Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The pro’s (and pro’s) of Network Marketing

Network Marketing is to a business what pilchards are to caramel. Okay, granted, that doesn’t sound very good, but I once knew a pregnant lady who ate pilchards and caramel sandwiches and she said they were an “awesome combination”. Can’t testify to this myself. But network marketing I have tried, and I have some thoughts on it for the aspiring, or current, network marketer. I can assure you that you’ll prefer the taste of this one.

I belong to two network groups, and interact on an as-and-when with a couple of others. For the sake of not mentioning names, let’s call my two regulars Group Alpha and Group Beta. Both groups have some general similarities, but some stark differences. Let’s look at some of the differences between these two models.
Group Alpha, for example, meets once a month. Group Beta meets once a week. Once a week means that you see people regularly, you get to know their names, the names of their spouses, if they have pets are not, and you get to learn a great deal about their businesses. In short, you get to know them. And getting to know a person means that begin to trust that person; it makes you happier with entrusting your customers, friends and family to that person, when you refer business. Meeting once a month, I am afraid, really doesn’t carry the same weight. So, score one for Group Beta.

Group Alpha and Group Beta both meet at the same time, and in both cases breakfast is available for a nominal fee. Great. No problem there. Grout Beta, on the other hand, charges an annual subscription fee, while Group Alpha does not. And while that may sound as if it scores one for Group Alpha, thereby squaring the points tally, it is actually not that great. Paying an annual fee (and it ought to be a decent fee) gives you a sense of commitment to the group. You’ve paid for it, after all, and now you’re looking for a return on your investment. Group Alpha membership numbers tend to wax and wane, along with the moon. Group Beta membership stays strong, so score one for Group Beta.

Group Alpha allows anyone to come along and network their business. Nice and inclusive, no discrimination there. But last week there were four, yes four, business consultants. Um. How do you choose one? Group Beta restricts their membership: one person per industry. If you’re an accountant, and you’ve joined Group Beta, then rest assured that you’ll remain the only accountant. I reckon that scores another one for Group Beta.

Lastly, each group has speakers. Group Alpha tends towards external speakers, whether motivational or inspirational, or certain experts in their fields (social media, cold-call marketing, and so on). Group Beta selects its key note person from within the group itself, on a rotation. That means that once a week you get to hear from one of the members, as he or she describes their company, or an aspect of their company, in some depth. This is a good thing; more knowledge for you on how another operates better equips you to refer business to them, which is after all the point. But that said, an external speaker might not be a bad idea. We all know why we are here, and there is ample opportunity to speak to people, visit people, have face-to-face conversations at their premises, so is it strictly necessary? I’ll admit to being on the fence, but if pushed I would tend towards Group Alpha’s speaker model. So in the final analysis, I score one for Group Alpha.
That puts the final score at Group Alpha, one, and Group Beta, three. In my opinion, if you are looking to market your company via network marketing, go with Group Beta. My return on investment would speak for itself; simply give me a shout if you wish to hear more, and possibly want to come along and see for yourself.
A word in closing, or rather a couple of tips if you already network market, or are wanting to:
  1. Bring business cards. No really. At least one person every week or month does not have cards, and it just smacks of bad preparation.
  2. Just for one and a half hours a week, drop the casual attire. Present yourself. You’re a brand, you represent a brand, look the part. Be professional, it doesn’t hurt.
  3. Be genuine. Don’t misrepresent yourself, your company or your abilities. The truth will out, I assure you, and this can only ruin your credibility. There are many ways to make yourself appear larger than you are, if that’s your thing, without outright lying about it.
So do yourself a favour and try the pilchards and caramel. A pregnant woman once told me that it’s a great idea.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Because 1 + 1 = 3:

We all know that most things are greater than the sum of their parts: 1+1=3.

Let’s illustrate that for a moment:
The Lone Ranger is a cowboy. Well, a lawman more specifically, but we think of guys on horses with big hats as cowboys. Tonto is an Indian. He dances around fires and wears funny paint. Together they’re the Lone Ranger and Tonto, striking fear into the hearts of villains everywhere. On their own they’re just a guy in a hat, and just a guy in paint. Not unlike Sea Point on a Saturday afternoon.

Frodo is a short guy, with a cool little round house. Sam is his mate. Sam likes to cook and do gardening. Together they take on a Dark Lord, hell-bent on worldwide destruction, and destroy some of said Dark Lord’s much coveted jewellery. Sorry, if you haven’t watched Lord of the Rings, yes, Frodo and Sam do (in fact) destroy the ring. Sorry.

And closer to the 21st Century, we have Tinkerbell, the star of 5 great adventures thus far. Tinkerbell is a tinker fairy. She makes things, repairs things, generally stuffs things up, but a likeable character through all that. She has some pals. They include Silvermist, Iridessa, Rosetta, Vidia, Bobble and Clank. And they have Talents. These Talents include Water, Animals, Fast-Flying and Light. On their own they go off and do their day jobs: make flowers grow, create wind, paint spots on the ladybirds. Together…well, together these little fairies take on dragons, trolls, pirates – all the stuff that good adventure is made from. Because they work together, blending all of their individual components into one powerful whole. One plus one equals three.

Because you’re an ardent business person, you know that your marketing works the same way. One plus one equals three. You have a website. Awesome. Now start or blog or throw up a Facebook page. You have road-facing signage on your building. Great. Now put some on your car so everyone else on the road see’s you too. You have a little stack of business cards on your counter-top, but most people take flyers, so get some flyers. You have a newsletter but you don’t copywrite particular well – get someone to do it for you. And so it goes on. All the stuff you need, to get other people to notice you: we make it. And all the stuff you want as well.
Because we provide a full-spectrum, multi-faceted approach to your visual marketing solutions, you get the benefits of dealing with one company for everything: unparalleled service, simplicity of contact and choice, competitive pricing, and outstanding quality.
Because one plus one does equal three…