There's an integrity crisis in the industry, a huge chasm between what reps are taught to offer prospects and what's true in their experience.
A week ago one of my students e-mailed me this account of an experience he had just had. He got a phone call from someone who asked him if he was looking for an opportunity to earn extra money from home. My student said, "What do you have?" The caller said, "If I could show you a way to earn $8000 in your first 30 days, would you be interested?"
My student asked, "Did that happen for you?" The caller said, "No, I'm new to MLM. I hate making these calls, but that's what my sponsor told me to do."
When I started in the industry over 15 years ago, I too was taught to "sell the dream" and to teach my new prospects to do the same. Financial independence, freedom from a job, big residual income for retirement, big house, fancy car…
But how many actually attained these things? Sigh. Few people can or want to do what it takes to reach their dream. The large majority discover that they can't. These are the people who comprise all those dead bodies that are so depressing, leaving the industry with a stench people run away from.
There is little regard for truth in network marketing. Maybe network marketers think no one would come if they told prospects the truth.
The lead attorney for a legal firm that specializes in helping American companies open network marketing offices in Canada informed me that companies in our industry have to go through more hoops than other businesses to get approved in Canada. When I asked why, she said that the general perception is that network marketers say whatever they have to to sell their product, whether it's true or not.
Many prospects run away when they discover it's network marketing. Some customers even back out of their orders when they discover it's network marketing.
Linda, one of my students, told the class about her friend who was ready to buy her product. When the friend got out her credit card and asked, "How much did you say it was?" Linda said, "It's $xxx for a customer and $yyy if you get the career package."
The lady then said, "Oh, is this one of those things where you're supposed to sell to your friends? And are you making money on this order?" My student stammered, "Ye-e-s," and added quickly, "But you don't have to sell to your friends."
Her friend replied, "I'm sorry, I don't want to have anything to do with it."
It's not just network marketing that suffers from a lack of credibility. The general public has become skeptical of marketing and promotion. We're all bombarded daily with promotion and advertising, much of which is filled with hype and false promises. The Do Not Call list, which is 80 million strong and increasing, was a landslide consumer revolt against telemarketers. TiVo was an equally telling revolt against television ads, as was satellite radio against radio advertising.
The public is overwhelmed and has become leery of all marketers. Best-selling business books today sport titles like All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin, or Your Call Is Important to Us by Laura Penny. Penny's opening statements reveal the disillusionment that many consumers feel:
"Never in the history of mankind have so many people uttered statements that they know to be untrue. Presidents, priests, politicians, lawyers, reporters, corporate executives, salespeople and countless others have taken to saying not what they actually believe but what they want others to believe — not what is, but what works."
If mistrust of marketers is the problem, then wouldn't the solution be marketing with integrity? How else will we regain the trust of the marketplace?
What if truth sells??
Can't we talk truth to prospects, so they see the vision?
I know we can.
First, we must get rid of all promises and other forms hype.
Second, we have to know how the money gets made and be able to describe it to someone else with no technobabble or beating around the bush with talk about "sharing" or claiming, "We don't sell." If you receive compensation for any purchase someone makes, whether it's from the trunk of your car, your company's warehouse, or a catalog, you are selling. Why not own up to it to begin with? Everyone buys things. People love good products and would rather buy from salespeople they can trust.
Third, learn how to talk about your business and your business plan in a clear, conversational tone. Talk as you would sitting at a kitchen table with your favorite aunt or at a café with a friend. No fluffy or vague words that make you sound like a seller.
It's not easy to talk truth this way, because it goes against what sellers think they should say. There's a natural tendency to launch into seller mode when one is looking to persuade someone to buy or enroll. Sellers today have to make a substantial, conscious effort to sound like a normal person, like an advisor rather than a seller, while letting the prospect know up front that they are marketing.
I've developed ways of doing this over the last 15 years; in this Webinar, I'll offer Networking Times readers a first step towards talking truth to prospects so that they see the vision. I'll describe six characteristics of seller talk that cause prospects to run the other way. And I'll suggest what to say instead. Truth does sell. You just have to know how to talk about it and master ways to describe the vision with integrity.
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