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Network marketing seems to have changed so much with the dawn of the digital age. But for Todd Falcone, simplicity in duplication is still the name of the game. Joining Patrick Shaw, he explains why businesses must stick to the established old-school principles of networking marketing to avoid drowning in unnecessary digital noise. He talks about the many wrong ways online influencers build their following and why building strong relationships must always be the number one goal. Todd also discusses the right way to use videos when reaching out to people and why there is still power in using discovery-based surveys in the age of the internet.
Todd Falcone: What Does “Simplicity In Duplication” Mean Today?
I am here with Todd Falcone. Todd, we ran into each other years ago at an ANMP event. You are not only building in the field, but you’ve been a coach and a trainer in the space for a long time. Share a little bit of your backstory as we dive in here.
I’d be happy to. It’s great to connect and be here with you. I’ve been in the network marketing space for many years if we go back to when I first began. I have been in the field for many years, and then I’ve been teaching and training around the world to network marketing company owners and their major events and different distributor organizations. I missed being in the field, so we’ll hop back in the field and have a blast doing all the things that I’ve been teaching people to do for years. It’s fun to be in this profession. It’s a crazy fun place to be. I can’t imagine myself being anywhere other than network marketing.
It changes your perspective, doesn’t it? Being in the field and things are changing so fast in the industry, did it change your perspective a little bit on how you’re coaching or training being active yourself?
I was at an event, and somebody asked me because they knew I was back in the field. They were like, “How much has it changed when you were in the field years ago?” What’s weird is I never feel like I left the field because I’m so deeply connected with people that are building. Honestly, some of my training I do, I’ll do like live prospecting in front of an audience. It’s something I’m known for. I never feel like I left.
The premise of networking marketing hasn’t changed at all. What changed dramatically are the tools used in it every day.
That’s an interesting question when people ask, “How has network marketing changed?” The premise of what we do hasn’t changed at all. It’s people finding a cool product or service that they can get behind and they go out there and share that product or service and build a team around it. What has changed dramatically are the tools, the bells, and the whistles of things that we use every day. Other than that, I don’t know that a lot has changed.
Let’s talk about that. I couldn’t agree with you more. Fundamentals haven’t shifted, but the environment or the tools have. We’re seeing this huge shift almost with influencers, which is a little bit dangerous sometimes because they don’t know networking. What have you seen there, and do you think it’s dangerous for the industry or misleading to see some of these people blow up quickly but then not be able to maintain it? What are you seeing on that front?
It depends on what we’re talking about with influencers, like if we’re talking about some big Instagram influencer and they get behind a product like somebody who has a big following. That’s why we call them an influencer because they have a big following. Let’s pick on Instagram for a second. Most influencers on Instagram will figure out a way to monetize their following through some brand offering, whatever it is, in or out-of-network marketing.
A lot of those people have found network marketing companies. There’s one, in particular, I’m thinking about that came out that she has a huge following, like a couple of million-plus people. She’s well-liked and well-respected. She partnered with a network marketing company. The interesting thing about that is with most influencers, they’re driving product sales more than building teams.
They’re going to go out there and say, “This is my product. I love this stuff. Check it out, try it out, and go here.” What I see with those types of influencers is that’s what they’re doing. They’re driving pure product sales. It’s almost like they’re an “affiliate” for a network marketing company. Even some network marketing companies call the reps affiliate, but most of those people aren’t building teams.
Also, it depends on the company and the comp plan that they’re attached to because comp plans dictate behavior. If a comp plan pays out well for customer acquisition, that’s a good match for an influencer, knowing full well that that influencer is probably never going to be a business builder. Not to say never, but most of those people are just on product and getting paid.
It’s how a company designs a comp plan, who their target audience is based on that product, who they’re trying to recruit, and vice versa. If you come at it from a distributor perspective, what company should you be looking for based on your particular interest? Is it built wide and recruits lots of people? It’s not about building depth and momentum. You don’t hear anybody thinking about that on both sides of the equation. I don’t think they build sometimes with the end in mind. Do you ever try to coach them on that, or have you given it a lot of thought?
Are you talking about influencers or in general?
I’m talking about it in general. The companies are saying, “When we give incentives and structure drive and behavior, we’re going to design this comp plan, and this is the behavior specifically that we’re trying to drive.” I wonder how often they’re thinking that deeply before they design their comp plan or how often the rep is trying to identify any of their strengths before they identify a company to go to work with.
I honestly don’t think many companies or reps even think about that. If you think about the company owners putting it together, I don’t want to say none of them do, but we know that. With the direct application in the field, however, the compensation plan is designed, whether they thought about it or not, wherever it pays the most for whatever activity, that’s what people are going to go to.
If people make a ton of money gathering customers, they’re going to go gather their customers. If people make a ton of money building a big team and width and depth, that’s what they’re going to do. I don’t know a lot of owners, but I know how many of them are like, “What behavior is this going to create in the marketplace?”
It happens organically. It’s their nature. They’re going to design it that way and it fits.
Most comp plans are fairly similar. You should get rewarded for gathering customers and building a team. Company owners need to figure out a way like, “How can we create a comp plan where a part-timer can make some decent money and a big team can make significant money?”
We always talk about historically in the industry duplication and simplicity and how important it was. I came from an era where I had a fax machine, a phone, and a VHS tape in a meeting. It was simple. There weren’t 57 different ways. Now with all these digital tools, as you said earlier, it’s become more complex. What are you seeing work specifically? Are those days gone of simplicity and duplication? How are you coaching people to try and quiet the noise?
We’re in a better place than we’ve ever been in terms of resources. From an independent distributor standpoint, what we’ve got to do is arm our reps with tools and resources that they can use to tell the story. As you said, meetings, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, video, to streaming video. Those are the things that have changed. What for sure dominates now more than anything is video.
I run coaching programs every quarter. Without exception, when we go into a session, we talk about presentations, and 99% of the responses are like, “What are you putting people in front of?” They’re putting people in front of a video. Whether it’s coming from an app that they’re texting out to somebody or on a website or wherever it’s planted, that is the number one way people are looking at or gathering information about an opportunity.
Video dominates everything these days. It is the number one way information is presented to people about an opportunity.
From that standpoint, it becomes even narrower because the video is the dominant thing. Think about it. Back in the day, you and I probably ran opportunity conference calls, mailed out cassette tapes and VHS tapes, and did PBRs and live presentations. Now that we’re out of COVID, meetings are back. We’re just human beings. We need to be around other human beings, and events are making a monstrous comeback.
It’s an important part of the space. On the video front, it used to be that if you want to deliver a video, you delivered it via VHS. There was one option. That’s the only way you delivered it. DVDs came and you said, “Do you want to watch this video?” It only was on DVD, maybe the Blu-ray thing or something, but it was a DVD.
Now, when you say video, it’s 1,000 different platforms. It’s not about the video. Video obviously works. It’s about, “Am I doing this on Instagram?” One person on the team says, “I’m crushing it on Instagram.” Somebody else is using YouTube. Somebody else is using loading videos into a capture page, creator, or landing page. Somebody else is posting surveys on social. They’ve signed up for a survey platform, and they’ve gone through a survey course. You get all this.
People that succeed make it work because they recruit a lot, but they create no depth, momentum, team, or culture. It misleads a lot of people in an organization. We’re seeing this where it’s hard for leaders to drive. That’s part of the power of networking, isn’t it? What are your thoughts? Whatever your thoughts are, I’m curious. How do you manage that? How do you coach through some of that?
I do it. I push out a ton of content through YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. As a network marketing speaker trainer, I’m putting out valuable content on how to succeed in network marketing. A network marketer or somebody that doesn’t have my background in network marketing, they’re pushing out whatever they’re pushing out to get that following to engage. When that following engages, it’s like, “This person’s interested in my product, my brand, my company, or taking a look at what I’m doing.” At that point, there’s got to be some communication, however that communication takes place. I’m going to guide or direct them into something.
You mentioned YouTube. It’s crazy to me how many people will still send individuals to a YouTube video. I would never send you a YouTube video as an opportunity presentation because, first of all, marketers are very smart. If it’s company X, I’m going to produce a video that says, “The seven reasons why I didn’t join company X,” or “The four things you should think about before considering joining company X.” It’s going to appear on the right side. Me, the prospect, because unfortunately, people thrive on drama, what’s going to happen is they’re going to go, “I’m not watching this presentation.”
It’s crazy. The amount of companies that are still doing this stuff. I see it all the time. YouTube is selling advertising to your competitor to run it on that space where your video is being played. I don’t think a lot of companies understand how important it is, but you got to from something better than what this hodgepodge of people in the organization is doing. Otherwise, you can’t create any momentum.
There’s too much distraction on Facebook because if I’m watching you on Facebook and you’re giving a presentation, there are squirrels everywhere. I’m going to follow the squirrel. In my opinion, if you were a prospect of mine and I wanted to get you in front of information, I want to get you in front of just that information where there’s no other distraction, nothing else on the side, on the top, on the bottom.
Obviously, I’m the Founder and CEO of RapidFunnel. Putting all that aside, we think we have solutions for that, but what does the average person do now? They go in, train an organization and put that all aside, and say, “What do you teach an organization to do?” What do you say to everybody in that room? I came back from a big event, and there was a gal up there who’s a real influencer in social media. She’s recruited 2,700 people.
I made more millions than I can count, but I may have recruited 400 people in my lifetime. I was good at depth, and momentum, and teaching it nonstop. I recruited thousands, but I didn’t recruit thousands. The team recruited hundreds of thousands. How do you go in now to an organization? What do you tell them to do that everybody can go, “I can do that thing?” Do you tell them to use their own channel to do it?
Here’s the problem. Not everybody is an influencer. I see it being done. I see it being taught. They’re teaching somebody who has no influence to become an influencer.
That’s what they’re doing.
You have influence because you have something to offer. All human beings have something to offer. They have a special gift. You got to figure out what your gift is. For example, I’m good at fishing. I could create a following around fishing. I haven’t, but I could if I chose to do so. What does that have to do with network marketing? Nothing, but I could create a huge following around that. Your followers end up going like, “What do you do? Why are you out fishing all the time? Why do you have so much free time?”
There’s a way for people to discover why I have the lifestyle and the ability to fish so much because of that. It’s being taught to brand yourself as an influencer. I’m like, “You don’t even have an influence. You have 327 followers on Facebook. Your posts suck. They’re boring. Everything that you do is crickets, even with the tiny audience that you have.”
What people should learn how to do in terms of creating more engagement on social media, instead of trying to brand themselves an influencer is to put out good quality, engaging content, which is going to increase the views, increase the likes, the comments, and the shares. Over time, it is going to increase its audience size.
When I’m teaching someone to do network marketing, you can call me old school, just don’t call me old. This business has never changed. It’s talking to people and exposing people to your products and business, and that’s done through prospecting and exposure. Granted, you can do things on social media and you can put out content, and you can do traction marketing, which draws people into you, but if you’re going to recruit that person in your business or sell them your product, you have to reach out to those people, whether it’s on a message or a text. That still has to be done. That’s the activity that leads to revenue.
I haven’t been in the field lately, and I’m thinking that if I went to somebody on my team and said, “I need you to come up with content that’s interesting,” right there, it’s like, “You need me to what?” One of the things that we’ve seen working is a pre-written text message that says, “I’m doing some market research. I’d love to get your feedback. If I sent you a one-minute survey on the wind, solar, and energy, or on health, nutrition, and mindset, or on whatever it is, would you take it?”
Especially if it’s pre-written, I can get every single person to text it, send it on WhatsApp, Telegram, social, Messenger, whatever, and I can get everybody to do that. If they don’t respond, you send them a question mark, and they respond 90% of the time, and then you send them a fun, light, discovery-based survey. I’m curious what your thoughts on that, but it seems like that’s something I can get everybody to do. They can use whatever channel they want, but at least you’re giving them some tool that they can actually use to prospect.
That’s a very creative way of getting people to take a look at or consider it. That survey would be specific to whatever type of company, brand, or category that person’s marketing. I wouldn’t say that’s a heavily used thing in network marketing, but I would say that it would be advantageous for people to do. It’s the same thing as me. All of us are works in progress. We can all develop the skills. Over time, we can all acquire the knowledge, the skillsets, and the confidence. That’s a process. In the interim, when that person’s new, like myself, when I first started in network marketing, I was handed a script. I was given a script. I had to memorize the script and practice it until it became conversational and that I could pick up the phone confidently and make a call.
Maybe I was reading from the script, but it didn’t sound like I was reading from the script. Same thing with text messages. You give somebody a pre-written text message and say, “Patrick, it’s Todd Falcone. What’s up? I launched a new business. I’m super excited about it. I’m all in. You’re one of my best friends. I’d love to show this to you. If I sent you this fifteen-minute video, would you take a peek at it?” You are giving them the words to use.
That’s so powerful. It seems so simple, but you tell the average person, “I need you to send them a text and invite them to watch this video.” The person sits there on their phone for fifteen minutes, frozen, trying to figure out what ten words go in the text versus saying, “Here are the words. Here’s the video. Here’s the survey. Deliver it this many times today.” Sometimes we’ve lost it. I told you I went to this training, and this gal was obviously successful, but she’s telling them all to become influencers, that they have to build their brand and have to become a thought leader. I don’t know how you’d create momentum and duplication and build depth.
Most people can create a following around something that they have a level of expertise in, whatever that is, whether skiing, fishing, knitting, who knows? I got guitars hanging in my background. You could create a huge following teaching guitar. None of that has anything to do with network marketing, but what you’re doing is you’re creating an audience where you have something in common with that audience with the fact that you are both musicians or the people that are following you want to be musicians. That’s going to create an audience for you where you could monetize that.
If I decided to start a YouTube channel, I’m doing guitar instruction and I started now, I’ve got no people, then I got 2, and 3. These are followers. I’m doing that to go grow my network marketing business. Who knows how long a year or two years before I pull any business out of that? Instead, I’d rather have my new person going, “Who are the ten sharpest people that you know? Let’s go talk to those people and put them in front of a video.”
Everybody should know about Todd. He moved to the Pacific Northwest, and he is obviously a guy of many talents, guitar, fishing, and mountain biking. You’re all in out there, Todd. Here are a couple of questions for you real quick. As a distributor, I know there are tons of them for you, but what’s one book you might throw out from a distributor or rep agent in the field? What’s one book you think maybe is a little bit more advanced that people should read?
Honestly, it’s not even an advanced book, but it’s always on my desk. It’s literally right here. It never leaves my desk. It’s called The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. Principles never change. If you’re applying the proper principles to whatever business you’re in, you’re going to succeed. It’s not a prospecting book, it’s not a recruiting book, it’s not a networking book. It’s a successful book.
I can’t find mine, but it’s sitting here somewhere, and it reminds me it’s such an extraordinary book.
You can read it, reread it, and read it again. If we started going to book recommendations, we’d be here for the next nine hours, but there are so many great books that you can read. One thing I like about books is they’re so cheap. It’s the cheapest investment you could ever make. If somebody goes and buys an audio program from me or something, they’re going to spend $300, $400, or $500 on something and it’s great, but you can get so much knowledge for $10.95, $9.95, $22.95, or whatever book costs you and keep that next to your nightstand and be reading that stuff. That’s something we got to be doing every day anyhow.
How about from an enterprise, a company level? Companies are trying to support their field. The perspectives are a little different there. Anything that jumps out at you there?
Every owner should probably read the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. That would give some of those owners insight in terms of putting out content and information for their distributor force that is persuasive. When you and I first started in this business, all we wanted the company to do is send us our checks on time, deliver the products on time, and if there’s a problem with the customer, deal with it. We have always been in the field, the marketers. We are the marketing arm of the company. We’re the people that go out and sell the stuff. We’re the people that bring the people to the table.
For the most part, and I still think it’s pretty much the same almost across the board nowadays, if you come into a company and you’re building a business, I expect products to be shipped on time and good quality products. If they screw up, they make good, they calculate commissions, they pay commissions on time, and they treat their distributors with respect. It’s a two-way street and vice versa. Still, most of the time the info that’s being brought out into the marketplace for most people is probably coming from the independent distributor.
It’s an interesting insight for a lot of organizations because you see different approaches from an enterprise and the company perspective. It’s either one of three things. Either they let the field handle it, which tends to work pretty well. Obviously, they’ve got to navigate the compliance part. Any thoughts on that? How do they do that if they leave it to the field with all the compliance that is out there nowadays, FTC, SEC, etc.? How do they navigate that? Are any thoughts there real quick?
Let’s say I went and I’m going to produce a Zoom video or a video on 4K with a DSLR camera. I’m talking about the opportunity of the products business. First of all, if I’m in a leadership position, I should know what’s right, what’s wrong, what I can do, and what I can’t do. If you don’t know and you’re already in that position, there’s a problem.
People in leadership positions should know what’s right and what’s wrong. If you don’t know these things and are already in that position, there is a problem.
You can’t be making lifestyle claims, income claims, or product claims. Those are things that leaders should be aware of. Most companies have good, or at least decent, compliance departments where they’re keeping an eye on what’s being disseminated in the marketplace. If you’re a network marketing company owner and you’re reading this, hopefully, you read this and don’t take it the wrong way.
You hire a marketing person, and that marketing person puts together a PowerPoint presentation or puts together a business opportunity presentation on video.
Does that person have any field experience whatsoever? Are they marketing people? It’s a totally different set of eyeballs when it is a field person who is putting together an opportunity presentation than somebody who has marketing savvy without having the field experience. Presentations done by people in the field are always better than someone who doesn’t have that experience.
It’s a real struggle. I was saying these levels. 1) You let the field do it. 2) You let the field do it, but you co-create with them. You try to put in your muscle and resources, but you don’t take on the role. You empower them and co-create. The worst of all scenarios is they just try to do it. They think they’re the marketing arm, try to create everything, and get no uptick or usage. That’s a struggle. I couldn’t agree with you more. What’s a target market for you, mostly with coaching and working with organizations, and how do people reach you on either front?
The easiest way to find me, follow me, and catch me is ToddFalcone.com. I push out new fresh content on video every Monday that gets ripped into a podcast. I’m pushing out value. I get hired by company owners to come in and speak for their national conventions or whatever, but I’m there to serve the needs of the distributors.
You might write the check to me for me to come in and speak to your people, but you’re having me come in to inspire these people and teach them to be better, be able to do more, feel more comfortable and confident, and build a distributor network. I work with leaders in the field, and I work with company owners who have me come in and do their national conferences and international events. I’m all of the above.
It’s been great spending time with you. I appreciate you so much being on, and I’m sure we’re going to stay in touch.
It’s great to be with you, and I’ll look forward to hanging out one of these days again soon.
About Todd Falcone
Todd Falcone has over three decades of successful experience in our profession, and is one of the most highly respected network marketing trainers in the entire world. For the past 15 years, he has spoken to audiences in over 30 countries teaching the principles and strategies that helped him to create lifelong success in network marketing. His refreshing style is candid, real, and coupled with humor…having his audiences both laughing and learning at the same time.
He is the author of Fearless Networking, which has become one of the Best-Selling network marketing books of all time. Falcone has also produced some of the most powerful educational programs on how to succeed in this profession, including Cracking the Code to Success in Network Marketing, Little Black Book of Scripts, Insider Secrets to Recruiting Professionals, Leadership Evolution, and his A-Team, which is the longest running Group Coaching program in the profession. You can learn more about Todd at https://ToddFalcone.com