Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Business Network Marketing Online - The Basics

Network marketing is far from a new concept and was around long before the Internet. Let's start by reminding ourselves exactly what network marketing is. In very simple terms it is a business based on team building, where you are paid on sales that you make but also on sales that your team make. It is also often referred to as MLM or Multi Level Marketing. The product you sell depends on the organisation you are a part of, but a good example of a more traditional network marketing company is Avon. In essence that is all network marketing is about but people very often get confused by complicated products or commission structures - let's just remind ourselves that the it's really about team building and the ability to lead and mentor.
The reason that network marketing has been and is so attractive to many people is the ability to leverage from the performance of the team you build. The ability to get paid based on the performance of others is a truly powerful concept.
In the past, strategies for building a team in a network marketing organisation have normally been related to your ability to sell, either face to face, or over the telephone. These are still valid strategies and they range from talking about it to your friends and family, otherwise known as 'warm' leads, to handing out flyers, to advertising in local newspapers, to holding meetings in local venues, to attending shows, to cold calling people on the phone to simply talking about the opportunity to people on the street! This is just a small representation of the kinds of strategies used, and they are all valid techniques that could still be used to build a team. The problem is that not all of us are adept at that kind of thing - we are not all natural sales people. It's also very limiting as it takes a lot of hard work to be able to reach out to all of those people, and is normally restricted to your local area. That is where the power of the Internet comes in.
The Internet opens the door to literally millions and millions of potential leads. And you don't necessarily need to have any face to face or over the phone interaction with your prospective team members. In fact, you can virtually automate the process of interaction, of bringing your leads into your team, simply by using the right tools. The most important starting point to building a business network marketing online is having a presence. I like to think of it as having a shop window. The most fundamental shop window to have is your own website or blog.
Your website is where you are going to achieve two main objectives. Firstly to generate leads for your business by using forms to gather names and email addresses. These are commonly known as 'squeeze pages' or 'opt-in pages' or 'lead capture pages'. Whatever you want to call them, they are an absolute must - no leads - no team! The second thing that your site should provide is valid, rich information. Great, honest content helps to build trust and to attract your potential leads into your primary business. Having your own website also allows you to earn other income above and beyond that earned through your primary network marketing opportunity, with the use of contextual advertising and the promotion of other people's products for one time commissions - also known as affiliate marketing.
You don't need to worry too much about building a website. It's not necessary to pay someone thousands of dollars to do it for you. There are plenty of tools and services available to allow you to produce clean and simple websites yourself in very little time at all. It is important to note that you will need to invest some money to achieve this, but the investment needed to build a website is quite small, especially given the potential income opportunity that it brings.
The other main reason for having your own site is perception, especially in network marketing. If you are going to be perceived as a leader, as an expert to a potential team member, having your own website places you as someone who knows what they are doing, who is serious about their business. That's what people are looking for.
So which network marketing organisation should you be joining? Well, I can't advise you on that, but what I can do is tell you to research, research, research! There are so many two bit companies around that you need to make sure you do some serious checking. How old are the company? Can you check their financial results - are they in debt? Do they have a reputation - can you find good testimonials about the company online? Be careful of the last point as people are too often ready to say bad things about a company to either just grab your attention to promote something else, or because they didn't make a million dollars in their first month with that company!
Once you have thoroughly investigated which company to choose (remember it needs to be one that offers their product over the Internet!), and once you have built an online presence with your own site, there are just a couple of small pieces of advice for you:
Invest in the right tools. You need to work smart. Spend time (and possibly a little money) in selecting tools to leverage you efforts and to make life that little bit easier.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Equipment Financing and Business Networking - Both Go Hand in Hand

To work in the finance services industry, whether its financial or estate planning or business financing, requires an individual to establish a great deal of trust with their client. The type of trust which necessitates a person to disclose all their worldly possessions to someone else, follow their advice and allow them to make key personal and business changes for them. Not only is personal and business information disclosed but decisions are made which can affect each area on a long term basis, and in some cases, for a lifetime.
Successful financial professionals traditionally have been required to invest years and years in establishing themselves and building their brand and trust factor. In the past, you didn't get into the industry unless you were prepared to devote a good portion of your life. After time, people simply figured if you were around for twenty years then you must be doing something right.
So how does this relate to business networking with regards to services like equipment financing? To become highly successful in financial services it requires that you learn, understand and follow the core values of networking. Every business can truly benefit from building a strong network but since trust is so keenly vital to financial services, I feel it's most relevant in this case.
Professional networking organizations like Business Networking International (BNI) base their foundation on the concept of "givers gain"; I give you business and you will reciprocate. But at the heart of that belief is the fact that it is primarily built on trust. Each person must trust the other to do the right thing, both with their intentions and capabilities. Business networking can accelerate the development of trust amongst our peers and networks because by following a system like BNI, you will learn to develop targeted skills in this pursuit. Skills which guide you in how to act, dress, what to say and to do the key things which will elevate the trust factor and your reputation much more quickly than if you waited for it to happen on its own.
A financial planner told me once he didn't need to network because he had regular business referred to him by his old friends. I asked him how long did it take to develop his business and contacts and he replied, "30 years." Who has that much time? Why not build the same devoted network on a much faster pace with highly predictable results.
A finance specialist or broker or any person in the financial industry can build their name and reputation with a consistent dedicated effort in few short years as opposed to the decades it use to take. This is a key consideration for any profession which requires a high trust factor to be successful. Build a diversified network, develop trust amongst them, follow-up with them on a regular basis and you can establish a foundation for long term success. Business networking and equipment financing are indeed on the same side of success.