If you are like many women in network marketing and direct sales, you launched your business by sharing your products and opportunity with friends, family, co-workers, members of your church, business contacts (and anyone else who was within arm’s reach)! Once you’ve worked through your warm market, you may find yourself staring at your phone, and wondering “who you gonna call?”
Finding super-qualified leads for your home based business is a lot easier than you might think. The most important key to your success is to first get crystal clear on WHO you want to find. Who are your MOST ideal prospects? Although many different kinds of people may buy your products or join your business, trying to sell or recruit “everyone” is an impossible task. Your business building efforts will be too unfocused with this shot-gun approach. You’ll waste valuable time, tripping around trying to sell or sponsor everyone who comes across your path, and not gain traction in any particular direction.
That changes when you narrow your focus and go after a well-defined ‘target market’ – prospects who are the perfect fit for you, your products and your business opportunity. Your target market could be comprised of baby boomers, stay at home moms, college kids, realtors, health and wellness professionals, teachers, nurses or others. Look around your company and you’ll see examples of the kinds of people who are already attracted to (and succeeding) in your specific business. That’s a good place to start, and then you can narrow down your choices from there, focusing in on the kinds of prospects that you can find and connect with the easiest.
Once you know WHO you are looking for, it becomes more obvious as to WHERE you can find these specific kinds of leads. You’ll be able to create a plan to connect with hundreds (even thousands) of your exact targeted group, and start building out your network. Here are some of the best places to start:
1. Live Networking
This approach is probably not new to you, but this tried and true method of prospecting is still the most effective. Nothing beats getting out and meeting people, face to face, to create the kind of solid relationships that can lead to new business.
What can make a big difference in your results, however, is WHERE you are networking live. Instead of schlepping to your nearest leads group, take some time to research your area, and find the group(s) where you are going to find your target market. (This way, you’ll only be ‘fishing’ in the places where you’ll find the exact prospects you are after).
Here are some great resources that can help with your research:
- Le Tip Leads Group – LeTip.com
- Business Networking International – www.BNI.com
- US Women’s Chamber of Commerce – www.uswcc.org
- EWomen Network – ewomennetwork.com
- Craigs List – www.Craigslist.org
- Chamber of Commerce (they often have a ton of great info on business related groups in your city, etc)
- Community Clubs (such as the Rotary Club, Lions, PTA, or Elks Club)
- The Business Journal – most of the major cities in the US publish a “business journal” (like the San Diego Business Journal, Miami Business Journal, etc) which list all the major business groups and networking events for your area. You can find more info here: www.bizjournals.com
- Social Clubs. Search on-line to find more socially geared clubs (like mom’s groups, singles groups, investment groups, ski clubs, triathalon clubs, etc) which might also be great places to find your specific prospects. A fabulous resource for this is www.meetup.com.
Ideally, look for the groups most closely connected to your target market. If you are looking to recruit more moms into your team, search out the local PTA or “Mommy and Me” groups in your area. If you are looking for baby boomers or business professionals, you may want to check your local golf clubs or country clubs to see what social groups they offer.
2. Use Social Media Sites to Find Hundreds of Leads On-Line
With so many people plugging into the internet these days, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and others are fast becoming hot places to connect with new prospects. The major advantage to all of these sites is they make it fairly easy to find large groups of your ideal prospects, so you don’t have to find people one at a time. Here are some tips to help you navigate the on-line ocean.
Facebook: Do a search for your ideal prospect (in the search bar at the top of their website) to find the groups or pages that exist for your market.
Looking for a stay at home mom? Put those words in the search bar, and you’ll find plenty of groups, ‘fan pages’ and even blogs where hundreds of these women are already gathering.
Do the same for realtors, chiropractors, lawyers, baby boomers, financial planners, small business owners, or just about any other target market you can think of, and I know you find several places where these kinds of people are getting connected on Facebook.
Besides searching for your target market by name – ask yourself, “WHO would my ideal prospects follow?” For example, there are thousands of stay-at-home-mom’s connected to Oprah’s page on Facebook and even more on her Twitter profile. You can connect to Oprah’s page, and start networking and creating relationships with the many moms you’ll find here. Looking for people into fitness and wellness? Check out the triathalon or yoga groups and pages.
Think outside the box and think strategically! What topics would be of interest to your target market? Baby boomers and retirees may be connected to the AARP page, small business people are connected to Fast Company, Inc or Success Magazine’s page, etc. Facebook currently has over 1.2 billion monthly users each month, so you can bet your ideal prospects are on here, and they aren’t too difficult to find.
Twitter: Do a similar approach on Twitter, and you’ll find more of your ideal prospects/target market here. Use www.Twello.com to extend your search further (this directory is a virtual ‘yellow pages’ for ‘Twitter’).
LinkedIn: This is an amazing site if your target market is from the corporate world or a business professional. As with the other sites, you can search and join groups made up of hundreds of your ideal prospects, and expand your network quickly.
*An Important Note: When networking in the social media sphere, do NOT simply join a group or page, and then start blasting sales-y messages about your products or business. You’ll not only turn people off, you’ll likely be removed from many of these groups.
The best approach on all these social media platforms is to connect with new people, add value in whatever ways you can (sharing ideas, resources, articles, etc) and build relationships. Ideally, if you have a great free offer that relates to your business (a sample of your products, helpful ideas, a link to a relevant article you’ve found or that is posted on your own blog/website, etc) you can use this as a way to attract attention and direct some of your connections to your own business website.
3. Attend Expos & Tradeshows For Your Target Market
Attending conferences or tradeshows gives you the opportunity to do some very “leveraged” networking, and the possibility of meeting hundreds of people in your exact target market. It’s quite astonishing how many different kinds of people or demographics have their own formal “association” and conferences or tradeshows connected to them.
Here are 3 great websites that also provide very detailed information on the tradeshows and conferences going on in different markets:
(For a more detailed approach to finding great leads at tradeshows and expos, see the previous article on my blog which goes into this in great detail).
Build a “Life Network” vs Just a “Business Network”
When looking for leads for your network marketing and direct sales business, I encourage you to keep this intention in mind; rather than just building a network for your business, consider building a large “life network” instead.
A “life network” is a network of people who you just enjoy having in your life. This would include your friends, family, and all the new contacts you’ll be making along the way.
Imagine how fun it can be add 300 or 400 new friends to your rolodex in the next year or so, and how having access to some new, interesting people will enrich your life?
This approach takes the stress out of having to sell or sponsor everyone you meet, and will make your networking a lot more fun. Having a large network of any kind is a huge asset, and one that can definitely generate new business too.
As people get to know you, like you and trust you, you’ll naturally attract new customers and business partners from within this group. By putting your focus on relationships first (business second) you’ll be a lot more attractive to others, and promoting your products and business will come more naturally.