At some point in your network marketing career, you probably burned some of your prospects.
The reason why this happened isn’t as important as the steps you can take to repair these relationships -- and add these people back onto your prospect list.
A new product launch is a great time to reach back out to burned or disgruntled contacts, because it gives you a new story to tell or a new perspective to share. But you can’t just approach these individuals like anyone else on your list. Here are a few ways you can work to recover a damaged relationship:
Apologize, without strings
This is the most important thing and where you must begin. Pick up the phone or send a handwritten card to your prospect and apologize for coming on too strong. Don’t make an excuse or try to turn your message into a sale - simply offer a genuine apology for pressuring them or not respecting their point of view. End with a positive message of friendship. Keep it simple and sincere. Here’s an example:
I wanted to drop you a short note to say how much I appreciate your friendship. You’re always inspiring me with how you juggle your kids’ schedules, your job, and always making it to spin class on Tuesday nights!
I know I came on really strong when I started my business six months ago, and I realize our conversations about the business opportunity might have made you uncomfortable. I wanted to apologize for the way I approached this in the past.
I look forward to seeing you at the barbeque this weekend! Maybe we can take our bikes out once the weather warms up, too.
Give it time
If you’ve already apologized, GREAT! Once that’s happened, give it a few months and maintain normal communications with your prospect. Don’t feel like you can’t talk about your business -- feel free to mention the upcoming events you’re hosting or a reward or incentive you earned - but don’t ask your prospect about the opportunity or the products. Keep it focused on YOUR experience and don’t apply any pressure or make any asks.
Send something for free
Once you’ve said sorry and given it a little space and time, you can start to gently prospect again. Start by sending a freebie. Maybe you attach a sample or a small gift when you celebrate your prospect’s birthday or other event. Give out samples to your regulars at the gym or drop off a sample with a small treat, like a bar of chocolate. This is a token of appreciation -- and that's all. No pressure to buy, no pressure to join - just a little “thinking of you” message.
Explain what’s changed
When the time comes, have a conversation with your prospect.
Tell him or her you’d like the chance to explain your business now that you’ve been doing the work for awhile, and you’ve matured as an entrepreneur. Ask them if they’d be willing to listen.
If you still feel the relationship is shaky, tell them you need to practice your business pitch and ask them to listen as a coach or advisor.
Then, keep it professional. Explain what you’ve learned in the past few months of running your business. Talk about the ways the opportunity has expanded (new products? New incentives for those who join?) And most importantly -- ASK your prospect what they think. Don’t focus on closing the sale -- your success in this interaction is having a positive conversation.
Focus on the product
If you can’t make any headway with the opportunity or you’re still getting a bad feeling, flip the script and just focus on the product. Don’t even mention the opportunity -- but instead, focus on something you know your prospect loves or is interested in, and share why your company’s version of that product is the best.
Ideally, this might be the sample you already shared, but if not, have a sample ready. Share a promotion or a bundle that would let them save money. Tell your own success story or share other experiences with this product. Make it about the product -- removing any emotional baggage from your earlier conversations about the business.
Continue Your Indirect Influencing
The most important and powerful thing to do throughout this entire process is to keep sharing your own story. On social media, in your emails, over coffee. Without pressuring or asking anything, continue to share how your life has been transformed by your business.
People love a story and yours is there for the telling.
As you continue to share your authentic experience, your prospects will see something intriguing -- and soon enough, they might be asking YOU about the opportunity!