Reach Out and Sponsor How to recruit new prospects nationwide

Q: I'm new to network marketing and want to really build my business. Most of my prospects live too far away for me to go see them. What's the best way to recruit them? I don't have the money to fly to see people all over the country.

A: In the MLM business, what you're referring to is called "long distance sponsoring." This form of recruiting is critical to the success of today's technologically empowered organization builder. With many of today's companies offering worldwide sponsoring potential, knowing how to communicate a compelling long distance message can substantially impact your profits.

A forward-thinking company already has many of the tools needed to assist you. These consist of brochures, audio and video tapes, and other leave-behind pieces or direct-mail pieces. Unfortunately, nondiscriminent use of these recruiting tools can be expensive and means it's difficult to measure the results. Most companies also support distributors through company-sponsored national conference calls and fax-on-demand systems. Probably the two most important tools used today by successful business builders are the telephone and the Internet. With the competitive cost of long distance services and the increase in prospects who are online at their home and office, these are the areas to which you should direct most of your long distance sponsoring efforts.

Long distance sponsoring consists of two approaches. First, you have to work your "warm market." These are the people with whom you already have a relationship and who are usually open to your message. The second area consists of the people you don't know personally but who need to hear about your opportunity. Herein lies your biggest opportunity.

Working with your warm market is easy since your personal relationship assures an increased opportunity for a positive telephone interaction. However, having a concise and compelling phone presentation is still important. Your warm market contacts will receive you well but may turn cold to a recruiting pitch if you don't approach things correctly. Working with your "cold market" (all those strangers) is a bit different and requires some additional skills.

No matter what type of prospect your long distance prospect is, for the best success I recommend using the buddy system of sponsoring. Not everyone is a sales "closer" (someone who knows how to get a prospect to say yes to a sales offer). It takes experience and, to a great extent, instinct to do this well. Using a team approach works best. In typical network marketing situations, a new distributor will set up a personal appointment with a prospect and take their sponsor, or a skilled upline member, to the meeting with them to assist in the close. It's a form of on-the-job training.

Initiating long distance sponsoring uses these same two-on-one dynamics during a three-way conference call between you, your sponsoring buddy and your prospect. It's critical that you have a conference call feature on your phone. It's not a very expensive add-on to your current phone service. And you'll use your company's Web site as an online product information and recruiting brochure to support your phone presentation during or after the fact.

Here's how to do it: Call your warm market friend and let them know you've started a new business and would like to explain the products to them. Mention that you'll need 10 to 15 minutes. Even if they're not interested, it will help you practice your sales presentation. If it's not a convenient time, set an appointment for later. When you make your appointed call, tell them your new business trainer is also on the line and make an introduction. Now your recruiting buddy can handle the presentation with you, staying silent unless asked to participate. Either during or after the call, you'll ask your prospect to go to the company Web site and look at your products and business information. Most companies allow prospects to enroll online. If not, faxing an application can work or, if necessary, you can mail literature and an application.

Even if your prospect makes a positive commitment during the phone call, you'll need to follow up within one or two days. Have something new to tell them that they didn't hear the night before. Begin building enthusiasm again. Start making plans with them for phone and Internet training, and commit them to the next national company conference call with a guest.

If they want to think it over, don't be discouraged. When you talk to them the next day, don't ask if they're ready to enroll; assume they are. Even after they've enrolled, they may have second thoughts. That's why you need to contact them several times over the next week to strengthen their decision and demonstrate your interest in their success. Long distance sponsoring will work for you if you work the system.

Michael L. Sheffield is the founder of Sheffield Resource Network, a full-service multilevel marketing consulting firm in Tempe, Arizona. He is also the co-founder and chair of the Multi Level Marketing International Association (MLMIA), whose members represent companies throughout the world.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, not of All answers are intended to be general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an attorney or accountant.

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