Thoughts on the “Friends and Family” Plan

There are two different schools of thought about approaching your friends and family first when you start out in network marketing. Some companies recommend it and tell you to compile a list of just about anybody you know to approach with your opportunity.

I’ve met network marketers who say it’s a bad idea and others who say the opposite. Here’s what I think.

Only you know your own friends and family and what they’re like. If you’re lucky enough to have a large close-knit family there may be one or two you know you’ll be able to approach, same with your friends, but don’t put them on your list yet!

The problem is, when you’re just starting out in network marketing you haven’t actually made any money and as yet you don’t have a viable or flourishing business, so how can you possibly tell those who are closest to you that it’s the best thing in the world?

In the beginning you’re going to be incredibly enthusiastic about network marketing – perhaps too much so. Approaching all your friends and family and talking about it all the time is going to alienate some of them and they may even think you’re on drugs!

Rather than having your family and close friends avoid you, I’d suggest you find one person you are close to and a good listener and simply ask if they’d mind if you practice on them. You can have some fun thinking about all the objections you’re going to get and ways to deal with them. Choose someone who is going to be critical – if you’re good friends nobody’s feelings will get hurt.

The most discouraging part of giving a presentation is being turned down and an important part of recruiting prospects is learning how to deal with the word “no”. It’s going to happen a lot. The more you practice and learn to deal with rejection the more you’ll be able to counter objections and the less you’ll take it personally

If you’re pitching your opportunity to close friends and family they may say “Yes” because they feel obligated – it certainly doesn’t mean they’re going to be effective members of your team, you may even regret ever asking. If they say “No” they may worry you’ll take it personally and ruin your relationship, and you’ll end up avoiding each other.

There’s an old saying that you shouldn’t do business with friends and family and I tend to agree. Personally I think starting your list with people you don’t know is going to be better for you in the long run. You can hone your skills, learn to deal with objections and if the answer is no, then nothing further will come of it. Chalk it up to experience.

Once you’ve started making some money and have an established business that’s a much better time to approach friends and family. They’ll be naturally curious if they see you turn up to the next family reunion looking pleased with yourself and driving a new car – they’re going to want to know why! They’ll start asking you how come you’re doing so well and that’s the time to tell them what you’re doing, and if the situation is right you can tell them about your opportunity – if you think they’ll be suitable. You’ll be much more adept at recognizing a good potential team member and going through the qualification process. It takes a lot of pressure off you and your family member or friend.

Everyone wants to help the people they love and it’s much better to offer a viable opportunity than some unproven, pie-in-the-sky proposition.

One of the worst things is to hassle your friends and family about your opportunity and your business doesn’t take off. Next time you see them you’re always going to get those “I told you so” reactions and if your family is anything like mine, there’ll be someone who won’t let you live it down – they’ll be joking about it for years to come. Better to introduce your opportunity to them when it’s tried and tested and they can see positive results.

What do you think of the friends and family plan? Do you agree, or did you get some good team members from your friends and family immediately?


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