Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Network Marketing has been around for decades but it is enjoying a new lease of life as a result of COVID-19. Network Marketing is a business model dependent on person-to-person interactions to generate sales. Network Marketers are typically independent representatives, mostly commission-based, and working from their own home or premises. It’s that last point that is a big driving force behind the rejuvenation of the model.
An important point, before I continue, is that Network Marketing should not be confused with Multi-Level Marketing (or MLM, sometimes referred to as a pyramid scheme.) Sure, Network Marketing might well be used to lure people into a pyramid scheme, but they are not the same thing.
You’ll find that Network Marketing can be a very effective way of driving sales, because of its reliance on the strengths of relationships, trust, affiliation and reputation.
Network Marketing, post-COVID
The time for Network Marketing has come again, because the world has changed to suit it. Here’s what I mean:
- The world is in lockdown, or at least away from an office. There are more people at home than ever before. Working from home (WFH) is no longer a rarity – most workers have adjusted to this way of doing their job now. And because there are more people kicking about the home, requiring care and attention, a job that can be performed around other duties is far more suitable than your typical ‘9 to 5’.
- The sad fact that there is undeniably a hike in the number of people out of ‘normal’ work. Layoffs are rife. This means that there is a high number of skilled, connected, influential people available to work, and needing to pay their bills.
- Even when people have held on to their jobs, the need to supplement their income is stronger than ever. Wage rises are stagnant, or in reverse; the amount of spare cash has plummeted. A second income from Network Marketing is very welcome.
- The proliferation of ‘Fake News’ has severely damaged trust in broadcast media and social media, as a source for product knowledge. Consumers are very wary about what they read from unknown sources. The alternative is to learn about the efficacy and quality of products from trusted advisors – friends, if you like.
Advice if you’re thinking about becoming a Network Marketer
Despite the post-COVID advantages, Network Marketing isn’t for everyone. Take note of this advice:
- Network marketing is most suited to people with a big network of contacts, lots of energy and the ability to sell convincingly. I have a friend who joined a scheme promoting an energy company’s services, but unfortunately he is a lousy sales person and has very low energy, so he sadly lost a lot of money on his setup costs.
- Beware of Network Marketing schemes that use many tiers of salespeople – these are most likely pyramid schemes. The Federal Trade Commission (FCC), states that single-tier Network Marketing schemes tend are more reputable when compared to multi-tier schemes.
- Throughly research the scheme before joining and parting with your cash – google the scheme name and seek opinions from other agents who have joined the scheme before. Make sure to understand the payment terms and conditions.
- Ask yourself if you are genuinely interested and passionate about the schemes products or services? If you have no interest, then you will struggle to convince other people to listen and pay attention to you, let alone make sales.
- Do you believe in the claims made by the company about their products? If you don’t, then how can you expect other people to believe them after even a mild ‘tyre-kicking’?
Network Marketing is here to stay! It could be a great solution for you either as a career-change or to fill a career-break. Be careful not to get into a dodgy scheme that will fleece you for your money – make sure you choose a reputable scheme with products you like and understand!