Not a day goes by without a prospect asking me, "Do you have a system?" or, "What system do you have in place?" Systems are quite important to prospects, particularly those who have been in network marketing before.

Some are looking for the "magic tape" that presents the business with incredible power so that anyone who listens will be instantly captivated. In my 15 years in network marketing, I can recall only three or four tapes, of the tens of thousands developed, that were so powerful they propelled their companies into momentum.

Some are looking for a flash presentation on the Internet to show their prospects; others want a series of prospecting and training calls, either live or archived on the Net, into which they can plug their prospects. Most want a method of prospecting large numbers of people along with another method for sifting them to find the serious, motivated people.

These are more or less reasonable requests. But ultimately, systems need to serve the development of skills--not attempt to replace them. All the automated systems in the world are only tools to help distributors learn the basics of business-building. These basics have not changed since the advent of the great household-name companies of the 50s and 60s. We all need to prospect, present, close, recruit, train, support and duplicate. It is the implementation of these basic skills that has changed over time, not the skills themselves.

In the current technology era, leaders are finding ways to include these necessary skills as a part of a system: systems for prospecting, presenting and training. But it is only those distributors who realize these systems are simply tools--tools whose diligent application will help them hone their own personal skills--who will reach the goal of financial freedom.

Our business model is to create a large network of people throughout the world using and sharing a product or service. Such a network is built over time through personal relationships and personal skills.

Systems are required, even demanded by the marketplace. I fully support companies and leaders who provide a system that attracts more new distributors to the opportunity. The more systems in place, the broader the base of prospects who seriously consider a company or product.

It's then that the real work begins: from that broad base of new distributors, finding those who want success enough to personally learn to believe in themselves, to prospect, to present, to answer questions, to paint a picture of a vision, and to train others to do the same. They came to play via a system--and they learn to succeed via their skills.

  MARY NELSON
is a successful network marketer; she was the featured
"Master Networker" in our February/March 2004 issue.