Making that Call

There’s a great book called “Make that Call” by an American network marketing Guru called Jan Ruhe.  Naturally she has sponsored thousands of distributors so she knows all about picking up the phone to speak to prospects.  More about her book later.

I’ve been doing some serious house painting and decorating throughout the summer and it’s given me time to think about the best ways to build a business. I’ve considered what exactly has worked best for me over the years and what has been most cost-effective and the fastest way to sponsor others into the team.

I quite like painting because it gives a real sense of satisfaction when you have a wonderfully decorated room at the end. But it can be a trifle boring so it gives plenty of time to examine oneself and to contemplate what works and what doesn’t.

And the conclusion is that the best, fastest, cheapest and most-effective way to sponsor is to get on the phone – to make that call!

Let’s face it, no-one likes cold calling or even warm calling. It’s something that most of us avoid like the plague. But I have to tell you that if you really want to get on in business, you need to pick up the phone. Now I know it weighs 20lbs, but you have to force yourself to do some serious weight lifting!

The same thing applies to any business really. Every single business needs to market itself and at the end of the day any business that really wants to grow needs to make calls. Take painting and decorating – since it’s on my mind at the moment. A painter and decorator can get some business by word of mouth, he can advertise and spend money on the internet, but his cheapest, most effective way of getting more work is to make phone calls.

Jan Ruhe’s book is packed full of ideas and advice of how to make the calls. Who to call, what to say, how to manage the call.  I’m not going to go through all the advice because I have more painting to do (!) but suffice to say, you can  buy her book on Amazon for a few £s and it’s well worth the money.

The way I approach cold calls (often to business people via purchased lists) is simple but effective. I write a script. Then I practise it a lot. Keep repeating it out loud until it sounds right and I don’t have to read it word-for-word.

Then I stand up, pick up the phone and dial – before I can change my mind.

Go through the script – trying not to sound like an automaton – and see how it sounds. Inevitably it’s not right, so after I finish the call I change something. Then I do it again and keep altering the script until it’s right. It may take quite a few calls before it sounds natural and flowing, but bear in mind that the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t have the script!  They don’t know what you were going to say so it’s likely to sound fine to them.

Once you’ve perfected your calls, simply rinse and repeat.

Another tip is to get a good set of wireless headphones that enable you to make calls whilst walking around. It’ll make your life much easier and give you exercise at the same time!

You can also get systems that automatically dial the next number on your list. If you’re a procrastinator, that’s a great way to move on fast, ensuring you fulfil your quote.

Set yourself daily, weekly and monthly targets – and stick to them. Maybe you can see yourself making 10 phone calls a day. If you do that 6 days a week, you’ll complete 240 each month. Or double it to achieve almost 500 a month – 6,000 a year. Now tell me that activity like that won’t build your business!

Good luck. I promise it’s never as bad as you think and you’ll be inspired when you get some terrific results.

Meetings and Events

You’ll probably hear your sponsor say over and over again that you must go to every meeting, every event, everything.

Well I used to follow that advice. Went to meetings and big gatherings all around the country. I also went to trainings several times a month and to opportunity meetings at least once a month.  So that was a lot of commitment.

And I have to admit that it does keep you motivated – at least at the beginning of your network marketing career.

However, I really feel that it also wears you out. You spend a lot of money travelling around the country, so you don’t make a lot of profit, if any. Then you spend all your “spare” time going to events of all types and suddenly you don’t have time to build your business.

That’s ridiculous but it’s what happens to many people. So there’s a happy medium in my opinion.

I now commit to 2 events per month. That might be one training and one opportunity meeting or one large event and an opportunity meeting. I’m not saying I never go to more than 2, but that’s my commitment and it makes me feel better to know that I achieve it and still have time to run my business.

Time and time again I’ve seen people become social networkers – leaving out the marketing. Some of us just love to be around other positive like-minded people and enjoy these events. That’s great, but it’s not the reason we hold them. We want everyone to be doing business, making business contacts, learning how to make money – not just having a lovely chinwag and gossip (though that can happen as well).

So the lesson here is to use common sense and take part in all the big events – definitely. But the smaller trainings and meetings can be juggled, just fit a few of them around your life and don’t feel guilty if you can’t get to everything that goes on within 50 miles.

The Rejection Rocket

I wish I’d thought of that phrase “the rejection rocket” but unfortunately I can’t take the credit. I’ve seen it bandied around for a while.

I think it accurately describes how new people feel when they first get started and their best friend, or their Mum or brother say NO.  Usually they don’t just say “no thanks, it’s not for me”, but they try to talk the new recruit out of the whole thing.

They tell them they’ve made a big mistake, invested in a scam, joined a pyramid scheme. They ask why they think they can sell when they’ve never sold anything before. Or they simply say they don’t think your new distributor can do it.

It shakes them. It knocks their confidence and they’re now at the lowest.

So the best thing to do is to prepare every new recruit for the rejection rocket that’s almost bound to come their way. Tell them it’s likely that their family won’t understand, that their friends could be jealous of their new business or that everyone may have their best interests at heart, but they just don’t comprehend what they’re doing.

Educate new distributors. Tell them stories about successful distributors who didn’t get off to a good start because their family didn’t believe in them.

If possible, get them to take some of their circle to an opportunity meeting so they can see the whole picture. This often has the effect of neutralising the attack. If they still don’t believe in the business model, at least they may be more supportive.  The best way to invite these family and friends is to ask for their help.  The new distributor should tell them they’ve started a new business and want an opinion. Could they come along to hear all about it because they don’t really understand everything yet>?

Failing that, try to spend a lot of time with new people and meet their circle. That way you can deflect the rockets. Or at least get on the phone regularly so you can repair any damage before it takes an irreversible turn.

I’ve had new team members who completely change their mind within 24 hours. And it’s usually those who would most benefit. It’s sad but you know someone has got at them.

The worst thing you can do is let your new guys get on with it, because the chances are that they’ll drop out before long.

So innoculate as much as you can and be there all the way to support them and bring back their enthusiasm. Also get them along to trainings and events and help them mix with other team members so they get a dose of positivity rubbing off on them.

Let’s hope the rejection rocket doesn’t strike your new people, but the chances are it will hit most of them, so be prepared and good luck.

Personal Development

One of my best friends, Jez from, is one of the biggest fans of personal development that I’ve ever met.  Jez is a shining example of how you can go from broke to owning several very successful businesses and it was he who got me into personal development, even before I knew about network marketing.

But you don’t have to be in Network Marketing very long before you notice that the leaders – the guys who are making all the money – are very keen on personal development, just like Jez.

self improvementAnd along with personal development goes a very big industry of seminars, presentations, books, audio and videos. In fact I’m pretty sure that many of the network marketing top dogs make more money from selling personal development than they ever made as networkers, so I’m a little sceptical about some of them.

Nevertheless there are some good lessons to be learned and these tools benefit a lot of people.

Goal setting is one of the biggies. Most successful NWMers will tell you that you need a strong reason to make your business work. In other words you need a big WHY.  That Why enables you to develop goals – a route to achieving your dreams, making them a reality.  I’m not qualified to go into the subject of goal setting, but I do know that many people find it a worthwhile way to build themselves a roadmap.

First what is your Why. I mean in real depth – not just that you want to make some money. Why do you want to make money? What will that mean to you? What will it enable you to do? And you need to dig down to find an answer to these questions. What will it mean if you don’t achieve your Why?

Once you’ve established that, you know your big goal and you can work backwards.  Plot out how you can achieve it. What exactly you have to do and always put a time on it. So perhaps you want to earn £200 a month, by the end of June, which will enable you to make your car payments. Which is a step to paying your monthly bills.

It all fits together and you need to spend some time working out a precise plan. It doesn’t have to be written in stone because you adapt your plan as you go along. Sometimes you miss a goal, but shift everything so you get back on track and still reach your big goal, even if you have to change the timing.

It’s like the old story of aiming a rocket to Mars. You know the goal – to land on Mars. You start off with a plan and fire the rocket, but you have to continually adjust your aim along the way because every so often you get a little of course. Focus – adjust – focus – adjust.

Your goals can include a route to personal improvement.  There are lots of things making up personal development, but I think they come down to just a few:  being positive, taking action, staying focussed, never giving up and following your goals.

Embrace those things and practise them every day to have a fruitful network marketing business.

Compensation Plans

Phew.  There are so many types of compensation plan around these days, and I have to admit that I just don’t understand them all any more.

But most are variations of a theme and there seem to be just four commonly used types of plan. These are:

  • Breakaway
  • Forced matrix
  • Unilevel
  • Binary

I’m not going to go into great detail about how they all work because you can just Google them to find out.

But what I do think is that anyone thinking about joining a multi-level marketing company should absolutely understand how they get paid.

It’s totally astonishing that people who have been in a business for years don’t really understand how or why they get paid. So how can they tell whether they’ve been properly compensated. And how can they work out whether they benefit or not when the plan is changed.

NWM companies have a habit of changing their plans. Unfortuntely, in my experience, it rarely benefits the distributors. But they are also very clever with the way they present such changes and the majority usually think they come out of it well. The guys at the top are normally much smarter and they see immediately where the catches are. But they’re not going to explain those to their teams are they? They have a vested interest in keeping their distributors happy so they play the company line and enthuse about every change as though it would make you far richer.

In reality there aren’t many people who make much money out of network marketing. If you study a company’s plan, you’ll probably find that it all sounds great, they pay out x% of turnover and you can expect to make good money. What actually happens in most cases is that loads of distributors don’t qualify to get paid.

You may get paid for a while, but most companies make you qualify every month in one way or another. You may have to sell a certain amount of product or bring in some distributors, or maintain group sales. Sometimes the requirement is pretty well hidden but those who understand the compensation plan will know exactly what needs to be done to get paid.

When it comes to qualification, some service-based companies are better than product-driven companies because service customers tend to be long-term. They pay for their telecoms or their electricity month-after-month so you don’t have to worry about turnover quite so much. However there will still be customers dropping out, so don’t sit too comfortably and gloat about being in a service business.

As I mentioned in a previous post, if you’re in a product driven company you should look for something that has a high number of repeat orders on autoship. That won’t elimate the problem completely but it might take off the pressure a bit.

If you don’t understand the compensation plan of the company you’re thinking of joining, then ask your sponsor to explain. Chances are he won’t have a clue, so in that case ask to speak to his sponsor and so on up the chain until you find someone who knows the plan inside out.

Make no mistake, the top earners will understand it all and will be pleased to explain it to a newbie who’s making the effort to get to grips with how they’ll get paid.

Once you’ve got your head around the compensation plan, you need to work out how much you’re likely to earn, taking into account the amount of time you have available, how outgoing you are and how determined.  Most people get started then give up – the dropout rate in network marketing is enormous and I reckon only about 2% ever make a worthwhile income from it.

So be realistic with your figures and the amount of effort you’re willing to expend because it’s not going to come easy.

But if you’re prepared to work very hard for the next 7-10 years, understand the plan, use your time wisely and keep at it, you might just make a good income from network marketing.



Your sponsor

Most people seem to join NWM companies because they’ve been invited to look at the opportunity by a friend.  Companies often have big official presentations where they explain how everything works and encourage you to join.

And most people don’t hesitate to join up under that person.

But you don’t have to. You’re entitled to choose your sponsor and it makes sense to choose someone you can work with if you intend to take your new business seriously.  Yes it is a new business, although most people treat it as a hobby and wonder why they don’t get anywhere.

However, if you do decide not to join under your friend or colleague, be prepared for some bad feeling because of course they’re doing what they’re told to build their team and you were probably one of their best prospects!

Even if you choose a sponsor, it’s not easy to find the right person. I’ve done this several times and my theory was to go for someone who was already successful.  This can sometimes be a good strategy, especially when your sponsor is building a new leg and therefore places you in a critical position in their organisation.  That gives them an incentive to help you build you team.

But this can backfire if you’re not careful. Many years ago I joined a well-known large network marketing company.  I did all my research and looked for a successful couple near the top of the business.  I contacted someone and travelled several hours to meet them.  And they were very nice, made all the right noises and promised to help me do what they had done.

But later I discovered that the payment plan in their company had allowed distributors to rise to the top of their plan on the back of just one superstar. So the sponsors I chose had been fairly active, but their big success was due to one of the people they had recruited.

Unfortunately the company found this was unsustainable, so they started to change the payouts and the couple who sponsored me found their income was dropping. In fact they were looking elsewhere to supplement their income.

This was not what I expected, so your due diligence may need to go very deep.

On another occasion I sought out a big-hitter and called him. He answered all my questions and was obviously pretty clued up (as you’d expect).  But he didn’t personally recruit any more so he put me in touch with a dynamic couple in his team.  I met them, signed up and worked like a trojan. But I didn’t get all the help and support I was promised, except a few titbits at the start.

The lesson here is that it doesn’t really matter who sponsors you because your success is down to you. But it definitely helps if you have an active sponsor who wants to help you and who knows what they’re doing.  The problem is that it’s difficult ascertaining this information before you get started.

I’d say by all means look for someone you can get on with and you think you can work with, but don’t rely on them to get you where you want to go.

Service-driven Companies

There are far fewer service-driven network marketing companies than there are product-driven ones and I don’t think there are many in the UK.

These companies usually supply something that just about everyone needs, like energy or telephony services. In the US there are also companies that provide business services and insurance.

I’ve also seen a number of startups that sell kind of virtual things – beware these as they may well be scams. I well remember a company that sold lottery numbers on some sort of shared payout basis, but that didn’t last long.

And there was another American company some years ago that was selling virtual art – that’s probably not the right term but it amounted to that. There wasn’t anything physical and people were putting in vast sums of money.

Of course it was really just a pyramid scheme but it was very well disguised and fooled a lot of people for a while.

But the genuine service-driven NWM businesses seem to do well, though they operate on much lower profit margins, so this means they pay out a lot less to their distributors. There are some hybrid schemes operating in the UK. By that I mean they offer services but they also offer an investment-level opportunity for new distributors. They pay a hefty sum to get involved and that portion of their “investment” goes into a pyramid-style pot to be doled out to successful teamleaders.

Somehow they get around the pyramid laws, but it can hardly be ethical. Simple maths reveals that it’s unsustainable and a few people will get rich at the expense of all the others.

Anyhow, back to services. Although they pay out far less, they do give a very nice ongoing income. If you’re selling gas and electricity, you know that your customers will keep using it month after month, so it produces a more sustainable income for most distributors.

Of course you still get fall-out as customers switch suppliers, especially in the energy market when the government encourages people to regularly switch.

Service industries usually require more explanation than products, so the NWM will need to ensure their distributors are well-trained – especially in regulated markets.

So if you’re going into a service-based MLM, be sure to check out the training programme offered by the company before you take the plunge. This could make all the difference between success and failure.


Product-driven Companies

Network marketing companies can be split into those that provide services and those that sell products.  There are benefits and drawbacks to each, in my opinion.

If you’re selling a product via network marketing, the chances are it’s health-related or appearance-related. Most of the NWM businesses I’ve come across have sold something like pills and potions, diet stuff, vitamins, perfumes, cosmetics, etc. I think that’s because the margins are very high and there’s enough profit for them to pay out big bucks to distributors.

But these products can be very pricey and are not always easy to sell. Sometimes something special comes along that has a really unique selling point and makes it worth the price. But I’ve found that although most NWM products are high-quality, they can over-priced and there is quite a bit of price resistance.

The result of that is that most of the sales may be to distributors – ie each distributor has to buy a minimum amount of product a month in order to qualify for their bonuses. So most of the sales come from inside the organisation and that doesn’t make for a stable and sustainable business.

This can lead to stock-piling, the garage filled with unused and unwanted products.  Not a good way to go.

So I’d say that if you’re joining a product-driven company, make sure the products are very good and reasonably priced so lots of people will want to actually buy them.

The other thing with products is you want something that is consumable – that is you want repeat sales. Otherwise you’ll spend every month trying to find new customers.  You want a customer base that keeps coming back for more, preferably on auto-ship.

On the plus side, products are usually easy to understand, so you probably won’t need a lot of training.

And if you find a company with the right products, you can build a very loyal base of happy customers who keep buying from you on a regular basis.

There are some companies that have built in their own unique way of selling through NWM. For example Kleeneze, who have grown by showing their distributors how to sell by dropping off brochures and picking them up with orders. It’s a virtually rejection-free business model and one that has done well for many years.  I think it’s feeling the pinch now though, as it feels competition from the internet.

So there’s nothing wrong with product-driven companies, but be sure to pick the right company with the right products. I’ve heard many times that the product is irrelevant – but I strongly disagree. How can you expect a network of non-sales people to sell something that isn’t instantly attractive to a large percentage of the population?


This is my blog about network marketing.

It’s something I’ve been involved with for many years, although I’ll admit that I’ve switched companies a few times.

Along the way I’ve learned quite a bit. I’ve made a bit of money, but nowhere near a fortune. But I think that’s the way with UK network marketing companies. There’s not the potential that the US companies have.

Mind you, some of those American companies sail close to the wind. If they’re paying out big money, it’s usually because they take high investments from a large number of suckers. Personally I don’t think that’s a moral thing to do. The vast majority just lose their money, and a few of the big hitters  make enormous sums.  Ok if you’re one of those top guys I suppose.

So I’m going to write a bit about some of the things I’ve found out. And I hope it helps you avoid some of the pitfalls associated with network marketing – or MLM – multi-level marketing – as they often call it across the pond.

I’m certainly not an expert, but I reckon I can spot a scam, and unfortunately they’re all to common in our world.

But there are some really good companies out there too. Companies that offer excellent products or beneficial services and operate in an ethical manner. I really don’t think anyone should expect to make a fortune in UK NWM though – it rarely happens – and when it does it usually takes many years.

But it can be a nice second income for anyone who’s prepared to put in some regular effort and work hard for a few years.