Selling Myths (written January, 2002)

MLM can be a very lucrative business for you. The problem is that 85% of the work in MLM is done by a select few 15%. It’s that 15% that make the most amount of money. Why? Because they don’t mind selling. The people that do mind selling don’t make as much and they probably don’t realize how easy it is to be a good seller. Here are our favorite selling myths – overcome them and you too will join the elite 15% of the money makers in MLM!

Myth #1) “You Don’t Have To Be Good at Selling” – Show me a Vice President of Sales with a Network Marketing Company or an MLM distributor earning a million dollars or more a year that is not good at selling, and I’ll buy you a new car. Let’s get this straight once and for all: Network Marketers are entrepreneurs and successful entrepreneurs are good at selling and communicating; Lousy entrepreneurs are not good at selling and communicating. Which one are you?

Myth #2) “You Have To Be Pushy and Aggressive” – This is one of the most common misconceptions about professional selling today. The reason that people think of salespeople as being pushy and aggressive is because for the last 60 years, they have been pushy and aggressive. Most salespeople today still are. The problem lies in the way we’ve been trained for the last 67 years. Unknowledgeable sales trainers have taught us to use tricks and techniques to persuade (actually con) prospects into buying our products and joining our companies regardless of whether it was the right thing for them or not. (I guess these sales trainers didn’t know any better because they were taught that way by their sales trainers.) Professional selling (Network Marketing) today is about presenting our products, services and business in an organized fashion, without using trickery or manipulation. It’s about having a casual conversation coupled with good questions about what’s important to our prospects. A sales conversation with your prospect should sound as natural as speaking with a good friend in your home by your fireplace sitting in your favorite easy chair.

Myth #3) “You Have To Be A Great Closer” – Have you ever heard of the “speed-bump” close? How about the “Ben Franklin” close or the “alternate-of-choice” close? I have about 50 more of these but you get the idea. These types of razzle-dazzle closes are now old technology. Any prospect who is even halfway intelligent will see right through them. Try using these “technique” closes on a professional person today and they will practically eat you alive. Selling today is about asking questions that uncover a prospect’s problems (and other motivators) and then simply offering them solutions with your products, services and/or business opportunity. After that anything beyond simply asking for the order or suggesting the next step would be ineffective and even dangerous. The real close takes place while the prospect is answering your questions.  In other words by asking easily answered questions your prospects will probably close themselves.

Myth #4) “You Have To Be A Born Salesperson” – We were all born salespeople. Over the years we have been brainwashed by our family members, our friends and other uninformed people on how not to sell or at least not to sell naturally. Some of the best salespeople I’ve ever met didn’t think of themselves as salespeople. They think of themselves as people that enjoy other people. You know how to ask questions, don’t you? You know how to listen, don’t you? You know how to carry on a conversation, don’t you? These are all natural sales skills that we all possess. These are also skills that can be improved dramatically with proper sales training.

Myth #5) “Sell Features and Benefits” – How many times have you met with a prospect and started telling them about the wonderful things about your products, services and your business opportunity only to get one objection after another?  By the time you finished, they said no and you left the sales call feeling like a piece off Swiss cheese. There is a place for offering features and benefits in a presentation but it is not in the beginning. That will cause objections. Before you can offer solutions (benefits) you must know what your prospect’s motivations are. These motivations are usually “problems” that the prospect will not talk about without asking them some well thought out questions. Here’s how you do that: Ask “exploratory/problem” questions focusing on their financial, freedom and job dissatisfaction’s. (Read that sentence again.) Examples: “Are you satisfied with your present level of income?” ”How do you feel about the amount of time you get to spend with your family?” “Do you ever worry about being downsized or laid-off from your job?”  Get your prospects talking about these emotional concerns before you give your demonstration. They will then be far more receptive to your proposal when you do bring out features and benefits. Are you with me on this?

Myth #6) “If You Don’t Sell, You Don’t Eat” – Oops, this one is true.

Myth #7) “You Need a Canned Pitch” – I don’t believe in a scripted or canned presentation. I also don’t believe in winging it. I believe in what I call, “language formulas.” It’s kind of a cross between a script and your own language. See if you can finish these questions using your own words with the language formulas provided: (Hint: Think in terms of asking about your prospect’s financial, freedom and job problems.) “Are you concerned about…?” “What are the disadvantages of …?” “What is your greatest frustration concerning…?” See how easy this is?

Myth #8) “If I’m Honest and Care About People, They Will Buy From Me” – I wish that were true but it’s not.  The truth is: until you establish a relationship with your prospects, they will doubt almost everything you say.  The way you overcome this problem is to get them to say what you want them to know and understand. And that goes back to asking questions that cause your prospects to think and draw their own conclusions about you, your company, your products, your services and your business opportunity. (See question formulas previously mentioned in #5.)

Myth #9) “Selling Is Not Duplicable” – That used to be true but it’s not any longer. Selling your company’s products, services and the business opportunity can now be reduced to simple steps that anyone can do.  By understanding people’s motivations and using proven language formulas for creating questions, selling becomes as simple (and duplicable) as: Asking a few questions that uncover people’s motivations (avoiding pain and seeking pleasure); and then listening to offer solutions with your products, services and business opportunity. You can learn simple duplicable selling systems far easier than learning your own company’s compensation plan. Of course, if you’re afraid to have conversations with people, selling (and Network Marketing) is probably not the business for you.

Myth #10) “Selling Is Not Fun” – Selling can be a nightmare when you don’t know what you’re doing. But so can tying your shoes. Studies have shown that the happiest people in the world are those who have learned some skills and found an activity to match those skills. When you’re able to engage a person in a thought-provoking conversation and they give your presentation to themselves, selling, prospecting and network marketing become incalculably more enjoyable. You don’t know what a good time is in Network Marketing until you know how to sell.

There you have it. Start off right by improving your salesmanship. Then you will be part of the elite 15% in no time!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.