Prospecting: A Shy Guy’s Worst Nightmare


I am an introvert. It’s just my nature. Heck, I can be downright shy if the circumstances are right. So, when I found myself faced with challenge of having to speak with strangers to build my business… I’m sure you can imagine my reaction.

This was eight years ago and unfortunately for me I was with a company and a team that didn’t really provide much by way of practical tools and strategies of meeting people, of prospecting – the lifeblood of any Network Marketing business. Left with no other options, I would leave my house every evening to “prospect”.  I failed miserably.
Give to an already shy individual the task of having to control and steer a conversation with complete strangers towards a new business opportunity – you’re courting disaster.  And so it was for me.  Here’s my advice — First, what NOT to do: Don’t go for the jugular. Don’t go out with the intention of pitching as many people as you can on your opportunity. You’ll come off as false and possibly borderline creepy. And even if you manage to catch someone’s attention long enough to give your pitch, they’re more than likely to be turned off at the notion of having to accost complete strangers to promote the business. So you see, doing this adds to the stigma that plagues our wonderful industry and breaks what John David Mann calls the network marketer’s Hippocratic Oath: First do no harm. John Mann goes on to say that, “your first priority in any encounter should be: Make sure to leave this person with a better impression of network marketing itself than when the conversation began.”* Can’t hardly happen if your [only] objective is to get them into your marketing funnel.

So, what TO do: Just talk. Have conversations with people, real conversations. Be truly interested in what they have to say. Listen. Change your main objective to pitching the business to connecting with people. If an opportunity arises for you to bring up your business opportunity, great! Bring it up. If not, you will have at least done some good in the world by taking the time to connect with someone.

You see, there are people who have the natural ability to get anyone to open up to them. And it’s these people that do really well with the venerated Three Foot Rule. It works for them because it’s natural, it’s genuine. Then there are people like me who beat themselves up just to say hello let alone talk about a business opportunity. If you fit in this category, my advise is this: when you’re out talking with people, forget business and focus on connecting and having genuine conversations. Do this enough times and eventually you’ll realize that you’re not so shy after all.

*from the article “First, Do No Harm” in the book The Zen of MLM by John David Mann


***This article was originally published on Friday, July 25, 2008 in Ronnie’s previous and now inactive MLM blog: New School Biz***

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