Should You Lead with Your Products or Business Opportunity?

Should you lead with your products or business opportunity? This might just be a million dollar question.

Depending upon who you ask, you will probably get a wide variety of answers. All I can do is offer my personal insights on the subject, based upon my personal experience in the network marketing industry.

I should tell you that for the first 12 years in this industry, all I was ever taught to do was recruit other distributors.  No one ever talked about getting customers, or even stressed that it was important.  The traditional recipe for success was “be your own best customer” and recruit other distributors to do the same.

Since I didn’t know any better, that is what I did: I led with the business opportunity.  I quickly discovered that most people hated MLM and most people who did join my team did not stick around very long.

After more than a decade of experience, I truly believe that it is much wiser to lead with your products, rather than lead with your business opportunity.  I believe that it is much easier to find a new customer than find a new distributor.

Most people HATE TO SELL, but EVERYONE LOVES TO BUY.  Never forget that.

I’ve found that nearly 95-98 out of every 100 people you talk to about your business opportunity will not join your team, regardless of what you say or do.

They’re either against the concept of network marketing, they don’t have the desire to start a business of their own, they don’t have the money to do so, or the timing isn’t right in their life. That means for every 100 leads you generate yourself, or buy, you will waste your time and money on at least 95-98 of those leads.

Think about that for a moment. I understand you have to sift and sort through the dirt to get to the gold, but that seems a bit extreme to me.

What if there was a better, more EFFICIENT way? What if there was a more effective way to generate profits in your network marketing business? I believe there is a better method. I believe you should lead with your products first, rather than your business opportunity.

I frequently refer to this at RETAIL TO RECRUIT.

When you lead with the products first, you will typically get a much higher response rate. Once again, people love to buy, but most people hate to sell.

For instance, if you sell weight loss products, and you show 100 people how your product can be a solution to their problem(s), you will quickly discover that at least 20 to 40 out of every 100 people will be interested in learning more information about your products.

Now, I’m not saying you will convert all of these folks into paying customers. You won’t.  But you can convert many of them into paying customers, once you have some basic product knowledge and learn how to talk to people effectively.

As you can see, this is a much higher percentage than if you led with your business opportunity.

Best of all, you earn immediate retail profits on your sales, which makes you profitable. Remember this, it’s a lot easier to make $500 per month with customers than it is with distributors in a downline.

And many of your happy customers will want to upgrade to a wholesale buyer, or even a business builder, if they get good results with the products and you treat them well.

So, here’s the formula for success.

  1. Lead with the products
  2. Find new customers
  3. Build a relationship with your customers and treat them well
  4. Teach your customers how to get their products for free by referring a few others
  5. Upgrade some of your happy customers into wholesale buyers and/or business builders
  6. Teach your new team members the exact same process

Here’s one other important lesson to consider.  Most people who join your business opportunity as a business will quit within 60 to 90 days, if they even last that long.  And when they quit most of them will stop ordering the products.

On the other hand, people who signed up because they loved the products will have a much higher retention rate, and they will keep ordering products whether they ever do a business or not.

From my own experience, I’ve also found that most happy customers order at least twice as much per month than your distributors do.  Distributors buy the MINIMUM to qualify for commissions, whereas customers buy the products because they want to.  You might want to read that again until it sinks in.

should you lead with the products or business opportunitySo, if you want a LARGE residual income from your network marketing business, you need hundreds (even thousands) of people who are using the products each month because they love the products, not because they have to buy products to qualify for commissions.

Final Thoughts

This is the strategy I use to build my network marketing business. Many people will tell you that retail customers should be a byproduct of showing the plan: by signing up people not interested in becoming a distributor.

I believe that you should share the products first, and let your sponsoring of distributors be a byproduct of upgrading your happy customers.

Ultimately, what you decide to do in your network marketing business is up to you! However, if you aren’t getting the results you desire with your current recruiting recruiting method, I recommend you try my approach.

What are your thoughts? Do you think you should lead with your business opportunity or with your products?  Leave a comment and let us know.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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50 thoughts on “Should You Lead with Your Products or Business Opportunity?

  1. Faye

    I absolutely agree that you should lead with your products, and not your business opportunity. If your products appeal to your potential recruit, they will eventually sell the opportunity for you. If they do not, then it will require a Herculean effort to sell the opportunity, and your recruit will probably not stick with it anyway. I know that I could never sell a product that I did not enjoy myself, so why would I expect that someone else could do that for me?

    Reply
  2. Scott

    Couldn’t agree more, Chuck. Very refreshing to see a leader put this in print! So often I see programs that are built on sand … i.e. “make a ton of money, and oh by the way here’s the product.” Always seemed backwards to me. When you build a solid foundation of happy customers, it builds your belief in the opportunity – and naturally some of your happy customers will want to begin sharing themselves. That’s the way it is supposed to be!

    Reply
  3. Jessica

    I would definitely have to agree with the products first stance. I have found that if I spend most of my time at a show talking about the awesome products, people are sold on their “need” for them, and begin mentally crunching numbers. Then you drop a casual comment about the great benefits of being a rep, and they’re interested.

    Reply
  4. Chrystlyn Edwards

    I agree the best way to have a successful MLM business is to lead with the products. Once the consumers know what they are investing in, the business opportunity will present itself. Obviously, building a network marketing business is hard work, but by selling the product first all of the hard work will pay off.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      So true. Always lead with the products first. If people won’t buy the products they won’t join the business. And even if they did, they wouldn’t stick around very long.

      Reply
  5. patrick

    I think it’s best to lead with your business opportunity. You want to find people who are really interested in making some extra money from home.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      We can agree to disagree on this one. I think it’s important to sponsor people and build a team, but your number one priority always should be to create volume in your organization. The best way to do that is with customers.

      Reply
  6. Kenz

    I completely agree that a business needs to let their products do the talking. Lecturing potential customers about Internet marketing is NOT the best way to connect with people. On the other hand, showing a valuable and necessary product is a surefire way to build business connections!

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      You are spot on Kenz. When you lead with the products and people buy them because they want to, then you are on to something. Most people lead with the business opportunity first because no one in their right mind would buy the products or services at the suggested retail price.

      Reply
  7. Ted

    This makes great sense, Chuck. Most people that I share my business opportunity with are very skeptical, even before they even take a look at what I have to offer. It’s next to impossible to schedule an appointment with them. But when I lead with my products, most folks are open minded enough to at listen to what I have to say. I wish I would have learned this lesson sooner.

    Reply
  8. Sally

    My company is a product related company (Melaleuca) so I simply focus on what the products can do for people. Once they learn our products are toxic free, are safe for the home, and are priced right, it’s really easy to get customers. The hardest part is getting people to go on auto-ship and place an order every month.

    Reply
  9. Aaron

    I still think leading with the business opportunity is a better course of action. If you can get people interested in making money and achieving financial freedom, they will be willing to take a look at what you have to offer. Of course, your products need to be good quality and provide a good value, but the idea of making money and getting rich with residual income is enough for most of my prospects to listen to what I have to say.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Selling the dream is important, but once people lose their initial excitement, normally in the first 60 days, they will quit the business and stop ordering products. As a result, you are constantly replacing them.

      Reply
  10. Olivia

    Products are the most important thing. If you don’t sell any products you won’t make any money. You can be a sponsoring machine, but if no one orders the products and get on auto-ship, you are like a boat motor in high gear, but stuck in netural.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Very true. I’ve sponsored many people into my teams through the years and many of them never even placed their initial order. As a result, I earned NOTHING for my hard work.

      Reply
  11. Anthony

    I would have to argue that leading with the products is extremely important. Your products are your business. If you sell consumable products, you need to focus on the benefits and value they provide, even if they are slightly higher priced than products you would find at Wal-mart. If people love the products, and want to buy them, everything else will fall into place.

    Reply
  12. Wendy

    Selling products creates volume which gets you paid. You can sponsor 10 folks and not make a penny if no one buys the products. Get customer first and then worry about sponsoring. Getting customers will make you money and that is your goal.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Creating sales and volume in your group should always be your # 1 priority. Most people only focus on sponsoring and that is why they come up short and don’t make as much money as they could in their MLM business.

      Reply
  13. Doris

    My upline and sponsor taught me to focus on sponsoring people. But that didn’t sound right to me. During the past year I haven’t sponsored anyone, but I have acquired 43 customers who order from me every month. That produces $1000 to $2000 in profit every month in my business, which is the amount of money I wanted to make with the company. I simply take care of my customers, process their orders, and handle any issues that come up.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Great success story. I think that focusing on customers at first is a very wise move. Treat your customers well and many of them will want to join your business as a distributor.

      Reply
  14. Laurie

    I’d argue that if you don’t have customers and aren’t making sales to end users, you don’t have a real business. MLM is legal based upon the fact that you are supposed to have customers, people who are consuming the products because they want to, not to qualify for a bonus check.

    Reply
  15. Duke

    I lead with either. It really depends upon the person and what they want. When I advertise, I promote the products. When I show the plan, I talk about being a customer and a distributor, and then I let the person decide what is best for them.

    Reply
  16. Marty

    If you have good products at a good price, lead with them. The problem with most MLM Companies is that there products are low quality and WAY overpriced. No one in their right mind would buy them at the suggested retail price. If that’s the case, lead with your business opportunity.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      I have to agree. Just about every MLM Company I’ve studied has products that are 5 to 10 times more expensive than similar products at Wal-mart. For people on a small budget it just isn’t a viable option.

      Reply
  17. Alice

    I suggest leading with your business opportunity first. Focus on selling the dream and everything else will fall into place.

    Reply
  18. Nicole

    I’ve been selling Avon for years and we are very product focused. In fact, most of our business is getting customers. And I believe that is what direct sales is all about. If you don’t have good products and customers you don’t have a real business. That’s what I believe anyway. Most of these other MLM Companies only have their distributors buying the products. That’s one of the things that gives our industry a bad name.

    Reply
  19. Jessica

    I like to simply go out and find customers. Once I get people using the products many of them ask me about the business opportunity within a few months.

    Reply
  20. Drew

    If you only go after customers you will never get duplication in your business. And that’s what you want. Having a few customers is good but you need to focus on building a team if you ever want to earn a passive income.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Duplication is important. I agree. But in the beginning you need to focus on revenue and profit. That takes a while if you are only sponsoring people and no one is getting customers or buying much of the products.

      Reply
  21. Olivia

    I think you can make more money faster by having customers. You can build a team as you go, but focus on customers because you make a retail profit from each sale and you get paid for the volume.

    Reply
  22. Amy

    I lead with my products because my customers love them, they are consumable, and they are a real bargain. Most folks don’t want to spend $300 to get started as a distributor, but people will gladly purchase some products to try out.

    Reply
  23. Louise

    I’m a big fan of leading with my business opportunity first, because I’d have to get about 15 customers to make the same amount of money that I would make by sponsoring a business builder. Plus, our products are fairly expensive at the retail price so getting customers is much harder to do. Besides, I don’t earn much of a residual on customers anyway, so I think sponsoring other distributors is the best course of action.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      You make some good points, Louise. I’ve just found that I always did better leading with the product line first and focusing on creating sales volume in my team.

      Reply

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