Twenty years and three different businesses with very different product lines and sales strategies have taught me more than I’d care to admit about network marketing. It can be very lucrative. It requires time, courage, and persistence. And most importantly, it’s all about relationships. Fellow mom bosses, here’s what your friends wish you knew about sharing your business without driving them crazy.
Test the waters.
Before you jump in with dreams of quitting your full time job or winning an all-expenses-paid trip around the world, ask 10 friends–in person, like face to face–if they would support your business. If you aren’t comfortable telling ten friends about your business, you’re not cut out for network marketing. And if you don’t know 10 people who are interested in your product or service enough to buy the product or host an event for you, you should probably reconsider. Ask yourself, “Is this the right product for my circle of influence?” “Do I have the courage and patience to talk to people outside my group of friends?”
Learn to take “no” for an answer.
Social selling is all about relationships. Of course you’ll want to share your new gig with your friends. But, please respect the friend who says “no.” Even if she can’t say “no.” If she’s giving you excuses because she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, learn to read between the lines. Be gracious. You are going to hear way more no’s than you will hear yeses. One sales training class I took taught me to expect one yes for every nine no’s. So when your friend says “no,” respect her decision. And don’t take it personally. There could be a hundred reasons why she doesn’t want to buy your thing or host a party for you. Don’t make it awkward. Thank her for being honest and keep moving through the no’s until you find the yes.
Be social media savvy.
While social media can be a fantastic way to spread the word about your business, keep in mind that the majority of your “friends” and followers probably will not be interested in your business. They follow you because they like you–not necessarily your business. They want to see pictures of your kids, your dog, your latest dinner experiment. So keep your personal page about you, your family, your passions–and only occasionally your business. Create a business account, page or group for those who opt in to hear about your business more regularly. I confess I was slow to this party. I didn’t want to have multiple accounts to manage and thought I could just sprinkle my business throughout my personal posts. Then I realized how few of my friends engaged with my business posts compared to how many engaged with my personal posts. I started a group to share my product and service and within two weeks I had 50+ women opt in to follow that Facebook group. Now I have permission to post daily about what my clients and I have in common, and I don’t think twice about what my friends and followers think.
Remember who your friends are.
Seriously. Don’t treat people differently just because they don’t buy your product or support your business. Be intentional with those friendships that are outside of your business. And put some boundaries on when and where you do business to keep your life in balance. For example, my pastor/husband has asked me not to pursuit women in my church with my business. If someone starts a conversation about it at church, I try to divert and reach out to them later. What might that look like for you?
Bottom line, remember that business is built on relationships, serving others and putting their needs before your own. If you operate your business on these principles, your business will grow and your friends will thank you for it.