Independent Consultants: Are you pushing friends away

Building a business is no easy feat, and certainly is not for the faint of heart. Successfully building a Multi Level Marketing business seems to be even harder. We all have the friends who have a second job or are the stay at home moms wanting to have a little spending money or maybe just human interaction (I work remote—I feel ya!). With the cost of living seemingly rising faster than wages it feels as though everyone has what we deem “the side hustle”.

They say every millionaire has multiple sources of income, which makes sense. The old saying stands true: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Millionaires diversify their portfolios for better chances of returns, they invest in real estate, and they typically run or invest in multiple businesses. Bethenny Frankel, one of my favorite women, was a chef before she launched her Skinny Girl drink line; she is also an author, former talk show host and a reality TV personality. Bethenny has continued to evolve her Skinny Girl brand to include food and clothing. Why do I mention Bethenny’s rise to fame and fortune? Simple, she was in her mid 30’s and nearly broke trying to figure out how to make ends meet when she first rose to fame on the reality tv series Real Housewives of New York City. Today her net worth is roughly $25 million. Yes, she made majority of her money through the Skinny Girl Cocktail but her books have brought in large amounts as well as her other residual income. Her persistence in knowing she could build a brand in an industry that is run by corporate giants and succeeding is beyond admirable. It’s inspiring. It shows people they can reinvent themselves. Our path is not set in stone once we hit a certain age, and people like Bethenny paved the way for the rest of us. Reinventing ourselves can come in many different forms; one of which is, starting a new business.

Many people do not have the ability to lift off a complete brand on their own but they do have the ability to market a current product(s), which is how Multi Level Marketing companies (MLM) come into play. Avon and Mary Kay are two of the most well known MLM brands in the country but there are hundreds if not thousands more. Some MLMs stay around for a while, some fade out quickly while others seemingly play a game of “pop goes the weasel” where they just randomly reappear! MLMs are a great source of income for those who are passionate about the product with the ability to devote their time and properly network the brand. Anyone who buys into an MLM is considered an Independent Consultant for the company. This means that they do not receive pay from the company unless they are making sales. Now this is where things get tricky.

Independent Consultants typically rely on their friends and family to help kick start their new business venture. Social media has created a new place for MLMs to call home base, however, a lot of the consultants make a few major mistakes when they are marketing their business which in turn pushes friends away and hurts the growth process for the venture.

Here is a list of my top 10 least favorite MLM approaches and why they turn people off.

10) Product Jumping: Some people move too quickly between their side hustles, especially if they are going to a similar product. Think about it from a customer perspective, you just convinced them to buy this $300 package of the most amazing nutritional supplement and then the next month you are pitching them on a whole new company’s products. My head would spin, wouldn’t yours? It makes people think that you are not researching the companies you are buying into and that you are not educated with the products when you jump between them quickly. Don’t make yourself appear that you are there for the quick buck. Yes, you want to make money but you don’t want to come off as a con. Know your brand and believe in what you are doing, more people will follow you if you have passion.

9) Nagging Sales Approach: This seems simple enough but a lot of people continue to push a sale even when the person has declined. Not every product is going to be a product for your friends or family. Why would I buy a dog toy if I didn’t have a dog? Why would I buy energy drinks if I always have energy? You wouldn’t. If someone is not seeing value in what you are offering, do not continue to push the value onto him or her because you will only hurt the friendship. Move on and when they see you succeed maybe they will see the value then and approach you.

8) Oversharing: You need to talk about your business but sometimes talking too much can hurt you. Self-control is important with your brand new venture. Have a plan of how you are going to approach people. Don’t just wing it. You need different approaches for different people, this is not a one size fits all. Gauge the level of interest with a few questions, if the interest is not there simply walk away. If they are curious they will now seek you out. Getting to know peoples ‘why’ is important a well. Why would they be interested in your product or why are they seeking you out for your product? If all you do is talk at someone, you are not creating a connection with people. Conversations have a give and a take, a push and a pull, if you are always taking and never giving people will lose interest in you not your product. BUT you are the product because you wont make money unless you are selling it.

7) Approaching acquaintances or old friends on Social Media with no interaction: Did you just create a group for your business and add everyone on your friends list in it then start posting like crazy into the group so everyone’s entire newsfeed is full of your new business information? Well congrats you just pushed away a good chunk of potential customers. If you haven’t spoken to Sally since you were in the 5th grade together you need to reopen that relationship. Even if you truly believe Sally would love the product and you added her for all the right reasons, she needs to hear that from you in a private message. Additionally, set up a business page on Facebook not a group to be apart of it holds a little more credibility. With this option instead of adding people to the group they can follow and like your page and you can introduce the page by sending out invitations to it. But don’t forget to personalize it.

6) Only pitching your close friends and family: Although your friends and family should be the first ones to support you they often are not. The support you receive will likely come from strangers, acquaintances, or friends of friends. If you only speak to the people you are comfortable with, you wont take your business very far. It sucks to watch your friends count down the seconds until Kylie Jenner’s new lipgloss is released or Beyonce’s new album but you tell them your company has a brand new catalog and it’s crickets. Get used to that. Stop only pitching them. They may buy one or two things from you but they are not your endless streams of sales. Social Media is allowing you to unlock limitless people. Find new avenues to meet and network with people.

5) Selling the business too quickly: You wouldn’t walk up to someone for the first time at a bar and ask the person is to marry you, so don’t go all in when pitching your business. Create illusion and desire, but do not be deceptive. Give the person just enough to think about your business and get them questioning why your product and then ask them about themselves. If the conversations comes back around naturally (not forced) to your business great! You will likely not get a sale on your first interaction. This is a getting to know you first date, you have to keep the communication going and listen to see if the person is a good candidate for your product.

4) Forget to Educate: If you cannot answer simple questions about the products you are selling, you need to do yourself a favor and stop selling for a minute, take a break and educate yourself. Every MLM has a back office where they give you a bunch of information on the company. You need to know this information. If you are selling Pampered Chef products, where are your products made? If you are selling Rodan & Fields, when did they launch this product? If you are selling jewelry, is it silver plated or sterling silver or white gold? Additionally, research passed the information the company gives you. Google your company, is there any bad reports out there that you need to beware of? People are going to question you, how you answer them is important. Do you sound informed or are you scrambling to answer the questions? It’s ok if you need to come back with an answer to one or two things but you should know the answers to 90% of the questions that can come at you. You cannot educate others on how wonderful your company’s products are if you are not educated yourself. Using amazing adjectives to describe your company and their products will only get you so far, you have to be able to sound reputable for people to spend money with you. It’s not their job to know your job. You are the representative for your company you should know it inside and out, so they can be informed by you.

3) People don’t like to be sold, the like to buy in: People like to buy into things, no I don’t mean literal buying into things. They like to know why they should buy a Pampered Chef spoon for $10 when they can purchase a similar one form Wal-Mart for a fraction of the price. People buy houses because they feel like they can make it their home. People buy clothes because they want to feel a certain way in them whether it’s comfortable, sexy, sophisticated, etc. People also need to know why they should buy into your product. What feeling will they get? Are they saving the planet? Are they buying something made in America? Did a kid start the company or do the proceeds help support a foundation? There is always a buy in, some companies have multiple, and you need to be aware of them so you can speak about them.

2) Recruiting too soon: It’s one thing to pitch people about your product but now you are trying to get everyone in your downline so you can start making residual money off of them. Whoa…slow down! You’re getting the cart before the horse. You can run if you have barely been walking! Do not immediately take on recruits, especially if you do not have any leadership experience. You will likely bring on the wrong people and drive yourself crazy. Make sure you have a true grasp on your company, your strategy and your sales before adding on anything else. If your company pushes for quick recruitment, question them about it.

1) Not Engaging: You need to engage your audience in a variety of ways. They will want to see what’s going on with your business, but also what’s going on with you. You don’t need to go into details about your personal life, actually DO NOT go into deep details about your personal life because your business page is a public forum. But you can show some of your home life. When people ask questions or say hello, interact with them. When you post pictures make sure they are clear quality images, even if they aren't for your business. Consistency in branding is important. Blurry or uninteresting photos will likely be passed by and can get you unfollowed because for the most part people want to know about our business. Make sure you are not thinking about yourself but about your audience at all times when promoting on social media.

If you have any questions or if you are stuck in a rut with your MLM business feel free to message me at any time at thatswhashesaidconsulting@gmail.com