The Zen of Prospecting by Dr. Joe Rubino

Joe_RubinoWhen it comes to prospecting for network marketing leaders, there are two Zen rules I suggest you must always keep in front of yourself. In fact, these rules are outlined on a sign I keep right by my phone for every prospecting call. For me, they sum up successful prospecting perfectly.

Rule #1: Give up the right to make anyone do anything.

Rule #2: Look for a way to contribute to your prospect’s life.


Simply following these two easy rules takes away any inclination to exert pressure on your prospect. In network marketing, pressure and intimidation do not work!

A prospect who unwillingly signs up as a distributor under pressure, or anything other than making an informed choice will never be motivated to do what it takes to succeed. What may look like a victory in the short term will turn out to be a waste of time and energy if your reluctant prospect needs you to constantly push and pull them into action.

By giving up the right to make anyone do what you want them to do, you create the space for them to step forward powerfully and freely choosing their actions to succeed.

And that’s where Rule #2 comes into play. The real power of network marketing lies in its positive impact on people’s lives.

Network marketing is about contribution.


Everyone has some aspect of their life where your opportunity can contribute something of value. For many, it may be a supplemental monthly paycheck. For others, it may be complete financial and time freedom, or the opportunity to contribute to the lives of others. If you look hard enough and ask the right questions, you’ll usually discover just where your contribution fits.

As for those who see absolutely nothing of value in what you could contribute to their lives the opportunity is simply not right for them at this time. Let it be. It’s not up to you to force a fit.

Finding Out Who Your Prospect Is

The key to any successful relationship is developing a bond with the other person, establishing a common ground, the mutuality that will allow the two of you to communicate and function as partners. This bond includes permission to explore the possibilities of involvement in that partnership.

All too often, the first prospecting instinct is to dump information. Distributors often feel, Just one more fact or tidbit about my company, my products or my opportunity will be the one thing that makes the difference, the thing that gets them in! So they tell the prospect everything they know, hoping to persuade her to see the same value that attracted them.

This is a very blind approach. You have no clue what would interest another person unless you ask. So instead, we rely on dumping information on deaf ears.

Stephen Covey advises in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.


You can’t possibly be effective in meeting the needs and wants of others if you don’t know what they are! Get to know your prospects first. Step into their shoes. Walk a mile or two. Find out what it’s like to live and work in their world. Once you’ve listened to understand who they are, you will have created the space for them to listen to your presentation and for you to be understood.

Have you heard the cliché, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’? Listen to people and you will create the opening for them to listen to you. Human beings nearly always honor the Golden Rule: They will do unto you as you do unto them.

Building Rapport

If you remember only one thing about successful prospecting this is it:

Rapport must precede the exchange of information.


A casual conversation is the best way to build this rapport. In other words, find out what you can about people before you share your opportunity. Here’s how to prevent your prospecting conversations from ever being a FLOP.

Simply remember to ask about the following:

F Family

L Live

O Occupation

P Passions

F Family
This is one thing most people are willing to talk about especially their kids. Make the opportunity to ask about their family. Show curiosity and a sincere interest in what is most important to them. This is particularly a good starting point to reestablish rapport with people you already know but have been out of touch with for a while. Asking How’s your family? is the best way to build an instant bond.

L Live
With strangers, this is the best place to start. Everyone has to live somewhere. Look for points of interest regarding a favorite region, hometown or current residence. Even people who come from a not-so-great place can be proud of their roots.

A great ice breaker on an airplane is, Are you leaving home or going home today? It’s easy from there. After all, we all live on the same common ground.

O Occupation
Most people spend many hours and a great deal of energy on their work whether they like it or not! This is one of the easiest places to explore when speaking to a stranger or deepening an acquaintance, after you’ve opened up where they are from or currently live. For example: Where are you from? Dallas. Oh, what do you do there? And so on.

Questions such as, How long have you been doing that? or responses like, Really, tell me more about that…- give the person an opportunity to speak about themselves which is usually their favorite subject!

This line of questioning also allows you to explore their level of satisfaction with their work.


I’ll often ask people, What do you like best about your work? And then, What do you enjoy the least? I’ve learned over the years to start off on the positive. If there are negatives, they’ll come out sooner or later.

Other conversation options might be, How many days a week do you work? Do you do much traveling?

One of my favorites is, Let’s say that money is no object, all your bills are paid, your kids’ tuition’s handled, etc. Would you still do what you’re doing for a living now? Would you work less or not at all? What would you do in your spare time?

P Passions (as reflected in hobbies, recreation and special interests)
This is where you look for the gold. These are the things that people get excited about telling you.

Do they love to travel? If so, where would they go? With whom?

Golf? How often would they play? Maybe they like to paint or fish or bird watch. It doesn’t matter what it is they love to do. What matters is that through a conversation with you they begin to dream.

As they share their dreams, they realize that they just don’t have the time or the money to do what they’d like. That’s where you and your opportunity come in with the awesome power of possibilities.

Don’t rush at this point. Let them get it all out. Encourage them: Tell me more about that… What’s that like for you… How do you feel when you’re …?

Being a contribution requires two things: Knowing what you’re contributing and patience. (Remember Zen Rule #2.)


To summarize, find out who your prospects are. Each person has unique reasons for being attracted to your opportunity. It’s much more effective to find out their reasons for doing your opportunity, rather than you giving them yours. Look for what they value most. What’s important to them and what’s missing in their lives and work?Talk in terms of possibilities. Explore their dreams, wants and aspirations.

Guide the conversation with questions designed to have them speak about themselves.


Explore the seeds of discontent in their lives. Is it money they lack, or time to spend with family and friends? Is it their job that they hate, or the lack of substantial savings for retirement? Maybe there isn’t a lot of fun in their daily routine. Is their stress level so high that their health and happiness are likely to suffer?

Whatever it is, you won’t discover it by doing all the talking. Ask a question then shut up and listen. Listen without judgment. Listen wide open. Your one and only job is to hear what they say. Ninety-eight out of 100 people haven’t been listened to and truly heard in years! What do you suppose they will think and feel about you if you’re the one person who actually listens to them?

If you find yourself speaking more than listening, reevaluate your approach.

What are you listening for?

Most importantly, how and where can you be a contribution to their lives?

When you take the focus off of yourself and look to contribute to others, your network marketing success will naturally follow.

Joe Rubino
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