Tweamster's Blog

Pipelines | June 6, 2011

What Is A Pipeline?

Originally, a pipeline was a pipe or system of pipes designed to carry something such as oil, natural gas, or other petroleum-based products over long distances, often underground. (For some reason not entirely clear to me, a pipeline carrying water is not generally referred to as a pipeline, instead being called water pipes, water mains, or aqueducts.)

Near as I can tell, this was then generalized to: a system through which something is conducted, especially as a means of supply. So you could have a manufacturing pipeline, or a food pipeline, etc.

This more general definition then morphed into a popular expression for things that are in process. For example,“There are over 10,000 condo units in the pipeline, in various stages of construction or conversion.” Or “I’m not worried about apartment move-outs this summer because I have a number of prospects in the pipeline.”

Why Do We Use The Phrase “Pipeline”

In any business, there is a sequence of steps that one has to go through to get the final product. These steps can then be likened to a pipeline.

For instance, in putting together a marketing campaign, one might first come up with some bright ideas, these would then be presented to the client, who would pick the idea that they felt best represented their company or product, then someone would come up with ideas of pictures, videos, etc. to represent that idea, all the way to the final roll-out of the campaign to the public it is intended for.

In my electronics repair business, the pipeline started with someone bringing in their broken electronics for repair. Then we would diagnose the problem and give them an estimate. After the customer approved the estimate, we would order the parts needed for the repair. The parts would come in. We’d install the parts, test the item for proper operation. Create an invoice. Call the customer. Customer comes in, pays, picks up his electronics and goes home happy.

So pipeline is a handy phrase to describe the process or the sequence of steps that one has to go through to get the product that one is aiming for.

The Pipeline & Network Marketing

In network marketing, since we are marketing a product, we are moving our company’s products into the hands and homes of consumers. Whether it’s vitamins, water, legal service plans, or home decorations, nobody makes any money unless someone buys that product.

The customer pipeline begins with the methods you are using to interest people in your product. Once a person has expressed interest in some form, he is in the pipeline. You give him more information. You might give him samples. Go to a meeting to learn more. He comes out the other end of the pipeline as either a customer or a non-customer. To keep customers coming out of the end of the pipeline, you have to keep putting new people in at the beginning of the pipeline.

No people entering the pipeline, no customers coming out of the pipeline.

Lots of people entering the pipeline, lots of customers coming out of the pipeline.

The Pipeline

If you chose your company/product well, you have a great product at a competitive price that your customers use and reorder or buy more of. This creates residual income, every time someone uses up their stuff, they buy more and you make a little bit each time.

As you continue to add customers these add up to a stream of income that you don’t have to create from scratch each day/month/year.

This becomes similar to the gas pipeline for the oil company, as long as the product is moving through the pipeline, the oil company makes money.

Lou Abbot has come up with a great little video based on a book by Burke Hedges that illustrates this in a very entertaining way.  I recommend you go watch it. When the site opens, scroll down the page to step 1 and click on “View the demo!” Click “START” on the next page. Go here to click over to it.

Make it a great week!

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