Archive | August, 2010

No Better Time For Network Marketing

Opportunities for network marketing used to be limited to word-of-mouth and buying and telephoning leads.  So many more avenues have become popular in recent times, and it is relevant to mention that these new strategies are much more conducive to ‘networking’ than cold calling and pestering your relatives and friends about your latest business opportunity.

The major avenue is on the ‘information super-highway’, aka the Internet or ‘world-wide-web’.  This has opened many doors globally. In the ‘old days’ what were called ‘BB’s’ (bulletin boards) have evolved into forums where people can network with their peers and prospects. 

‘Netizens’ can get to know each other and share information to develop relationships in an interactive chat environment.  Through this mode they can build a true network. It seems only natural to contact these people if you are involved in a network marketing business and would like them to join you or become your customer or client.

Do you see the difference between buying lists of names and cold-calling people out of the ‘clear blue sky’ where you are “who?”?  This technique is little more than invasive, irritating ‘telemarketing'; hence the need for the national ‘Do Not Call List’ (unless of course you like being interrupted at dinner, while sleeping, etc. by a stranger).

It is a completely different atmosphere to contact someone who has heard of you or who has even shown an interest in what you are doing and ideally has requested personally that you call them to discuss it.  This is much more true to the definition of ‘network’ marketing.

As of the last few years and the advent of ‘Web2.0′, BB’s have again morphed into ‘Social Networking’ aka ‘Social Bookmarking’ on the Internet.  There are hundreds of these sites, the most notable of which are probably Twitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook. 

Social networking is a lovely environment, particularly FaceBook, where you can involve your family and friends as well as your business associates. You can share pictures with everyone and this goes a long way toward being knowing people better. 

Your business associates can become your friends and possibly your family can become business associates, as they will have access to all of your conversations and news.  In this atmosphere you have the ideal network marketing opportunity.

What is Network Marketing?

It is a shame that people who claim to be doing network marketing forget the ‘networking’ aspect and therefore should just call it ‘marketing’.  The usual strategy employed by ‘network marketers’ begins with leads generation of some sort, whether by purchase or leads capture devices, and then contacting the leads via telephone and/or email. 

If the prospect becomes a customer, then they would be directed to a site where there is ‘canned’ documentation, FAQs, resources, etc. The more sophisticated program sites might have teleconferences, webinars or forums where to some degree there would be ‘networking’ within the company for management and membership.

The best definition of ‘networking’ however is ‘to be known without having an agenda’.  This would then be in reverse order to the usual techniques used in network marketing.  The leads would be generated from sites where people are having conversations interactively and establishing relationships prior to trying to sell anybody anything.  If someone is interested in getting more information or buying something, they would request it and be contacted privately.

With the advent of social networks becoming popular in the recent past, it seems as though the latter model is coming to fruition.  It was about time, too, as thanks to miscreant trolls and spammers on the Internet, everyone is being inundated with unwanted, unsolicited advertising. This creates chaos and disrupts a productive environment in which business is conducted in an orderly way.
It seems even when a company swears that they will not share your information with anyone, somehow you begin to get spammed as soon as you sign up for a program. Not clear if the systems are hacked or how email addresses and phone numbers begin to be abused by 3rd parties.  Surely this is not the ‘network’ anybody legitimate envisioned.

The result of the pitfalls surrounding email is that people are becoming immune to anything sent via email.  The easiest way to navigate a flooded inbox is just to delete everything without even looking at it.  Even the companies that we do sign up for can be abusive in that they will send something every single day to hound you to ‘upgrade now’.  After a while, again, the only way to deal with it is to ignore it or delete it.  This can’t be conducive to sales in the network marketing environment.

What is the Best Network Marketing Software?

The best network marketing software would include several functions.  Ideally they would all be interconnected for the most efficient use.  It would include a contact management system as well as an autoresponder and POP3 account as well as live, interactive communications ability. 

While you can easily find all of these components separately, you really have to search to find a system that includes at least most of them together.  The idea here would be to have a ‘relational database’.  A relational database is one that has all the information in one place so that there is no duplication necessary.  The same information can be used in multiple ways and always accessed from one place only.

For example you should only have the name and contact information in one time. This might include name, email and phone – much like a Rolodex. The autoresponder would access the email address in order to send pre-written messages.  This is set up on a schedule that is tied to a series of messages that are sent automatically – typically daily or weekly.

The client could then respond back to you via email if a POP3 account was attached to this. Autoresponders usually only send mail and have no ability to receive mail other than to set up an ’email alias’ or a mail forwarder that is used as the ‘return’ or ‘reply to’ address on your outgoing message.  In this case, you would receive your mail in your regular email account – apart from your database.

The best network marketing software would include a contact management system, so that on the client’s record you would have a place to record your contact dates, comments about your conversation and future appointments with the client. You may be able to see why having everything in one place would be ideal, as there are quite a few details that would always be linked back to the client’s record and plenty of room for confusion if not.

Other functions that would be part of the best network marketing software but that doesn’t necessarily need to be interconnected to your database would be an interactive communication environment. Ideally a web conference room or VoIP group voice/text chat could serve this purpose.

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