To Know Your Prospect Is To Know Thyself by Russ DeVan

Russ DeVan

I confess. I was an “easy mark.” I was 28 years young, cocky, open for anything, optimistic, tenacious, HUNGRY, and I absolutely LOVED people;

All kinds; all colors, all ages, all different perspectives and points of view. I loved learning new things. I talked too much and listened too little, but fortunately was open to being told that, HEARD it, and gradually “outgrew it!”

I made a lot of mistakes. I was told that my “warm market” prospects were more likely to be interested because they “knew” me. I actually found out that the warm market was actually LESS likely to be interested because THEY KNEW ME!!!

What about the “Cold” market? “What do you say to people you don’t know?” I queried. “Just be excited! TELL them about the product! TELL them about the opportunity! After all, Who WOULDN’T be interested?” I was told. 

LOTS, I found out! My “prospect’s journey” started with rejection from a next-door neighbor and my first 29 prospects quitting within 30 days THEN my older brother quitting just a few days later.

  I was a territory manager for a large textile mill and lived in the midwest. My largest Retail account was in Dubuque, Iowa. I worked with and was mentored by the manager of the company’s commercial division; a man named John Walz. He invited me to play golf on the upcoming weekend and I politely declined, explaining that I was going to a Saturday training for a new business I had started. I never IMAGINED what would happen next.

He began to ask me all about the business, the product, the opportunity…etc. Days later he traveled 90 miles to come to a 7:30 pm opportunity meeting, as my guest.

That evening he purchased 4 cases of the product and I had my first “builder” in Network Marketing! 

I was hooked. I’d been thinking too small…almost begging people to join. 

Lesson #1 in “Enrolling:” Let it be THEIR idea!

 A full decade later, out of a commitment to finding a way that network marketing could work for more people, I decided to look closely at the model for how prospecting was done and taught. It occurred to me that this seemed to be the area where possible candidates for the business get stuck or choose not to do it at all. Why?

What is the first thing taught in sales or marketing as it relates to prospects?

Doesn’t it divide prospects into two basic categories; Warm and Cold? “Make a names list of people you know.” Need help? Here’s a useful memory jogger! “Who’s your barber? Who’s your mailman? Who’s your dog catcher?”  “DOG CATCHER?” Your alternative? The COOOLLLLLD Market! Brrrrrr!

 Hurt’s just thinking about it! Do you mean “talk to strangers?” Do I have to go… like…  “door-to-door?”

Then it occurred to me: What if whether you KNEW someone or not wasn’t what made them a prospect?

Prospects come from a conversation. The conversation comes from interest. Interest comes from listening.

Lesson #2 – Listen to others for the qualities you want in a prospect and prospects “occur.”

That’s right. They appear. Sometimes you know them. Sometimes you don’t.

Boy..did THIS ever open things up! Now I could have fun! I could choose who to talk to. I never had to worry about what to say because I didn’t HAVE to say anything.

Russ’ Law – A closed mouth gathers no feet! 

But something was still missing. What made some people prospects and others not? 

Then I realized the answer to that question was staring back at me from the mirror!

Obviously, I at one time, was a good prospect because I was now an active, enthusiastic, distributor! What was it about me that I would look for in others?

Here are, in my experience, some of the top qualities or characteristics that all successful distributors, and therefore, prospects, have in common:

#1 Open Minded. This is a DEAL breaker quality. Not open? Not a prospect.

#2 ‘Loves people. If you aren’t open-minded and don’t like people you’ll be miserable in MLM.

#3  Guts, Courage, “Purpose driven!”  Network Marketing is NOT for the faint of heart!

These are qualities ALL who are reading this, possess. Identify your best qualities. Identify the  qualities you admire. Listen for them in others and when you hear them, ACKNOWLEDGE them. People need to be seen and heard.

Lesson #3 –  Relax, listen and enjoy the journey!


READ MORE…. These articles are reserved for subscribers of the Network Marketing Magazine. Visit The Network Marketing Magazine to discover how to take advantage of this great resource for you and your team.
Russ DeVan
5/5 (2)

Please rate this Article ...