This May will mark 11 years (2008) since I entered the network marketing arena and my life took a crazy detour into the world of entrepreneurship, deep personal development and experiencing more negativity than any human should have to endure.
The good news is that my story in this industry has a happy ending.
I quit a career as a CPA 2 years after joining the industry in 2009, became a 6-figure earner in direct sales by 2014, and went on to create a multiple 6 figure income and taught many folks how to do the same.
My journey, however, was not without many fumbles, embarrassing moments and more prospecting faux pas than I care to share and I hope my friends, family & strangers I attempted to prospect have long forgotten the things I did!!!
But here’s a few, so you have an idea…
Have you ever invited friends over for dinner and very unsmoothly transitioned to showing the plan to a very unhappy audience? I have.
Have you ever tried to prospect your waitress, after a glass or two of Vino and have her respond with, “Is this Amway?” I have.
Here’s a good one… have you ever invited a guy you were dating to join you for a night out with friends and you bring him to a hotel meeting of your company hoping he’ll partner up with you? I did…and it didn’t work well for the partnering up or the relationship!
And that’s about as much as I’ll reveal because I’m starting to get really depressed remembering all this right now. Ha ha ha…
The point is, I’m about to cast some heavy stones at some networkers, but I just wanted to let ya’ll know that I’ve made mistakes too… but that doesn’t mean we should be going easy on those that are committing some MAJOR prospecting mistakes when recruiting with social media.
In my day, my fumbles happened offline and there is thankfully no record.
I once heard that success in business is all about ‘time’ and ‘place’. As a professional marketer, I would add ‘message’ to the equation as well.
Unfortunately, network marketers today are being taught online prospecting methods, which include the wrong message, at the wrong time and most definitely in all the wrong places!
Here’s the truth!
There is a VERY fine line between recruiting with social media and spamming people. I’m sorry to say that most network marketers have been turned into human spam bots by their upline and company leaders…
‘Disposable distributors’ tasked with the job of spreading the word about their company’s products or opportunity, at the expense of the individual’s reputation and risking the suspension of their social media accounts.
Successful entrepreneurs and networkers alike eventually learn the true secret to success and it becomes the foundation upon which their entire prospecting, recruiting and business building strategy is founded.
That secret being:
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt
It’s about actually caring about people, becoming a person of value and being someone uniquely positioned to help someone with their problems.
That last one is critical “uniquely positioned to help someone with their problems.”
Anyone with half a brain can copy and paste a message into the Private Message function on Facebook.
What sets you apart from the rest of the desperate reps hitting people’s inboxes with their new “ground floor” opportunities or cash programs?
Now, this doesn’t mean prospecting online doesn’t work. I know some very skilled recruiters who are excellent at online prospecting, but just like offline prospecting, they’ve devoted the time and effort to learn this very difficult skill and have mastered it. And if that’s the strategy you want to deploy, you need to do it right or you’re wasting your precious time!
But if you’re still a little fuzzy on whether you are a spammer or not, here’s a guide of sorts…
1) Your first private message to a stranger on social media includes a link to join your opportunity.
2) You get angry replies via private messaging and/or you have been reported as a spammer.
3) You post links to your opportunity or website in the comments section of other people’s social media posts
4) You compulsively want to talk about your company or products, without anyone asking you to share.
Finally… this one is the most important one…
5) You engage in interactions online, with a hidden agenda, hoping to transition the topic to something that would get people interested in your opportunity, without caring about knowing the other person.
This last one for me is a big one but could also be controversial.
After all, #5 is the very definition of prospecting (online or offline), which even when done right… can still feel awkward, result in people getting angry at you and very unleveraged, which is why I eventually decided to stop prospecting altogether.
But here’s the interesting thing…
I can’t tell you how relieved and at peace I felt, when I once again, was able to go out with my friends, visiting a family member’s home or be in a public place without having to think about prospecting anyone.
Just enjoying being normal again, was incredible, after two years of being taught by my upline that “everyone was a prospect” and approaching every conversation with a hidden agenda, I was free!
That’s because it wasn’t until I STOPPED prospecting, that my business actually started growing!
At this point, you may be asking, “then how the heck did your business grow?”
Well before I answer that, I have to say that there are people who are very skilled prospectors and recruiters who completely disregard the issues I mentioned above.
They knowingly and without shame, approach every interaction with a stranger as a prospecting opportunity.
Getting yelled at or cursed out by prospects is no big deal, as long as some people say ‘yes.’
And just like doing it right offline, there’s a way to successfully do it online as well. After learning and becoming very good at prospecting, I decided that I didn’t want to build my business this way.
The problem with prospecting in general, as it’s normally taught, is that the mindset going in, is still about what YOU want people to do and about manipulating people into doing what you want them to do.
In other words, it’s about YOU, not them. I didn’t like that, but I still did it for a little while… until I did find a better way.
Now, I am not trying to be high and mighty about all this prospecting stuff, because I’m not.
If it came down to feeding my family with ‘stone cold’ prospecting tactics or my kids starving, I choose stone cold prospecting every time, without remorse.
But the reason I was able to quit prospecting was because, with the help of some extraordinary mentors, I eventually discovered an online recruiting strategy, which…
Enabled me to recruit, on average, 35 people into my business per month which is what most skilled recruiters do in a year. I was able to passively generate leads, customers and new reps – even when I was out having fun with my family.
(Hence why I didn’t have to worry about prospecting them!)
Rather than spending hours spamming or private messaging people on social media, I learned how to legitimately get Facebook and other networks to actually help me attract the people who are most interested in what I have to offer, using their ads platform! (i.e. going legit!)
In fact, every day for almost 3 years now, since I started doing my business this way, I’ve awoken to an email inbox full of notifications for new leads, new customers, new team members and commissions I earned while sleeping!
This strategy is called ‘attraction marketing’, which is an internet marketing strategy designed for networkers and people in direct sales!
You see, if your business depends on you being on social media, sending private messages or commenting on people’s posts all day, you are NOT doing internet marketing… despite what you may have been led to believe.
Online prospecting and internet marketing are NOT the same thing! Internet marketing is a passive strategy, which works, even when you are not.
If you want to learn how it works, the actual strategy I’ve used for the past 3 years, in a free 10-Day Online Recruiting Bootcamp available here.
You’ll also get more details about a book, which goes into the nuts n’ bolts of the recruiting & selling formula that I personally use every day.
Now if traditional prospecting online or offline is your thing and you want to stick to that, by all means, go for it.
For me, there was simply a certain way I wanted to live my life and that was more important.
I would much rather make a ton of money in my business first and then have my friends and family beg me to tell them more about it.
It’s much better than begging my friends and family to join a business which isn’t making any money.
Which would you prefer?
To your success!
Ruth Anne Sheridan