selling in network marketing sign

Don't Believe It!

In today’s Truthful Thursdays post, we are going to examine a claim made by many a Network Marketing recruiter:  There is no selling involved!

Could this really be true?

I remember the first time someone told me there was No Selling in Network Marketing.  I was talking to my new sponsor after joining my first MLM Company.

I had a small case of buyer’s remorse and a little panic was setting in.

The initial excitement of starting our own business had worn off, and now I was afraid I’d made a huge mistake.

The conversation went something like this:

Me:  I’m not sure I can do this.  I’m no good at selling.  I’ve never sold anything!

My Sponsor:  Don’t worry, there’s no selling in Network Marketing.  Just tell your story and the product will sell itself.

I  believed her answer back then.  Yup, I bought it  hook, line and sinker.   But then again, I was naive and stupid.

But before you jump all over this poor lady for lying, there was a smidgen of truth to what she said, although she probably didn’t know it.

And I was wrong, too.

Let me explain.

There’s really 2 truths to identify in this scenario:

Truth #1:   Network Marketing IS about Selling

Of course it is.

Anyone who tells you differently is either a liar or delusional.

Or trying to persuade you to sign up at all costs.

Network Marketing is ALL about selling and your success will depend on your ability to sell.

Okay, before you self destruct in fear (remember “I’m no good at selling”), let me explain exactly what you’ll be selling.

Because it’s not what most people think.

Most Network Marketers believe they are selling their company’s product line.  WRONG!

If you’re surprised at this statement, you’re not alone.  It’s one of the most common misconceptions in the Industry.

But here’s the truth:

You MARKET your Product;  You SELL YOURSELF

Think about it.  You place ads or make promotional videos to market your product, to spread the word and share it’s features and benefits to the consumer.

But if you want people to join you as a distributor in your Network Marketing business, people don’t join because of the product.

They join your business because of YOU.

They will join you if they believe you’re the one who can help them reach their goals and achieve their dreams.

That’s right, you bet you’re selling yourself.

Which brings us to…

Truth #2:  You are Constantly Selling Yourself

Now before you hit the back button and send this post into oblivion, hear me out.

You can say you’ve never sold anything and you would be dead wrong.  I guarantee it.

You sell yourself constantly, every day of the year, and you’re probably doing it without even realizing it.

Don’t believe me?

  • What about the time you had that first date with your spouse or partner?  Remember the process?  You were putting your best foot forward, trying to impress and be on your best behavior.  You were careful only to share stories that put you  in a good light.  After all, you wanted that second date.  You were selling yourself.
  • What about the time you went to that job interview, wearing your best clothes, with your new haircut and a resume printed on the best paper you could find?  Remember that?  You practiced answering all the tough questions, because you knew you’d need to really SELL YOURSELF to your potential boss.

Hmmm…. see a pattern?

You see, as a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a husband, a wife, a father, a mother, a student, teacher, an employee, or a boss — In so many ways, we are CONSTANTLY SELLING OURSELVES.

It’s no different in business, especially Network Marketing — a People and Relationship business.

The ones who are most successful?

These are the people who are best at building trust and selling themselves.

So get over it and start selling yourself.  Get out of your comfort zone if that’s what it takes.

But just be sure you’re selling the right thing.

Your Turn

So what do you think?  Do you agree or disagree?

Have a favorite story to tell?

Leave a Comment and Join in the Discussion

Bob Clarke
Dr. Bob Clarke teaches Part Time Marketers how to better leverage their time, effort, money, skills, and other people's knowledge in maximizing their business success. Don't forget to grab your Free Training Grow a Thriving Business in 30 Minutes/Day or Less -- an essential resource for anyone struggling to build their business Part Time.
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Showing 43 comments
  • VaNessa Duplessie
    Reply

    Bob! Bob! Bob! I love this post. I had that line, there is no selling involved. You have to be persuasive and genuine and have passion about your offer. That is selling but as you put it, in a different way. People will join you if you are exicted and can show them you can offer them a better way or at least the path towards a better way. Those who are slick or try to convince others are just setting themselves up for failure as the attrition will be big. And it is not genuine. I like authenticity and working with real people who realisze there is “work” in network marketing and when you stick with it, you can do anything you set your mind to. Working with people you like and want to work with is the best. Therefore, when you’re selling yourself, also remember it is ok to turn people away 🙂 We get to choose who we want to play with in our businesses. Thanks for letting me go off on a tangent. I am passionate about authenticity in business.

    • Bob
      Reply

      I love it Vanessa…. authenticity and genuine… and WE choose who we want to work with.

      Seems like a great recipe for success!

  • Catarina
    Reply

    Everything in life is selling and that applies to network marketing as well. Can’t understand how someone could claim there was no selling involved. Presumably to make more people sign up in order to make money for nothing. 🙂

    • Bob
      Reply

      Yes and Yes, Catarina.

      Most everything in life is about selling, and some sponsors do make the statement about No Selling in order to sign up more people. It makes me angry because it gives the industry a black eye, but there’s little I can do except spread the word in posts like these.

      Thanks for your support here, Catarina. Always great to see you here.

  • Sandy
    Reply

    Of course there’s selling, and your sponsor was totally selling to *you* by saying that there wasn’t! You’re so right on the money here, literally, and as soon as we all realize that selling is involved and utilize it instead of shrinking away from it, we’ll be in much better shape. ~Sandy

    • Bob
      Reply

      Agreed, Sandy… kudos to you for realizing that your sponsor was selling himself/herself when you bought in. That’s the way it’s supposed to work

  • Rowena Bolo
    Reply

    Hi Bob,

    This reminds me of Blair Singer’s “Sales Dogs” book/audio. Many people, especially network marketers cringe when they hear the word sell. When in fact, selling oneself in any business (and even so in NM), is truly about relationship building. I am reminded by Blair Singer’s audio as it is so related to the different color personalities. The misunderstanding comes when people assume that for them to be good in sales, they have to be a RED or the aggressive ‘pitbull’ type. The truth is, we just have to be ourselves. The key is in being able to identify the personalities of your prospects so you would know how to build rapport. So yes, I can totally agree that we do indeed have to sell ourselves to our prospects. We also sell them to trust us with their dreams and desires. It is a huge ordeal so we really have to develop ourselves to become the leaders that people seek.

    Thanks for this very thought-provoking post, Bob!

    – Rowena

    • Bob
      Reply

      Hi Rowena… so well said!

      Haven’t heard of Blair Singer’s audio…. sounds somewhat like Jerry Clark’s audio on the personality colors. I find that interesting, but in the end it’s all about building a relationship of trust, don’t you think?

      Thanks for your insights, Rowena!

  • Lou Barba
    Reply

    Hi Bob,

    You are so right about branding yourself, and presenting yourself as a trustworthy, knowledgeable person. One thing I learned about network marketing is that you are primarily not selling your companies products, but selling distributorships. No matter how great the product is, the money is in finding people to join as distributors, and getting them to sell. That’s not the reason I left the company I was associated with, but people should know that and bed given the opportunity to make an informed decision.

    Lou

    • Bob
      Reply

      I totally agree, Lou…it’s best if people can make a decision based on all the facts as we know them. But most people are not like you or I… they buy on emotion and get excited to get started (especially if the sponsor uses a lot of hype). They soon become disillusioned because it’s not what they thought it would be.

      Thanks for your insights, Lou!

  • Hans Schoff
    Reply

    Hey Bob, you hit the nail on the head! And that’s what’s great about marketing online and blogging for example. It’s not about signing up for a million affiliate deals and spamming links across the internet. By creating valuable content on your blog, content that YOU create, you’re able to ATTRACT people to you. As you pointed out, people only buy from others whom they know, like and trust. The truth is people love to buy. Once they begin to trust you and see you’re a decent person with valuable information that can help them, they’re pocket books just begin to open with some people wanting to buy everything you’ve got or work with you in whatever it is you’re doing because of YOU!

    • Bob
      Reply

      Well said, Hans…

      I think its true — people WANT to buy, but they want to be sure they find the right person. By attracting others to you, based on who you are and the value you give, that hurdle is crossed immediately.

      Thanks for your insightful comment, Hans!

  • Jayne Kopp
    Reply

    HI Bob, I simply cannot argue with anything you have said here!

    Network Marketing is all about selling… yourself! We have to sell ourselves in order to convey to others that we can help them get to where they want to be! Simple as that.

    Even though I love, love, love my business… I also know it’s not for everyone… but I do know there is a lot that I can do to help them use the model to their advantage.

    No business, no organization, no system … no nothing can produce results. In my opinion when you get into this line of work, it’s the people that make ‘it’ happen… whatever ‘it’ may be.

    Though my business is terrific it is merely a platform to give people the leg up … and with my help, they can utilize it and me as the whole package to get on their way.

    So much of the time we all say… “it’s not about ‘us’… it’s about our readers and potential partners”. While this is true, once you shake it all down, it is actually about ‘us’ and what we can offer to help.

    Am I babbling?

    That is why I always share a lot about myself to try to get the message across that I am just a regular person who has managed to dig myself out of the trenches to turn things around. I always appreciated that when I got started…. and still do enjoy hearing about the ‘personal’ stories from our community.

    So yes.. we do sell in this business. We have to to stand out from the crowd.

    We all have something to offer and we will always resonate with different personality types.

    Loved this post Bob. Thanks for your post today.

    Best

    Jayne

    • Bob
      Reply

      You lead by example, Jayne… in a very transparent way!

      No wonder you are so successful in your business. Thanks for setting the bar so high, Jayne!

  • Sarah Russell
    Reply

    Definitely agree! Network marketing (as well as any other type of marketing, including internet marketing, affiliate marketing, etc) involves the process of convincing a person to exchange their money for a product – aka, selling.

    Of course, selling doesn’t have to be the big, scary beast that many of us make it out to be. You’re right that we’re constantly selling, even if it isn’t trying to persuade someone to buy a product. The difference, I think, is in having a product you actually believe in. If you can make an honest recommendation, you’ll find the selling to be as easy (but not non-existent) as possible.

    Great points 🙂

    • Bob
      Reply

      Good point, Sarah… Truly we are selling ourselves as leaders who can help, but you absolutely must be passionate about your product and your company.

      If not, this will show to your prospects and no amount of selling yourself will matter.

      Thanks for your insights, Sarah!

  • Jamal
    Reply

    You mean “selling yourself” is to provide services to all that are in your network. We either sell services or commodities.

    • Bob
      Reply

      I mean “selling yourself” in the way that your prospect gains trust that you will be the one that can help them achieve their goals and succeed in their business. People are mostly scared to fail and that’s what keeps them from starting. If you gain their trust, you’ve essentially sold yourself as someone who can help.

      It’s a win-win situation.

      Thanks for the comment, Jamal!

  • Steve Nicholas
    Reply

    Great post, Bob! It is so important to squash this lie whenever possible. Whenever I get that question, I tell potential business partners, “There is selling involved, but I will give you the tools to help you every step of the way.” There are a lot who seem relieved that they will have help, and there are others who decide that they want to stick with the “I’m no good at selling” and stop there. I know that I’m not good at the high-pressure model, and I have difficulties there, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t sell at all, and there are a lot who can say the same thing.

    • Bob
      Reply

      That’s a great comeback, Steve. I may borrow it! 🙂

      Not many of us are good at high pressure sales, but the kind of selling that you and I are talking about isn’t pressure at all…. its pulling people towards you rather than pushing it in their face.

      Big difference, right Steve?

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Rachael Slorach
    Reply

    Hi Bob,
    You are correct 100%! I recently discovered this truth and let me tell you – once my mind had figured this out it suddenly became easier. Not easier in term of less work (no no plenty of work to do) but easier in that I relaxed around people – knowing that I know longer had to ‘sell’ in the conventional manner but just be myself and share my knowledge and skills with others. I am already seeing great change in my business having made this mindset shift.
    Thanks for the informing post.

    • Bob
      Reply

      You’re correct, Rachael…. it definitely IS a mindset shift, isn’t it?

      Congrats for recognizing early one… you saved yourself years of struggling just by doing so. That is fantastic!

      Glad you found this post useful, Rachael… great to see you here again!

  • Ankesh Kothari
    Reply

    Hi Bob;
    Great post. Loved it.
    I guess it all depends on what you mean by word ‘selling’. When I say ‘I am not good at selling’, I am thinking of a shop owner who would say anything, even promise you that his product is “the answer to life the universe and everything” in order to sell his product. Something like a stereotypical used car salesman.

    Now, weather an MP3 player is a better answer than “42” can be debated, but in any case that kind of selling is not really my thing.

    The kind of selling you mentioned in this post, on the other hand … well just say it’s something I can live with and strive to be better at.

    Thanks again for this great post.

    • Bob
      Reply

      You’re right, Ankesh. There certainly is more than one method of selling. I am no good at the hard sell, but the soft sell, I can absolutely work with that!

      Sounds like you are in the same boat, Ankesh!

      Thanks for your contributions here, Ankesh…. very much appreciated.

  • Mavis Nong
    Reply

    Hey Dr Clarke,

    This is nothing but the truth. Yes, there’s selling involved. The question is do you know what and how you’re selling?

    This is a very informative post for anyone not sure about how to market their business. Well done!

    Mavis

    • Bob
      Reply

      Thanks, Mavis… that is the key, right?

      Most Network Marketers believe they are selling their product, when in actuality they are selling themselves as someone who can help people move forward and achieve their goals.

      When you get that distinction, everything else tends to fall into place.

      Thanks for the comment, Mavis!

  • Mario
    Reply

    I have no experience as a seller, and I thought you were talking seriously when you said that network marketing doesn’t involve selling…hehe. I guess the last statement makes sense partially: I don’t like hard seller; I like people who give some valuable information first and then I will be more willing to buy anything from them

    • Bob
      Reply

      Exactly Mario.. that was my point. The only way to build trust and “sell yourself” is to put your needs BEHIND those you are talking to. I have turned many people away from joining my business because I knew it wasn’t the right time for them… and many have joined me later when the timing was better. I think it’s refreshing to others when you don’t push, but pull others towards you with your compassion, understanding, knowledge and sharing.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Mario.

  • Diego Ortiz
    Reply

    Hey there Bob, great post. I search on dictionary.com for the definition of selling, this is what i got

    sell:

    1. to transfer (goods) to or render (services) for another in exchange for money; dispose of to a purchaser for a price.

    we all know that MLM/Network Marketing is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they recruit, creating a downline of distributors and a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation.

    Selling is the life blood of you business, all business sell, wether goods or services, so get used to it

    • Bob
      Reply

      Its true, Diego… selling is a part of any business, whether you’re selling a product in a brick and mortar business or selling yourself as a mentor, coach, or sponsor.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion, Diego!

  • Oliver Tausend
    Reply

    Hi Bob,

    again a powerful and truthful post. Of course, there is selling involved in Network Marketing, but it isn’t a selling business. It’s a teaching and mentoring business – it’s not about teaching others to sell but teaching others to teach. Selilng simply means product movement from company to customer and the difference to direct sales lies in the way it’s done.

    In direct sales, products are moved through selling, in network marketing products are moved through teaching and mentoring – and relationship building.

    It’s a special way of selling many sales people don’t get. I was one of them, but I learned to tame my automatic salesman behaviour. Up to now I know exactly what to say to close the deal, but more often than not I don’t say it.

    Selling very often is an ego game between the salesperson and the customer. If that was the case in network marketing, then sayonara.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Take care

    Oliver

    • Bob
      Reply

      It’s great you bring this up, Oliver.

      When I first started, I used to think that people who sell for a living (cars, insurance, etc.) had a distinct advantage in NM. Now, I’m not so sure that’s true. As you point out ,it’s a totally different kind of selling and, if you employ your hard sell tactics in MLM you probably won’t be too successful.

      Once again, a clever insight Oliver! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Dennis Edell
    Reply

    Lets throw a little punch in this bowl, I’ll agree and dis…..

    “people don’t join because of the product.” – Untrue – A. Nuclear Waste Removal…B. Candle Distributor.

    WHO one stays under is where YOU come in. You can essentially say, MLM has a 2-part sign-up.

    I’ve seen people so enamored with a product, they’ll go through several up-lines until something sticks.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Okay, Dennis… I see what you mean.

      People may become enamored with a product and “fall in love’ with it, but they will (or should) search for the best person to help them market that product to others.

  • Natasha
    Reply

    Bob –

    Like the other two comments above me, I am in total agreement with this post as usual! I never really thought of putting my best foot forward on a first date or job interview as “selling” myself, but now that you put it that way I realize that’s totally what it is! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s totally natural and something we all do – it was just a matter of putting things into perspective.

    -Natasha

    • Bob
      Reply

      When you become aware of all you do in life to sell yourself to others, it all seems very natural. Selling in business should be just a natural extension of this, at least in my mind.

      Thanks for sharing, Natasha!

  • marquita herald
    Reply

    Oh, I totally agree Bob … anything we do to influence is ultimately selling. Great post as usual!

    • Bob
      Reply

      Thanks, Marty!

  • Wilson
    Reply

    I agree to that people join your network marketing, or buy your products, mainly because they TRUST you.

    I dont totally agree about ‘selling yourself’, or ‘selling myself’ …..It depends on how one would present him/her-self.

    I might be getting into semantic here…

    For me …. selling is push, marketing is pull.

    And reason why it’s called network marketing, it’s all about MARKETING YOURSELF… how you package yourself, how you can help people materialize their dreams, how your products can solve their problems.

    And yes, you still have to sell the products. But focus is all about MARKETING YOURSELF.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Wilson

    • Bob
      Reply

      I see where you’re coming from, Marcus. I’ not sure — I think perhaps we are talking about the same thing but using different terms. In the end, I think we could both agree that in any kind of business, its important that you build trust with your customer, however that is to occur. It may be different for different businesses.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Wilson… we appreciate it!.

  • Sonny Lanorias
    Reply

    Hi Bob,

    Great post! Thanks for sharing and I definitely “agree”. People join people who they know like and trust! And its not because of the products. Its because of you. So if you want people to join you, you gotta increase your value so you can help others bring closer to their goals. Thanks again and a very good read!

    `Sonny

    • Bob
      Reply

      Well said, Sonny. Couldn’t agree more.

      Thanks for sharing your insights here!

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  • Network Marketing IS About Selling, So Get Over It…

    Have you ever been told by a Network Marketer that no selling is involved? It’s a myth. You will have to sell, but not what you think……

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