6 Mistakes New Network Marketers Make

Start Your Network Marketing Business Right

Don't make these network marketing mistakes
Don't make these network marketing mistakes. Credit: Dimitri Otis | Getty Images

Despite all the negativity and myths surrounding network marketing, it is a viable, affordable way to start a business from home. Unfortunately, for reasons I don’t completely understand, people who get involved in network marketing make mistakes they probably wouldn’t make if they were starting a business from scratch. Network marketing is a business like any other business, and as a result, it needs to be managed and marketed as any other business would.

Here are a few common mistakes new network marketers make and how you can avoid them to become a direct sales superstar.

1. Choosing hype over common sense. Admittedly, many network marketers are over-the-top in their presentation of the business. Their enthusiasm is contagious and they make it seem so easy. “Just get six and help them get six and you can be financially free!” How hard can it be to get six people? Unfortunately, it’s harder than you think. Further, money shouldn’t be the driving motivation to choose a business. Especially the idea of easy money. Yes, you want to make money, but your choice of business shouldn’t be based solely on money. I’m convinced the high failure rate in network marketing is due to people who get excited about the potential income and don’t analyze the business or whether they’re a good fit for it.

2. Not loving their product. I’ve met many successful network marketers and the one thing they have in common is that they love their products or services.

They use them every day. They’d buy them even if they didn’t get paid to sell them. Your success in network marketing will be due in large part to your ability to share your enthusiasm and knowledge of your products. Too many people who join for the money (#1) don’t care about the product, and as a result, they’re difficult to sell.

This is why so many successful network marketers started out as customers first. They grew to love the product and wanted to share it with the world.

3. Not targeting the right people. This is one area network marketing companies do their reps wrong. Nearly all the companies I’ve come across stress that newbies make a list of 100 people they know, and pitch them the product and/or business. Or they suggest targeting everyone standing within 3 feet of you. The problem with this is that it can waste time and create discouragement faster than doing traditional business building tasks. Not everyone is a prospect. If you were to start a business from scratch, you might let your friends and family know what you’re doing, but if you’re a smart business person, you’re going to identify your target market and pitch them. I’ve talked to many successful network marketers, and some have recruited friends and family, but the majority of their business is from people they didn’t know when they started. Further, many of the friends and family didn’t join until they saw the network marketer’s success.

Instead of worrying about the list of 100 or striking up a conversation for the purpose of selling to the guy standing behind you in the grocery checkout, I suggest you determine who wants what you’ve got and market to them.

It’s easier, less time consuming, and less likely to alienate friends and family.

4. Not following up. First, let's define who you follow up with. I'm not talking about continuously contacting friends and family who've told you they're not interested. Follow up is done with people who have expressed interest in your product/service or business. Many miss opportunities to grow their business by not following up on legitimate prospects. While you don’t want to hassle people, most prospects aren’t going to sign up on the first call. Sometimes the timing isn’t right. Or maybe they need to think about it or do their research.

Have a system for following up with prospects. For example, after the presentation, if the person isn’t ready, make an appointment to call back in a few days. If they’re not interested, ask if you can add them to your email list (be sure to send helpful information and tips, not just “join me” emails).  

However, if people are adamant that they aren’t interested, let it go. They may come around once they see your success or maybe they never will. But you don’t want to hurt your relationships by constantly trying to recruit people who aren’t interested.

5. Reinventing the wheel. While I think there should be less pressure on the list of 100 people, many network marketers throw out other actions that have proven to work. Often this is done to avoid difficult tasks, such as calling prospects. Read your company’s marketing plan and talk to the most successful reps in your upline and then do what they say will work. One of the perks of network marketing is that the system is already in place. You just need to follow it.

6. Not reading the fine print. I’ve never understood why people don’t read the stuff they sign. A network marketing rep can’t tell you every single thing there is to know. While they’ll give you the important details, it’s up to you to read and understand the contract and business plan. I’ve seen people call companies with autoships a “scam” and yet the autoship policy is clearly stated in the contract. The contract will tell you how to terminate the contract, how to return products, policies and restrictions, and everything you need to know. Read it.