Should you lead with your products or business opportunity? This might just be the million-dollar question in our amazing industry.
Fortunately, there is no right or wrong answer. Your job is to pick the strategy that resonates with you the most and focus on that. I know people who’ve built big teams with a product focused approach and I’ve met people who built large teams by focusing on recruiting.
What works for one person might not work for someone else. Besides, if you don’t feel comfortable with the strategy you’re using, you won’t stick with it.
The Goal of Network Marketing
Network marketing is not about selling a product. Yes, sales must be made. If no one buys the products, no one makes money. I get that.
The real purpose of network marketing is to build a large organization where everyone (1) uses some products each month, (2) sells some products each month, and (3) and teaches others to do the same things.
Network marketing is about LEVERAGE and DUPLICATION. It’s hard to make much money in our industry if you just focus on selling products.
Network marketing is about a lot of people each doing a little bit, not one person doing a lot. It’s about having 1,000 people each use $100 worth of products per month, rather than one person selling $100,000 worth of products. Make sense?
Entrepreneurs vs. Consumers
Here’s the truth. Not everyone is entrepreneurial, but everyone is a consumer. Everyone spends money and buys stuff.
If you only focus on recruiting distributors, you will leave a lot of money on the table BECAUSE not everyone wants to own their own business. Most people are quite content with a job.
For example, if you approach 100 people about a business opportunity, maybe 5-10 will be interested in learning more. However, if you approach those same 100 people about a product, I’d bet that minimum 20 to 30 of those 100 people will be interested in learning more about it.
Assuming your company has a legitimate product or service that is priced competitively and offers REAL VALUE to the end user, I’d recommend leading with products.
However, make sure your prospects know about both the products AND business opportunity, not one or the other. Give them both sides of the coin and let them pick the option that makes the most sense for them.
Retail to Recruit Strategy
In recent years, the retail to recruit strategy has surged. Reps understand that it’s easier to acquire a new customer than to recruit a new distributor. That’s why many people are leading with the products.
When someone becomes a customer, uses the product, and likes it, they are then informed about the business opportunity. Many of these folks become distributors because they are product evangelists and want to share the products with others. Others simply remain customers.
In a nutshell, acquire a customer first, keep them happy, and upgrade some of your happy customers into distributors.
What I Do
What’s my recruiting strategy? Do I lead with the products or business? I rarely mention the products. Instead, I focus on the opportunity and I only prospect people with MLM Experience.
That is just my strategy. It’s not necessarily the best strategy, but it works for me.
I focus on recruiting distributors because that’s how you get leverage in our industry. I also know the fastest way to find more customers is to recruit more distributors.
What Should You Do?
What do I recommend you do? Well, I think you should pick the strategy that resonates with your beliefs, skills, and goals. If you are over the top passionate about your company’s products, lead with the products.
If you’d rather focus on the leverage aspect of network marketing, lead with the income opportunity. JUST DO SOMETHING!
When you approach people, be heartfelt, sincere, and honest. Avoid hype and drama and pressure. Be a professional and treat everyone well.
One Final Thought
Remember this. Your prospect thinks they must share the products or business opportunity with others the same way you shared it with them. Remember to use third-party tools to keep it simple so you can be the messenger, not the message.
Don’t come across as an expert or polished salesperson. Be relatable. You want your prospect to think they can do what you do, so keep everything third grader simple. If a third grader can’t do what you are doing to retail and recruit, don’t do it!
In conclusion, these are my thoughts about whether you should lead with the products or business opportunity to grow your MLM Business. I hope you found the information helpful.
What are your thoughts? Do you lead with the products or business opportunity? Why? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
20+ Year Network Marketing Professional
Top Earner & Top Recruiter
P.S. Learn how to grow a successful network marketing business. Secret tips, training, and practical ideas. Free training delivered by email.
50 thoughts on “Should You Lead with Your Products or Business Opportunity?”
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?
Leading with the products is definitely the smart thing to do.
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!
I feel the same way Scott.
I couldn’t agree more, Scott.
All good points. I do not think its either or. I think we have to listen to the needs of our customers. Then apply the right solution.
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.
So true. If more people focused on selling, they could make money whether they recruited people or not!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
You are spot on Ted. I hope other people read this comment and follow your advice. There is a lot to learn from it.
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.
Melaleuca is a great company and one of the few that is truly product oriented.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Your products are your business.” I don’t think I could say it better myself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I would have to agree with you Laurie. Thanks for the comment.
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.
That is a very good strategy, Duke.
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.
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.
I suggest leading with your business opportunity first. Focus on selling the dream and everything else will fall into place.
The problem with selling the dream is that most people who buy the dream will quit within 90 days.
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.
Avon is one of the most product and customer focused companies around. You picked a winner when you joined Avon.
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.
That’s a really smart strategy, Jessica.
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.
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.
Lead with the product, build trust then eventually convert them to a distributor, then concentrate on duplication.
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.
You’re so right, Olivia. I always suggest sponsoring others, but make it your secondary effort behind getting customers.
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.
If you have a good product with a good price point, it’s fairly easy to sell.
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.
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.