If you talk with the top income earners in network marketing, they'll all say that prospecting is the key to success. It's just like prospecting for diamonds: Diamonds are very valuable, so you don't have to find very many of them to become wealthy. In network marketing, it's the same--all you have to do is find a few real, live diamonds. So how do you do that?

First, let's examine what a network marketing diamond looks like. Quite often, they'll surprise you. My friend Collette was a single mom with five children. She had no education beyond high school, was working as a part-time secretary and had a mountain of debt. On the outside, Collette didn't seem like a diamond, but she had a big reason to succeed--she was the sole supporter for her five kids. The first quality of a diamond is a big purpose, or a "why."

Today, Collette is the top income earner in the network marketing company she represents. Beyond the big "why," diamonds like Collette are also open to coaching, they schedule daily time for their business, they're positive and upbeat, and they feel grateful to have found the right business.

Now let's discuss how you can find those diamonds. You may have diamonds right in your backyard. They could be your parents, children, other relatives, friends, co-workers, pastor, accountant, attorney, hair stylist and so on. These are also the people who make up your warm market (people you know and who know you).

Typically, when you join a network marketing company, you make a list of everyone you know and begin contacting them about your business. Unfortunately, this usually turns out to be disastrous, because as a new networker you probably aren't prepared to handle your prospects' questions and objections. However, if you're prepared and know how to prospect, you can get through to your warm market.

Instead of calling the people you know and telling them all about your company, spend time finding out about their life. Use FORM--that's family, occupation, recreation and money. In your conversation, ask them questions about time with the family, how their job or business is going, what vacations they have planned and how they're preparing for their financial future.

As you ask these questions, listen for areas that are causing stress--working too many hours, not spending enough time with the family, the possibility of a lay-off, no time or money for vacations, no savings or extra money for investments, etc. Make note of those areas. When you have two or three stress areas written down, it's time to present the concept of your business with a question like: "You have several areas that seem to be causing stress (mention each one briefly), and I'm wondering if you'd be open to a possible solution?" If the person responds favorably, then present information about your business and how it will be a solution to their stress.

Beyond your warm market, there's a whole world full of diamonds. All you have to do is sift through the dirt to find them. Even better would be if they found you. That's called attraction marketing. You set yourself up as an authority, and high-quality prospects come to you. One of the best training programs on attraction marketing is called Magnetic Sponsoring. It will teach you how to set yourself up to attract quality prospects.

Another great way to find diamonds is through purchased leads. There are a number of companies that do the advertising for you, and some even do the prequalification. You'll be working with people already interested in operating a home business, so all you have to do is present your company. Most of the lead companies provide you with scripts, and some even offer phone training. One place to start looking is Cutting Edge Media.

A number of top network marketers have built their large networks through advertising. They place small classified ads in newspapers, business magazines and on the internet. The ad shares a few of the benefits of a network marketing business--fire your boss, time and financial freedom, travel, great tax benefits--then directs the respondent to either call and listen to a recorded message or visit a website. The message and site will continue to create curiosity, so that the prospect will move on to the next step--a phone call to you.

There are many, many methods for prospecting. Take the time to talk with top income earners in your company about how they prospect. Read books, listen to CDs, and attend teleconferences and web conferences. Become a sponge for information about prospecting. Decide which methods are going to fit you and your life best, and put them to work every day. If you work consistently and persistently, you'll soon have a network full of diamonds.