Online Network Marketing & Choosing the Right Sponsor

by Jayne Kopp on May 27, 2011

network marketing online, online business sponsor

When deciding to promote a Network Marketing Business Opportunity, a natural part of the process is selecting the right sponsor to coach and mentor you to get your business up and running.

Though it’s important to choose the ‘right’ sponsor (online or offline) today I am primarily assuming you are marketing your venture online, even though the same principles apply for both.

In my opinion selecting a sponsor is as important and equally exciting as deciding on a network marketing business itself.

Marketing your business online is particularly beneficial due to the simple fact that your sponsor can reside in any corner of the world thanks to technology, and still be equally effective as if they lived next door.

Because of this vast territory, you will likely find there will be no shortage of people vying for your attention in hopes you will partner with them, therefore it is important to ensure you use this to your benefit and choose wisely.

I’ve personally worked with a number of sponsors over the years, hence, I feel with a few years under by belt, I have a fairly good grasp on the good, bad and ugly aspects of both what to look for in a sponsor & sponsoring alike.

With this said I recognize where the line(s) should be with regards to the expectations and responsibilities on both sides. (Yours and theirs)

Below I will suggest a few thoughts to keep in mind when venturing into any network marketing business opportunity and selecting someone to help you.

*Before you sign up with a sponsor, it is imperative that you take the time to ensure the person is the ‘right fit’ for your personality.

*Spend some time getting to know them on a variety of levels, personal, business and clarify how they intend to assist you as well as their expectations of you.

*If a sponsor implies a guaranteed outcome and that everything will be a bed of roses, in my opinion, this should be an indication they are not being up front.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with honest enthusiasm, but in my opinion, a good sponsor will also ensure you realize up front that you will have to roll up your sleeves and put effort into building your business.

*In other words, the better choice would be to place your trust in someone who is not afraid of putting all their cards on the table and telling your how it is. (By how it is… I mean that building a business takes work!)

*Once you have established a feeling of trust and transparency; ask the sponsor ‘how’ they intend to support you.

Here are a few responsibilities of a good sponsor. (My opinion):

*A sponsor should be there provide the necessary information about your business opportunity and the company and to initially help you become familiar with things such navigating your back office, schedules of events, and the policies of the company.

*Until you become familiar, they should keep you informed with regards to upcoming events, changes to policies and other pertinent information. (At least in the beginning)

*To assist you to develop a business plan, get clear on your goals and implement a few marketing strategies.

*Supply you with the necessary training to get your business set up; this could include assistance with your website, blog, landing pages, etc. As well as effective marketing methods for lead generation.

*They should follow up to ensure you are on track, and to help refocus or tweak your marketing efforts if necessary.

*They should be willing to share new ideas or suggestions from time to time until you can take the training wheels off and feel comfortable ‘riding alone’

*They should make themselves available to answer any questions you may have and to offer suggestions to help you along. (I would recommend setting up a schedule to discuss these issues and times to touch bases in the beginning)

Here are a few things I do not feel your sponsor should be responsible for:

While I realize this may surprise you, (I’ll say it anyway ;-) )…providing your sponsor has followed through with their commitments (similar to the above suggestions), he or she cannot be held responsible for your success!

Let me explain:

As a coach / sponsor myself, I feel I have a pretty good idea about what a coach/mentor can do… and what we can’t do.

From my standpoint I know there is only so much we CAN control and take responsibility for.

For example: From the moment I started my career and formed my first partnership, I have always poured my heart and soul into sharing absolutely everything I know with my partners to help them grow their business.

Naturally as a newbie, I didn’t have as much knowledge as I do now, and that is quite understandable and absolutely acceptable. (We all start there!)

As time went by however, I continued to learn, and have always passionately shared new helpful information.

As my knowledge increased, I even built a full on training site and implemented a number of stepping-stone-like lessons to help my partners get set up efficiently without overwhelming them all at once.

Despite my efforts, I’ve certainly felt some disappointment along the way as I’ve worked with some people who have failed miserably. :-(

I used to beat myself up and feel I had fallen short and had not done my job as ‘mother hen’ so to speak.

On the upside however, I have also worked with people, who despite receiving the exact same training and support absolutely astounded me and ‘kicked MY butt’ with astonishing results. :-)

Thankfully, I realized that the results of my partners really had nothing to do with ‘me’ personally, but everything to do with ‘them’ and their dedication to follow through with consistent work ethic and whether they were “truly” serious about success.

My point is that if your sponsor IS providing you with the necessary guidance to get set up, mapping out your business plan, sharing effective marketing methods and other necessary information… success is about making choices and is really up to YOU!

Far too often I have run into people who have “tried” various business opportunities and seen no results.

What frustrates me is that usually the first thing they’ll do is point the finger at their sponsor, rather than take responsibility themselves

Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the fact there are some sponsors who do not fulfill their obligations and will take your money and disappear into the sunset; I’ve seen it first hand.

More often than not however, most people (in my experience) are helpful and will furnish you with the necessary assistance in order to get the wheels in motion as most of us genuinely wish to help you succeed.(after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?) :-)

I am aware that occasionally, you may run into challenges not related to the business opportunity, but rather your own skill.

When I started, I was an even worse technophobe than I am now, and there have been many times I felt like throwing my laptop into the middle of the road.

I have worked with people in the same boat as well, and spent countless hours to the phone I almost had cauliflower ear while trying to help with some pretty basic tasks.

Though I feel it’s awesome if your sponsor will also be your ‘techy go to’… I don’t feel they can be continuously at your disposal… they do have ‘their’ business to run and likely others they assist.

If they agree to help you with unrelated challenges, great! The bottom line still, in my opinion is that you also take responsibility and at least put some effort into helping yourself as well.

In conclusion, there are definite responsibilities on both sides of the coin: Those of your sponsor, and those that are yours.

Tagged as: business opportunity, choosing a sponsor, network marketing, network marketing online, online business

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Rowena Bolo June 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

Hey Jayne,

Thanks for this very informative post, as a lot of network marketers , especially the newbies will benefit from this. I totally believe in what most everyone has said here that our success is all up to us, and the sponsor is not responsible for our success. Although, as Dr Bob and others have pointed out, it is crucial that our sponsor knows how to directs us to the right information and direction.

I must honestly say that when I joined my previous company, I didn’t know any better and I was not able to think critically. Although my sponsor then was supportive and has a background in online marketing, the experience and education he/she has is as limited as I have. Since this the kind of business that we build for a lifetime, we should seriously ask ourselves whether our sponsor is a fit for us.

Thanks Jayne!

p.s. I read your response to my last comment, he he , I missed you spying on me :-P

- Rowena

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Jayne Kopp June 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Hi Rowena, sorry for not catching this comment earlier. Is it not amazing how we develop an education when working with others. Often we do better as we move around or grow knowledge ourselves.

I posted this in hopes to give people food for thought to try to circumvent some of the trial and error than many people new in the industry face.

Thanks Rowena, it is always nice to see you.

Jayne

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Stacy | Grow With Stacy May 31, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi Jayne,
This is a great post! It reminds me of a list I have seen before for family rights and responsibilities. Each member has certain rights and each member has certain responsibilities.

Great job!
Stacy

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Jayne Kopp June 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Stacy, sorry for being a bit late on responding. I find it difficult to keep up with comments sometimes.

You are right, we ALL have a roll to play.

Thanks for stopping by

Jayne

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Mavis Nong | Online Business Tools May 31, 2011 at 9:00 am

Hey Jayne,

Interesting topic here. I absolutely agree with your points.

You can’t succeed in network marketing without a good and supportive sponsor behind you.

It’s one’s responsibility to find one that is willing to help others succeed.

It’s unfair to expect a sponsor to hold you by the hand every step of the way. One has to be resourceful as well – that’s the only way to learn the ropes.

Thanks for sharing your insights.

All the best,
Mavis

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Jayne Kopp May 31, 2011 at 9:29 am

Hi Mavis, how lovely to see you as always.

I agree it is very difficult to succeed as a newbie without proper help, but like you… as I attempted to spell out, a person does have to be involved!

That was really the crux of the post. It is unfortunate when people ‘think’ their sponsor knows more than they do… I guess that is one of the ‘catch-22′ situations and sometimes a chance that has to be taken.

Bottom line though is there are so many resources online to help a person that there is little excuse to not gather at least some direction.

thanks for stopping by Mavis. Have a wonderful evening (your time)

Jayne

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Jayne Kopp May 31, 2011 at 9:30 am

btw Mavis, any clue as to why my Tweet Button isn’t counting? It’s driving me nuts! :-)

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Marcus Baker May 31, 2011 at 6:44 am

Hi Jayne,

Coming in at the end here I have to say agree with both your excellent advice and the follow up comments.

I have never liked the word “Sponsor”. In fact I dislike most network marketing marketing terminology. I understand that the business model is different but I don’t believe the odd vocabulary associated with this has done the industry any favors. It’s no wonder the ignorant think this totally legitimate business model borders on cult culture.

I think one of the biggest advantages and one of the biggest disadvantages is the “sponsorship” system. It’s great when it works and just frightful when it doesn’t.

But honestly how the heck can we expect the majority of total newbies who are encouraged to sign people up within 48 hrs to suddenly be accomplished mentors and teachers when they don’t even know what they are doing themselves. No wonder it’s often a diabolical experience for all concerned.

All the more reason why one should find someone who is competent and you only do this by doing your due diligence. But then the problem is how do those who are newbies get to the point of signing someone up if nobody will join them because they are too new?

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is wanting to sign up with some or other guru who has a huge presence online and not a scrap of time to help them. What’s the point?

I do believe that the best sponsors are in effect coaches and mentors and those who come from a background in this area are at a distinct advantage.

Fortunately I came from a training and coaching background so it was much easier for me to at least have an idea of what was expected of me.

I have to admit I am quite hard as a sponsor but that’s because I know what works for me and I am not wasting time mucking around. I tell people what to do, expect them to do it and hold them accountable so anybody who thinks they can’t deal with this is not a match for me.

Thanks for the great read!

~Marcus

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Jayne Kopp May 31, 2011 at 9:45 am

Marcus, I agree with all your points. I am like you in the way I think the word ‘sponsor’ sounds to salesy.. or something. I actually like the word ‘partner’ much better, but even that word, though warmer and fuzzier still can have different meanings to many.

It is a tough situation for a newbie to start sponsoring when they are new. Unfortunately, we do all have to start somewhere.

I like you have a history in training. I guess I started there somewhere too!

I have always had that mother-hen protective side so I have always taken the bull by the horns to learn as much as possible in order to have information to share.

I guess there are a lot of sides to this topic. I am more coming from the vantage point that many people do expect their ‘sponsors’ to build the business for them. I am just trying to get the message across that we have to take responsibility for your own outcome regardless.

Thanks for stopping by Marcus. Lovely to see you!

Jayne

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Joe Young May 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Hi Jayne,
The one thing that comes to mind is commitment. I have been in so many circumstances like Oliver said, a person wanted to sponsor me into this biz then off to another biz. They were not sponsor material. We lead by example. Sometimes what we teach by action is far greater than words. So, that is one thing I look for in a sponsor – commitment.

great post!
- Joe

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Jayne Kopp May 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm

HI Joe, absolutely! Commitment is huge. Biz Opp hoppers don’t help anybody, including themselves! I suppose you can never tell what a person will end up doing, but I suppose if the sponsor has been with the opportunity for a while, that might help give an idea into their ‘sticktoitness”….

Lovely to see you

Jayne

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Janet @ The Natural Networker May 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Jayne, aloha. Having been successfully involved in the network marketing industry for almost 2 decades, I absolutely agree with what you have said. And, of course, being me, I have a few more to add.

1. Unfortunately, Jayne, most people do not interview sponsors as you suggest. If they did many, many problems, drop-outs and disappointments would be avoided. Since a vast majority of the people who join our industry, do not come in understanding that they need to treat this as the business it is if they want to succeed, they do not interview sponsors as they would prospective employers or job opportunities. While not exactly the same thing, the principles are quite similar.

2. While ideally your sponsor would be your coach or your mentor, sometimes they too are new, drop out or are just not good teachers. With the online world, Jayne, I believe anyone can find a coach who can help guide them to success. All they have to do is ask because there are plenty of people and resources available–both free and at a reasonable price.

3. To be a success in any company takes work–no matter how great the company, comp plan, product/service or sponsor. That is the reason it is called netWORK marketing rather than the netWISH marketing so many people would prefer.

The bottom line, Jayne, is success is a “do it yourself” project.

Great advice, Jayne, on finding and working with the right sponsor.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday weekend. Aloha. Janet

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Jayne Kopp May 30, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Janet, I am so glad you are you and love to hear your thoughts.

I agree that a well thought out series of questions and considerations would save a lot of pain and frustration, and might even save people from getting ‘that bad taste’ in their mouth when they think of ‘network marketing’.

I also agree wholeheartedly that these days there are so many generous individuals who love to help others. That is one of the blessings of this business.

Success is definitely a do it yourself project. Nobody will build your business.

Lovely to see you as always.

Jayne

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Lou Barba@informationhighwaycardandgiftshop.com May 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Hi Jayne,

I think a sponsor should compare loosely to a parent figure. They have certain things they need to show their sponsored person, and then that person has to go on his own. That seems to be a healthy and happy relationship.

Lou

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Jayne Kopp May 30, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Hi Lou, that is a great analogy. Guide them the best you can and sooner or later they will have to have their wings clipped.

Thanks for your comment Lou. Lovely to see you.

Jayne

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Dr. Bob Clarke May 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Hi Jayne,

I agree with your points on choosing the right sponsor, especially one who fits your personality. I also think you’re right on about what a sponsor can reasonably be expected to do when you get started.

I will add one thing. I truly believe that a sponsor, above all should teach new team members how to be independent in their efforts. In other words, show you new members HOW to find the answer to their question. If you just give them the answer every time, they’ll become addicted to asking.

Rather, a far more effective sponsor is one who teaches his students how to find the answer themselves. It’s like the famous saying…

“Give the man a fish and he will have enough food for his dinner tonight. TEACH a man to fish and he will have food for a lifetime.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. Thanks for the great post, Jayne!

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Jayne Kopp May 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

HI Bob, I’m in total agreement. I guess I assumed this was implied when I mentioned ‘until you can take the training wheels off”… but with that said, I suppose we should “never assume” :-)

Yes absolutely… the idea behind my training site is to teach people how to “feed themselves” – a sponsor cannot be ‘married’ to every beckoning call.

Thanks Bob for pointing this out.

Best

Jayne

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Oliver Tausend May 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Hi Jane,

thanks for bringing up the question. I chose the right sponsor because he worked with the right system. The sad thing is that he chose another system later. If not for the great system my sponsor used (not his new one), I would have probably dropped out. Other than that, thanks to the system and the other people I knew upline and sideline, I continued building my business as if nothing had happened, although my sponsor “disappeared”. Upfront, I would have never thought that he would choose this path – and I wouldn’t have had a way to figure that out. Before I joined his system and his company under him, I tried to pitch him with the very system he joined later. And he said:” I pay 19, 95 $ a month and I am done.” That convinced me and he changed his point of view later, isn’t that interesting ?

The lesson ? Don’t worry about your sponsor and look at the system he’s working with. If this system works for you without them, it’s just perfect, is it not ?

Take care

Oliver

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Jayne Kopp May 29, 2011 at 11:38 am

Oliver, having a system is a very helpful ingredient. Even more awesome if the systems can be maintained with a non existent sponsor for sure.

The main part of marketing in my opinion, based on my experience is ‘lead generation’… in order to attract people to you and said system.

That is much of what I share.

The bottom line is, system or no system, it is upto the individual to “use” whatever tools are at their disposal.

There seems to be many hungry people who I have prepared a prime rib dinner for, however they have also wanted me to eat it for them. !

Thats an irritation for me.

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Jeanine Byers Hoag @DressingMyTruth May 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm

You are absolutely right, Jayne! There are responsibilities on both sides.

And it certainly is unfair for anyone to blame a sponsor for their own difficulties. It sounds like you, yourself, have gone above and beyond to help those on your team and many sponsors are willing to do the same.

What I have found, in the past, is that I was interested in promoting the business online but my sponsor didn’t have a clue how to go about doing that and neither did the company. As a matter of fact, I have a sponsor right now who is still struggling to start her first blog.

So there are times when your sponsor could be very, very helpful but still not be able to met all your needs. I think in those cases, it’s important to find other resources to help in promoting your business online.

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Jayne Kopp May 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Hi Jeanine, a sponsor who is ‘new’ to the industry also has to learn the ins and outs and I guess this poses an interesting ‘catch’ for those of us who feel a connection with them. We have to decide whether we are going to weather the storm and try to glean the information they ‘do’ share … and I guess also be prepared to stand on our own two feet and learn along side of them.

We all start knowing nothing… and have to learn. I do feel that as long as we all take responsibility and put in our own efforts, there are lots of additional resources if we are willing to find them.

(just as you have said).

Thanks for your comment Jeanine. Lovely to see your cute smiling face!

Jayne

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Jayne Kopp May 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Hi Elmar, “wow” the font on your comment is ‘green’ is it at your end? Hmm What have I done now??

sorry, I digressed, thanks so much Elmar for your comment. I for some reason knew you would agree. I do like to tell it like it is, no ‘ands’ ‘ifs’ ‘buts’ or ‘sugar in the gravy’ about it! LOL

I think to be fair, people should realize going in it is going to take some effort on their part and nobody will build their business for them.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. I am still working on a post idea or two that you can write while on holidays! :-)

Talk soon

Jayne

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Elmar Sandyck May 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Hi Jayne!

Very powerful points you are driving at here! And this is what I really appreciate about your posts: you tell it like it is. No-ifs, no buts!

I also believe that “trust” is a crucial determining factor in choosing a sponsor. Without this, why bother getting one in the first place?

Training. I firmly believe that a sponsor should provide the necessary training to prepare the mentee for the harsh realities of what lies ahead.

Lastly, as you rightfully ended your post here, it all boils down to the mentee. A sponsor can only do so much. The decisions that come after that fall entirely on the hands of the mentee. His or her success or failure is attributed to a number of factors and cannot be solely attributed to the sponsor.

Eventually, we are all responsible for all our actions.

Have a great weekend, Jayne!

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Jayne Kopp May 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Jayne Kopp May 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm [edit]

Hi Elmar, “wow” the font on your comment is ‘green’ is it at your end? Hmm What have I done now??

sorry, I digressed, thanks so much Elmar for your comment. I for some reason knew you would agree. I do like to tell it like it is, no ‘ands’ ‘ifs’ ‘buts’ or ‘sugar in the gravy’ about it! LOL

I think to be fair, people should realize going in it is going to take some effort on their part and nobody will build their business for them.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. I am still working on a post idea or two that you can write while on holidays! :-)

Talk soon

Jayne

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