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Network Marketing requires a paradigm shift

The definition of paradigm shift has to do with making a change in basic assumptions.  Let me give you an example.

A person is blind.  Most of the world believes you need sight in order to climb a mountain.  But this person doesn’t subscribe to that assumption [the assumption is that without eyesight a person cannot climb a mountain].  This person’s paradigm shift is that nothing is outside his desire to doErik Weihenmayer  may have had a genetic disorder that stole his sight, but his mind was able to make a paradigm shift.  And, once the shift was made, the how became only a matter of adaptation.

Thinking about Network Marketing is no different.  There exists a basic assumption that a network marketing business is something a little off-putting, something not-quite legitimate.  There is an assumption that a network marketing business will work only for those with super sales abilities.  And it’s a shame, really, because the network marketing industry is the fastest growing industry in the world.  In 2007, in the United States alone, over 15 million people were involved in a direct selling business.  – You’ll note I use direct selling and network marketing interchangeably.  That’s also a paradigm shift.

The idea is to re-think how we think about network marketing.  Network Marketing companies are big business…with people signing up every day in an attempt to augment their current income.  And, for the most part, the products and services of these companies are high quality, competitive and in demand.

So what is a network marketing or direct selling business ?  It’s a business where the business person is an independent contractor with the parent company.  The goal of the parent company is to have a large number of independent distributors who both sell their products and are themselves consumers.  This type of business model is attractive for the parent company because it doesn’t have to build individual brick-n-mortar retail outlets [even a franchise parent company has to have buildings]. 

The goal of the independent distributor is to build up a retail customer base and, depending upon the organizational and pay structure of the parent company, also help to sponsor other people into the same company…the reward then becomes possible commissions and bonuses based on overall team sales volume.

And here is where the paradigm shift is needed most: the whole sponsoring idea.  You can use the word sponsor and you can use the word recruit.  There is an assumption that this is a negative thing.  Not so.  If the company is a good one, with sound management, a good product base and fair compensation plan, why wouldn’t someone want to tell others about it?  There is also the assumption that only a few people ever succeed…only those at the top.  Another wrong assumption is that the reward comes in the sponsoring activity itself.  Time for another shift in thinking.

Network Marketing/direct selling opportunities are not pyramids…corporations are.  People succeed – or not – with a network marketing business based on their own efforts.  If Person Ahas attained a level of financial success with his distributorship, it is not because he’s at the top of the pyramid…it’s because he has retailed product and built an organization [sponsored] large enough with sales volume large enough to warrant size-able commissions and bonuses.   It’s quite possible, and actual, that people down the line organizationally from Person A earn greater income due to their own business efforts.   Person B does not do well…and that, too, is his own doing.  He hasn’t retailed the product, may not even be his own customer and does not share the opportunity with others and then help them get started.

Network Marketing is all about networking…working with people, helping other people to succeed.  In every case I know of, no one succeeded without helping others on their way to success.  This is a business model built on human relationships…it’s relational marketing.

One more paradigm shift – marketing.  The assumption is that the marketing in network marketing is sales.  “But I’m not a salesman!” you cry.  Well, I’m not either.   Marketing is telling other people about what you’ve got.  They will either buy or they won’t.  The shift in thinking is from “selling” to “telling.”  This shift in thinking takes the pressure off – once you’ve done your part and introduced the product, then the person will either buy or they won’t – what you’ve done is to give them the opportunity to buy.  

New way of thinking.  Changing assumptions.  Assumptions are usually based upon false or nonexistent information.  Before jumping to conclusions, find out the facts.  Then make decisions…not assumptions…based on those facts.

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