Technology or “high tech” when merged with the ability to develop relationships (high touch) have become a great tool to “leverage” your time. Much like Ponce de Leon searched for the fountain of youth, every Network Marketer has been on a search for the elusive silver bullet or magic wand that they could wave (or push a button) and an endless stream of new distributors would come pouring into their organization. Having built MLM organizations for more than four decades that have generated billions of dollars in volume and involved more than a million distributors I can honestly say I have tried everything. I pioneered conference calling before conference calling existed, introduced fax on demand to the industry, set up the first voice mail recruiting system (before it was called voice mail), designed a tele-sponsoring system where new distributors could sign up via a touch tone telephone and utilized online sign up systems to build huge downline organizations of hundreds of thousands of distributors. NULL
Interestingly enough the organizations that grew the slowest have lasted the longest.
Technology or “high tech” when merged with the ability to develop relationships (high touch) have become a great tool to “leverage” your time. When I was a Diamond in Amway in the 70’s I had two secretaries and we were answering the phone all day long with distributors asking us questions such as when was the next meeting, what is the stock number of the new product, what are the directions to the next monthly meeting. When I realized that many of these questions were all the same questions I ordered in several more phone lines and several of the old Code-A-Phone cassette tape answering machines. One line was the 24 hour a day “talking calendar” with all the local weekly meetings and time and locations, the other was the “New Product Line Announcements” and the third was the information about the next monthly rally with instructions for ordering tickets and directions to the meeting with times and dates of future meetings and conventions as well.
Technology proved to be a big time saver and we could hear the answering machine clicking and clacking all night long as people were calling in to get the appropriate information. (This was all before voice mail even existed).
FedEx was the first to get fax machines. If I needed to get a document to someone on the other side of the country in the same day, I would drive to FedEx and they would fax the document to the nearest FedEx facility and then deliver the faxed document to the recipient. Soon after, the home versions became available and I bought one. It was the nosiest piece of equipment I ever owned. It sounded like an old teletype machine. As they became more popular I was able to fax the presentation of my current MLM to other people who also had fax machines. A friend of mine brought a friend of his to dinner at my home and when I asked Mike what he did he said he ran a “fax on demand” business for vendors who supplier goods to the military during the Gulf War. He explained how his clients were asleep when their clients need information so they would call a fax on demand number and it would fax back to them the document they needed. At that time I would stand in front of my fax machine feeding ten or twelve pages in one after the other dialing one number after another sending my presentation to hundreds of people. He said I could simply fax him my documents and he could set it up where if anyone called a certain number it would fax all the documents back to them. Wow, technology just saved me hours a day. On another occasion I had tape recorded one of my phone presentations to critique it, but when I got laryngitis and could not talk, I started playing the tape recording instead of talking which saved my voice and kept me doing presentations; technology saved me again. I was going to set up an answering machine to play the presentation when someone told me about an “electronic secretary” that could answer a hundred lines at the same time located out in Utah. This was what was to become voice mail. I simply did my presentation on the voice mail system and gave the number out. Wow, technology saved my even more time! Conference calling in the early days was $ .25 per minute per caller and my typical weekly conference call would cost $300 to $500 so putting a presentation on a voice mail box also saved me a fortune. For smaller conference calls I had the local phone company bring 25 phone lines into my home and had a dozen speaker phones on my desk with a hunting roll-over feature that ran the call to the next available line until all the lines were filled. I would have everyone daisy chain 10 or twelve of their distributors and prospects on before dialing in and have them all on speaker phone with 50 to 100 people listening, all at no cost to me other than my monthly bill for the extra phone lines. So once again technology saved me time and money and allowed me to build larger downline organizations a lot faster than ever before. Well enough of all the nostalgia.
Needless to say technology has come a long way during the development of the Network marketing Industry, and along the way it has helped all of us build bigger better and faster, reaching more people with less effort.
We have gone from mailing, to fax broadcasting, to email blasting to now text messaging all in a few decades. As each technological development came into being building an organization became easier and easier. It also made it easier to let the technology recruit people who you have never met of even spoken with and the automated online systems easily became a replacement for a lot of the personal contact with distributors. Before we knew it leaders had large groups of distributors they had never met or communicated with and they also noticed that attrition rates began to escalate. It was discovered that the more personal contact you had with a distributor, the longer they stayed in the business. A distributor who gets an impersonal email blast and goes to a landing page and then views a website and signs up in a program with no personal contact is very likely to sign up in the next program that they get email blasted on the following month. So we have discovered that technology may bring in a large number of people in a very short period of time but you as a leader then must reach out and communicate with them via telephone, conference calls, tele-seminars, webinars and live meetings so that you can establish and develop a personal relationship with them by bonding and connecting on things you have in common.
Distributors are quick to leave a business where they have not developed relationships but they are reluctant to quit a business where they have become friends with their sponsor.
So in conclusion; there is no magic wand or silver bullet, however technology can help you build your business but you must blend in the “High Touch” with the “High Tech” to maximize its effectiveness. High tech can be equated with piling up the bricks to make the wall, but the high touch is the artisan mason who adds the concrete mortar between the bricks to hold it all together. So use all the technology you can embrace but still reach out and “touch” as many as you can. Even today with all the technology available some of the strongest organizations are being built by implementing the one on one presentation, two on one presentations, home meetings, party plan gatherings, weekly meetings and monthly meetings accept now instead of drawing circles, you can show the presentation on your lap top or LCD projector on a large screen.