“I’ve run out of names!”

How many times in the course of working with people in network marketing have you heard that phrase? More to the point, how many times have you found it to actually be true?

It is never true. Literally running out of names is a mathematical impossibility.

Throughout the course of our lives we come in contact with thousands of people. Some studies indicate the number is actually in the hundreds of thousands. For instance, if you are forty years old and were cognizant of meeting people from around the age of five, that gives you thirty-five years of interaction with others. Let’s suppose you met just two new people per day, times 365 days per year. This would result in more than 25,000 people.

The first step in establishing and maintaining a professional names list is to have an abundance mentality. Realize that you have met tens of thousands of people in your lifetime so far, and so has the person with whom you’re working. The biggest challenge is to remember who they are and reach out to them.

When helping a new person begin his or her journey in our profession, start with lending assistance in assembling a large names list—the bigger the better.

Help the person brainstorm using memory triggers, asking questions by category, such as, “Who do you know in the real estate profession? Who do you know who likes hockey?” and so forth. Then you can help them dig through old phone books, contact lists, school yearbooks, and so on.

Today we also have an unprecedented advantage with the rise of social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites make digging up old contacts a snap. I’ve gotten in touch with or been contacted by an enormous number of individuals from my forgotten past through these media, just for the sake of reconnecting and with no particular intention.

Beginning with a large list is important because our business is in essence a numbers game. Contact enough people with a great opportunity and eventually you will find the ones who are looking for what you have to offer. It’s really that simple. But this hinges upon having enough names to contact in the first place.

Your Warm Market:

  • Close friends and family
  • Old friends and acquaintances
  • People you do business with
  • New people you meet
  • Online contacts you interact with Referrals

What do you do when you or the person you are assisting “runs out of names”?

1. Continue to dig through the memory banks, using the tactics illustrated above to pull more names out of the obscurity of your past. There are almost always more people you know but have simply forgotten about. In my case, it was years into the profession before I remembered some of these, and once I made contact, these individuals became great partners in my business. Never stop digging through your memory banks.

2. Never stop meeting new people. Most of us are a little too self-aware and need to become more other-aware. This means taking note of those around you in airports, subways, restaurants, and stores.

Start frequenting the same shops and restaurants for your services, making a good impression and getting to know those who run these establishments. You will get better service, and you will also develop warm contacts, meaning people who feel like they know you a little already. These are the best prospects for your business.

Cold contacts, that is, people who have never even seen your face or talked to you before, are wary of any approach you might take to offer them something. To warm up cold contacts, take the time during your day to connect with people—noticing them, interacting with them, complimenting them, making a positive impression—then add them to your list. Make this a new habit and after a while, you will have more names than you can contact.

3. Ask for referrals. Often you will catch people outside of the “looking zone,” meaning that they are a quality prospect but aren’t actually looking for a new business opportunity.

Assuming you’ve always conducted yourself professionally in their presence, you can say something like, “I can see this doesn’t fit for you right now, but who do you know who might be perfect for this?”

To warm up cold contacts, take time during your day to connect with people—noticing them, interacting with them, complimenting them, making a positive impression—than add them to your contact list.

In my business there is a well known story of a young man utilizing this strategy. He had shared his business plan with a janitor at the factory where they both worked. The janitor was not interested, but when the young man asked the janitor if he knew anyone who might be looking for something along the lines of what he was offering, the janitor recommended another colleague who also worked at the same facility. The young man approached this person, who joined his business—and went on to build one of the largest organizations in the entire company.

Never stop digging through your memory banks for people you’ve forgotten; stay aware of others and develop rapport with people you meet on a daily basis, adding them as “warm contacts” to your names list; and always ask for referrals. Do these three things, and you’ll never again say or even think, “I’ve run out of names.”

And remember this: your biggest business builder and new best friend might be the next person you meet!

CHRIS BRADY is author of
A Month in Italy and Rascal
and coauthor of the
New York Times bestseller,
Launching a Leadership Revolution.
Together with Orrin Woodward,
he leads a network marketing
organization of tens of
thousands of people.