Network Marketing has always been an easy and cheap business one can start right from the comfort of their home, and regardless of their level of education. Like most businesses, network marketing involves the selling of your products or services to people. But an additional perk of this line of business is that you can assist others to start their own business and earn an income off their sales volume just as you do.

Network marketing, also known as Multi-level Marketing (MLM), pyramid Selling, or Referral Marketing, is a type of business model where independent contractors buy into a company and earn a commission on the products they sell.

In order to ensure the continued survival of your Network marketing business, you will need to find prospects for your business, build a relationship with them to then turn them into leads.

A prospect can be defined as an individual, a department in a company or even a whole company that has an interest in purchasing the goods or services that your business offers. Prospects translate to leads and leads translate to sales. In fact, prospecting is the key to success in network marketing.

Network marketers are tasked with getting new clients, and in order to accomplish this task, they necessarily open relationships. Prospecting is the art of opening new relationships. The new business opportunities that later turn into sales are initially identified through prospecting, thus making prospecting a very important step in the whole sales process.

The truth is that a network marketing direct sales business is just like any other business, whether it’s a blog, eBay, a franchise, or freelancing. All businesses require marketing and lead generation in order to make sales and so does network marketing. As a result, network marketers usually use many of the same marketing strategies and funnel systems used by other businesses that need leads to make sales.

But before you start looking for prospects by posting your business in forums and social media, it helps to start by answering a few questions.

  • Who is the most likely buyer or prospect? here, you need to find out who you are selling to. What do you sell and who needs it? Do you sell perfumes? Who buys perfumes? Do you sell wellness products? Who wants wellness products? All marketing for any business starts by identifying your target market, this is the only way you can make headway in your business.
  • Where can this your target market be mostly found? In the past, network marketers were told to talk to everyone who stood within 3-feet of them . While this isn’t bad, it’s less effective than going to the source. The people standing near you or reading the paper may not want or need what you’ve got. If you sell health and wellness products, talking to people in a gym or writing a guest post on a fitness blog are better options. If you sell perfumes, visiting office buildings the first weeks of February to help men buy gifts for their Valentine’s is another option.
  • How can you more attention of your market? you need to craft a unique way to get the attention of people before you even start prospecting. An important thing to remember when talking to people is that it’s not about you or your product. It’s about them and how you or your product can help them get what they want. You can do this by learning about your leads’ feelings, goals and wants, and then provide a solution. The fact is most people don’t care about your company, pay plan, etc. they care about finding a solution to their problem.

How to Find Prospects for Network Marketing

There are a myriad of ways network marketing business owners can get new prospects for their budding businesses; some of the most popular ones include;

  1. Utilize your personal network

Your personal network is one of the greatest assets you have as a network marketer. Ask your friends if they know of people who are in need of your services, or people who may know others who could use your services. Ask your family members and close relatives too. If your pricing structure will allow it, offer friends and business associates a finders’ fee for referrals that turn into jobs.

Most network marketing companies recommend starting with a list of 100 people you know. Called your warm market, this is not a bad place to start when looking for customers and business builders. The only problem here is that many network marketers work this list to the point of annoying their friends and family. You’re better off spending your time finding people who are interested in what you are offering rather than trying to convince all your family members to sign up when they don’t want to.

2. Social Media

Social networking platforms are a blessing to network marketers that are prospecting for new customers. Social media provides a great way to connect with new customers and to also grow your list of prospective customers. It is a very ingenious way to engage your customers by way of conversation, sharing relevant content and generally getting to know the people who are keen followers of your brand.

A lot of information about your prospects can also be gotten from their social media accounts. For instance, on LinkedIn, you can easily search for companies and identify the people who work there and what their positions are. You can also search on Twitter and Facebook to see what people are saying about your company or product. If you see potential interest, leave comments and reach out.

You can also learn information about specific communities on social media. Use industry keywords to see what people are talking about and who the major players are. Pay attention to the conversations going on, and see if you can add value to them.

Consider joining groups on LinkedIn to integrate yourself with the industry and online community. According to a Vorsight you are 70% more likely to get an unexpected sale if you join LinkedIn Groups.

In addition, you need to know where to find customers online for instance,

  • Twitter: Use mainly Twitter Search and Advanced Search. With these two tools, you can narrow the audience you are pitching your products to
  • Linkedin: It is easily the best social network for networking business. You should gain experience in the Linkedin groups and use the Advanced Search for best results. Also, check out the paid advertising.
  • Facebook: although it is more user-friendly than business-friendly, Facebook could find you prospects through its many groups and paid ads.
  • Google: almost everyone should be aware of the importance of goggle. Knowing how to search for the right operators does miracles in finding new prospects.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is similar to Facebook in the importance of businesses. However, it is one of the biggest social network in the world and sharing content as well as searching for tags is not to be ignored.

3. Find Influencers

You connect with influencers on the various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and get your idea across to them. If you share some of their content, they will be more inclined to return the favor by also sharing some of yours. This way they will be showing your business and ultimately recommending your brand and your product to their entire audience.

As soon there are some expert influencers in the industry who give the “seal of approval” on your product or service, people will be a lot more confident to go ahead and follow you, share your content, subscribe to your newsletter and potentially purchase from you.

4. Attend Events like the Chamber of Commerce

If you haven’t attended one of these, you could be missing out on building some great relationships and prospects for your network marketing business. Just google your local Chamber of Commerce and contact them as the majority will have a networking event once a month or others events you can attend to meet people. Keep in mind that the people who attend actually take the time to get ready and go because they too, want more. You can indeed gain customers and business partners through your local Chamber of Commerce.

5. Get Positive feedback

One of the things that can inspire confidence in your prospective customers is the fact that other people have made use of your product and that they are happy with it. You can go ahead to post case studies and success stories of people and companies who have experienced success thanks to you and your product. Make use of positive feedback and learn from negative comments. This social proof will go a long way to give people the confidence to check out your blog or website, like you on Facebook, maybe sign up for a free trial and they will become leads in your sales pipeline.

6. Attend Networking Events and Trade Shows

Even though making use of various online methods to get new customer is good, adding the good old fashioned networking can go a long way to boost your sales. Networking should still be an essential part of your weekly routine. Meet with people on a face to face basis and tell them about yourself, your business, your products and also don’t forget top ask about them. Exchange contact details, add them to your database and keep in touch. You can google local trade shows in your area, get their business cards and follow up with them. These are great prospects.

7. Customer Referrals

It is a lot more cheaper to maintain your existing customers than to find new ones. And if you treat the customer you already have right, they can be your brand ambassadors. Treat them well and they will recommend your goods or services to their friends and family members. Word-of-mouth may be quite old but it is still a very powerful tool for getting new prospects so make sure that your clients have something good to say about your business.

8. Reach out through Email

These days cold calls are more or less a waste of time. According to MarketingSherpa, email has two times higher ROI than cold calling. You should make use of emails, follow ups and automated communications to keep in touch with your prospects and turn them into solid leads. Expand your audience and get your message across to more and more people; nurture leads and navigate them through the sales funnel using targeted content distributed via email. One of the many great things about emails is that you can make use of them along with tools such as social media (add a sign up form to your Facebook page for example) or networking events (collect emails and add them to your database).

You should however note that just sending out thoughtless emails will not get you anywhere. You will need to draft an email that will be effective and that means taking the time to understand who you’re sending it to and what they want. Make sure that your email is specific, clear and most importantly provides a value to the person you intend to send it to.

In addition, you should try your best to make sure that the email is not too long. Choose the right words and make sure that anything that can be cut off is cut off. If you’re looking to improve your cold email process, there are plenty of tools that can help. By ensuring your cold emails are targeted, organized and purposeful, you’ll be able to generate more leads for your business.

9. BNI (Business Networking International)

This is a group of professionals that meet each week, it is built on the ‘givers gain’ concept, and is a great place to find prospects. The great thing about BNI is that only one person can hold the seat for each category so there is only one realtor, one person for commercial lending, one for skincare, one for health and wellness, etc.  This eliminates the competition where you can really focus on helping each other build your businesses through referrals. You can go to BNI.com and click on the “Find A Chapter” link to search for one local to you.

10. Make use of Google

At times, finding new prospects does not have to be difficult. It can be as easy as doing a simple Google search. A lot of what people do is recorded online and that information can be called up by sales professionals. If you need to find a person or specific information about a company, then Google may be the right place to start. By searching, you can find a wealth of information on someone’s spending habits or about how a company is run.

But for the information you gather to be meaningful, it has to be about the right people. Finding out who the key decision makers are is important in order to get them to buy what you are selling. However, this can be difficult. A study that was carried out by the Gartner Group found out that in a normal firm with about 100-500 employees, the buying decision is usually made by just 7 people. These days, money is tight and as such, the decision on what to buy or not to buy has moved farther up the management chain. In other to speak to people who are at the helm of affairs, you will have to first identify who they are and then try to build a connection with them in a bid to try to influence their decision. You should try your best to gather as much information about your target buyers as possible so as to increase your chances selling your products.

11. Stay up to date on industry news

Most times when prospecting, some people find out that they spend most of their time looking for the right person – not even trying to sell to them. Instead of always trying to find the right person whom you should be selling to, you can devote some of your time to staying up to date on the latest news as this will give you a lot of insights into who the right people to sell to are.

There are a lot of blogs, websites and media outlets that report on the recent happenings of companies – the same companies that you’re aiming to sell to. This means that by staying informed on their news, you’ll be in a better position to sell to them.

In addition, forums can be a gold mine for industry news and information. Keep up with these and consider subscribing to newsletters for popular blogs and media organizations in your industry.

12. Build relationships

Even though a simple search on goggle or other social media websites can help you to find new leads or prospects, but the best way to continuously find them is to build relationships with the people in your industry.

Go to networking events, join industry associations and be present where potential clients are. Find them on a social setting and engage instead of pitching right off the bat. The more you can build a relationship with a prospect, the more likely they will be to buy from you.

Even if you find thousands of new prospects for your product but they are not the right customer for your product, it won’t matter. You main focus should be on finding people who are the most likely to buy from you and not just fining names and email address.

13. Parent Sporting Events

This is another great place to find prospects for your network marketing and start connecting with others. It’s no surprise that most parents love to spend a lot of time with their children, and as such would attend any event that would help them do that. You can attend these events in order to meet up with these parents. There can be a great prospect list for you.

14. Have a prospect list

You should not just fill your prospects list with a bunch of random people, instead, your focus should be on people who will likely buy from you. You can draw your list of prospects from the following sources in this order:

  • Referral: People whom your existing customers have contacted and suggested that they get in touch with you.
  • Networks: People whom you’ve connected with personally at industry events or online via social networking.
  • Website Visitors: People who’ve shown an interest in your offerings by accessing your website and leaving contact data.
  • Purchased Lists: People who have the job title that typically buy your offering inside industries into which you typically sell.

15. Write Scripts

The two main factors that usually result in poor prospecting are usually not spending enough time prospecting and ineffective prospecting. Usually, language choice is to be blamed for this. It comes down to what you are saying when you prospect. Irrespective of what you may think, scripts are very important even for professionals.

First you have to recognize that you are already using a script. The words that you use when prospecting (and on sales calls, by the way), are choices that are comfortable to you because you have rehearsed them. They are comfortable to you because you have them memorized, not because you are reading them. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best language choices.

Your effectiveness is improved by choosing carefully the words you use. Take note of what is and what isn’t working for you. This takes an awareness, focus and discipline. It also allows you to experiment with language choices to see what is most effective.

Write scripts for each of the prospecting methods you use. Write answers for the common questions or reservations people may have, and rehearse them. If you are part of a sales team, do this together and rehearse them together. Commit the best language to memory and replace the unwritten and ineffective scripts you are already using.

16. Church Events

Church events are a great venue to build relationships and find prospects. People at these events love being part of a community.

17. Car Windows or Decals

The key here is to peak people’s curiosity and not try and sell something. Be sure to have your phone number or business cards with you so you can give them out to people, so that they can have a way of contacting you.

18. Be consistent

In order to improve your prospecting results, you will need be consistent with your prospecting by doing it on a daily basis. You should never suggest that you could only close on Thursday afternoons, and it is ridiculous to suggest that there is only a single time at which you can be effective prospecting. It is equally ridiculous to suggest that your prospects are only open to taking your calls on Mondays and Fridays or at certain periods. Those are generalizations and all generalizations are lies.

Write a weekly plan where create time for prospecting every day. It is best to set aside the time first thing in the morning to ensure it gets done before the world makes other demands of you.

19. Look for and follow business prospects on social media

This is another social media prospecting tip. Don’t try to sell to them on their social media feeds. Instead, try to develop relationships with potential customers. Retweet or comment on their posts. Mention them if appropriate in your own social media posts. Your main aim for doing this should be to get known and seen as a friend. Prospecting and selling is a whole lot easier when to do when you meet people who feel like they know you.

20. Target your local newspapers

Even though the internet has become a dominant force, newspapers are still an incredible source of contact information and leads to potential new customers. Be on the lookout for names of people who just got promoted, just won an award or just recently started a business, or who in any way may be potential customers. You should then send those people personalized mailings congratulating them on their success or telling them how interesting the article about them was. Include your company name and slogan plus any appropriate product information with your signature. Note that you can only do this if your product is a good fit for them.

21. Sponsor Events

Be on the lookout for events that may bring your potential target market together. Look for fliers about the event at local networking group meetings, or call and ask the organizers if there are sponsorship opportunities available. Local events can be quite inexpensive to sponsor. Alternately, if the sponsorship cost is high, they may have a “Friends” of the event option that will give you the right to have fliers at the event for a very small fee.

22. Attend meetings and seminars that your prospects might attend: find out meeting, seminars and other such gatherings that your prospects will attend and try to be there. If you’ve been doing that and haven’t made contacts that could lead to sales, try new networking groups. You can look in the newspapers to see where other organizations hold events that might attract your target market and attend some of those meetings.

23. Follow up after meetings: Contact the people you meet to see if they may be prospects. Even if they say that they do not need your services now, ask when it would be a good time to call them back, or if they have business associates who could use what you sell now.

24. Free give away: like it was mentioned previously, getting new customers involves building trust between you and them. A very good way to do this would be to give away free samples of your product and ask the recipients to tell their friends if they are pleased. Or, if you are a consultant, give away some free advice. This could be in the form of a newsletter that contains news or tips and hints, or it could be a free consultation during which you provide just enough information to help the client scope out their project and know that you have the ability to handle it.

25. Study your competitors: focus on your competitors that have been successful in the business and try to find out where they advertise, where they network, what tactics they use etc. What works for them may work just as well for you.

26. Claim your place in Google My Business: make sure that your business is listed in any directories that you qualify for including Google. Chambers of commerce, and other local business groups often have member directories in which you can list your contact information and website address.

27. Ask for feedback when prospects don’t buy: when a prospect fails to convert to a sale, you should ask them for their feedback. Why did the deal not fall through? Did they find a better product elsewhere? Did the run into some cash troubles? Did they decide that they didn’t need your product after all? Do they still want to buy but at a later date? Did they find it difficult to place an order on your web site? The feedback that they give you will help you to improve your business or product even more.

28. Traditional Mail: this is yet another great way to increase awareness of your business. Create the piece you plan to send, be it a postcard, brochure, letter etc. You can either address and stamp them yourself, or, you can get the service of a fulfillment house to help you do it. If you are mailing many pieces, there are both time and cost benefits to using a fulfillment house to address and stamp. A fulfillment house is able to get a bulk stamp rate, which can save up to 40% of the postage price. However, you should bear in mind that a hand placed stamp looks less like a junk mail.

29. Generate network marketing leads with a personal website. Many companies offer websites. Others allow you to make your own, but some don’t, so you’ll need to check your network marketing company’s policies about websites. If you can, make your own because you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors. If you’re not allowed to make a website directly about your business, make one covering a topic related to your business. For example, if you sell health and wellness products, but can’t have a self-made business site, start a health and wellness blog. Your website should include information about you and your company, but again in the slant that shows how you can help others get what they need.

30. Have a “Tell Me More” option on your website: Most people who visit your site won’t be ready to buy, but a few might be ready to hear your pitch. Include a form different from the email that allows leads to ask you to contact them about your products or services, or business opportunity. Include a link to this form in your emails. Use copywriting techniques that focus on how you can help your prospect benefit from your product/service or business.

31. Buy SOLO ADS for network marketing Prospects: A solo ad is basically finding a person with a network marketing prospects list already built, and having them send your ad to that list. There are tons of cheap ways to do this but the most consistent and proven solo ads are between $45-$65 depending on the amount of clicks you want to receive. This is fast traffic and can really generate network marketing prospects very fast. When using solo ads, you want to make sure you are tracking your links to find out which solo ad providers are producing for you so you can go back to them for results in the future.

32. No does not necessarily have to be the end of a relationship: Even when you use all of the ideas above, you are still going to hear “no.” You are going to hear it a lot. But business relationships just like any other type of relationship needs time to take root. Your consistent and unrelenting pursuit of your dream clients is part of a longer-term plan for success and not a quick fix.

Make sure that you communicate with your prospects from time to time. Your calls, your thank you cards, your letters, your white papers, your surveys, your studies, your newspaper and web clippings, your constant attempts to find a way to create some value before making claims all add up over time.

At times, the most fruitful relationships or the biggest deals take the longest time to win and as such, your constant nurturing of these relationships will open opportunities for you over time. This approach proves that you are not going to disappear like so many of your peers, that you are truly interested in working with them, that you are a professional who executes well, and that you are determined. These are some of the attributes that people look for in network marketers and partners.

Conclusion

Prospecting involves creating new relationships where they previously did not exist, but that is not the only area you should be focused on. You should be focused on your outcomes. There are a lot of ways to do this, and all of them have varying degrees of effectiveness in the hand of various salespersons.

As much as you need to focus your time and energy on what works best for you, you should also try to look outside of your comfort zone. If you are good with email marketing but you are not very skilled with inbound marketing that does not mean that should totally ignore it. Try to make use of a combination of methods to get the more prospects. Try your hands also on networking, trade shows and conferences, direct mail, social networking, or referrals. You should include all of these tools in your arsenal.

Make a list of all of the methods that you can and will use to prospect. Plan the time that you will set aside for each method and how many prospects you will gain from your effort. For example, you might commit to attending one networking event per month with the result that you acquire two new prospects from each networking event. Measure these results and focus on what generates the greatest return on your investment of time, but remember that your prospects may have their own opinion on how they best like to be approached, so you shouldn’t exclude any method.

Ajaero Tony Martins