During economic downturns, many people look for a Plan B to supplement their incomes. They fear being downsized or laid off or having their company go out of business. It’s an ideal time for professional network marketers to accelerate their recruiting efforts. Nearly everyone you talk with will express some sort of fear about their job or their financial security. “The economy” and its impact on everything from global business to John Smith’s little family seems to be the #1 topic of conversation these days, doesn’t it?

It’s an especially ideal time if you market health-related products. When folks are uncertain whether or not they’ll have health insurance benefits in the near future, they tend to pay more attention to their health now. A local doctor’s office has recently been inundated with calls from patients they rarely treat. Many are asking for physicals to update their medical records—just in case.

As with any recruiting effort, you want to be certain the people you talk with, your product and you are a good match. While there are more people interested in network marketing these days, they’re not all cut out to succeed in it. You know what it takes to succeed: a belief in your product, a strong desire to help others, some selling skills and management ability.

Fear Versus Desire

Please note the word “fear” in the first paragraph of this article. It’s there twice on purpose. As a network marketing professional, you need to understand that fear is that small voice people hear inside their heads when they talk with you. They may be tempted to join your organization because they have fears they’re running away from. But you need to know how much fear they have about what they’re considering moving toward, too. Network marketing isn’t for everyone.

While fear is a strong motivator, you must be acutely aware of whether or not the opposite of fear, their desire, is strong enough for them to do what it takes to succeed. If it’s not, they’re simply running from one fear to another. You do not want to waste your time mentoring folks who are just running scared. It’s more important than ever that you take your time qualifying people for your business.

I’ve known many a network marketer who just played the numbers. “Just get ‘em signed up. We’ll sort the wheat from the chaff later.” Unfortunately, those folks have given network marketing a bit of a black eye. Many of my students have told stories of getting excitedly involved in several companies before finding one that was a good match for them. It cost them a lot of time, effort and money. As a network marketing professional, your focus should be on saving their time, effort and money. You only want them to join with you if it’s truly good for them.

The N.E.A.D.S. Formula

True network marketing professionals take their time. Yes, they seek out large numbers in their downlines, but they have a sincere interest in whether or not people succeed. That’s what makes them professionals.

I teach a qualifying strategy in my selling skills programs that can help you when selling the opportunity. It’s called the N.E.A.D.S. formula for qualification. It’s easy to learn and remember. If you keep in mind that you must determine if your opportunity is a good match to a potential associate’s NEEDS, you’ll do well with this. It will help you determine relatively quickly whether or not you should invest more of your time with each person.

N.E.A.D.S. is an acronym (hence the oddball spelling). The N stands for Now. What is going on with this person now? What do they do now? Their answers should tell you if they’re coachable, intelligent, and in a position to consider something new.

The E in N.E.A.D.S. is for the word Enjoy. What do they enjoy most about what they’re doing now? Do they enjoy working with people? Are they outgoing? Do they get excited about new ideas? Your offering will need to hit their hot buttons here if you want to talk with them about your opportunity.

The A in N.E.A.D.S. is to remind you to ask what they would Alter about what they’re doing now. This tells you what they want to get away from, what they want to avoid in their next business endeavor. Pay special attention here. They may have a strong desire to avoid something that you know is critical to success in your business. If what they want to avoid is “going back to an eight-to-five office job,” you will help them keep that in mind as a motivator when they hit an inevitable slump in their new business opportunity.

The D in N.E.A.D.S. is for Decision-maker. Before going in-depth in a presentation about your product or opportunity, you need to know if you’re talking with someone who can make a decision. Is there a spouse who needs to hear the presentation first-hand as well? Is there any other commitment in this person’s life that would not allow him to do the required activities to sell products or build his own business?

The S in N.E.A.D.S. stands for Solution. Once you determine someone is a qualified potential recruit, you need to give them something. You’ve been asking a lot of questions up to this point, and it’s important that you summarize the conversation by suggesting that you may have a solution to their needs. The next step would be to arrange a time for a presentation of the products and/or opportunity.

Trying to sell something before qualifying people will waste both your time and theirs. Be a true professional recruiter in network marketing: take your time to get to know what your prospects need and have to offer with the N.E.A.D.S. formula.


TOM HOPKINS is world-renowned as a master of
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