Have you ever seen a profession that delivers more important results yet garners less respect than selling? Conventional sales and network marketing are both highly honorable professions, yet neither tends to show up in the "most respected professions" category.

Why is that? It's because of past abuses by people who believed these two professions were based on manipulating people for the purpose of making a fast buck. What a shame.

We've all experienced these types of rotten-apple-in-the-barrel salespeople, but the fact is, the majority of salespeople are hard-working professionals dedicated to helping people solve their problems.

How about you? How do you feel about your role as a salesperson building a customer base as the foundation of your network?


This is a Selling Club--Not a Buying Club!

Many network marketers seem to be ashamed of selling; some even go out of their way to tell their prospects they "don't have to sell anything." It's a belief that manifests a buying club mentality, which never goes beyond the distributor's personal use of products and services.

When the only entity that has customers is the network marketing company itself, something is wrong. A "distributor" is someone whose intent is to distribute a product or service to an actual customer, not just to him- or herself. Unfortunately, the buying club mentality in network marketing is alive and well. And it's all based on the premise of being ashamed of selling.

The only other legitimate reason a distributor would refuse to sell is a concern about the pricing of the product. This is a really bad reason not to sell. If your product or service cannot be sold to a retail customer because it's overpriced, it's time to start looking for a new company.

The power of network marketing lies in the distributor force, not in the company. There are hundreds of good companies in this profession who would love to have you as a distributor. The days of "company worship" are coming to an end as distributors become more and more educated about this profession. The successful networker of the future will demand that products and services be saleable to the retail market, or they will seek greener pastures. Companies that don't respond to these demands will be driven out of business by companies who do.


The Power of the Business

Let's say you do have a product or service that can be sold to a retail client base. Why aren't you selling them?!

If you're waiting for your upline to lead the way, stop waiting and start selling. Understand that everything you do--or don't do--is going to be duplicated by the majority of your organization. If you don't sell, chances are that 99 percent of your distributors won't sell, either. This is costing you a fortune, when you add up the potential volume your organization could be generating every month.

Building a small retail sales business should serve as the cornerstone of your distributorship. Not because of the $300 or $400 in retail profit you will bring in each month, but because of the magic of duplication.

Sit down with a calculator and play with the numbers. What would happen to your bonus check if your group weren't ashamed to sell? What if you developed 10 to 20 monthly customers and taught your group to do the same thing?

Next, think about the potential of showing your retail sales numbers to your sponsoring prospects. Any serious businessperson will understand the power of leverage through duplication. The breakdown occurs when the prospect cannot figure out where the money comes from, since no one has any customers. When they finally figure out that the company is operating a buying club with overpriced products, your credibility is shot. The only people who will join you are people who don't understand business, and they will recruit more people like themselves.

Hence, a 90-plus percent industry attrition rate.

Here are three steps to transcending feelings of shame in regards to selling:

1. Get the Facts

Nothing happens until somebody sells something. Salespeople drive the economy and create jobs; they are the unsung heroes of every industry, the athletes of the business world. Start preaching this to your group at every opportunity. It's not that you're trying to turn them into professional salespeople, but that you want them to be proud of their product and confident enough in themselves to build a small retail customer base.


2. Stop Telling Prospects They "Don't Have to Sell Anything"

Explain to them how to build a small customer base and let them know you will help. You'll scare away the weak ones and gain the respect of the real businesspeople that know that sales are the heart of any business.


3. Create a Sales-Based Culture in Your Organization

Tell stories about creating and servicing customers. Give awards away to people who successfully build and maintain their customer base. Let them get up in front of the group and share their sales successes, and let the new people ask them questions.


These three steps comprise tremendous power to rapidly grow your volume in just months. The numbers are difficult to dispute. The rest is up to you.n


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