There’s a saying that I’ve been enjoying more and more since I started with direct sales and network marketing. A stranger is a friend you haven’t yet met.
Many of my customers and team members have come from internet forums: scrapbooking forums, infertility forums, new mom forums, Judaism forums, and most recently, facebook groups for moms of children with autism.
There are essentially two ways in direct sales/ network marketing to work with people: make your customers your friends, and make your friends your customers. As someone who is wary about being considered pushy or too business oriented with my friends, I haven’t been as involved with the latter. Like all new direct sellers, I did have a number of friends become customers and team members at the beginning, but only the ones who truly showed interest. As I make new friends, I don’t immediately turn them into customers or team members. But I’ve been extremely consistent about making my customers my friends.
So how do I find new customers and team members via internet forums?
There are five keys to doing this:
1) Join the same internet forums you would join if you weren’t in direct sales or network marketing. Join the forums to which you gravitate naturally. At one time, I was in a few scrapbooking forums because that was my current hobby. At one time, I was in a few infertility forums because my husband and I were going through infertility testing and treatment. Currently, I’m in forums for Jewish moms, moms of children with special needs, and even a forum for Jewish moms of children with special needs. If I were to drop my businesses, I would remain in these forums. My main purpose for being in the forums is for support, community, and information— NOT for sales. That’s a key point.
2) While you’re enjoying the forums anyway, sign up for notifications of any sub-forums for “work at home mothers” or “working women” or “finances”. Every forum has sub forums. For instance, a forum I’m in for Jewish mothers has subforums to discuss Jewish holidays, recipes, childrearing, even toilet training. But it has a few specific subforums for women to ask questions about working at home or how to make extra cash while staying at home with their children. I participate in those forums with good content and good answers to questions.
3) When you’re posting in these subforums, post general, positive answers about your business in answer to questions being asked. Be cryptic about the name of your business or what your business is all about. For instance if someone asks what people are doing about making extra money while being a stay at home mom, I would ask “why not work at home doing direct sales or network marketing? I make a full time income in part time hours and wouldn’t have it any other way— I get to work around my kids’ schedule.” I don’t mention what my businesses are yet and I don’t ask for the questioner’s contact information. Now she (and others) are intrigued to private message me.
4) Most forums have a private message feature. Forum participants don’t need each other’s email addresses to communicate privately- they can do so inside the forum. Make sure you receive email notifications every time a forum participant private messages you— that way if you’re not planning to visit the forum on a particular day you can still remember to log in simply to answer your private messages.
5) Don’t necessarily wait for people to private message you. Reach out. If someone posts about needing extra money or wanting a more flexible work schedule or just wanting a fun hobby, private message them with a SMALL bit of positive information and ask them if they’d like to connect by phone to learn more. There’s a fine line between offering information and being pushy, so be careful. One of my favorite team members in my primary business is from a forum I participated in many years ago— she needed money and I knew I could help her. She joined my team after we messaged and talked on the phone, and a long working relationship and beautiful friendship developed.
Your bonus tip? Once you have someone as a client or a team member, treat them well and be their friend FIRST. When you message them, email them, or call them, have it be about their kids, their vacation, their work, etc etc. And BY THE WAY, it looks like you might need more cleanser and moisturizer…. and BY THE WAY, it’s been a while since you hosted a party…… make those internet forum clients and team members your friends! ENJOY your business! The BEST part of direct sales and network marketing is the friendships!
If you’re in Pampered Chef you might want to join forums for people exchanging recipes. If you’re in Send Out Cards you might want to join forums for small business owners exchanging marketing ideas. But like I said in #1, join only the forums you would join ANYWAY regardless of your business. Would you be interested in the forum if you weren’t running this business?
Have fun with this idea!
Aside from parenting special needs twins, Heather Price represents three direct sales and network marketing companies. She started with a popular skin care/ cosmetics company in 2000, and added the greeting card and video email companies in 2008 and 2012 specifically to encourage other direct sales professionals to use out of the box tools to promote their businesses. Heather enjoys selling the products and building teams with these companies. Do you need extra income? You can find out more from the “work with Heather” pull down menu at http://heatheramyprice.com In 2012 she added social media services to her portfolio. For a limited number of clients, she tweets, pins, posts, connects, curates content, uploads videos, and generally explodes the social media presence of small businesses. Heather’s businesses can be found at http://shopskincarewithheather.com , http://cardswithheather.com , and http://videoemailswithheather.com . To ask Heather about her social media services, put your info here: http://heatheramyprice.com/social-media-services/