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MLM Woman Issue 143
January 2009

From the Desk of the Editor

Welcome to the 143rd edition of the MLM Woman Newsletter with more helpful articles to help you get off to a fast start in 2009.

If you like this month's issue, please be sure to let your friends know about it too and invite them to come and visit us. Also, if you have comments, questions or something to share after reading this month's articles, please visit our MLMTalk Discussion Forum and join in the lively conversation!

You can also view the articles from this month's issue at the MLM Woman Newsletter blog. This blog is updated each month with new content from our monthly newsletter. So head over and take a peak.

And also be sure to check out our Moms in Business Blog and MLM Marketing Blog for lots of additional tips and resources which are added throughout the month.

Yours in Success!
Linda Locke, Editor MLMWoman
Follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/LindaLocke

Building Your Business
With Social Media:
An Interview With Dave Saunders
By Liz Monte

Relationship-building has always been at the heart of network marketing. In fact, this is what differentiates this industry from nearly every other type of business.

This principle has been proven over and over: The truly successful people in MLM are the ones who spend the most time getting to know other people. They're the ones whose organizations thrive and who get to enjoy the fruits of a substantial residual income. After all, people generally prefer to do business with folks they know, like, and trust.

Up until recently, developing relationships took place mostly locally on a one-to-one basis. Network marketers looking to expand their circle of influence might attend a Chamber of Commerce mixer or a BNI breakfast. They might get involved in the PTA or a local service organization. All these activities are still great ways to network.

In the last couple of years, however, the landscape has changed. That immensely powerful communication tool called the Internet now makes it possible to develop a "know-like-trust" relationship with potentially hundreds of people from all over the world at the same time, especially thanks to a relatively new phenomenon called "social media" - Facebook, blogging, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and many other services.

One individual you'll frequently encounter in social media circles is Dave Saunders. Dave has been using the Internet to build his network marketing business for over a decade. When the social media concept began to grow, he embraced it and became one of the leading pioneers in the movement. As it happens, he's also an entertaining teacher and speaker, and I had the very good fortune recently to conduct an interview with him. Here are some excerpts:

Liz Monte: Okay, Dave. What's the point of this social media thing? How can it benefit someone in the network marketing industry?

Dave Saunders: It's mostly a matter of going where the people are. Social media sites like Facebook have become immensely popular. Blogger, for example, has over 200 million users. In the old days of the Internet, before websites became interactive, people would go online to surf - they often didn't have any particular destination. Nowadays, when most people go online, it's for a reason. They're going to a specific social site like Twitter or LinkedIn because human beings are social creatures and crave that interaction with other people. And it's not just teenagers anymore. So there's a tremendous concentration of visitors at the social sites.

LM: So how does it work? How do you market yourself through a social site?

DS: The first thing to do is get beyond the idea that you're there to tell everyone about your business. People go to social sites to establish relationships, not to be sold to.

LM: So if you can't pitch your business, what do you do to get your message across?

DS: You present yourself as a real, authentic person. And this is possibly one of the most important points. You must be transparent online. If you're putting on any kind of facade, it'll eventually come back to bite you in the butt. Either you'll be exposed as a poser, or you'll attract a lot of people who are only attracted to you because they think you're someone else. Be yourself. Of the millions and millions of Internet users out there, there are plenty of them who are looking for YOU, the real you. Don't worry about impressing the rest of them. Basically, you're creating your own personal brand - the YOU brand.

The next thing you do is add value to the community. You offer information. You help people solve problems. You give someone a hand who's not as far along on the learning curve as you maybe are. Maybe you don't think you have anything to offer. But believe me, no matter what your situation is, there's someone out there who can use what you know and will be grateful if you share it.

LM: So you're positioning yourself as a valuable member of the community. A leader even.

DS: Right! And along the way, you're building personal relationships with people. Maybe someone on Facebook puts some new photos on their page and you give them a compliment. Maybe a guy on a forum asks a question and you answer it. Maybe you and another parent get into a conversation on Twitter about some crazy thing their kid just did. And all of this is happening right out in public - other members are watching your interactions and drawing conclusions about you - deciding if you're worth knowing, deciding if they're going to trust you or not.

LM: So what then? The social stuff could go on forever.

DS: Right. What you want to remember is that on every social site, you're allowed to post the URL of your website or blog. If you're creating warm and friendly relationships with the other members, allowing them to get to know you, like you, and trust you, it won't be long before they get curious and click on your link just to learn more about you. Let your site continue the conversation for you. On your site, you can tell what it is that you do. You can direct them to another page that gives more specific information about what you do. You might send the person to a sales page with your products, if they're interested. Basically, you want to give them lots of information and options. And especially be yourself.

One word of advice - don't get pitchy. Your goal is not to get people to read your sales message, it's to build a relationship. Sometimes I see people make this mistake. They go to all the trouble of trying to establish a know-like-trust relationship, and then their website is nothing more than a blatant sales letter. They're chasing people away, and basically wasting a perfect opportunity to grow the relationship even more.

LM: I know when I started trying to learn about social media, it was totally confusing. There are so many sites out there. How can someone avoid getting overwhelmed?

DS: The best way is to start small with just one site. Either Facebook or LinkedIn would be a good choice. Write a good profile, upload your photo - that's very important, by the way, people want to see your picture - and then just start participating. Watch what other people do and follow along. When you get the hang of it, you can set up on another site. Eventually, you'll have established a presence on several social sites.

LM: What other advice do you have for people reading this?

DS: At some point you need to just jump in and get started. But I wholeheartedly suggest that people have a clear idea of the principles of social media marketing before they begin. For example, joining a site and then spamming your commercial message to the other members will make you very unpopular and possibly ruin your reputation for a long time to come. But I see people doing that every day.

Anything you do on the Internet will leave it's mark. The good side of this is that the positive things you contribute will still be there months from now. The negative side is that the dumb mistakes you make could also be there months from now. It's not the end of the world if you make a mistake or two, but I think it's always ideal if you can put your best foot forward right from the beginning.

About the Author
Dave Saunders will be leading an 8-part webinar series, starting January 13. The series will be focused entirely on using social media to develop a personal brand and attract highly qualified leads. For more information, go to http://tinyurl.com/78xdh3.

Liz Monte writes on a variety of network marketing topics. She is especially interested in exploring new strategies that could solve old problems in the MLM industry. Her website is at www.WiseNetworkMarketer.com.

Building a Strong Downline Relationship in Your
Direct Sales Business
By Annette Yen

Congratulations! You’ve got a strong direct sales downline or are beginning to build one! This is one of the best parts of being a direct sales consultant - the fact that you can share your passion for your business with others, help them to earn a little extra money and get paid for helping grow your company as well.

Now that you are a leader of a team, you’ll need to build a strong relationship with downline members to not only help them stay strong in their business, but to help your business grow stronger as well. A strong downline relationship will be one that’s mutually helpful and everyone benefits.

But you may be wondering how to ensure that downline members feel cared for while still maintaining some type of balance with the rest of your life. Here are 5 easy tips for maintaining a great upline/downline relationship.

1. Start off with a bang. When a new recruit first signs up, it’s vitally important that you communicate often with her. One thing that I have found very helpful here is to develop a series of emails to send to new downline that talks them through those first days “on the job”. It will help them feel like they are connected to the company and to you. Each day while your new recruit is waiting for her kit she should hear from you. This is very easy to do with an autoresponder system, but can also be done by just copying and pasting into an email message every morning.

2. 15 minutes a day. Set aside 15 minutes of each workday for downline phone calls. Use those minutes to call one to five members of your group for a quick “just checking in” call. Leave a message if you get voicemail. The idea is to let them know that you’re thinking of them and giving them a chance to hear your voice. This is a great time to ask how they’re doing with their non-business life as well and get beyond your direct sales company to show you care about them.

3. A downline website. Creating a simple website for my group has been the best thing, by far that I did to keep communication open and strong with my group. We have weekly topic discussions, contests, upload important files and just have fun with the whole group. Through this many relationships between members of my group have blossomed just because the website allowed them to “break the ice”.

4. Meetings and/or conference calls. This is another great way to foster unity and strong relationships within your group. Many of you probably have downline that are out your area, so have a quarterly conference call with everyone just to touch base. There are many free teleconference services via the internet that make it very easy to do. And if you can, have a face-to-face meeting once in a while as well. Some group leaders have meetings monthly or quarterly. Others do a once a year get together with everyone.

5. Ecards. I love ecards for celebrating birthdays, achievements etc. First of all it’s FREE, which is great, but it’s so convenient and just plain fun. Use one of those Internet calendar functions to keep track of birthdays. Once a month go through the upcoming month and set up the ecard deliveries for the birthdays and company anniversary dates for the next month or more. You can set these up to deliver up to a year in advance! It’s a wonderful thing. There are hundreds of sites for free ecards on the Internet. Have fun searching for ones that suit you!

The key? Communicate in any and every way that you can. You will find that your direct sales team members will stay with your company much longer when you’ve fostered a strong relationship by keeping in touch! Have fun and happy team building!

About the Author
Annette Yen is 20-year veteran of Direct Sales and leads a great team of women in her direct sales business. To find out more about how to start a strong relationship with your new recruits, sign up for her free e-course at www.directsalestools.com

2009 Success Checklist -
Five Alive Tips For the New Year
By Barb Girson

Ready to start get off to a successful start in the New Year? Read my motivational tips, and I think you will be glad you did.

After my first January when my home party-plan business had a disappointing start, I have learned how to bridge the excitement of the holiday season with the launch of a successful New Year, so the momentum of the November and December is carried into a successful January and February. Over the years, I have refined these simple time-tested tips and January became a great launching pad for the success.

1. So Goes January Goes The Year!
It often is said, "So Goes January, Goes The Year!" Each New Year is filled with promise and a renewed hope that this year will be a defining year; this year we will make monumental changes to improve life for our families and ourselves. Select a motto and follow these tips to begin making your motto come true. For example:

* Start Strong in the New Year!

* It's the Year To Invest in My Career!

* Renew My Career This Year

* 2009 will be Mine!

* Find a Gold Mine in '09!

* Create your own...

Start strong by challenging yourself to book twice as many parties in January and February as you want to hold each of the other months. Make your personal booking goal to BOOK NINE IN 2009 to launch the year. Fill your planner with parties before you return from your holiday break (or shortly after returning. Book extra and you will feel terrific. Determine and implement a few new consistent steps to improve your success in the new year.

2. Set Your 2009 Targets!
Figure your sales target that you need/want to achieve monthly. Break your goal into how many parties it will take monthly by dividing your sales goal by your party average to get a number of parties you need to hold each month. Build a cushion. When you book extra you will feel that much more terrific!

3. Get Ready For Success!
Set up a planning day in the next 2 weeks. If possible, find a business buddy and work together. (I have an annual planning day sometime after Christmas and before mid-January.) For years, a business buddy and I would get ready for success on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Our spouses would watch football, and munch on the typical game day food. Our children would play. We would dream, plan and prepare.

What can you do in advance to be ready for success?

* Make up your Hostess folders.

* Label all collateral materials with your contact information.

* Make your call list.

* Prepare for a mailing.

* Clean up your Kit!

* Purge items that you no longer need in your office.

* Organize your files. Set up your file folders for the year.

Reward those who help you launch your New Year. Make sure all of your previous Customers and Hostesses know what is offered to launch the year. Do not duplicate what your company offers! However you can fill in any gaps, at your expense.

You might offer a personal incentive for:

* Filling the soonest dates you want to work.

* Pursuing repeat business. Call back past Customers and encourage them to gather friends and family. You bring your service to them. The guests will appreciate an event to look forward to after the holidays are over.

* Encourage multiple purchases. Suggest that your Customers stock up on items for upcoming gift-giving occasions. (Valentines Day, Easter, Birthdays)

* Retaining the biggest spenders from last year. Call back everyone who spent over the amount of your average customer order last year. Offer an incentive for placing another order before the 15Th of month.

4. Does the telephone ever get heavy? Do you experience call reluctance? To help you get in the right mind set as you dial the phone, you can silently sing, "Hey big spender, spend a little time with me...at a home party." This is a fun way to imagine success and have your voice convey your fun, upbeat attitude.

5. Have a System for Your Success.
Develop a systematic approach to your business which when followed consistently produces consistent results. Follow these Five Alive Tips and you will be ready for this to be your year to make monumental changes and move your business forward. You will also be glad when the old adage proves true for you. "So Goes January Goes The Year!"

Article Source: http://www.wahm-articles.com

About the Author
Barb Girson, International Direct Selling Industry expert, trainer and coach, is a highly interactive, creative speaker and author offering professional skill development programs for workshops, leader retreats, annual conventions and teleconference training programs. Barb helps companies and home-based entrepreneurs grow sales by sharing her systems.To learn more contact Barb: 614-855-0446: Barb@MySalesTactics.com; www.MySalesTactics.com

7 Steps to Get Out
of the Direct Sales Rut
By Laurie Ayers

Business not flowing as well as you would like? Did you have a great holiday rush and now your direct sales business appears to have come to a screeching halt? Here are seven steps you can take to get out of the rut.

1. Direct mailings with your company catalog. Pick a market or two, such as assisted living facilities; nail salons or real estate agencies to name a few. Mail no more than ten catalogs to each market; there’s no sense wasting catalogs and postage without testing the waters first. Be sure to include a sample and/or special offer. Increase chances of having your catalog opened and read by placing a relevant sticker on the front. Highlight what’s in it for them if they open it.

2. Develop a Valentines Day marketing campaign and get it out to the masses NOW. February 14th will be here before you know it. Men will be particularly grateful for gift giving made simple. Think where you can find a group of men - barber shops, auto sales, auto repair, gyms, pro-shops, etc.

3. Create a special offer for Groundhogs Day, February 2. There’s one people don’t see everyday.

4. Call all of your customers, leave voice mail if necessary and merely say, ‘I’m putting in an order and wondered if you were ready for more …”

5. Hire a business coach or join a Mastermind group. Find the right one and your investment will pay off ten-fold.

6. Commit to asking for referrals from three people each day. Not covert dropping of cards and catalogs but actually speaking to strangers. Go into the gas station to pay, instead of using pay at the pump. Hand the cashier a catalog and a sample and say, “If you know of anyone who likes (candles, jewelry, makeup, etc.) could you please pass this along?”

7. Hold an open house. Who cares if you’ve been in the business two years or nine months or anywhere in between? Call it a mid-winter shindig. Pick a theme – Superbowl, Chocolate Martini, After Holidays Rest and Relaxation or Chick Flick Movie Night.

Sometimes there’s no secret to getting out of a rut other than to go back to basics. Remember when you first started your business. You were excited; you were pumped and you definitely were not in a rut. Shake it up a bit; think outside of the bowl. Remember if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting!

Article Source: LadyPens: http://www.ladypens.com

About the Author
Laurie Ayers is a WAHM from Michigan. She started her first home business in 1988. As a single parent, Laurie has supported her family by working at home as an Independent Consultant and Star Director with Scentsy Wickless Candles. She enjoys helping others start a candle business. You can find Laurie at http://www.thrivingcandlebusiness.com and http://www.Scentsy.com/LA

Direct Sales Recruiting – Take Your Recruiting Online
By Alice Seba

As a direct sales business owner, you know that recruiting new consultants is an important part of building your business. If you’ve been recruiting out in the real world for any amount of time, you also know that many times it’s not an easy task. You post flyers around town, talk to party hosts and guests, yet still you don’t have the team in place you’d like to have so you can sit back and relax a bit. Do you find yourself asking “Now what?” or “Where can I possibly go next?” Have you ever thought about recruiting for your direct sales business online?

Creating a website dedicated to your direct sales business can bring in more sales, but can also be set up to help you recruit those interested in joining your team. Setting up a website can cost as little as $20 a year and recouping that cost can easily be done. One recruit will more than likely bring you more than enough commission to cover the annual cost of hosting and domain registration.

Designing your website to accommodate those interested in becoming consultants. Set up a specific section of your site dedicated to visitors who want to learn more. Be sure to include contact information so they can get in touch with you to talk about the opportunity and receive answers to any questions they have. Once you have a team in place you can even conduct training sessions online, offer training material to them right on your website and more.

Taking your recruiting efforts to the Internet opens the door for serious growth and income potential in your business. It also affords you more time to enjoy life, instead of working it away with home party after home party, in order to reach your income goals.

Why limit yourself and miss out on possible top of the line recruits just because they aren’t in your reachable area offline? The potential in direct sales recruiting online is huge, don’t miss out.

How Do I Generate More Online Leads for My Direct Sales Business?

Here’s a question I recently received from a subscriber who was looking for more leads for his direct sales business. He wrote:

Question: My wife and I have been an associate for a particular company for several months now and we are indeed very happy with the products and support training.

Our problem is getting other people to view our link or getting them to open it at all, I suppose. We need to expand our effort to new associate recruiting and would like your input as to how we might do this.

Thank you for reply to this letter.

Answer: Thanks for the question. I know that the problem you face is what many direct sales reps face as well. Right now, you are using the website that the company provided to you. It’s the same site that the other reps are using and it really doesn’t say much about the two of you as unique people.

Your site also makes people enter a code before even viewing it. I understand that this is so you can get credit for any referrals, but you’re creating an extra step for your users. People have to remember the code, type it in or even copy and paste it, which unfortunately, is something a lot of people won’t bother to do.

People use the Internet because it’s easy and they want to surf around quickly, without having to jump through hoops. You want your information right in front of your prospect when they get to the site.

Obviously, this is the way the company has set up the website and they probably aren’t going to change that…but honestly…I don’t think that matters. The two of you need your own unique online presence and need to generate your own leads.

Here’s why:

Who knows what will happen with your relationship with your company. They are a highly reputable company that’s been around for well over 100 years, but you have no idea what the future holds. If the company decided to no longer offer the direct sales opportunity or one day, the two of you decide you just don’t want to work with the company…what happens?

Your business is gone!

That’s no good. I recommend that you keep your online presence separate from the company you are working with, so it really is your OWN business and you can maximize your income. You can generate leads that might be interested in your opportunity and you can make them other offers through affiliate programs or you might even want to create your own information products down the line.

Think of what unique perspective you give to your business. Are you great cooks who can show people how to make delicious meals with those products? From the recruiting side, you can also figure out a unique perspective, but make it a product focused one. Your best recruits will be people who have the same interests as you…not just people who want to make money online.

You can start by creating a list to promote your products and another to find recruits. I’d create two separate websites for this because some of your best customers will never be interested in the opportunity, so don’t confuse your visitors.

For the product list, you can share recipes, information about using the right herbs and spices, etc.

For the recruiting one, you can give information about starting a home business, show how fun it is to sell these types of products, etc….all from your own perspective. All these subscribers you gather now belong to you. If you decide to move in a new direction with your business, you still have these subscribers and you can continue to deliver quality information to them…and earn an income too.

Just remember, this is your business and you want to have complete control AND maximize your income.

About the Author
Alice Seba is a full-time Internet marketer that helps direct sales reps maximize the performance of their online presence. Claim your free online direct sales lead generation tips at www.onlinedirectsalesleads.com

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