Network marketing isn’t for everyone. At least 44 percent of network marketing reps quit within the first year. Only 10 percent are still working in the industry after five years. By their 10th year, 95 percent or more have dropped out.
What are those other 5 percent of network marketers doing right?
The Elements of Network Marketing Success
Network marketing is first and foremost a sales game. It requires high-level communication and persuasion skills, as well as the ability to build great teams. All of these abilities are necessary for success, but they’re not what keeps people going when others quit. What distinguishes the successful network marketer from the former hopeful is their mindset.
The network marketers that build careers in the industry are not those who sign up in the hopes of making easy money. They’re the ones who approach their network marketing businesses like any other small business—a long-haul proposition that requires commitment, investment, and the ability to recover from disappointment.
The Ups and Downs of Network Marketing
Network marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. If someone is trying to convince you that it is, find a different business partner.
A legitimate network marketing business is a real income opportunity, but you have to accept that it won’t happen overnight. The first year will involve a lot of trial and error. You’ll apply your training, figuring out which techniques work for you and which don’t. You’ll build first-hand experience in the ebbs and flows of a business.
To stay in the trenches of network marketing, you need to welcome failures as well as successes. You need to know that no business escapes the occasional disappointment and that longevity depends not on avoiding those disappointments but in embracing them.
Responding to Disappointments in Network Marketing
More often than not, your disappointing moments as a network marketer will involve the word “no.”
“No, thank you. I’m not interested in your product.”
“No thanks. This business opportunity isn’t for me.”
It happens. You can’t control it. What you can control is how you react.
Learn to Leave the “No” Behind
When writer Marianne Power was researching her book on self-help, she tried something called rejection therapy. Power actively sought out one rejection a day for a month—asking for discounts on her phone bill, asking for free drinks at cafés, and so forth. In doing so, she learned three major lessons:
- The only way to get a yes is to keep going every time you get a no.
- When you finally do succeed, previous failures seem much smaller.
- Sometimes when you expect a no, you get a yes.
Network marketers can internalize the same lessons by welcoming every rejection as a lesson on how to move on. Be careful, though—moving on doesn’t mean ignoring the feeling of disappointment.
Acknowledge the Hurt
It may sound touchy-feely, but it’s important to acknowledge that rejection hurts. It’s not a moral failing or a lack of strength. It’s an instinct, and it’s inevitable.
Human beings evolved to feel pain when a person or group rejects us. In fact, rejection activates the same neural pathways as physical pain does. When a potential customer turns you down, your brain activity looks much the same as it does when you bump your head.
Admit that you’re disappointed. Treat yourself to some ice cream or go to a movie. Then get back to work and try again.
Always Be Learning
Enduring disappointments in network marketing isn’t just about leaving them behind. It’s also about using every disappointment as a teachable moment. Didn’t get the response rate you wanted from an email blast?
Take a course in writing sales emails. Didn’t make your sales quota this month? Debrief with your mentor or get some coaching.
The key is to limit the amount of time you spend analyzing your mistakes. Use the disappointment as a jumping-off point, but don’t keep going back to what you might think of as your failure. Once you’ve used it to identify an area of improvement, move on. Focus on what you’re learning.
Disappointments in network marketing will happen. They do in any business. Whether you move on and build a career or get mired in self-doubt depends on how you react.
Learn, grow, and then move forward. Remember, you can’t see what’s ahead of you if you’re focused on what’s behind.