From the September 1996 issue of Startups

Sales and recruiting are like the bookends of network marketing. The money you make is bolstered best when both ends are strong. As a network marketer, you should picture sales as just the tip of the financial iceberg. Recruiting, and the percentages you collect from your recruits' sales (and their recruits' sales, and so on) is what really generates the big bucks.

But recruiting requires more than obtaining someone's signature on a distributor's contract. A good recruiter develops their offspring (a network marketing expression describing one's recruits, or "downline"), much like a parent nurtures a child toward adulthood. Time and training mixed with natural talent can create superstar sellers who make their "parents" proud with residuals.

This month, we've chosen some all-star recruiters from three different network marketing companies to divulge their recruiting secrets.

Nu Skin International Inc.

Be a believer even before you become a winner. "The key to recruiting is to have such a belief in what you do that when you speak, it comes from your heart," says Diane Harbison, a Nu Skin Blue Diamond (Nu Skin's highest position-one that averages yearly earnings of $740,000).

Harbison and her husband, Ron, who together manage an organization with a downline of over 10,000 people, credit their recruiting success to projecting their belief-something they call posture. " 'Posture' is getting across that what you have cannot be beat," explains Diane. "Posture comes from confidence, confidence comes from belief, and belief comes from success."

Projecting such belief in your company and product affects how others regard your product and the business opportunity you present. Hence, the more you convey your belief, the more sales and recruits you'll generate. Fostering such a fervid belief among your existing recruits also ensures their success. "Belief in the company and product hold you up until you believe in yourself, which happens when you succeed," explains Diane. Belief, she adds, can carry you through the challenges until you see that success.

Diane fortifies her new recruits' developing belief systems by often working alongside them as they learn. "We stick with people until they're as good without us as they are with us," she says. "We teach people to become strong so they can bring in others who are strong."

According to Diane, "Initiating conversations is the key to recruiting." Besides preaching the principle, Diane practices it herself. For example, when Diane travels, she always converses with her airline seatmates. She starts conversations not with "Hello, I'm a Nu Skin representative," but rather with non-intrusive questions, the answers to which may tell her about her companion, such as: "Do you fly much?," "Are you on business?," and "What do you do?" "Eventually they'll ask me what I do," she says. Then she'll reply, "I'm with a company and I travel around the world, setting up distributorships of personal-care and nutrition products." Very often, by the end of the trip, she'll have a new distributor.

Diane, formerly a beauty salon owner, and Ron, a former CPA, started selling Nu Skin in January 1989, after a relative of Diane's introduced them to the product. The Harbisons initially worked the business part-time from their home. By April of 1989, their weekly Monday meetings had so many attendees that the meetings had to be held in a hotel conference room. Currently part of Nu Skin's Millionaires' Circle, the Harbisons credit their success to their belief and good ol' elbow grease. During their first two years in Nu Skin, they decided to have their cable TV disconnected in order to create more work time, and to focus on setting goals. One of their first goals, which was to make $10,000 in monthly commissions, took only 10 months to complete. Within 18 months, their group was generating $30,000 per month. "All the limitations you've met with in your life," says Diane, "have been put on you by yourself."

Body Wise International Inc.

Share your success stories. Telling increases selling, according to Susan Lauder, one of Body Wise's top ten 1995 superstars. So Lauder uses testimonials as a selling and recruiting tool. Her own Body Wise story-how she went from a size 12 to a size 8 using Body Wise nutritional products, exercise and a low-fat diet-is even told on her answering machine.

"The stories allow you to decide whether or not you'd like to try the products or sell them," says Lauder, who has already earned a million dollars with Body Wise. "I'm really committed to telling everybody within 10 feet of me about the product."

Lauder frequently distributes brochures and a "What is Body Wise?" cassette developed by the company. If a recipient expresses interest, Lauder organizes a short testimonial session via a three-way conference call between herself, the potential customer/recruit and another Body Wise member. In this way, the interested party hears two perspectives on the product.

Leads are everywhere, according to Lauder, who has more than 9,000 people in her downline. Success, she believes, comes to those who pursue every opportunity. "You have to talk to people. You have to put the story out," she says. Accordingly, Lauder encourages practice conversations among her recruits; they tell their "Body Wise story" over and over until they're comfortable sharing it.

"Consistency and validation will build you a business," says Lauder, "but what will create serious income is urgency." From the outset of her business, Lauder believed in goal-setting. When her goals became easily attainable, she increased them. For instance, when first entering the business, her goal was to introduce a new person to the product every day. Within six months she needed a new goal.

A physiotherapist for 20 years, Lauder became a Body Wise representative in January 1991, after seeing how her sponsor, a friend who introduced her to the Body Wise line, lowered his cholesterol level from 246 to 168 using the product. On a Saturday, she listened to her training cassettes and watched Body Wise's video. By Monday, she had sold two Reshape Kits (which contain a month's supply of the company's foundation product-a weight-management program) for $161.88 apiece. Then she called the company to request 10 more.

Lauder's secret lies in her ability to ask leading questions and to determine what people really want. For instance, after showing products, she'll ask people whether they'd like to purchase their order retail or wholesale. If they answer wholesale, she'll ask them if they'd like to get the product for free. If the individual says "yes," she'll ask "What do you want in life?" And then, the recruiting begins.

Enrich International

Foster your recruits. "We make our people's goals our goals," says Bob Hemming, who, with his wife, Trudy, heads an Enrich group that generates over $2 million a month. "We fulfill their goals and dreams, not our goals for them."

By focusing on the needs and wants of their recruits, the Hemmings have built a strong organization, full of thriving salespeople. But more than providing support, the Hemmings act as supervisors and teachers to their offspring. Trudy, for instance, instructs her recruits to create "dream boards"-collages that display photos you've collected of all the dreams you'd like to acheive someday. "People forget to dream," says Trudy, "and this gets people into that mode again." She also believes in lists, and instructs her new recruits to make lists of the people they know and with whom they can share the Enrich products and opportunity. If needed, she coaches people on their selling and recruiting techniques.

When the Hemmings first began holding meetings, only nine people attended. Later, the meetings became so large they used the back room of a restaurant-for no cost, as long as somebody ordered something. Now, they hold meetings each Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in a conference room of the local Hilton Hotel. The Hemmings encourage their downline to bring potential recruits "for a taste of the business." Meeting topics range from selling to recruiting to product knowledge. Often, testimonials about the product occur-another tool that encourages visitors to become distributors.

Prior to each meeting, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Hemmings additionally provide training for new members. They discuss the company's history and product line, as well as Bob's own definition of the word "Sell": S=Show the product; E=Explain the benefits; L=Listen to the person you're talking with; L=Live with the consequences of whatever happens-in other words, don't dwell on any negative responses.

The Hemmings entered Enrich in January 1992, after a friend in South Dakota introduced Trudy to the Power Trim product. After Trudy lost inches and gained energy using Enrich, selling came easy because of their faith in the product. Soon, the Hemmings began telling their friends about Enrich; many of those friends are Enrich distributors today. According to Bob, the best way to recruit is to share the opportunity with your peer group first, because they already trust you. Other recruits will then follow.

Sandra Mardenfeld has written about small business since 1990 and has worked within the network marketing industry for the past eight years.

Nu Skin International Inc., founded in 1984, uses independent distributors to sell their personal-care and nutritional products. Distributorships cost $45 for one division, $10 more for both divisions. Nu Skin has over 450,000 distributors in nearly 20 countries. To become an independent distributor, call (800) 487-1000.

Body Wise sells nutritional and weight-management products. Consultant positions require no previous experience, and cost $49.95; an optional "Business in a Box" jump-starter kit is available for $1,200, and provides you with a selection of the most popular Body Wise products and sales aids. Preferred Customer status is available for $9.95 for those who wish to purchase product without pursuing the business. Call (800) 932-8446 and ask for consultant support.

Since 1985, Enrich International distributors have sold nutritional, weight-management, recuperative, and personal-care products. Enrich has over 165,000 distributors in the United States and more than seven countries. Start-up distributors purchase a Distributor Action Kit for $19.95. Call (800) 748-8288 for a recorded message-leave your name and number and an Enrich representative will return your call.

Contact Sources

Body Wise International Inc., P.O. Box 5482, Irvine, CA 92616, (714) 856-1815.

Nu Skin, 912 Patrick Dr., West Palm Beach, FL 33406, (407) 640-9150.