For decades, multi-level marketing (or MLM) opportunities have been a part of our economy. No matter how you feel about MLM’s, it’s hard to deny the prevalence and the appeal of direct sales.
Be your own boss! You can work from anywhere and set your own hours.
Spread the love! You get to share products you already love and use with others.
Meet new faces! You get to network with new people inside and outside of the company.
And whether you’re looking for a side hustle to help you make a little bit of extra income or you’re looking for something more lucrative, as a network marketer (NWM) you can experience new levels of financial freedom.
When making the decision to join an MLM, part of the appeal for many is the ready-made branding, training and guidance they offer within their structure. From weekly calls to branding kits, signing up means you don’t have to build a business from scratch.
But here’s the question I want to dig into today: Is that really enough?
Getting Started as a Network Marketer
As you are getting started in direct sales, there are a few things to consider right out of the gate to set yourself up for success.
Pick a product or service that resonates with not just you, but with your mission. Sharing something that you don’t believe in will be a hard sell and when it comes to creating your personal brand, you want to make sure it is in alignment with your values. Do your research to know what exactly your product or service has to offer.
Expect an upfront investment but don’t go overboard so you are in the red right out of the gates. If your upline is pushing the biggest kit or order to join, evaluate how they will be coaching you in your business.
Consider public perception of your company or MLM’s in general. There are many opinions about NWM businesses that can influence how others see your venture.
Know your intended time commitment to your business. In direct sales, your income is often directly tied to the amount of time you invest into it.
These are important things to think through as you are getting started in your network marketing career. However, once you get started there are some important next steps to think about when it comes to branding and investing in growing your business!
Common Mistakes to Avoid as a Network Marketer
I mentioned above the public perception of MLM’s and direct sales businesses. This in no way should serve as a deterrent to you getting started! But there are a few reasons that network marketers are viewed in a negative light and here are a some things you can avoid to help with that.
Cold Messaging: No one likes to feel like the only reason you’re reaching out to them is to make a sale. Especially your friends and family. What worked in 2017 for the top 1% of your company no longer works in our post-pandemic culture. When you ask for the sale before you build the relationship, it’s less likely to pay off and more likely to leave a bad taste in that person's mouth for your company or for MLM’s in general.
Monologuing: We’ve all seen it. Novel-length posts that go on and on about the product but never truly engage with the reader. If we’re honest, we all usually scroll right past those posts or messages.
Leading with the Product vs. Your Personality: YOU are what makes your direct sales business unique. Others are selling the same product (this is a cornerstone of network marketing) but there is only one you. Don’t miss the opportunity to share who you are when building your business and what makes your personal brand unique.
Copying Others: Just like I stated above, you bring a unique perspective to your direct sales business. What works for someone else may not work for you. Copying will often be obvious and may even lead to someone feeling you are inauthentic in your approach. Authenticity is what builds trust and trust is key to growing your business!
Growing a Fake Following: It’s easy to look at the leaders in your MLM and notice their massive following on social media. Don’t be deceived! Often these numbers are inflated by others in their own company following them, not necessarily reflecting organically grown prospects. Focus on serving your ideal customer and those people that you love working with!
All of these faux pas’ can create obstacles in your direct sales business. But there is one BIG mistake that NWM are making that truly keeps them from seeing the kind of success they dream of.
The BIGGEST Mistake Network Marketers Make
When it comes to building any business, locking in your branding and development is paramount. A solid brand is the foundation that an entrepreneur can build upon. As network marketers, building your business is no different. However, a key mistake many in direct sales make is assuming that the branding, training and coaching provided within the MLM is sufficient for them to grow.
It. Is. Not.
As a network marketer, you are an entrepreneur. And just like any other business owner, what you invest INTO your business will be reflected in what you get out of it. Getting started building YOUR brand takes just a few steps:
Using phrases that create interest in what you are offering without spilling the beans is key! This will help lead to more engagement from your audience. Keep in mind too, that stories sell and facts just tell. When people get to identify their problem and then see that you have the solution, you begin the relationship building process with your prospect.
Stand Out in a Sea of Sameness.
I mentioned before that the nature of an MLM is that there are many others out there selling the exact same thing that you are. Not only that, they are often using the exact same graphics, branding, content, scripts and copy that you have available to you. Simply rinsing and repeating is not the path to take. When you create your OWN brand as a NWM, your unique touch will be refreshing to your customers and help you stand out when they are ready to buy. They not only recognize you in their feed, but they also remember your name.
Narrow Your Niche.
When you believe in your product, it’s easy to carry the belief that it is perfect for everyone! However, you uniquely have an opportunity to reach a specific group of people. Is it moms who are interested in using non-toxic cleaning products? Or health-conscious individuals who need easy products to support their nutrition? Whatever your niche, identify it and then market and speak to them every single time.
Hint: Your product isn’t your niche. I like to even go one step further when I am coaching my branding clients by asking them to identify characteristics that they have in themselves that they want to find in their customers. Here is a perfect example: A woman who is a former nurse also has a passion for helping other female nurses find healthy resources or products. This creates a special and unique bond that helps them narrow their niche. People are more likely to connect with others that they share similar experiences and career or life stages with.
Create Branded Content Pillars.
Think of your content pillars as the main topics or areas of expertise that your brand wants to be known for. These pillars reflect the core areas of knowledge, expertise, or interests that are relevant to the brand's industry or niche. By focusing on these pillars, brands can position themselves as authorities in their field and establish a distinct identity in the minds of their audience. The number and nature of content pillars may vary depending on the brand and its objectives. However, no matter the number, these pillars should include a broad range of topics that are of interest to their ideal audience and are aligned with the brand's values and expertise.
Build A Brand You Love
Taking your direct sales business to the next level is possible! Creating a personal brand around your network marketing business will help you feel more aligned with your business, grow your organic following and ultimately reach your revenue goals. As a brand strategy consultant, branding coach and a network marketer myself, I am committed to helping others discover their personal brand and get the training they need to grow!
To get started, just click here to take my brand style quiz. After, you will gain access to a FREE training webinar.