Having been in the world of Network Marketing, Team building and Leadership for over 12 years and personal development for several decades, I have worked with many people who find the ‘traditional’ way of building a business or selling / marketing their products and services a real challenge.
Are you one of these people?
In Network Marketing, the idea of conversational selling has been around for some time, but the reality of this in practice is still very much about sales. Indeed the vast majority of Network Marketing Companies, even the most forward thinking ones, can’t quite get away from selling being fundamental to the duplication model and business building emphasis. The ‘apprenticeship’ stage is all about getting sales, no matter how it is dressed up.
Sales and/or teambuilding, regardless of whether it’s in Network Marketing or any business, have many people running for the hills (metaphorically speaking of course). However more and more people are starting there own businesses or getting involved with network marketing. So my quandry has been, how do we (I am one of those people who runs to the hills…) develop ways that make business building accessible and more importantly highly successful for everyone.
In the early days of Network Marketing, I understood that I had a problem. Selling and using the phone were the two things that I disliked the most and the two things that it appeared I had to do every day to become a success. So, to overcome that problem I went on every training possible to learn the skills and methods. I got fairly good at them. But hated every minute I had to apply this in real-life. Personal development had been part of my life for as long as I could remember, so I understood that personal development would help get me over the issues, my limiting beliefs etc etc.
But it didn’t.
I am not and don’t ever wish to ‘sell’ anything. And learning techniques to ‘manipulate’ (that’s how it felt) people into buying something with sales methodology just went so against the grain. It was just plain wrong (for me). Limiting beliefs or no limiting beliefs.
Now, that bit I do understand. Because being genuinely passionate about my business, people and the products associated with that business, people bought from me, it attracted people to me and I built a very successful international business on the back of that. But the challenge with this was that not everyone had the same capacity for passion! Not everyone had the same drive. Not everyone wanted to go on a dramatic self development journey. And I understand that.
Indeed, passion takes up loads of energy, especially when it is being used to override the fundamental flaw: I and many of the people I worked with did not like selling, in any guise. In fact it was eating away at my integrity, this feeling that I wasn’t being completely true to myself.
Attraction marketing was where I went next. Instinctively, I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, I just looked at a whole load of ways I could think of where people could decide for themselves whether they liked what they saw, whether they wanted to do business with me. A whole load of ways where people would get to know me and I would get to know them. Social Media and business networking became a staple, way before it was popular for network marketers. The most important thing was that in this environment I decided I would be me, not someone that the personal development gurus (and my upline) wanted me to become to get over myself so I could sell…
I don’t like selling. My whole being doesn’t like selling. And now I don’t do selling.
Business Networking was a huge opportunity to build relationships and build a profile. Getting involved in running business networking even more so. Speaking at events, being very active on social media meant I never had to pick up a phone (unless that peson was ready and wanted a conversation, or called me – even better!) I didn’t have to ‘sell’ anything. I was known for never mentioning products or ‘joining me’. I spoke (passionately) about the things that were important to me and relevant to the vast majority of people in the room. Building Trust. This ticked a massive box.
Working with and coaching other like-minded (‘selling’ -adverse) people, I realised that there was something I’d overlooked. Not everyone wanted or had the confidence to present, not everyone wanted to get stuck into a national networking organisation to the degree I did. And, I was, and still am, passionate about people being their true self especially in business, so how could I help them be themselves.
I found the answer, Content Marketing. A way of building your personal brand, your profile, demonstrating your knowledge, creating a community, developing trust.
And there were other things – I was unhappy about the myths, hype and unhelpful methodology some businesses traded on and misleading propositions. I spent a lot of time unpicking this for people and I’m not afraid of opening the box. If it was relevant to me, it would be relevant to others – On a side note, how often in training have I said, or heard: if you have a question, please don’t keep it to yourself, ask it, because if you are thinking it there will be other people in the room who are too… Being open and transparent is a vital component to building trust.
I knew Content Marketing was the right way to go. But I held back. For a few years to be honest.
Last week I serendipitously attended the Content Marketing Academy 2015#TCMA2015 event in Edinburgh. I’d met Chris Marr, who runs the Academy, last year while I was working at a Business Show in Glasgow and was intrigued by how drawn I was to attend the event.
It blew me away!
Marcus Sheridan‘s sessions confirmed, without a shadow of doubt that it was ok to do all the things I’d thought about. Not only to do them but to do them on a massive scale – so it was ok that I had a lot to say about stuff! The good, the bad, and the ugly. Not only was it ok, it was integral to success. It also gave me confidence that I had been right to coach others to do the same and it meant building a business aligned to our own beliefs and personality is absolutely accessible to all.
Demonstrating honesty, integrity, transparency, knowledge and much more, in a form that attracts the right people to you. Where the information they need has already been accessed (via your content) so their decision to opt in or out of buying from you has pretty much happened before they contact you for the first time.
Marcus Sheridan did a fabulous job of explaining:
- Our job is to solve people’s problems, answer people’s questions and do it fast.
- Our job is to teach the world about our business and sector with honesty and openness and build TRUST
- Content marketing is about TRUST and FEAR, our job is for our prospect to overcome the fear and for us to build the trust
- Our job is to help our prospects overcome their fears about our industry and company and to build the reputation by addressing ALL the questions – not just the comfortable ones.
This made so much sense because I’ve been doing this for many years… just not in a content marketing format.
One thing is for sure, in network marketing, most leaders and companies out there don’t face the elephant in the room which is why there is so much misunderstanding and fear.
The 5 areas that Marcus explains, customers always consider when making a buying decision:
How often are these areas discussed? Or, more importantly, covered with full transparency and no agenda, in Network Marketing?
All of the speakers at the conference had so much to add to the picture.
Stefan Thomas – Networking is for Life not just for Breakfast, Richard Tubb – How to turn your contacts into customers, Gavin Oattes – Tree of Knowledge,Karen Strunks – How to Build Your Powerful Personal Brand, Mike Mc Grail – Pay to Play or Fade Away
In conclusion, this is just the beginning!
If you want to build a successful business, retain your integrity AND be YOU… content marketing the way forward, it is essential.
If you want to build a successful business, retain your integrity, be you and NEVER HAVE TO ‘SELL’ AGAIN – Content Marketing is essential.
If you are a Network Marketer, maybe you’ve just found the one thing that will turn you and your business around forever.
Are you up for that? Are you already doing it? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Michelle Turner-Davidson is a speaker, trainer and mentor specialising in developing people and teams and taking the fear, hype and struggle out of network marketing.
To find out how Michelle can help you, or if anything in this article resonates with you, do get in touch. You can fill out the comments below, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter @MichTD, Facebook or check out the rest of this website MichelleTurnerDavidson.com