Applying “Moneyball” Principles to Your Network Marketing Business – Part I

Did you watch the award-winning 2011 Brad Pitt movie “Moneyball”? I’ll assume you did because the movie was a box office sensation, selling more than 13 million tickets. If you didn’t see it, go rent it today. It’s not just a baseball movie, it’s a business movie.

moneyball book

But the business principles subtly taught in the movie “Moneyball” don’t come close to the business principles taught in the book the movie was based on by Michael Lewis “Moneyball: the Art of Winning an Unfair Game”. For the remainder of this article, when Moneyball is mentioned, I am referring to the book, which dives much deeper into practices a Network Marketer can use for their MLM business.

A few of the major concepts of Moneyball include:

  • Never apply a prejudice to a person’s or idea’s perceived weaknesses. In other words: never judge a book by its cover.
  • Value a person, program or idea based on statistical analysis, never anything else, including potential. In other words: evaluate business decisions based on PROOF and not faith.
  • Provide enough time to people and concepts for them to prove or disprove their success. In other words: if something isn’t working right away, be patient and allow plenty of time for that something to prove itself.
  • Choosing the right personnel. Focus on education and solid data instead of look and perceived potential.
  • Dedicate as much time and effort into the development of your business as you dedicate to the execution of your business. In other words: preparation is as important as execution.
  • Continually adapt. As the competition wises up to your tactics, adapt and overcome with new measurables.

The Moneyball concepts, as revealed in Lewis’s book, have been applied by small and large business owners worldwide to improve their workplace efficiency, increase revenue, and find extraordinary talent in places nobody looks. An IT company started using the Moneyball ideas as soon as Lewis’s book was published, and it led to success. As revealed in this article by Hubspot co-founder Darmesh Shah, “15 Brilliant Business Lessons Taught By Moneyball”, the new media giant started on the principles in Moneyball.

As Business Insider pointed out earlier this year, Moneyball has become the instruction manual for Human Resource professionals, you know, the folks who decide which job candidates are of high quality and will produce successful results. Heck, one of my best friends just finished his master’s degree in Human Resources at Utah State University and he said Moneyball was mandatory reading, a textbook, for his cornerstone recruiting class. It’s even a registered textbook in the Journal of management Education. My point is that if you haven’t began applying Moneyball to your MLM Network Marketing business, you’re behind the curve (pun totally intended). Use these Moneyball concepts to create effective strategies that will boost your downline and your bottom line.

Don’t Judge a Prospect by its Cover

As a Network Marketer, you meet a lot of people. You make judgments of those people in deciphering who may or may not be interested in joining your downline. And among those interested, you try to decipher who may be a successful downline.

Let’s put an anecdote to this concept: you have two prospects who have shown legitimate interest in joining your MLM downline. One is a bubbly, outgoing saleswoman who works for commission at a large tech company. She has a ceiling at her job and seeks additional income doing what she does best: selling. Your other prospect is an unemployed 20-something “hermit” who lives in his mother’s basement. He is very introverted and quiet, but he spends a lot of time online and hopes to make some cash in your downline through his online friends.

The better prospect is obviously the saleswoman, right? She is outgoing and talkative, she should have several working connections, she has sales experience, she knows how to close a sale.

That’s where Moneyball comes in. Just because the saleswoman is a professional seller, doesn’t mean she has the right connections; the people who will develop their own downlines. And even if she has those connections, her experience is in selling products, not in selling selling. She will add two dozen customers to your downline, but none of them will add to their own downline, and eventually those customers will fizzle out like they always do.

growing your network marketing downline

Meanwhile, the pimply 20-something plays World of Warcraft every day with people just like him. He graduated from college in computer sciences and keeps relationships with fellow alumni just like himself, many of whom are in situations like his own: they can’t find work and their network is all digital. That network does not need to meet in person to finalize agreements like the saleswoman. That digital network does not need a make-up caked face and 5-inch heels to tell them that they can make money with your MLM. Nope, that digital network will build your business online, and the hermit crab you added to your downline will sign up five of his World of Warcraft friends, who will add their friends to their own downlines, and so on. And they won’t leave because this is their best shot at making money from their mother’s basement.

I’m not the first to suggest that introverted people can be huge successes in your Network Marketing downline. MLM Help Today wrote about introverts’ potential in their blog. Robert Hawthorne, a self-identified introvert and MLM success, added to that in his blog by saying:

“It’s not that we (introverts) are ‘odd‘ or strange people, it’s just that we are wired differently and process human interaction and energy differently. To us, extroverts are the strange ones because they actually feed on the energy that drains us! But once you understand this key difference in people, you also know how to talk to people and the best places to do so. For me, even though I, of course, attend meetings and events because I know how critical they are to building your business and team, my preferred choice to building my Network Marketing business is via the Internet and phone. Sure, if face-to-face meetings are needed, I’ll be there. Need me to go to your home meeting and speak? You got it. Need me to speak in front of a few thousand people? Sure, why not. But don’t expect me to be mingling around for hours after, especially if I have to speak.”

Judging a book by its cover may be the difference between a successful Network Marketing business and a dead one. The same can be said for certain Network Marketing strategies. Many newcomers to the MLM world are taught by their upline that they should pitch their MLM on Facebook to all their friends because, after all, the downline’s Facebook friends are not the upline’s friends, so why would they care if the downline ruins their social life with one status update? The downline rep judges that strategy’s perceived potential: a thousand friends, all just like me, all want to be successful. They try it out and wind up receiving zero prospects from their efforts while being un-friended by a few dozen friends. Ouch. Their perception got in the way of their success. Instead, the newbie should’ve done some research to find out if Facebook is an effective Network Marketing tool statistically, and if so, how to do it statistically successful. And if they can’t find any data to justify the approach, they probably shouldn’t try it at all, which brings us to the next Moneyball concept.

baseball pitch related to network marketing

Just remember the story of Chad Bradford, a pitcher for the Oakland A’s and a focal point in the Moneyball book and movie. Bradford had phenomenal pitching stats while in the minor leagues for the Chicago White Sox. So phenomenal that the White Sox used him in the major leagues on occasion, and when they did, Bradford performed near perfection. But he threw funny. Really funny. A mix of side-arm and underhand. So whenever the Sox’ coach watch Bradford strike out the opposing team, he figured it was because they were laughing too hard to swing at his pitches, so the coach kept sending Bradford back to the minor leagues. He was judged by the White Sox coach to be unworthy of the major leagues because of his throwing motion. So the A’s signed him to a major league contract and used him religiously. Sure enough, he continued to dominate the major leagues as a low-paid, funny-throwing pitcher.

The moral of the story: if it gets results, keep it, no matter how ugly it looks.

Track Statistical Data to Prove Value to Your MLM Business

Something doesn’t work, or not work, without proof that it’s working or not working. When you signed those two downline reps mentioned in the last section, the introvert and the extrovert, the extrovert may have signed up 20 downlines, but the introvert only signed up five downline reps. That means the extrovert is the more valuable downline rep, right? Wrong. You must analyze and clarify your data, find data within the data, to decipher what has value and what does not. The introvert’s five downlines were far more motivated and successful at creating their own Network Marketing business, so they each signed up five downlines, who signed up five downlines. The numbers prove that while your extrovert signed up more third-tier downlines, your introvert expanded tier upon tier to turn your Network Marketing business into a major success.

networking downline - what works

One great Network Marketing strategy that can be easily and progressively measured is email marketing. You can easily measure open rates and click-thru rates to find out which opportunities, which lists, and which groups of recipients will maximize your bottom line.

There are several other ways to measure your MLM success, and there are several articles to help you get started tracking that data. This video and article from The Leaders Club is a good starting point.

Provide Enough Time for Data to be Meaningful

In Moneyball, we’re looking for proof. We want proof that a hitter can hit, that a pitcher can pitch. We want proof that a downline is a dud, that a networking tactic is dead. Just because a tactic performs poorly five times in a row, that does not mean it will perform poorly five more times.

Baseball seasons are 162 games long. Players go on hot streaks and cold streaks and their value can’t be measured during either. Similarly, a marketing tactic must be exercised to exhaustion before it can be accurately measured.

time is money - patience in network marketing

The problem with this Moneyball principle in MLM is that most Network Marketers join an MLM because they see it as a get-rich-quick opportunity, so they do not allow any time to pass before they expect to see results. Aurore Jones reported that 97 percent of Network Marketers respond to get rich quick schemes. We’re in it for fast money. Well stop. A real entrepreneur puts in years of hard work with little pay before they eventually break through and become millionaires. You think your MLM Network Marketing business should be different? According to the Small Business Administration, more than 50 percent of small businesses fail within five years. Your MLM businesses shouldn’t take that long to get off the ground, but you may have to work hard with no results for a while before you see slow and steady growth.

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