Thursday, November 22, 2007

Avoidant Marketing: Network Marketing's Answer?

Copyright 2007 Karen Hurd Enterprises, Inc.

No Closing
No Selling
No Chasing people
No Recruiting
No rejection, ever!

Everywhere you look in the network marketing/home business arena, systems are advertising themselves as "Don't do anything, and you'll get rich". It's a very compelling message. These systems seem to address the very core issue of why many people don't succeed in network marketing. New marketing systems that "build your downline for you" come online everyday. Put "network marketing" in a Google search and you get 366,000,000 sites. Online network marketing systems: 99,000,000 hits. A little bit of competition, eh?

I call these no-recruiting systems "avoidant marketing". Rather than empower people to learn how to work well with today's consumer or business opportunity seeker, people are taught that marketing systems, websites, etc., are so very effective that people will literally fall into their laps. And again, as I said in "Are You Marketing Your MLM to the Right People?", network marketers usually approach the wrong market to begin with. That's why the failure rate in MLM is NO DIFFERENT than any other business model. (It's a shame, too).

In theory, it makes our business incredible simple: drive as many people through the system and only interact with them after they join your company. It makes a great deal of sense on the surface. Easy - just do 1 activity. Rejection proof- don't call them until they pony up some cash.

Many of us have a ready ear for that kind of pitch. We've either been with a pushy sales type, and hated it, or we have seen our distributors struggle and lose prospects because they didn't know how to handle the curve ball the prospect through at them. So the solution of having a system do it all without any interaction on the network marketers part is very appealing. It seems to be the ultimate in MLM duplication. In fact, I got caught in it too. I too thought it was the answer to MLM's failure rate.

The flaw in this line of thinking is that very few people (the same 10% who succeeed at anything) can drive the necessary amount of traffic to the marketing system to create decent sign up rates. Newbies become extremely confused because many of these systems advertise multiple affiliates. I've seen downlines stall out, even with experienced marketers. It's just too much for the average person to track. Downlines can become contaminated with lots of cross selling and cross recruiting.

In fact, since many of these systems use the same marketing tools: traffic exchanges, forums, safelists, etc. Newbies are thrown into an extremely competitive environment with little or no preparation on how to navigate that environment.

And guess what? People jump ship just as fast as they join. They leave your system for the next system that promises success. These systems still don't eliminate the the 50 +% drop rate or the problem of retention. They mask it. Downline builders are not a panacea for network marketing success.

The reason for this is very simple: human nature. People are gonna do what they do. You will have tire kickers no matter what. You will have people who sign up with big packages and then disappear. You will still have distributors that fail, because of the same reasons they failed before: developing the proper skill set and the proper mind set, and quitting too soon.

Certainly there need to be systems in network marketing that do level the playing field more. "Auto-pilot" systems can certainly play a role in the 21st Century home business. They can free up a distributor from some of the mundane aspects of their business, to focus on developing relationships with key people. They are extremely important in developing international downlines. These systems can be quite helpful in sorting true prospects from the casual biz-opp seeker.

Network Marketing will always be a people business because people are the power of network marketing. Good relationships equal fabulous residual income. Teach people how to build relationships in the 21st Century. Use the internet as a tool to build relationships, not to avoid them.

About the Author:
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Karen Miner Hurd is a former marketing professional. She lives in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband and 5 children. She is a writer, health coach, and armchair movie critic. Karen has been in Network Marketing since before cell phones. Her passion can be found at: The Freedom Project
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