Sales and network marketing are related but different professions. Of course there are various hybrids and blends. But for this discussion let’s distinguish between these fields based on their fundamentals. Either profession can be practiced online or offline. I love the internet and the technological leverage. It reminds me of the leverage of networking, which is based on exponential leverage. In internet terms, that would be called “viral.”
As in any other profession, some are more skilled than others. In sales some are persuasive “pitch men” or clever closers. Some are hypnotic ad copy writers. Some have access to huge lists of warm leads. One nice thing about networking is that whatever skills or resources you don’t have, others in your downline may have. In networking, as in leadership, it is wise to surround yourself with people more skilled than yourself, if you can. In network marketing what counts most is what your group does; it’s not about your personal sales.
The salesperson seeks to personally sell as many products as possible–directly to customers. Even in the sales profession the big money is usually in sales management. Training a professional salesperson takes months or even years, and the income is usually small for a long time. Because the commissions come from personal sales, it is necessary to make many sales to make a living. This requires lots of leads. A “sales funnel” describes the sorting of leads into “suspects,” into “prospects” and then into customers. Ten customers out of 1000 leads is considered good.
In network marketing the “funnel” is turned upside down. It only takes a few leaders to multiply into thousands of customers. In the best case scenario the number of customers is far greater than the number of leads with which the networker started! For example, in my experience, I have sometimes had an average of more than 100 customer sales (by my organization) per one original lead of mine. In that example, everyone I asked to look at my business, on the average, turned into over 100 customers.
For example, in one business, I chose not to approach my friends or family (“warm market”). I recruited one or two strangers per month, turned cold market into new warm market relationships, and helped them talk to their prospects (some warm and some cold). I taught duplication by keeping it simple and being authentic. By the end of the first year my organization was about 5000 strong, and my income exceeded five figures per month. The next year was even much better, and so on… This is just a real life example and not numerically typical of the average networker. Disclaimer: I am not promising that you would make that much. Probably not. But understand the concept of exponential multiplication of your efforts, as compared with having to continually make personal sales.
The fact is that I approached a total of about one or two hundred “leads” (cold prospects) one or two a week over a period of two years, recruited 25, out of which 5 were leaders. Each of them, with my help, recruited about 10 or 20, etc., etc., and our organization grew into tens of thousands of customers! Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.” I especially like the residual income from networking. It is like “royalties” from patents or book writing. In my opinion it is much easier than owning rental real estate–and cheaper to acquire.
I have found that professional salespeople have much difficulty understanding this wonderful exponential phenomenon. They typically fail in network marketing, because they think it is about what they do personally, rather than what their group does collectively. Teachers typically do much better than salespeople in the network marketing profession.