Donna Valdes

My earliest memory of a customer-based program in network marketing was decades ago. I was working in an office and my co-worker was selling makeup. I remember she would walk up and down the rows of cubicles handing out her brochures. When she approached me and out of a sense of obligation I would take one. Every now and then, almost out of guilt, I would place an order with her.

A few days later she would leave a brown paper bag folded nicely with her business card stapled to it and my mascara or lipstick would be inside. While the actual buying experience was simple and convenient, I remember thinking it was a lot of work to do what she is doing. Of course, she would come back and ask if I was interested in selling her product, but I had no desire to do what she was doing&madah;all that work for just a few dollars.

Looking back, that experience set the tone inside of me about customer acquisition in network marketing. It’s a lot of work for a little payoff. 

Early in my career I focused more on recruiting and growing my team, because of the “legacy money” outlined in all those circles we drew out. It wasn’t until the age of the internet and social media that my attitude changed.

The internet forced companies to change the way they obtained customers. No longer were distributors delivering little brown bags. E-commerce was born. The internet became a tool. We saw the first network marketing companies launch a replicating storefront that focused on customer acquisition. As distributors we were excited to literally have the World Wide Web at our fingertips.

The idea that anyone on the internet could go make a purchase from me and the company took care of fulfillment&madah;and I didn’t have to deliver brown bags&madah;blew my mind. Social media blew open the doors even more. Finding customers turned into a virtual treasure hunt. It became fun. I had customers all over the world, each ordering every month.

I finally got it. Customer residual volume is the best volume. I didn’t have to teach or train them how to do the business. I didn’t have to convince a customer to take the product each month, they wanted the product. I started to work on building relationships with my customers, and they ended being the most loyal group, consistently ordering each month. When I began asking for referrals from my customers, my organization grew. Eventually, many customers became business partners because of our relationship. 

What lesson did I learn? To be open minded and that I can change my beliefs. I believed finding customers was a tedious task with little yield or income potential. I was wrong. Today, with tools like smartphones, social media, and the internet, it is much easier to find customers than distributors. And when you can convert a customer into a distributor, you have created a “super” distributor. This is someone who has built their own belief in the product through direct experience.

Today customers have become the foundation of my business. They are the focus in my company. We implemented aspects of the compensation plan specifically based on acquiring customers.

There are all kinds of apps and websites that make finding new customers easier. Specialized methods like pay-per-clicks, keyword targeting, video marketing, Facebook and Google ads are all working. You don’t need to be a tech geek to take advantage of all this technology. Potential customers are more likely already watching you on social media. Your job as a network marketer is as simple as sharing your story and your experience with your audience.

While the tools make it easier to find customers, don’t be overwhelmed or distracted by it all either. Remember, customers are looking for you. You have found a way for them to find you. But if you don’t even try, they will find someone else.

DONNA VALDES, best known for her down-to-earth leadership style and transparency, is President of an up- and-coming direct selling wellness company. She is also the cofounder of Women of Network Marketing, a platform for mentoring and empowering direct selling women around the globe. She resides on the beaches of Tampa Bay with her husband of 17 years and her three children. Connect with her on Facebook or at