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Network marketing techniques can penetrate new markets quickly.
Since commissions are only paid on actual sales and since word-of-mouth replaces costly advertising campaigns, network distribution is an efficient and economical way to market a product or service.
As it entered whole new business categories in 1990s, network industry also planted its flag in dozens of new markets around world. Amway and Nu Skin had singular successes in Japan, which proved to be as amenable to network marketing as industry's birthplace, U.S.A. Nu Skin pioneered global seamless sponsoring, which allows a distributor to sponsor people living anywhere in world into one down-line organization - as long as corporation does business in country where recruit lives. For many of largest networking companies, sales outside U.S. proved to be majority. The Internet, global communication, and satellite TV provided tools for global expansion.
It wasn't just Yankees who have been on march during this decade. Many foreign-based networking companies set up shop in U.S. One of major success stories of 1990s - health products giant Nikken - came to U.S. from Fukuoka, Japan, at beginning of decade with virtually no American customer base. Nikken posted annual U.S. sales in hundreds of millions by end of decade and established its new worldwide headquarters in California. Read All About It Finally, decade just ending has seen a sea-change in media and public perceptions of network marketing industry. In 1980s, press acknowledged existence of network marketing - but attention was often negative. Stories had names like "The mess called MLM" and "Here come scam artists." Some of abuses cited were real, but good companies were usually lumped together with bad - effectively misinforming public about a major industry.
In recent years, this trend has begun to turn around. Positive stories on network marketing have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Success, Entrepreneur, Wealth Building, Business Startups and Home Office Computing. Articles continued to treat industry to its dose of honest criticism, but they also began to include positive side: fact that millions of Americans were finding opportunity where they had never expected to see it - among their relatives, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
Unless you have been living in a cave, you can't have missed experts' predictions that Internet will be one of most powerful business forces in 21st Century. As available bandwidth increases, ever more information - and more money - will be exchanged over Net. As a future-oriented industry, network marketing will respond, adopting new technology enthusiastically.
The Internet will become prime means of communication, training, and ordering for network marketing distributors. Sales kits and videos may become obsolete as sophisticated multimedia demonstrations on laptops (and over e-mail) become main recruiting tool, and cyberspace becomes chief venue for training. The Internet will encourage rapid expansion on a global scale with instantaneous communication between network marketing corporate headquarters and distributor force.
Documentation, sales kits, distributor agreements, and policies and procedures will reside primarily on Web sites, where new prospects can download them. (Courts already recognize electronic signatures as binding.) Distributors will order directly from Net, reducing need for call centers and human operators.
Companies will pay commissions by direct deposit to bank accounts or credit card accounts. The new, "virtual networking" company will out-source almost all its activities: private-label manufacturing, customer service, fulfillment, graphics - even genealogy and account processing. The technology revolution will level playing field.
But don't let all this technological razzle-dazzle distract you from basics. Regardless of what gadgets they adopt, network marketing companies that succeed will always be those that maintain their respect for personal relationships. Get as virtual as you like - you will always need to get out there and press flesh.
Jeffrey A. Babener Network Marketing Lifestyles