What I Learned About Network Marketing... From The Ding-Dong Lady
One of the most valuable lessons I've learned about network marketing came from someone who never "sold" anything.
This lesson didn't come from a conference, my up-line, my sponsor or any other marketing guru. In fact, it came from someone who never heard of network marketing or had any intention of becoming a network marketer. Let me tell you about the "Ding-Dong Lady."
My mother used to be an Avon representative, and, during her Avon years, the kids in our neighborhood all took to calling her the "Ding-Dong Lady." Their reasoning was logical, if not terribly sensitive about how she might feel with such a title, and it came naturally enough as she rang the doorbells of the homes on her weekly rounds. What else would a kid call her?
I can still remember them yelling, "It's the Ding-Dong Lady!" I don't to this day know if she thought of it as a complement or an insult, but she always smiled, just the same.
Most every community, at one time or another, has had their own Ding-Dong Lady come to the door and leave a catalog of Avon products. Whether those women got labeled the same, I don't know, but I do know that the nickname stuck with my mom long after she got out of promoting Avon.
For the benefit of those that aren't too familiar with companies like Avon, let me take just a moment to explain the business model.
Avon is a Direct Sales or Network Marketing company. Not that the Ding-Dong Lady ever referred to them as such.
These types of companies promote their products or services through, among other means, a network of independent agents, who are often called distributors, consultants or simply representatives. Agents typically sponsor other agents and in so doing build a network of distributors, who sell DIRECTLY to the public. Thus the terms NETWORK Marketing and DIRECT sales.
A quick Google search for business opportunities will result in finding dozens of direct sales/network marketing opportunities; you simply cannot avoid them, and the story of the Ding-Dong Lady sheds some light on why they're so popular.
My mother decided that she wanted to have her own income, as a family supplement and spending money of her own, so she chose to become an Avon rep -- a Ding-Dong Lady.
My mother was not a "business person" and, other than probably recognizing a sales pitch when she heard one, didn't know the first thing about sales.
When I asked her "how are you going to sell this stuff?", her reply was, "Oh, I won't really be selling it. I'll just drop off the catalogs, take the orders and do the deliveries."
That, my friend, is the magic of network marketing in one, simple, statement, and it's one of the most profound lessons about network marketing that I've encountered! I'll tell you why, in a moment, but first I want to finish her story.
I'm not sure my mom realized that she was joining a network marketing company and she never "brought-in" or sponsored anyone else. That wasn't her goal. All she wanted was to earn some extra money and as an Avon rep, she could do that by simply dropping off the catalogs, taking the orders and delivering the product.
And it worked for her!
I still remember boxes of the stuff showing up at our door. She'd open them, separate the products, and make her deliveries. And at each customer's home she'd have a coffee, do some chatting, and take even more orders.
The founders of Avon knew that it wasn't going to be "Top-Gun" sales people that produced success. Instead they counted on the average housewife, who knew nothing at all about sales, being able to drop off a catalog, collect an order, make a delivery and continue to take orders as long as the customer was satisfied. Quality products, excellent service, a great product catalog, and Avon's reputation, did all the selling for her.
$8 Billion in annual sales? Does it sound like network marketing works? The correct answer is YES! But you knew that.
Network marketing/direct sales is so popular because Avon and other network marketing companies have proven it simply works.
Now, if you haven't already latched on to the Ding-Dong Lady's lesson, get ready, 'cuz here it comes:
The Ding-Dong Lady proved that network marketing works because it doesn't take any sales experience at all. You just have to be able to follow a simple plan.
Just like the Ding-Dong Lady, you:
- Introduce people to your product or opportunity (or both)
- Direct them to the sales information that does the selling for you
- Take their order when THEY'RE ready
Three simple steps that the Ding-Dong Lady had down in all of five minutes.
So given that this is such a dead simple business model, why do so many new network marketers struggle with it?
Most new network marketers run into trouble, because they try to be SELLERS.
But network marketing companies don't want sellers. They want someone that can follow the three simple steps that the Ding-Dong Lady proved work:
- Introduce people to your product or opportunity
- Direct them to the sales literature
- Take their order
Network Marketing is NOT about is selling, convincing or persuading. It's about providing information so that people can make their own purchasing decision.
Chances are you're not a trained and seasoned salesperson, but even if you are STOP trying to sell your network marketing products or opportunity.
Simply follow the plan and, when you think you should be doing more, remember the story of the Ding-Dong Lady.