I’ve run through my warm list…now what?” The best time to deal with this question is before it gets asked.

From the very first Getting Started Training on day one, I encourage new builders to plan on having at least three (more is better) different methods or avenues of recruiting going at all times. That might include working through a warm list; going to Chamber of Commerce meetings; getting out into the community and meeting people through volunteering or other activities; asking people for referrals; setting up booths at trade shows; the possibilities are endless.

The truth is, your “warm list” may prove not to be the most fruitful place to look for great prospects anyway. It’s a great place to start and it’s good practice (for many people, “warm list” prospects seem less threatening). You may even find some strong builders there. But your chances are far better with the hundreds and thousands of people who lie just outside your warm list.

Research suggests—and personal experience confirms—that the majority of leaders in network marketing organizations are brought into the business not by someone they know well, nor by complete strangers, but by someone they know vaguely or only through referral. (For research about this, see John Mann’s article, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” Jul/Aug ’06)

Typically, new builders never think of such people when they first sit down to write a “names list.” As leaders, it’s our job to explain that once we work our way through that “warm list,” we’ll start opening the door to all sorts of possibilities.

I believe that to build a truly strong organization that delivers on the promise of residual income, you need to keep recruiting until you’ve found, sponsored and trained at least five really strong partners. Until that job is done, you can’t stop recruiting. Go out to Chamber breakfasts, networking events or community activities; commit to opening some doors and meeting people. Remember that your goal is not to find someone who will listen to your “pitch.” Your goal is to meet interesting people, get to know them, and find out what it is that will serve them, what they’re looking for—and then help them get it, regardless of whether that turns out to be related to your business or not.

The true art of networking is not self-serving, it’s other-serving.

Prospecting is a process, not an event. I have leaders in my organization whom I met while prospecting, who initially became friends, and then good friends, and then very good friends…and only months (or even years) later, joined my organization and became some of my top leaders. The focus is to serve the relationship, not the goal of recruiting. The rest will follow.

ANA McCLELLAN is a network marketing leader
and a mom. She works from her home in Massachusetts.