Recruiting and Selling in Rocky Soil
By Jeffrey Babener, © 2013
It is not just about you…
Too often, network marketers are tone deaf as they recruit and sell. It is easy to fall into the easy path in which
talking points, which extol the virtues of the product and opportunity, are presented to potential customers or
recruits without first understanding the mindset of their audience.
Standing in the shoes of your customer and recruit is essential. There is a reason that Fortune 500-brand
companies engage in significant market research and focus group activity before launching products. They
understand that “having a good product” is not enough to close the “bonding” loop. Unless, you are the rare genius
of Steve Jobs, who was able to create a new product, for which there was no market, and to anticipate that “if we
build it, they will come,” then there is no escaping the hard work of finding and preparing the “soil” for planting.
And it’s not about the coffee…
And, as good as the product or opportunity may be, one must realize that the relationship may be the driving factor
in success. In a recent book by Starbucks’ President, Howard Behar, It’s Not About The Coffee, Mr. Behar explains
that the success of Starbucks was stumbled upon; ie., that Starbucks is not a coffee seller that seeks relationships
with its customers, but rather it is a company that fosters store experiential environments that bond relationships
with customers first, and a company that sells coffee, second.
Your customer’s perception is the starting point…
Try this on for size. The head of PR for one of the most successful network marketing companies explains: A
perception may be right or it may be wrong, but it always right in the mind of the person who holds that perception.
It may be hard to wrap one’s mind around this concept, but the message is clear: When a networker is soliciting,
they need to take the time to understand the beginning perception of the potential customer or recruit. If the
networker doesn’t understand the other side of the equation, a “no sale” will ring up every time.
Not all soils are the same…
Matthew 13.8 tells a story about a farmer out in his field beginning to plant his crops. The farmer learns through the
process of planting seeds that there are four types of soil:
(1) The “roadside soil” is just too hard to plant the seeds.
(2) The “rocky soil” may allow the seed to go into the ground, yet not to any level of depth.
(3) The “thorny soil” is where the seed goes in, it begins to bloom, and then the thorns choke whatever is
trying to grow.
(4) The “good soil” is when the seed gets planted and it begins to bear fruit.
Obviously, this is a metaphor for searching for the mindset of who is and who is not receptive to a message and
ready to take it forward.
A useful point… Even the harshest environments can sustain life…
And of course, in applying the lesson to network marketing, one could interpret the parable to suggest that
networkers should just look for the “good soil” or just pick the “low lying fruit.” But this may only be half the story.
Modern scientific research has demonstrated that “life” may be more resilient than we once thought. As a result,
scientists find life thriving in the harshest environments; at the depths of the oceans, in the middle of deserts, on
rocky cliffs, in the presence of searing or freezing temperatures, and even in the absence of oxygen.
And so, another lesson learned for networkers is that they should understand they will encounter - among their
friends, relatives, co-workers and acquaintances - a full spectrum of attitudes and perceptions about the product
and the opportunity. The networker, who takes the time to truly understand the mindset and interests of their
prospective customers and recruits, is the individual that may find success… even in the rocky soil.
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