Have you ever wondered if some people have the ability to succeed in network marketing programmed into their DNA, as if they were just born to be good at this? And if others are genetically challenged to ever make money, much less reach the top of their company’s pay plan?

Is there a “network marketing gene”?

Gaining Proficiency

In my previous life, I had a career that spanned three decades. At the five-year mark, I had a vivid sense of having really gotten the hang of my craft. Over the following 25 years, I continued to improve my skills, but it was a refining of something I already knew how to do.

Today, in my seventh year as a professional networker, I find the same is true. I no longer feel that I am prospecting, enrolling and training in the dark.

The experience of proficiency is not to be confused with “knowing it all.” It means that the climb up the learning curve has become less arduous. In both careers, I performed poorly at first, and I’ve used the experience of moving from beginner to seasoned in another field as a template to guide me through the trials and tribulations of building and leading my network organization.

The first career was a long and exciting one. I got so proficient at what I did one might think I was “born to do it.” But having inched my way to the top, failing many times along the way, I couldn’t say which was the greater asset on my road to proficiency: nature or nurture.

Most adults and many young people have mastered something in their lives. Parallels can be drawn from these different experiences, even in diverse fields. What are the common threads that appear in our various endeavors of going from novice to expert?

• Perseverance;

• Acquiring new knowledge;

• Learning from mistakes;

• Motivation;

• Having a goal, an objective or some measurable outcome;

• Capitalizing on our natural assets and overcoming our limitations.


The Science of Success

There is a science to getting really good at something—and part of it is first being bad at it. Jerry Clark has put it this way: “In our business, you don’t have to be good to get started, but you have to get started to get good.” Every networker who has ever gotten really good at something can look back on the steps taken to go from novice to master in that other endeavor and apply that to her new network marketing career.

Each new distributor comes to the team with strengths and challenges. Someone may be a whiz at the computer but not that personable, or vice versa. Someone might be smart, professional and highly motivated, and have an enormous circle of influence, but also be someone who never acquired good listening skills.

As leaders, we must observe these assets and liabilities in order to guide our partners in achieving their goals. We teach our teams to fully utilize their natural, “genetic” abilities. And we work with the challenging areas so that they become growth opportunities and stepping stones. Just as everyone is challenged in different ways, the precise path to success is different for each individual.

It’s not always easy—and it is always worthwhile.

When I thought I was going to perish from the effort of building a thriving organization, I leaned heavily on my previous experience of having woken up after five years in another gig actually knowing what I was doing. I knew that feeling would come, and I knew it was worth the time it took to get there.

Are there experiences in your own past from which you can draw? Can you duplicate your own tried-and-true recipe of taking yourself through the paces of mastering a craft? Using those previous experiences as a compass, you might feel relief and confidence as you develop your new business skills.


The Three-Dimensional Nature of Networking

Brian Klemmer points out that that there are two things that tend to run our behavior: the need to protect our image, and the need to be right. In business-building, these two tendencies are as insidious as an unpaired electron scavenging as a free radical.

I learned this when listening to one of my partners describe a prospecting encounter in which she asked the question, “If time and finances were unlimited, what would you do with your life?”

As she related her story, I could see that she was a tad smug, knowing that she had asked “the right question.” After a little digging, it became apparent that there was no follow-up and no meaningful conversation with the person to whom she had asked this question. She succeeded in asking, but she neglected to understand the reply.

Our businesses are never built on technique alone. Relationships are not built with prospective business partners solely as a result of saying the “right thing.” The metaphors for the quality of relationships we seek to create are often based on bodily experiences: it is something you “feel in your gut”—a “heart to heart” or “belly to belly” experience. It’s less a matter of saying the “right thing” and more a matter of being present enough, with enough awareness, to make some real contact.

Network marketing is not two-dimensional. The third, critical dimension comes from your core. Helping people is not a throwaway term; we must walk our walk and close the gap between what we say and the real life results we achieve in touching others’ lives.

Is there a gene for success in network marketing? Yes, I think so. But it is not pre-ordained, nor in short supply—and we can bestow it on ourselves.

Natural talents plus sustained personal growth over time equals a shot at becoming one of those successful networkers who look like they were born to do this.

ROSIE SPIEGEL is a speaker, author, 33-year veteran entrepreneur,
and professional network marketer. She is also the founder of Manifesting
Vision International, an organization dedicated to teaching professional
networking skills and providing leadership opportunities.