How To Choose the Best Product To Sell
Choosing the right company with
the right product at the right time!

Entrepreneur Magazine Online — Ask the MLM Expert

by Michael L. Sheffield
CEO The Sheffield Group

Question: I'm looking at several network marketing businesses and can't decide which one is best for me. How important is the product in my decision?

Answer: The most successful independent distributors have developed the skill of choosing the right company with the right product at the right time. You know the saying "timing is everything"? It's especially true in the business world. Your ability to identify new products or trends can accelerate your potential financial success. This is especially important if you want to place yourself at the beginning of the life cycle of exciting, new, easy-to-sell products

Of course, every company will tout its products as the latest and greatest. But we all know how critical timing can be in terms of achieving your "short cut" to financial independence. Last year's hot item may be this year's "me too" product in the highly competitive world of copycat marketers. Before investing your time and money into a new company just because of a new product, make sure the product is truly unique. Finding out too late that you have numerous competitors can make the difference between a fun-filled experience and plain old hard work.

New product ideas and concepts must be based on an accurate assessment of consumer needs, wants and expectations. A company generating new product concepts and marketing systems has to properly position the product to create enthusiasm among its distributors. Finding exciting new products should be a high priority for every serious distributor looking to "catch the wave" of a new product trend.

Here are nine key questions to ask when evaluating each product:

  1. Does the concept, which differentiates this product, fill a need or satisfy a want of the customer?
  2. Will the customer perceive a legitimate value in his or her purchase?
  3. Will the customer recognize quality in the same way he or she does with national brand names?
  4. Does the product offer the customer superior performance compared to similar products already available?
  5. Does the new product solve a problem for the customer that is not addressed by similar products?
  6. Is there a convenience factor that places the new product ahead of all similar products?
  7. Is the product consumable or does it offer some type of residual income stream?
  8. Are profit margins sufficient to sustain your efforts?
  9. Does the company provide you with satisfactory support materials and sales aids to make your job easier?

If you're fortunate enough to find a company with a new product that inspires you to answer the above questions with a resounding "yes," the next step is to look at the company's business model and support systems (see my previous columns). Knowing how to ask the right questions is the most important step in finding the answers that will help you make educated business decisions.


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About the Author:

Michael L. Sheffield is the CEO of The Sheffield Group, a full-service direct sales and multi level marketing (MLM) consulting firm. He is a Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Multi Level Marketing International Association and in 2001 he was inducted into the MLMIA Hall of Fame. He and the Sheffield team have assisted in hundreds of national and international MLM corporate start-ups as well as offered a full line of services for established direct sales companies including consultation on MLM Website development. As the most noted expert on compensation plans, he has been a guest lecturer on the subject for the DSA, University of Illinois, University of Texas, Berkeley and Harvard Alumni Association. He has helped launch over 200 new products marketed by direct selling companies around the globe. He can be contacted at 480-968-6199, The Sheffield Group, 2239 N. Hayden Road, Suite 103, Scottsdale, AZ. 85257, website address:


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