Tweamster's Blog

Pipelines

June 6, 2011
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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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The Mystery of It All

May 24, 2011
2 Comments

Ever wonder if there’s something wrong with you because you just can’t seem to figure out how network marketing works? Why some people seem to do so well yet you seem to be just struggling along hoping that it starts working for you. Ever get so frustrated that you just want to scream?

I sometimes get the feeling that some of the “gurus” aren’t trying to expose any mystery, they’re working hard to maintain it so they can sell us their cure, their magic elixir.

Mystery & Power

The truth is, if a mystery is exposed, the power will be gone in the mystery, and you will have the power instead.

If you have the basics or fundamentals of something, and can apply those basics to your business, or your life, you can cause things to happen and achieve your goals and purposes.

Gurus?

There are a lot of gurus out there selling their secrets to success in network marketing. For the newbies, novices and even people who have been around awhile, it can be very difficult to tell real gurus from the pretended ones.

There are a couple of ways to tell who really has the right stuff. One is to check the statistics of the guru and see if he’s practicing what he preaches and having success with it. The second and I think better way is to find the guru’s students and find out if they are succeeding. Are they able to listen to and understand what the guru is teaching, apply it and have success with it?

Here’s My Favorites

I have a few that put together in correct sequence will improve your odds immensely of achieving your goals in network marketing.

First, are you totally sold on our industry – network marketing? Do you think it’s an honest, ethical and honorable way to build a business? Do you know why it is? If you don’t, then I recommend you grab your mouse and click through to Brilliant Compensation and let a Professor of Marketing and an industry veteran who’s made millions explain the industry to you in a way that makes complete sense.

Second, do you know how to to evaluate a business against a standard checklist. Do you know what the 12 Critical Success Factors are? If not, then you need MLM-The Whole Truth by Lou Abbott. Lou has a free email series to introduce you to MLM – The Whole Truth. You can sign up for the free emails here, 7 Days – 7 Insider Secrets, and learn how to check out a company before you join. A full book and course is available which the email series will tell you how to order.

Third pick, once you’re sold on the industry, and you’ve picked your company and you’re ready to rock and roll, what do you do? You have to invite people to take a look at your business, of course. Industry veteran Tim Sales has put together a course called “Professional Inviter” that breaks the subject of inviting down into easy pieces that anyone can learn.

I think I’ve dispelled enough mystery for the day. If you avail yourselves of these materials, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

Quote

Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.  – Confucius


Are You Obsessed?

February 6, 2011
2 Comments

I recently picked up a book on the 25 most common sales mistakes. I opened it at random and what should I turn to but a chapter called “Not Being Obsessed.”

Being Obsessed Can Be A Good Thing

In this chapter called “Not Being Obsessed,” not being obsessed was one of the 25 most common sales mistakes. In other words, being obsessed was a good thing.

From the book: “You must like what you are doing for a living – selling – enough to become obsessed with it. Not fifteen-hours-a day obsessed, but rather I-have-absolutely-got-to-do-this-right-day-in-and-day-out obsessed.

“For my money, the most crucial word in sales today is obsession. …”

He goes on to expand what he means by obsession as follows “Every day, I make twenty cold calls, I can get through to maybe seven people. Once I get through to seven people, I’ll usually set up one appointment. I do that five days a week, which, by extension, means that every week, I have, on average, five new sales appointments. I close one out of five, so at the end of the year, I should have fifty new customers.”

Now, I know we’re not supposed to call network marketing selling, but I prefer to call it like it is. It’s called marketing, marketing generates sales, sales generate commissions for you and profits for the company. Call it sharing if you like, just make sure you’re obsessed with sharing.

Are You Obsessed Yet?

If you’re having trouble getting obsessed, I recommend figuring out what you’re working towards, and why you’re working towards it. You can check out my article “Motivated By The Future” for more on this, and also an earlier article of mine called “Why, Oh Why.”

Quotes

“There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”  – Napoleon Hill

The challenge for marketers is to figure out what daily progress looks like and obsess about that.  – Seth Godin


Don’t Trash Network Marketing

August 30, 2010
1 Comment

I Seldom Get Upset…

But, one of those rare occasions when I do happened the other day. I was reading some blogs and commenting on them like I try to do once in awhile. I started reading a blog post titled “Residual Income,” always a favorite of mine given that that is one of my primary attractions to network marketing. Think of it like real estate. Once your network reaches a certain size, that network becomes an asset that continues to generate income whether you work or not. (For my take on residual income, see here.)

So I start reading this blog post called “Residual Income” and this individual starts trashing network marketing in order to build up his solution to residual income, which, by the way, was and is a valid solution, but did not require bashing network marketing to make his solution look good. It would be kind of like Ford trashing GM to sell more cars rather than pointing out the features and benefits of owning a Ford.

Anyway, it annoyed me enough that I decided to write about it.

What Do Others Say?

“While seeking rewarding methods for my Network Marketing career, I will employ techniques and strategies that reflect positively on the MLM industry, my company and me.”  – from the Code of Ethics of the Multi-Level Marketing International Association (MLMIA)

When considering purchases, I will attempt to purchase at retail from another MLM/Network Marketing company.  – from the same source

Member companies shall not make misleading comparisons of another company’s direct selling opportunity, products or services. Any comparison must be based on facts that can be objectively substantiated. Member companies shall not denigrate any other member company, business, product or service – directly or by implication – in a false or misleading manner and shall not take unfair advantage of the goodwill attached to the trade name and symbol of any company, business, product or service.  – from the Code of Ethics of the Direct Selling Association (DSA)

In his book “Big League Sales Closing Techniques,” ©1971 (out of print, unfortunately) Les Dane says of the technique of running down the competition to promote your own company or product, “The second salesman got the sale for two reasons: he didn’t try to convince the prospect the competition was junk; didn’t spend his time knocking the other dealer.

“And, he did spend the time selling his product, with facts, and with sensible arguments. … The salesman selling tractors did the same thing. Rather than concentrate on pulling his competitor down, he sold his product and his dealership, being fair to the competition in the process.”

A Bad Taste In My Mouth

Even though he had a valid idea, finding or creating a product to market and sell on one’s own website using all the available channels to attract people to one’s website, after he belittled the entire network marketing industry, I had no further interest in what he said. I did read it, to ensure I didn’t incorrectly duplicate his intention, but, alas, he was just bashing network marketing to build up what he was selling. So, I left a comment, in civil terms, explaining that he should not do that, and that he would get better results if he pushed the features and benefits of his system.

Examples

Remember the old Avis car rental commercials back in the 70s? They used their number 2 position in car rental to position themselves as “we try harder.” They didn’t belittle Hertz (# 1) or say their cars sucked or that Hertz has crappy service, just that one memorable little line, “we try harder.”

Miller Lite, “less filling, tastes great.” No mention or knocking of Bud or Coors or any other beer.

Have you seen any Coke or Pepsi commercials lately? Do you ever see them mention the other one in their commercials? Don’t think so. They sell you on why you should drink their beverage.

So What Am I Saying?

If you work with Mellaleuca, don’t knock Shaklee products, don’t knock Shaklee’s compensation plan, don’t call Shaklee distributors ethically shaky.

If you work with HerbaLife, don’t denigrate Amway.

If you work with NuSkin, don’t put down ReLiv.

If you are selling your company, your products, your compensation plan; sell them. Don’t try to make them look better by making someone else look bad, you only end up making yourself look bad.

We’re all in this together, so let’s act like we are and be supportive of each other.

And if you need something that is sold by another MLM, please do so.

More Data

If you’re considering joining the network marketing industry and haven’t made up your mind yet, check out the video by Tim Sales called Brilliant Compensation.

If you don’t have a company yet, or you’re looking for a better one, check out www.AlansMLMTips.com and sign up for the (free) “7 Days, 7 Insider Secrets” email newsletter.

If you already have a company, and need tips and how to’s on marketing, check out John Eberhard’s RealWebMarketing Blog

Here’s a couple blogs that I like that are specifically on network marketing:

http://www.marcus-baker.com

http://karyrogney.com

Till next time, make it a great week!


If It’s Network Marketing,

August 9, 2010
2 Comments

Why Aren’t We Taught How To Market?

If you’ve read some books on network marketing, you will probably have noticed that very few, if any, of the books out there mention what marketing is. Does anyone else find this strange?

We work in an industry called network marketing, or multi-level marketing and nowhere within the industry does anyone explain what marketing really is. I have read a couple blogs where other people have noticed this lack, but it’s actually pretty humorous that this seems to have gone undetected for so long.

Kind of like a dog groomer not knowing what grooming is (caring for an animal’s cleanliness and appearance). Or an airplane pilot not knowing what pilot means.

Seems sort of silly when you apply it to other industries, doesn’t it?

What Is Marketing

Let’s start with the easy, my Encarta Dictionary says marketing is “the business activity of presenting products or services in such a way as to make them desirable.”

The Oxford Dictionary says “the action or business of promoting and selling products or services , including market research and advertising.”

From BusinessDictionary.com we get “As a practice, it consists in coordination of four elements called 4P’s: (1) identification, selection, and development of a product, (2) determination of its price, (3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and (4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.”

Now, if you look over those four elements, in network marketing we are left with number four as the only area we normally have any control over.

The purpose of marketing is to create a want or a desire and to sell something to the people in whom you’ve created that want or desire.

So What Is Sales

This is another oddity that I’ve noticed in network marketing, we’re selling a product or service, but we’re not supposed to say that’s what we’re doing, we call it sharing or telling a story.

So let’s define sales and selling. Sales is the exchange of goods or services for an agreed-upon amount of money. That seems safe enough, I have a car, you want the car, offer me $2000 for it and I agree. You get the car, I get the $2000.

Okay, selling; the process where the salesperson ascertains, activates, and satisfies the needs or wants of the buyer to the mutual, continuous benefit of both buyer and seller.

Or, as I like to put it, selling is a conversation designed to help the buyer acquire what he needs or wants.

I think the problem arises, and where most people’s dislike of sales as an occupation comes from, is most of us have experienced the salesperson who did not have the intention to help, but only wanted your money, and would do pretty much anything to get it.

I used to hate sales, with a passion, but since I found and understood these definitions, I actually like selling. It’s enjoyable helping people acquire what they need.

What Does This Mean?

Once you’ve joined your company, what do you do? You have to market yourself and your company/product/service/opportunity.

The almost universal method that we are all taught in network marketing is to make a list of friends, family and acquaintances, the longer the better. Then learn how to approach these people and present your company/product/service/ opportunity. I don’t know that this is the best method of marketing, it certainly is easy enough to learn and practice will improve your skill at it.

You can apply the three-foot rule and talk to anyone within three feet of you. This requires developing a speedy method of communicating what you’re all about to a stranger or good skills at developing conversations with strangers.

You can hand out business cards or flyers to people in shopping malls or grocery stores. You can post flyers, you can put ads on Craig’s List, start a blog, there are probably hundreds of methods of getting your name in front of other people.

A whole new world has opened up in the form of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Linked.com, MySpace, etc. These are valuable ways to market yourself and your company very cheaply.

The whole point is to get your information in front of someone who’s interested so that they can act on it.

The best way, in my humble opinion, is to find or pick a certain type of people, or a certain occupation, or people in a certain location, find out by asking people what they think is good, bad or indifferent about green apples (or whatever product/service/opportunity you’re asking about). Ask enough people and a pattern will emerge. Use that pattern to your benefit and grow your business.

Marketing Is Valuable

People spend years learning marketing and business colleges teach it for one reason, it’s good business. Network marketing companies depend on you for the majority of their marketing and they pay very nicely if you figure it out. Are you interested enough to figure it out?

One of my favorite blogs for marketing is the RealWebMarketing Blog, written by John Eberhard. He writes about once a week on topics of great relevance to what we are doing as network marketers. I urge you to check it out and add more knowledge about marketing to your arsenal along with the motivational and inspirational to keep you going and growing.

Quote

If you’re attacking your market from multiple positions and your competition isn’t, you have all the advantage and it will show up in your increased success and income.  – Jay Abraham


I Can’t Do That, I’m Scared

June 28, 2010
5 Comments

A Survey

A couple of years ago, I read a report of a survey done by Len Clements in 1991 by Market Wave, his marketing research firm. While brainstorming for an idea about home businesses for this post, I ran across a note I had made at the time suggesting to myself that I make a website out of the results of this survey.

The survey was done on over 6,000 people who were not at that time business owners, and had never been business owners. The question asked was “If all obstacles were removed, would you like to own your own business?”

An astonishing 85% said yes, they would prefer to work for themselves. I say astonishing only because getting 85% of any diverse group to agree on something this wholeheartedly must mean there’s something to it.

Another way of looking at it, as Mr. Clements himself says, the other 15% must have misunderstood the question, or why wouldn’t they prefer to work for themselves.

WOW

This almost makes me want to go out there tonight and start applying the 3 foot rule. (In case you don’t know, the 3 foot rule means you prospect or try to recruit anyone within 3 feet of you.)

If 85% of the people want to work for themselves, let’s get to it. How can we possibly fail? Just start talking to people, right? How hard can that be?

Hold On A Minute There, Buckwheat

If you’ve tried the 3 foot rule, you know as well as I do that you don’t get 85% of the people within 3 feet of you interested in your opportunity. In fact, I felt lucky if I got one in 100 to express any interest. Hmmm, there must be something else at work here.

Now granted, there can be things you’re doing that are driving prospects away, such as being needy, having a lousy presentation, poor sales skills, etc., etc.

However, after seeing that 85% figure, Mr. Clements got interested in what kept people from starting a business if they wanted one. If that many people want to have their own business, but don’t, there must be some pretty compelling reasons preventing them from starting.

So, he did further research.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

After further inquiry, it was discovered that people had some basic fears about starting their own business. And the same four fears came up over and over and over. Not everyone had all four, but everyone had one or more of these four.

1)    It takes too much money

2)    It takes too much time

3)    There’s too much risk

4)    I don’t know how

Those were the four fears that kept those 85% from following their preference for owning their own business and working for themselves.

What’s Holding You Back

If you’re here reading this blog, you’ve overcome at least some of your fears of starting your own business. Aside from mlm or network marketing, do you know of any other business model that 1) has low start-up cost, 2) gives you the ability to start part-time or spare-time while you get it started and profitable, 3) has low risk, and 4) teaches you how to do it?

If you are thinking about starting your own business or are looking for your dream business, sign up for the free 7 Days – 7 Insider Secrets newsletter and learn how to find a company that maximizes your chances at success.

Acknowledgment

I wholeheartedly urge you to read the entire article that I’ve excerpted here. It’s (c)2008 by Len Clements.

Humor

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired…’   Terri – age 4

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’   Danny – age 7

‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss’   Emily – age 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’   Bobby – age 7

‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’   Cindy – age 8

‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’   Clare – age 6

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’   Chris – age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’
Mary Ann – age 4

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.’   Jessica – age 8