At some point in our lives, most of us have had a long-lost friend get in touch, out of the blue, and invite us for coffee or a meeting with some 'special' opportunity. Within minutes of meeting the friend, we realize this is not going to be a touching reunion but a marketing pitch, and instead of looking forward to a wonderful evening, you're actually looking for ways to skeedadle out of there.Â It's not that we don't want to make money, have an independent working lifestyle or be associated with a global brand professionally; we just don't want to turn into that friend!
Network Marketing holds a world of opportunity for all of us. With a good social network, passion for helping people grow, interest in one's own financial and personal growth and the support of good products, we can all build an independent career and lifestyle.Â All we have to do is open our minds.Â Indeed, a number of global companies have expanded sales based purely on network marketing; rather than by employing a sales force. Currently, there are at least 1000 companies that use Network Marketing to sell their products.
What defines a good network marketing opportunity?
Most of us understand what network marketing mean;, however, for the uninitiated, network marketing Â is a form of direct selling, where independent sales persons use their existing social networks or word-of-mouth to sell products of a certain company. Direct Seller or Network Marketers can sell the products of any number of companies, although, typically, marketers tend to be happy with just one or at the most, two affiliations. Because, despite what is commonly believed, being a successful network marketer does take a fair bit of time and effort.Â Indeed, network marketing is a good, honest, hard-working way of making a living. Then why does networking marketing seem to have earned a bad reputation? Why do most of us feel like fleeing the scene when we sense a network marketing pitch being made to us?
In recent years, a lot of schemes have been floating around, making exaggerated claims and unfortunately, many get-rich-quick schemes use network marketing to manipulate people. Genuine, network marketing on the other hand, is quite different. In a good network marketing scheme, there is always a set of real, good and useful products to be sold. Unlike the former, which merely requires money to be invested for nothing tangible.Â The use of good products is the key for a successful network marketing scheme. Let us take one of the most successful network marketing companies as an example — Herbalife International.Â The company sells weight-loss protein shakes and skin care products and does it primarily through its independent distributors in over 70 countries.Â In fact, Herbalife has been using this method of selling for over 30 years. In doing so, it address to major concerns of most people — to stay fit and make money!Â Currently, Herbalife has some 2.3 million Independent Distributors and also had an IPO a few years ago, with each share selling at $14.
So, the question is, is network marketing for you?
Given the economic downturn in recent years, job losses have been at the highest.Â An independent working opportunity is a boon in such a scenario. Although, perhaps, the market condition is also an important reason to consider carefully any decision that requires an investment of your money and will require others from your social circle to invest in too.Â Most network marketing opportunities need you to invest some amount of money to purchase the products that you will sell.
For instance, if you sign up to become an Avon network marketer, which is a top beauty company that uses network marketers to sell their products, you will have to make an initial investment in an Avon product kit. If you look at network marketing as a business opportunity, then the initial investment costs are far lower than that you would have to invest in a regular business, like a store or a distributorship.Â In fact, a distributor buys exclusive rights, whereas, a direct seller benefits from NOT selling a product exclusively. Often, in addition to getting the product to be purchased and used by one's friends and family, a direct marketer also benefits when the people in his network sign up to become a seller too. For the direct seller who inducts new people into the fold of the marketing network, earns a commission on every one of his inductees!
Getting the inspiration for network marketing
Although jobs are hard to come by these days, the independent lifestyle has always been an appealing idea, downturn or no downturn. By being affiliated to a company, rather than being employed, you are your own boss. You set your own targets and you push yourself to fulfill them.Â Being a good network marketer requires that you be organized and motivated. Perhaps, that's why top motivational gurus like Robert Allen are network marketers.Â Allen has written and co-written bestseller books on finance and making money, like Creating Wealth, Multiple Streams of Income, and Cracking the Millionaire Code. Another network marketing proponent and motivational guru is Robert Kiyosaki. He's the creator of the popular 'Cashflow' board and software games.
Because network marketing requires that the individual be motivated to succeed, and since individual motivation is so important, many companies offer fabulous rewards for those who succeed. For instance, Avon offers its winners all-expenses paid trips to exotic European locations like Barcelona, gala dinners and opportunity to drive dream cars like Mercedes and BMW.
If you are careful about the product you choose to endorse, invest a small sum and work hard a few hours every day, you could become a successful network marketer. However, the most important factor for you to consider is your network marketing skills. How good are you with people? Can you sell to your family and friends, for there are many people who wish to keep their personal and professional lives separate?Â And, can you motivate yourself routinely and structure your day for work without supervision? If you wish to do this alongside a regular job, will you have enough time?
By making the right choice and factoring these important points, you might just be the next big network marketing whiz!
Preetam Kaushik is a freelance writer/independent columnist and an avid blogger. He is a web 2.0 expert and writing consultant serving a wide array of clients. He blogs at Dictum-is-Digital.blogspot.com. Read more about Preetam here.