Three of the biggest challenges facing anyone who wants to start a Network Marketing business are: Fulfillment, Lead Generation, and Recruiting. In most Network Marketing companies, the first challenge is taken care of already, because the company will have a built-in fulfillment structure in place. However, all too often the network marketing IBO is left to his or her own devices to manage the lead generation and recruiting aspects of the business.
I think this alone contributes greatly to the abysmal success rate among network marketing opportunities. Many network marketing companies still push the idea that the new IBO should start out by selling the products and opportunity to her friends, family, church members, coworkers and other people in her circle of influence. This group is the so-called ‘warm market’ or sometimes called the warm leads. In theory, this should get the new IBO ‘warmed up’ and give her some practical experience with the selling and recruiting parts of the business.
In reality, the warm market is usually anything but warm. Selling something to a group of people without any kind of pre-qualifying or pre-assessment is akin to throwing mud against the wall to see if it sticks. Even if the new IBO pre-qualifies her warm market somewhat there are inherent problems with this approach.
First of all, no matter how many people the IBO knows, the warm market is going to be very limited. And when pre-qualifying is done, there may be no one at all in the warm market who is a good candidate for the product or service. Second, this type of marketing alienates the people who aren’t impressed with the product or opportunity (which can be a good percentage of the warm market) and this can be damaging to personal relationships with those people in the future. Furthermore, many new IBOs simply don’t know what to do after their warm market is exhausted and that’s where they just stop.
Working the warm market may give the new IBO some practical experience at the price of some relationships. But working the warm market doesn’t solve the long term strategic challenge of lead generation. The new IBO might be better served by being trained how to discover and pursue qualified leads in that particular market. Sometimes this training exists but often it’s left entirely up to the IBO to discover. In any case, I think the idea of working the warm market is part of another era in network marketing and perhaps needs to be retired.