The Five Worst Things You Can Say to Good Prospects

by Kim Klaver

Each week on our big national conference calls, people from the 35 to 45 companies on the line tell us their biggest obstacle to success is this:

Finding good people to talk to and, when they finally have one, getting that person to even LISTEN to the opportunity.

Everybody seeks those elusive, good people. The kind who are committed to do what it takes to make it. Obsessed. Resilient. Ambitious. Not easily influenced by others once they've made up their own minds, based on their own research and personal experiences. Fun people. Friendly, open-minded people. Self-starters. Hard working. Will do whatever it takes. And of course, they will have a major sphere of influence over other people just like them. Yes.

Shall we agree that this is a likely definition of a "good person" for the business? Oh, and they're definitely not whiney or pukey towards new ideas and new things.

Let's say we agree who the "good people" are. Did you realize the things they usually teach you to say from the front of the room typically turn these kinds of people right off? Oy vey! Really?

Everybody knows that step one is attracting good people, and then, getting them to listen, yes? Well, for good people like this, of whom I consider myself one, and I believe many of my readers consider themselves ones too, here are the five worst things you can say to any of us:

Worst Thing #1: "It's easy. Anyone can do it."

Why would anyone tell a good, new prospect this? If it were really true, why do 90 percent plus of the people who sign up, cave?

Besides, whom do you actually attract when you say that? What do people who hear that expect they have to do to make it in the business?

While it may be true that brain power is not what one needs to make it big in networking, shouldn't we stop pretending that it's easy and anyone can do it? Otherwise, wouldn't everyone be making it?

Worst Thing #2: "You can/will make [big money/a fortune/$10k+/mo] almost immediately in this business."

Predicting the future like this for someone else is pure hype. Be it about the product ("You will lose X lbs./you will feel like new," etc) the potential income, or how others will feel about it ("You'll love it!" "Your friends will love it!").

Hype is easily recognizable to anyone with brains, and even people with not so much gray matter.

First, be honest with yourself: how often does that big income happen right away, or even ever, for most people? If it's so easy, how come so many people don't make it?

Good people don't fall for this nonsense. But guess who does? Yes. Sorry. It's those people who want something for nothing or next to nothing. Yahoo's Seth Godin calls them the "dreaded opportunity seekers…someone with more time than money, a non-consumer who focuses on low-margin items and is a less than ideal prospect for most products." (Permission Marketing, p. 108)

Is that who you want on your team? Well then, please stop asking for them.

Worst Thing #3: "Everyone will want this product/service."

While maybe true theoretically, this is what almost every network marketing company says about its services and product lines. In fact, it's what most every company out there say about their wares.

Picture this: new people going off, after the "meeting" thinking that "everyone" will want this, or that the stuff/service is for "everyone." What happens when they go home and call a few people and hear the usual "it's too expensive" and "I can't believe you fell for that" types of responses?

Uh huh. They figure, either the people in the front were lying or, worse, "I'm not smart enough to do this, I guess. Better give the stuff back." And after the first few calls, it's over.

This doesn't mean the products or services could not be beneficial to the whole world. But does that mean that everyone will do the thing? Or will love it like you do?

You may believe in your heart of hearts that everyone should do "it" (that is, whatever you're selling that you believe in) or use it, or whatever, but doesn't McDonald's marketing team think the same thing? Or people who make Hondas?

They can't figure it out either. Why doesn't everyone eat at McDonalds? Why doesn't everyone drive a Honda? Or eat Snickers? Or buy Crest toothpaste? Or eat organically grown food? Or exercise when they know they should?

What's wrong with all these people out there, anyway?

Smart marketing people are finally beginning to "target" their potential users ("target marketing") so they direct their spiel at the ones for whom it's the right thing to be using. (E.g. our products are for people who are "adventuresome" or who "put family first," etc). A tiny fraction of the total people out there. But it works much better. They get the right ones and those who wish they could be (or perceived to be) "adventuresome" or "intelligent."

In the network marketing world, the "right ones" are people with some entrepreneurial flair and readiness to change.

Two to ten percent of people out there, it is said, over and over, by those in the trenches. What fools everyone is this: nearly everybody we know says they want more freedom, more income, more energy, residual income, more blah blah blah. But what percent of those same people are willing to make a change and do something about it?

A paltry three to ten percent. There's the rub. Everyone who's ever lived a day in the life of a networker has experienced it.

So, could your "thing" be helpful and beneficial to everyone? Maybe. Will everyone "see it" or do it?

Complaining about a thing and doing something about that thing are well, not the same. There's maybe one doer for every 20 complainers and wannabes. The rest are just venting, a very in thing these days. If in doubt, ask: "Do you really want [the benefit] or are you just venting?"

And there's your answer. Accept it, and act accordingly.

Venting is not a crime. I mean, doesn't everyone just "vent" once in a while? You just need to know that's what they're doing, that's all. So ask.

P.S. In "the benefit" blank, insert that extra income, more free time, residual income, your own money, more energy, tax savings, legal protection, an internet business, a new life or whatever they said "attracted" them to the business in the first place.

Worst Thing #4. "Ours (this) is the best [deal/company/pay plan/management (you name it) in the history of the world/out there."

To utter these words with any credibility, shouldn't the speaker have personally done every deal, been in every company, tried every product, or met and worked with every management team out there? How else could anyone even offer an opinion like this?

How many who say this do you think are qualified to say it?

Actually, isn't #4 just a silly thing to say? That is what every company says about themselves. And what would you expect them to say?

Who cares? (Saying something different than #4 has wonderful consequences. Think Avis, whose slogan "we try harder" because they're #2 has made them a household name. America has been in love with the underdog forever.)

Even when people do try the very same things, they have different reactions, don't they?

Say three people try five different hamburger joints. Chances are that each of them would give a different opinion as to which is their first choice.

Depends on your tastes, yes? Is anything "best" for everyone?

Experience tells us something else. For example, Rolls Royces are for people with money, who enjoy showing it. Not all people with money, but those (of them) that like to show it. Sam Walton drove a 10-year-old truck even when he was the richest man in the world (according to Fortune magazine).

So even just here, within this single elite class of the very rich, we observe differences in preference. Nothing is "best" for everyone. No one would want that except the owners of the supposed "best thing" or "best belief" or "best way."

"Best in the world" for everyone is the same thing religious zealots preach. They too, say their "deal" is the best in the history of the world. But isn't it based mostly on faith? A very strong feeling of certainty someone has? And doesn't a person's faith depend largely on where they live? And how and where they were brought up? And to whom they have been exposed in life? And what's happened to them?

Think Bombay, versus Rome, or the Midwest or Iraq.

Very different beliefs, yes? Not very conducive to a "one for all" mentality. Plus, who wants to change their own beliefs? Everyone wants the other to change theirs.

And the zealots really try to make that happen. Remember the religious crusades? It is reported that religious wars are the #1 cause of death and destruction in the history of civilization. And what are those wars based on? The insistence by one group or another that their deal is the best for everyone and, if you don't agree, well then we'll just have to crush you. And they have, and they still do. Almost no religious group is exempt from this intolerance.

Insistence on "my one best belief system or else" still justifies killing and cruelty all over the world, by otherwise normal and good people.

But some leaders are coming around to a more tolerant and open-minded perspective. Did you know what the Pope did in March, 2000? For the first time in the history of the Church, he offered an official, public apology for the Church's participation in the crusades of yesteryear. That was when, in the name of the Church, members cruelly tormented and erased any and all "non-believers in our best way" (including women and children).

The people you want to attract know better than to buy the line, "Ours (this) is the best deal/company/pay plan/management (you name it) in the history of the world, for you and everyone in the world," just because someone else says it or believes it.

People prefer choice. And choice is what they will have or create, depending on who they are and what they think is important.

Surprisingly, when marketing anything, the more narrow, specific and limiting your stated audience is, the more people seem to flock to it. Think Harvard.

Thousands of applications for each student admitted. Now, how would you market Harvard? A place for people who…? You fill it in. Would it be for "everyone" or just people who blah and blah and probably blah blah and then some more blahs?

Same here. "X is for people who…" and the more narrow and specific that is, the better it attracts those people and hoards of others who won't even qualify, but who can't resist. Like applying to Harvard. Besides, they may know people.

Worst Thing #5: "All you have to do is talk to people you know."

Telling new people this is worst of all. And not just because it isn't true. (Unless you are President or some famous deity who can actually influence others to at least try the thing being sold, like celebrities who endorse products and companies.) It's because this one fib is the #1 reason new people don't make it. You know it, don't you? Picture it. Re-experience it…

There goes an innocent new baby in the business, happily off to talk to people they know, expecting to sign them up and sell them the dream or save them. Without one ounce of preparation for what they're in for. And after the first few calls, it's usually over, or nearly over.

Who would have thought what misery friends and family wreak on an innocent new person? The worst pukies are friends and family. And it doesn't take many of these reactions. Three to ten, usually, before the new baby is out of the game.

Going to friends and family right off should be outlawed, so new people at least have a chance to make it. After they've had some success, perhaps they can entertain the idea.

Instead of risking approaching friends, people can send a Dear Friend Letter (as I describe in my "Truth" book). It removes the risk of getting dumped on. Because only the ones who have an interest call back. So no one even hears "no."

Think of the hours on the phone chatting about hemorrhoids or failed marriages that they get to skip.

Everyone knows about Napoleon Hill, yes? He wrote Think and Grow Rich, perhaps the best known book in the English speaking world after the Bible. Nearly every industry leader claims they've read it. They recommend it to anyone and everyone. But they don't follow his advice.

It is Mr. Hill who said that perhaps the biggest reason people fail in life is the tendency to listen to friends, family and neighbors. In his own words:

"Close friends and relatives…often handicap one through 'opinions' and…ridicule…meant to be humorous. Thousands of men and women carry inferiority complexes with them all through life, because some well-meaning but ignorant person destroyed their confidence through 'opinions' or ridicule." Think and Grow Rich, pp. 140-141.

This, after 20 years of full time research asking what it takes to be successful in life. Walking and talking with the likes of Thomas Edison, John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie and 497 other self-made men.

And they want you to send a good new recruit into this destructive environment without preparation?

Besides, in what start-up business does anyone ever say, "All you have to do is go talk to people you know," to make it big? Good people expect there to be more to it than that. And we all know there is, don't we?

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