After learning what ‘network marketing’ is from QNET Founder Joseph Bismark, and having a better grasp on how it affects our business-- thanks to V Partner TG Kintanar, we now have another successful and well-respected V Partner, David Sharma, to help us understand the importance of loyalty and dedication to anything we decide to do. In this interview, V Partner David sheds some light on why he believes in servant leadership and how it greatly improves lives.
How would you define network marketing?
Network marketing is something I got to know about very late in my life. I was skeptical when I was first introduced to this whole concept of network marketing because it defies all traditional business thinking. I need to thank Chief Pathman and Dato’ Sri Vijay; they made me open-minded and look at the big picture of how business is changing in the world.
Network marketing is, as people, including professionals, have called it, ‘the business of the 21st century.’ Can you imagine taking the oldest form of marketing, which is the word of mouth and combining it with the latest technology in the world today? The Internet reaches people all over the world; e-Commerce is the buzzword of today, and network marketing definitely is the future of business.
We also have so much misrepresentation out there, so at the end of the day, when you go out and you talk about the business, good business ethics starts with me – with the networker. How would you promote or pledge this to the network?
I continually emphasise the importance of sticking to the basics. The first thing I do whenever I meet people is ask them what their beliefs are. I often ask them, “Would you like somebody to do something to you that would hurt or harm you?” As the old English saying goes, “What goes around comes around,”. So I always tell them: Please understand, you must reach out to your prospects, you must reach out to the public in the most honest way. You need more than just one-time customers – you need people who would like to have a long-term relationship with you. You’re building a business. You need to have partners. You don’t want a partner who is only going to last with you for two weeks and get angry with you. You need somebody who’s going to be there helping you. Likewise, you help that person build a network ,a sustainable business.
How important is transparency? As in, being transparent, being upfront, and having the right intentions when you actually get started in this business.
Today, we live in a world where information is easily accessible, and an IR must understand that concept from the very beginning. We are in a business where we promote the use of the Internet and, as you know, almost everybody has access to a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. I can Google information from anywhere in the world, so why tell a lie? You’ll be found out so easily. This is why in QNET, we remind everyone not to give information they just made up themselves. Always refer to the website. Restate whatever information is there and stick to it. Don’t add nor remove anything.
What would be the one big mistake that you have seen repeatedly happen which has affected the reputation of the industry? What is it that the IRs have done, or the biggest mistake that a network marketer can do?
Such a mistake exists across many different industries, not just ours. There is an immense potential to earn substantial income – but they are impatient and don’t have faith in the process. Once they earn money, or they see people earning a lot of income, they think, “Okay, this person took three years to achieve that goal. I can’t wait for three years, so let me take some shortcuts.” These shortcuts are key factors for the big fall. Chief Pathman once told me when I used to network seriously years ago, “Always remember, David, slow is fast; fast is slow. So just go step by step. You will face rejections. You will face obstacles, but believe in yourself, in the company, in the products, and sooner or later you will succeed.”
A lot of our networkers have to deal with unsupportive people who are mostly, their closest family and friends. Sometimes it’s an uphill battle. What kind of advice do you have for those who are dealing with these kinds of challenges on a daily basis?
For starters, rejection is part of life. I always tell people in many of my trainings, to look at successful people – and understand that each one of them has experienced rejection at one point in their lives; that they’ve failed somehow, somewhere along their journey.
Failures, or rejection, is and will always be a part of this business, and on top of that, we must understand that we are in a new industry. People are still finding it difficult to understand how I could start a business with no investment; banking on the idea of encouraging someone else to buy your products, and deciding to make this either a supplementary or a primary source of income. The whole concept must be based on belief. And all these things come back to the point that one has to be honest – one has to be sincere.
Based on your experiences, what are the fun things about this business?
The best thing about this business is forming relationships. You start understanding family values; you don’t take people at face value. You go deeper and you learn to respect them. Other than that, we have various events. V-Con is one of our biggest yearly events. To come there and see members from all over the world, with unique cultural displays makes me feel like I’m earning an income and at the same time, I’m having fun. It’s unbelievable!
Based on your own personal experiences, what are the core strengths of network marketing. What are the new skills and tools that equips you for life?
First of all, network marketing makes an entrepreneur out of you. It makes you into a business person of the 21st and 22nd century. To become successful in network marketing, you need to keep up with technology. You need to focus on building relationships. Don’t worry about losing skills you have from your previous profession. I don’t think that’s such a critical issue, because people who become involved with network marketing and take it seriously has decided that he or she has found a purpose in life. The same applies to myself. For example, when I got involved in network marketing, I got involved because I needed to earn a certain amount of money for my children’s education. But as I started getting deeper into it, I realized that this is much more than just a business. This is my calling.
What are your thoughts on the importance of product training, or any other training we provide our networkers? How important is it?
Trainings are very, very important. Again, something I always mention. Network marketing is comprised of three important factors: 1) retailing; 2) building the network; 3) trainings. It’s critical to renew your knowledge in the business so you can share it with others. QNET has an entire range of trainings, and the V has personal-development trainings. We have ISB and so many events – V Leadership Camps, where it’s much more than just training you to earn money; it trains you to become a better person, a better member of the society.
What is the feeling you get at the end of the training? What are the things you have learned along the way from the people you train? What are some of the key things you’ve learned while doing these trainings?
One of the most important things I’ve picked up is there’s so much more for me to learn. Traveling to different countries, seeing people from diverse cultures, and different backgrounds, has made me realize that this is one business that spans across all borders. We always say, “We are one nation. It’s a global business.” Whether it is Africa, Central Asia, India, Asia, Europe, or the Middle East, everyone, especially the younger generation know that this has been going on for a long time. They have a great interest to seek and create their own type of business, and they crave a feeling of independence which they won’t get from a traditional job. This is something I’ve learned a lot during my trainings and my travels.