I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with Randy Gage this week about how he continually builds and grows his direct selling network. Randy has been in the direct selling business for nearly 25 years, with expertise in all corners of the profession, from being a speaker and trainer, to author and consultant. However, Randy’s real passion in being in the field as a distributor. Randy offers great guidance on what you need to build a strong network in the direct selling industry.
Randy Gage on how to build your network for success
Hey, I’m Randy Gage, a lot of you know I have been in this space of network marketing for about 25 years. Most of it as a distributor, not always, but as an author, consultant, trainer but my real passion is of course being in the trenches working in the business myself.
Your expertise is personal branding. What kind of advice would you give someone just starting in the industry, or a new distributor on building a strong presence and a strong brand moving forward?
I think it is a lot different for network marketing than it would be in any other space because you don’t necessarily need a big personal brand of you, because that isn’t going to duplicate very well. Remember there are things in our business that work really well, but they don’t duplicate very well. And at the end of the day, if we are looking for drink out of a coconut money, we want things that duplicate well. So the more you make the brand about what the prospect gets, the better you are going to be in any arena, but particularly I think here in the network marketing space.
What do I want, if I take myself as a sponsor, what do I want my brand to be? Integrity, that people know they can trust me, I’ve got their back, I’m not going to lie to them, I’m not going to tell them anything that’s not in the best interest of their business, and that I’m going to be there to support them. I think that is probably the most important thing we are ever going to do when we are talking to a prospect, is let them know we are going to be their partner for success. That is what you want the branding to be about I think.
So moving that idea into new spaces, say like social media or different web technologies, you’ve found a lot of success in branding yourself with videos and I see you a lot on Twitter and Facebook. How would you advise someone on how to have that content present, that actually converts, it’s going to sell products, promote sign-ups, to really be recruiting?
I kind of have a contrarian view than a lot of people, I don’t ever promote on Twitter or Facebook or Youtube to build my network. You’ll never see me talk about my company, you’ll never see me send out a spam message or a pitch message. What I think social media does for us is it allows us to develop relationships online like we could do offline, and I take the same approach there.
You wouldn’t, I hope, your wouldn’t go to a cocktail party and just start meeting people and handing out product samples and info packs and tell them to call you. They would say “Who is this jerk? You know I come to Nancy’s dinner party and this guy over here keeps handing around packets to everybody.” Yet people do that all the time on Twitter or Facebook, they think, wow, I just go to Facebook and I will join a group and as soon as they accept my membership in the group that means I can start sending out pitches to all these people. And that’s the last thing, and that’s why people are always getting shut down and closed down on those sites.
You know I call them “multi level morons”, they are destroying the social media sites, and destroying, you know we have this amazing transformation taking place in the network marketing space, where we went from a very skeptical public 15 years ago, to a very accepting public. Now there are so many people open to network marketing now. We have been in Forbes and Fortune and USA Today and Success Magazine and Warren Buffett owns a couple companies in our space, so everybody, no matter who, or where you go anymore, I think everybody knows somebody who makes $40,000 a month in Amway or $60,000 a month in Nu-Skin or $50,000 a month in Melaleuca, or whatever, and they are intrigued by it.
We’ve come full circle, we have gotten to the point where people have really accepted network marketing, and now we are destroying it with these multi level morons who are out there pitching everybody on these spaces. I have probably sponsored 5 or 6 people in the last 8 or 9 months from meeting them on social media. But I never send pitches about it, now if I’m just on social media interacting with them, I meet people, the relationship develops and then I might feel like it’s appropriate to say “hey, can you send me your phone number? I’ve got something I want to talk to you about and I think it would be interesting for you.”
I do it online the same way I would offline, which is I wouldn’t go meet those people at a party and start handing out packets. It’s the same thing on social media, go out there, develop relationships, get to know people, when you think your opportunity would be appropriate and could help them, then take it offline and have that conversation. That’s my advice on how to work on the social media sites.
A lot of companies aren’t taking that same approach of social media can be a good thing, you need to do it the right way. Maybe giving distributors the wrong tools or being too restrictive about how they use social media. What to you think would be the ideal policy to put in place for your distributors with social media?
I think the savvy companies have learned to say “you can’t use our name”, “you can’t use our trademark in anything without approval”. Which of course as distributors, we all hate that because we all say “we don’t have time, every time we want to run an ad we’ve got to send it by the legal department”. Honestly that’s probably the best way to protect the golden goose, because there will always be people who make crazy income claims, there are always going to be people if you are in a wellness or nutrition company who are going to be making cancer cure claims and aids cure claims and you know whatever crazy product claims. You can’t blame companies and their legal department for saying “hey, you can’t go and use our trademarks without approval”.
A lot of direct selling companies provide constructive tools, maybe like a basic replicated website, which might not lead to developing strong personal relationships or personal brands. What do you think companies could do to provide their distributors and leaders the tools to maximize their web presence?
Well I’m kind of the old school of, you know I believe that if people in network marketing companies knew how to build a network, they would be building a network instead of working in a network marketing company. Now I don’t make a lot of friends when I say that, but let’s be real, if you knew how to go out and make $100,000 a year, a month rather, in a network, you wouldn’t be working in the marketing department of any network marketing company right?
So I’m the old school belief that I tell the companies “hey, make the products, ship the products, pay the commissions on time, let the field do what we know how to do”. We are out there in the living rooms and the media rooms, and we are talking to prospects and we are getting the objections and we are hearing the questions, we know what it takes to recruit someone. So I like to leave as much of that to the field as possible because there are very few companies that get it. Most of the marketing materials, whether it’s the website, replicated websites, DVD’s, videos, audios, brochures, most of them provided by companies are pretty dreadful. They are very feature based, not benefit driven. They are usually very product focused, they are not very opportunity focused. They are not really in touch with what’s going on out there in the space with the prospects. So as you and your company do, obviously you’ve seen that there is a need out there for people,for the field to have some marketing materials that their company is not able to provide.
Do you feel like your company is proving you with what you need to do that?
I find that my company stays out of my way so it allows me to do that, which is what I insisted, you know, when I joined. I needed to know, that would they stay out of the way? And I think, because again I have been in the profession now 25 years, I know what it takes to build a network. So, and I know that most companies don’t have those skill sets, and that is not a knock on them, I’m not trying to be a bad guy and be mean and say that they are not nice people, they are wonderful people, in most every company, right, but their skill set is product research, product development, setting up the commissions, the back office, things like that. And like I say, our skill set, because I would not know how to do any of that stuff, I would be horrible if someone hired me to run a network marketing company, they would fire me after 2 weeks, because they would say “this guy’s clueless, he’s horrible at managing operations”. Because that is not my skill set, my skill set is how to build a network. So I like to do what I do best and I like other people to do what they do best.