Eric Worre

There’s a big controversy in network marketing. Is it more important to focus on customers or distributors? Some say forget about the customers, just focus on recruiting. Others say forget about recruiting, focus on the customers. People ask me all the time for my opinion, and here it is: both are important.

Product versus Business
There have been several studies recently that have shown that the reason people join network marketing is usually for the product or for the business. So, while many people join because they are excited about starting their own business, there is also a large group who join because they are excited about the product and get involved as customers. If you are only recruiting distributors, then you are holding out on sharing your products with a huge group of people.

Those who join first as customers for the product often end up changing their opinion on the business. As they use the product and get acquainted with the environment of the business, they start to realize that maybe they could do it, and they dip their toe in the water. They share the product with friends, get their first commission check, or maybe go to an event and see the big picture of network marketing, and they shift their focus from solely being about the product to the business.

On the flip side, those who join solely for the business often shift to become a product user as well. They see or personally experience positive results from the products and become raving fans. Even though they are a distributor, they are now also a customer.

Go Where Your Prospects Are
It is absolutely okay to go to your prospects where they are. In fact, it’s the best thing you could possibly do. If you try to force your prospects to do something they are not ready for or don’t have the inclination to do, then you will chase more people away than you will attract.

So, if your prospect doesn’t currently have an entrepreneurial mindset, that’s okay. Go to them with the product instead. Get them excited and create raving fans of the product. Turn them into customers who are over-the-top enthusiastic about their product experience. If they love the product, what are they going to do naturally? Share it with others, of course! And when they share it with their friends, they are going to get some customers. When they get customers, they’re going to receive commissions. Some of them may start thinking, “Hey, there’s a real business here.” All of a sudden, they start to grow and enter the business side of the profession.

Let Them Be Customers
Of course, you will have customers who never decide to enter the business side of things, and that’s fine. If they only want to be a customer, let them be a customer! You can’t force people to become entrepreneurs. Remember, you are in this business to educate and share your product and opportunity with your prospects. But you won’t do that successfully if you try to force your agenda onto them.

You have to listen to what your prospects want. That’s how you build a business in network marketing—you listen to your prospects. Yes, talking about your product and opportunity is important, but if you don’t listen, then you can’t know what your prospects want. So, listen and find out what they want and don’t want. Find out what excites them and keeps them up at night. Then, sell them what they want. If they only want to buy the product, then only sell them the product! Don’t try to sell them the opportunity as well.

Don’t force your agenda on your prospects. Focus on their agenda. You’ll see results, and your business will grow. But you have to let your prospects be what they want, even if that’s a customer.

I understand that you are concerned about building your team, especially if you’re just starting out in network marketing. But don’t overlook the people who are only interested in the product right now. Statistics show that many of them will shift to the business. And even if they never become distributors, they may share the product with someone who does want to become a distributor. Your customers are fine where they are. Let them be customers.

Distributors Are Customers Too
On the other hand, you could bring someone into the business, and they are all gung-ho about building a big business. And then life gets in the way. They have a string of rejections, or they realize that this profession takes more work than they thought. And they become too afraid or busy right now to engage in the business. But even though they initially got involved for the business, they have discovered that they really love the product. So, they don’t build their business right now, but they keep using the product. They become raving fans of the product, and in the back of their mind, they are thinking that someday they will go back to the business.

One Is Not Better Than the Other
The bottom line is, don’t diminish one or the other. Don’t say recruiting distributors is better than customers or the other way around. Both paths lead to great results. So, if someone is scared of the business, let them become a customer and slowly learn more about the opportunity. If they come for the business, get them to become a raving fan of the product, because that may just bring them back if they stepped out the first time. Let your prospects join where their mind allows them to imagine themselves being successful, whether it’s with the product or opportunity.

ERIC WORRE is the world’s most watched and most trusted resource for network marketing training and support. Since 2009, he has produced over 1,400 free videos for the network marketing community that are viewed by over 5 million people every week. He is the author of the international bestselling book Go Pro–7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional, which has sold well over a million copies. In 2010, he created Go Pro Recruiting Mastery, an annual generic training event that has grown into the largest in network marketing history. To date, the Network Marketing Pro community has grown to over a million leaders from over 100 countries.