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Thanks to the vast reach and powerful impact of social media, lead generation has become much easier and faster. However, it is not the only marketing method that spells success. Sometimes, going back to basics is the more effective approach. Patrick Shaw talks with Heather Burge of Called To Lead Podcast about the undeniable impact of traditional network marketing techniques. She explains how duplicating simple business processes using third-party tools can solidify your offers and leave a lasting good impression on your target audience. Heather also shares her LIFER Strategy that helps business owners secure customers and distributors for life.
Heather Burge: Proof That You Can Build Without Social Media
In this episode, I am with Heather Burge. Heather, we’ve already had fun talking pre-show. I love your approach to network marketing. It is refreshing, and it is making a comeback. We’re excited to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us.
Thank you so much for having me. Happy to be here.
Previously, your podcast was called Scale Without Social, which I love too, but it’s called the Called to Lead. You have a spiritual approach to it which makes sense. Do you want to talk about that as we get rolling here?
I started my podcast with the Called to the Lead podcast as a Scale Without Social when I stepped away from social a few years ago. I have not posted once on Instagram and Facebook since then. Now, I have shifted the podcast to be called the Called to Lead Podcast, where I help network marketing leaders grow their income and impact beyond their effort by choosing faith over fear and leveraging simple systems.
I could tell you more about my story if you like, but essentially in a nutshell, that’s what I’m here to do. It’s to help people realize that there is a way that has been effective in network marketing for generations long before social media was even in existence. It’s important to focus on the principles of building connections and relationships. That’s how you build that.
This whole idea makes my mind start spinning. We got to parse it apart for a minute here. It’s interesting. Are you coaching the team? My wife Julia always says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” One of the dangers of society is people get on there and spend this life in comparison versus living and doing it. Are you using that as a tool to get your team away from social and talk about some of the evils of it that exist?
For full transparency, I did use social media quite a bit to build and leverage the existing relationships that I had when I grew my business. I wouldn’t advise a network marketer these days to avoid social altogether.
I got it. Fair enough.
However, I feel strongly that what I’m seeing in the industry is there are so many people who are trying to be online influencers. They’re focusing all their energy and efforts on growing a massive following on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. In turn, what I’m seeing is if they build a team, which at times they do, the team cannot duplicate that success because it’s a small facet. It’s less than 1% that have the ability and the skillset to grow a massive following on social media. I see the 99% that are likely not going to get there trying to emulate those efforts when there is a host of other network marketing principles that can and will build their business without having to be a slave to social media. That’s more of my message.
I love it. You don’t have to get rid of it. Let’s take the other extreme. You don’t need to go. You can leverage social and do it properly. We saw this a lot during the pandemic. I get that people are looking for an alternative. It almost seems to be coming back full circle across the board that people are realizing that an influencer or a digital marketer is not going to be able to build depth, relationships, and momentum. That is necessary.
I would say the fulfillment because what happens when you focus on building a following yourself if you have that capability of doing that and that skillset is all tied to your effort, first of all. You are the one who’s doing all the work. You are reaping the benefits when it’s the right product and an opportunity to make a great income from selling your product, but because no one else is experiencing that same level of growth, it feels empty and frustrating. People experience burnout. The minute that they take their foot off the gas pedal, their business starts to crumble.
Whereas if you focus more on relationships, connections, and leveraging the following that you already have, even if it’s a few hundred, a thousand, or the ten people who are watching your stories, leveraging those connections and the relationships and doing the hard scary things like starting the conversation about your product or your business are the things that drive not only the income but the fulfillment that comes from helping other people win big in this business. That’s what makes me so passionate about this.
It’s hard as somebody new to the industry or who hasn’t connected all the dots. You see the person walk the stage that has been the influencer. They have a high level in the comp plan. They recruit a lot of people. They put their frontline and generate a spread because of the higher level of margin that they earn. They’re making good money, but as you said, as soon as the revenue stops, because they’re essentially trading time for money, they’re in a network marketing model, and the whole point was to be able to create leverage. It’s hard not to be influenced by those people when you see clearly that they are making money.
One of the biggest challenges that any network marketing leader who has built their business the old-fashioned way is this. The ones that are big on Instagram, TikTok, or as you said, they’re the top sellers and the ones recognized on stage at conventions, the challenge with that is what people want to emulate. In reality, there are a whole host of network marketers, myself included, who’ve built an unbelievable passive income, where they’re like, “I still am at the top.”
Two percent of sales are for our company. It’s not that tippy top 5 or 10 sellers necessarily. My income now at this point is less than a few percentages tied to my effort. I’d rather have 1,000 people selling for $100,000. I’ll even take the one selling $100,000 too if she’s meant to be doing that. There are some who don’t step away from that if that is their gift. It’s a small facet of most teams that have that gift and skillset.
We have a lot of people that have large organizations. They’re big-time leaders, or they’re on the enterprise side. With all the noise that exists, how do you quiet that storm and teach the fundamentals with so many distractions? How do you get back to the heart of it with the organization?
It’s about teaching simple systems and helping them dumb them down to a level that someone whose brand new can understand or someone who has never been in network marketing can grasp those steps they will need to take. What a lot of people don’t realize is they don’t always do what you tell them to do or what your systems or training tell them to do. They do what they see you do or what you did. That’s something I learned from my mentor, Bob Heilig. It has stuck with me that a lot of people overcomplicate their systems if they are trying to sell big in that respect.
You have to go back to basics and focus on asking great questions, getting to know people, and making a deeper connection with the people that you are engaged with, whether that is on social media or in day-to-day life. Focus on those simple steps that you can teach someone else to do. When leaders get that, they can focus their actions on exemplifying what a brand-new artist could do themselves. That’s where they can build that huge team, residual income, and all of the blessings that come from this business model.
I will date myself here. When I started, we had a VHS tape, a fax, a phone, and a meeting. It was simple. People say, “What do you do?” You only have these four things. You work on questions. Discovery is a window to a person’s soul, and it’s discovery first and building rapport. Is it as simple as that? Is that what you’re mainly focused on? Be in the marketplace, be out, and meet a couple of friends a day, is that the fundamentals that you’re teaching?
Yes. I love that you touched on the third-party tool concept of it. It used to be VHS tapes or something along those. Now, it can be a simple 3 or 5-minute video that is stronger. I’m working with my assistant to create about three videos that I plan to share with my team. One is basic about our product. One is troubleshooting. One is a good solid follow-up for them to help them once they’ve gotten the product in their hands.
Leveraging something simple like that and letting me do the explanation and selling like when someone has a problem with the product, those are simple ways that a new distributor doesn’t have to know all the answers. She doesn’t have to know what to do. All she has to know is to send someone a link to a video that will answer her customer’s question.
It’s leveraging third-party tools and the power of social media if I were on social. I could take that same three-minute video, put it on TikTok, and leverage it. Instead of my in-result goal, trying to go viral, and sell a ton of makeup, I’m focusing my actions on what I can show my team that they can use and leverage or emulate as they’re building their businesses.
From a simplicity and a duplication standpoint, where do you post those videos? How do you get the team to deliver them? Are they tracking what the prospects are doing? In this day of technology, how are you going about teaching that?
There are a few tools that I recommend, and I’m interested in learning all about your tools as well because I’m not as familiar with them as to be. For example, our company does have an app that does have a trackable link where I coach them to either use mine or create their tools or use the ones that the company provides, which are fantastic. What’s cool is that technology does have a trackable link to where they send it directly to a contact through the app. When that customer clicks on that link, you can see they’re watching and are engaged in this.
That’s good. It’s easy enough to get it out the door for them to be able to duplicate it. They’re not going cutting and pasting links and sticking it in their phone and trying to figure that out. How do you go about the activity metrics? I always go back to this. When I started, my sponsor handed me a tracking sheet. It had ten names on it. It was hard to get everybody to fill it out and commit to it, but it is difficult to identify what levels of activity people are doing. How do you go about that now and coaching people through what’s necessary, like the numbers they have to get through to build the business?
This is a great question. I am in the process of rolling out a course. We’re rolling it out as a coaching program for now, but it will be a course that’s available in early 2023. One of the principles that we teach in there is what I call The LIFER Strategy. We want customers and distributors for life. Essentially, that involves making a list. The L stands for List. I know a lot of people who say, for example, in a makeup company, “Make a list of everyone with skin or any woman.” I say start small. 10, 20, or 25 people is a great amount because it’s going to create that initial momentum.
The I is Invite. You’re inviting them to something like you would invite your kid’s friends from school to the birthday party, or you would invite someone if you were having a Christmas party at your house or a Bible study. You’re inviting them either to a specific event. It could be online, in person, or you’re inviting them to a tool, “This is a simple video. If I were to send you this quick three-minute video that tells you more about our business model, would you be interested in learning more about it?” It’s a simple question that you can invite someone right from that list, and they either say yes or no.
The F stands for Follow-up because the fortune is in the follow-up. The E stands for Engage. Engage can happen on social media if you are focusing more on in-person relationships like myself. That looks like saying hey to the friends at church and not expecting anything from them and being a human and being a friend. It’s to connect with them further without the expectation of anything from them but continuing that relationship, that conversation, commenting on their social media post if you’re using it, and things like that.
Finally, the R stands for a Repeat. This is a reminder that this LIFER can be used anywhere. For example, now is the last day that our convention ticket early bird pricing is available. I will be going down my list of my direct artists and inviting them to come. I will be following up with them to make sure that they have everything they need in regard to travel.
I will engage with the ones that are coming as I go, and then I will repeat that process for the next event. That simple strategy, when you can remember it in the acronym, is helpful in that it doesn’t have to be this huge volume. It doesn’t have to be this necessarily set amount every day. It’s a simple thing that when you sit down to work your business when you got an hour, you’ve got that step-by-step process to get results in your business.
That’s the misnomer that’s been created that you have to do this huge volume. I was never the top recruiter. I made millions, hundreds of thousands of people in the organization, and I was never recognized as a top recruiter, but I was good at helping the team recruit. I probably was a top recruiter. It wasn’t my own recruits. It was being able to teach a duplicable, simple process. Some of that has been lost because many top earners are recruiting so many people. They’re on their 4th company in 7 years. You don’t mean to pick on them, but do you think it’s coming full circle now? Why?
I wish I could say it’s coming full circle. That’s why I feel passionate about getting this message out there and why every time I record a podcast, it is the counter message, going back to basics. On the female side, women-based companies, it’s going in the opposite direction where people think they have to be a top roller to do it. Whereas I haven’t rolled, for example, 75 plus in my close to 6 years to myself. I do not place and do not believe.
I know certain comp plans are structured to do that. Ours is not. It is a unit-level plan. I don’t encourage it because it’s like handing a fish versus teaching someone to fish. As you said, I’ve helped others recruit along the way. That adds up to 1 to 2 per month. Whereas I know I have friends and sideline sisters in my company that are bringing on dozens. I don’t even know how they do it. I don’t know how you get to know them enough to understand their goals.
I don’t know how you can take the time to show them those simple steps. I have a goal to enroll two each month. That’s it. That’s all it takes to build a legacy business. It’s a little bit along the way and doing it in a way that I know I could fully show. Through that model, I show someone else exactly the process that I took to get that where they could have those results too.
Set your goal limit to two each month. That’s all it takes to build a legacy business bit by bit along the way.
I find it enormously refreshing because it’s what the business should be about. My life changed because of sponsorship, relationship, education, and personal growth. That’s what attracted me to the industry, and that is, unfortunately, a part that is missing a little bit. Some companies are getting misled by the persona of an ideal recruit. That’s you. That’s the person you want. It’s a sticky business. You can disappear, have a crisis, take a respite, and connect with other parts of your life for 3 or 6 months. The business is going to go on because the foundation is solid.
It’s Bob Heilig that says, “If you don’t have the opportunity to do that as a network marketing leader, it’s a job and not a business.” You have to be able to step away. That is the business model that we signed up for. It’s the one that allows us freedom. That’s a problem when leaders have this high volume of customers and distributors that they’re trying to manage. They lose sight of what’s most important.
Being a network marketing leader is a job and not a business. You must know how to step away.
The reason that people sign up, to begin with, is to be a part of something bigger. They want to be a part of a community and a culture. A lot of times, they want to be the bestie of that online influencer. They’re never going to have that opportunity. I hate to say it, but there’s not enough of them to go around to do that. It encourages this rat race. You’re right. Companies themselves tend to put those people on a pedestal, which makes the whole thing even more challenging.
Before we talk about your podcast and how people can reach you, any closing thoughts? Anything that you think is important in this day and age of the building, especially using the methodologies you have to close out here?
I would say for people to keep an open mind. The other beautiful thing about this business model is there is freedom in the way that we run our business. While I am a huge believer that you should leverage simple systems that can be duplicated with your team, the cool part is there are a million ways to do it. The industry is shifting. It is growing.
With something like social media, there’s an amazing opportunity to leverage it, but people need to keep their eyes focused on their ultimate goal. Is it to build a business for yourself, or is it to build a business that truly is based on the freedom and fulfillment that comes from serving others and helping them win? That’s my big thing. To anybody who wants to listen, they can tune into my podcast, the Called to the Lead podcast, where I talk about this each week.
They can find that on any podcast like Spotify or what have you player.
You can also go to my website, HeatherKBurge.com, and there are links to all the things on there as well.
Heather, I love your approach, and thanks so much for being on the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I loved this conversation.
About Heather Burge
Heather Burge is a former burned out boutique owner from Savannah, Georgia who sold her business after realizing network marketing would allow her the freedom to pursue her calling of helping other entrepreneurs and busy mamas build the business of their dreams. In addition to leading a team of 4,000 in the top 12 distributors in Seint Beauty, she’s the host of the Called to Lead Podcast where she helps network marketers grow their business without having to be a slave to social media.