosen profession? By building trust, admiration and respect with our prospects, customers and associates. In today's world of over-selling, hype and fraud at the highest levels of our society, nothing could be more important.



Trust is never gained automatically; it must be earned through what we say and do. In our actions, we must become predictable and believable.

"Predictable" means that others learn that we are consistent: we do what we say we'll do. We show up or call back on time, we follow through completely with getting a promised answer to a question. As people come to know who we are and what we stand for, they expect to see us act according to that identity. This is integrity--and it creates trust.

"Believable" means that people need to be able to believe what we say. Sometimes it's not the best idea to tell every truth. It may be true that you earn $20,000 a month, part-time, and that this income would keep flowing whether or not you worked, making your business worth millions. But if the person to whom you're telling this truth cannot fathom what you're saying, saying it may cause you to gain in ego--but lose in trust.

People need to be able to believe what you say, both in its content and (especially) in how you say it. Sincerity can be faked; authenticity cannot. Authenticity is the real you, all of you--the good, bad and the ugly. When you have the courage to show people glimpses of your humanity, then what they get is you. And even though you will not be perfect (maybe not even excellent), they will believe in your authenticity and humanity. Give them the whole you and nothing but you. People trust that.



Admiration flows from building trust; and, obviously, people admire others for what they have accomplished. But accomplishments take time. What you can do right now to be admired stems from who you are for others: what you contribute to those people who might admire you. The most powerful tool at your disposal here is listening.

Listening is something anyone can practice, at any time. It is such an extraordinary gift that when we offer it, those to whom we listen may be utterly blown away--yet not really know what we did to have such an impact!

Listening at this level has little to do with understanding the content of what someone says (although their name is worth remembering the first time they say it). Listening here is about hearing the source of the comments, the emotion and intent behind the conversation.

More than anything in the world, human beings want and need to be heard, known, accepted and loved. When we are telling someone a story or opinion that's important to us, we very much need the listener to get it--to really understand what we're saying and why. This is often not found in the words, but in the energy of the speaker. A powerful listener will put his own need to be heard and accepted on hold to be fully focused on and accepting of who is speaking and what's being said. This level of "therapeutic listening" actually heals people: it is often the first time since true love that anyone has listened to them in this way.



Respect flows from gained trust and admiration; yet trust and admiration alone are often not enough. The value of respect in this business is that people tend to follow those they respect. With respect, people will buy what you are selling and go where you are going.

You can gain respect through two powerful tools: character and courage.

Having "character" in the eyes of another means she is clear about what your highest values are and understands that you honor those values. If you know someone well enough to know that family, integrity, fun and leadership are the most important things to her, and you experience her as living a life honoring those values, then you see her as having character. Even those whose values we do not share have character. If we embrace diversity, we respect them, even if we choose not to follow them.

"Courage" simply means that you see danger and do not back away. Courage is in such short supply that anyone seen as having courage is highly respected. We tend to respect people who have the courage to do the things we are afraid to do. For example, courage to tell the truth responsibly; to talk to people you would not ordinarily talk to; to speak to groups; to make and honor commitments; or to ask others to hold you accountable.

This is a quality you can develop quickly. To the degree that you are self-motivated, you will demonstrate extraordinary courage, because motivation is the source of courage.

In the network marketing profession, we are charged with the opportunity to sell products through a channel that is not always the norm for customers, and to sell them on an income opportunity using a concept most are not looking for. It isn't easy, and it won't happen for you without your having the trust, admiration and respect of those with whom you're going to build it.

Success comes in our business not to you but through you, based on who you become--for yourself and for others. n




RICHARD BLISS BROOKE is a veteran networker and CEO of a network marketing company.