Wondering how you can use the popular sales funnel building software – ClickFunnels – for your network marketing business?
Then you’re in the right place!
Because you won’t just learn how to make use of sales funnels for Multi-level Marketing… But you will gain massive insights from someone who has been into network marketing for a very long time and connected with top players in this space.
Our guest today is Ilir Salihi – a good friend of mine who successfully runs both affiliate and network marketing business.
Right from the beginning all through to end of this interview – I was filled with excitement because I got discover a lot of things about the modern-day network marketing business.
It wasn’t what I really thought at first.
I’m very confident you’ll learn a lot from this interview and apply some of the strategies to your own business and MLM journey as a whole.
Q1: Tell us a bit about you and your background in the Network Marketing industry?
I’ve always loved marketing and sales. I think selling is one of the most important skills one can have in life.
One of my first jobs in high school was telemarketing. In college, I managed the marketing team for a home improvement company.
I hired and trained the door-to-door canvassing crews and built a telemarketing team…
As the manager, I was paid commissions on personal sales, as well as overrides for the sales generated
by the employees I hired and trained. This was my introduction to not only getting paid for my own work but in leveraging the activity of a large sales team.
When introduced to network marketing, I immediately saw the similarities in the compensation plan and knew that it was a business model that I wanted to plug into.
Q2: How did you get started in the world of Network Marketing and MLM?
I think pretty much everyone has been pitched an MLM at some point in their life. My first introduction came at a time that I was looking for it the most. It was 1999, I was about to finish college.
I knew that I was supposed to use my degree and get a REAL job, but there was nothing less thrilling to me than spending the next forty years at a soul-crushing desk job…
I knew there were better options out there. I just didn’t know what they were.
My girlfriend’s father at the time introduced me to this new company he was working with. It was a network marketing company that was launching on the internet. This was 1999, so the internet was new and exciting, haha…
He showed me a compensation plan and brought me to a hotel meeting where I met top earners in the company.
I remember one “top earner” had diamond studs in his shirt buttons… I figured, he MUST be successful, he’s covered in diamonds?!
It’s funny to me now, but as a hungry 22-year-old, I was impressed! I was all-in. It was a no-brainer.
This was a business model with location independence, that I could operate with just an internet connection. I wasn’t stuck in a building 40-50 hours a week.
No office politics, I could work with the people I wanted to work with… and there was no salary cap.
The products, systems, support, were all there. The only limits where my own work ethic, and how far I wanted to take it.
AND I was already experienced in building a profitable sales team in college, so I figured I could do it again…
I did what I think a lot of people do when they’re brand new and first introduced to network marketing… I signed up, I listened to my upline, made my warm list of friends and family, and started ‘dialling for dollars.’
I hit the phones, and ended up doing a lot of dialing, and NOT making a lot of dollars!
People were just NOT open to it…
I vomited the opportunity to anyone I came in contact with. I didn’t understand why EVERYBODY wasn’t jumping in immediately.
Friends started avoiding my calls… I joined what network marketers often refer to as the N.F.L. (No Friends Left). I struggled to duplicate my door-to-door sales success in MLM. I was embarrassed for chasing friends.
I could have written a book called “How to Lose Friends and Alienate Acquaintances.” It wasn’t long before network marketing took the back burner to other projects.
Q3: What brought you back to network marketing?
As mentioned before, I love marketing.
I redirected that love for marketing to other entrepreneurial efforts. For the last several years, I’ve mainly been affiliate marketing. I enjoy marketing products and services online. It’s a great way to earn passive income.
I was never opposed to the compensation structure of an MLM. My first network marketing experience was just NOT something I wanted to revisit… Chasing family and spamming friends on Facebook… IS NOT MARKETING!
If I could find a network marketing team that actually knew what they were doing online, I would be interested… I tried a couple of times over the years, but just wasn’t finding a team I could connect with.
As an affiliate marketer, I’ve been following Russell Brunson and Steve Larsen for a while… Steve Larsen is a marketer that I really respect. In addition to being the “offer king,” and a funnel Jedi, I learned that he was also building an MLM team…
Steve Larsen’s goal is to bring 21st-century digital strategies to network marketing. It was a mission statement that I could lock arms with.
When I found out that Russell Brunson, the CEO of ClickFunnels was working on this together with Steve, I didn’t give it a lot of thought, I just joined! I didn’t even look at the products or compensation plan.
I knew that Russell Brunson and Steve Larsen wouldn’t jump in if this wasn’t a level 10 opportunity.
Q4: What’s the difference between affiliate marketing and network marketing?
In reality, the two business models are NOT a whole lot different. You said it best in a recent conversation that MLM is affiliate marketing’s first cousin. It’s so true!
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products.
Network marketing is the same. Only you also have the option of building a sales team and earning an additional commission based on the product sales of the entire team.
That’s really the only difference, but people have strong opinions. MLM is so polarizing.
Threads will pop up in the ClickFunnels Facebook group all the time with people arguing over MLM…
Sometimes I wonder if the detractors in the group even know that Russell Brunson has made a fortune in MLM, and is also currently a distributor in one!
Q5: When did you start using ClickFunnels for network marketing?
Funnels are really what separates us from most other MLM teams. Sure, other network marketers are now using funnels, but we’re on the CEO of ClickFunnels’ downline. Steve Larsen, the former executive funnel builder at the company has designed our recruiting funnel, and is getting ready to launch a product funnel for us.
Russell Brunson is also good friends with the owner of our MLM company. He gets it. He wants us to use funnels. This is unique because a lot of network marketing companies have draconian rules that keep distributors from doing any real marketing online.
Steve Larsen handed us the new MLM recruiting funnel in January 2019. I started using it immediately to generate leads, build an MLM email list, and recruit people to join the team.
My personal team also has a couple of other funnels that we now give our downline. These are used for list building, making front-end affiliate sales, and nurturing prospects to join our downline.
Q6: How do you use ClickFunnels for MLM? Can you explain the processes from lead generation to the last phase of it?
As soon as I joined Russell and Steve’s downline, I started a blog with the goal of attracting both ClickFunnels members and also network marketers… It’s really an affiliate marketing blog that also covers network marketing content.
I’m using this site to rank content in search results and drive targeted prospects into our team recruiting funnel.
ClickFunnels has a great CULT-ure. Steve and Russell have a large and engaged following. People are going online every day to find out how to join their MLM. All I’m doing is getting my content in front of this audience. I promote joining our downline as if it’s an affiliate offer…
When you join my team, you get EVERY benefit of joining Steve’s downline, plus my bonuses…
There’s a statistic floating around that the average MLMer recruits two people in their entire career. Sometimes two to three people APPLY to join our team in a day.
There really is a hot audience that wants to plug into what we’re doing. I’m just focused on helping Russell and Steve’s ‘hot” audience get started.
After someone applies via the application funnel, I reach out and get on the phone to answer questions. If we decide its a good fit, I give them the link to join, and plug them into our team resources…
New distributors get access to Steve Larsen’s 30-Day Onboarding system. Steve’s created a membership site that trains all new recruits on everything from signing into their back office, to publishing content online.
New recruits learn how to set up the recruiting funnel, learn about Facebook ads, and so much more… It’s a lot of content.
He spent $20,000 putting this site together, and gives it to us for free…
I plug people into Steve and Coulton’s Facebook group, and also my private team group…
In my private team group, I show EVERYTHING I’m doing. I show my google analytics for my blog, what keywords people are searching for, what pages are driving the most traffic to the application funnel…
I hold nothing back. I want my team to out-recruit me. Network marketing is truly passive when your downline is winning. I give them all I can to help them do that.
Q7: What are the differences between the offline model and using Funnels for network marketing?
I’m not at all building a traditional “offline” MLM business. Offline MLM tactics include:
- Cold calling, 3-way calls, home meeting, hotel meetings
- Chasing friends and family
- Soliciting strangers, networking face to face…
- Making curiosity posts on social media
There isn’t a compensation plan that can pay me enough to do those things.
The thing is… nobody is opposed to the idea of making extra money.
If you’re an MLMer and you’re reading this… the reason people don’t join your MLM is that they are opposed to being “that guy.”
The guy I was the first time I tried direct sales. Ha!
They see you desperately trying to get them to your “party” and they know right away that it’s not something they want to do… They know your “party” is not going to be any fun! 🙂
People are applying to join our team because they like the idea of leveraging the benefits of network marketing… without doing any of the awkward stuff that doesn’t work…
Plus, the fact that we’re plugged in with Russell Brunson and Steve Larsen’s team just gives us that extra leverage in credibility.
Q8: What are the common challenges you face in your MLM business and how do you overcome them?
I’m almost 100% building this in the same way that I affiliate market any other product.
I’m publishing content online that attracts my ideal prospects and directing them to the funnel… The only difference between this and every other affiliate offer – is that in MLM we get on the phone with people before making the sale.
As an introvert, getting on the phone with applicants was initially a challenge for me. I would get anxiety before a call! But the more I talk to people, the easier it gets. Plus, getting on the phone with people has boosted my income in so many other ways…
For example, over the phone, I can better explain the benefits of joining with a higher ticket package…
Our MLM company highly incentivizes new reps to come on board with an Experience Pack. Of course, the higher priced packages also pay a higher commission…
Some people apply to join the team, but they LOVE their current MLM and don’t want to jump ship or join a second company. What they really want is to access more of Steve Larsen’s training. In this situation, I point them to Steve’s “Secret MLM Hacks” advanced marketing course…
It’s an excellent program, and it also pays a commission.
Every network marketer that applies to join the team is also a potential ClickFunnels referral…
Some applicants are “old school” network marketers that are tired of chasing “friends and family,” but also intimidated with software and building funnels.
They’re ready to sign up, but not sure they can learn the software. Getting on the phone assures them that we are real people and we’re available to help if and when they get stuck.
We’re building our MLM, but I’m also promoting Steve and Russell’s other products, plus building a recurring income stream by referring network marketers to the ClickFunnels software.
Steve’s affiliate program is also two-tiered, so applicants can join his affiliate program through me also… and I give them funnels I use specifically for that program…
Getting on the phone is a great way to connect with other like-minded people, help them in their business, and also build multiple streams of income.
Q9: That’s great, but what if marketers are interested but don’t want to call prospects?
I have a plan for those people also… You can focus on generating leads, and find closers to work the phones.
If I didn’t want to personally call my leads, I’d go to the ClickFunnels Facebook group and post something along the lines of “I’m generating leads for my business and looking for high ticket closers. If you have sales experience and can work the phones, comment here.”
The group is full of salespeople. Start interviewing people that respond to your post. Actually, do a phone interview, so they can “sell” themselves to you… You should be able to connect with a few closers willing to work your network marketing leads.
After they join your downline, you can create a system to rotate your leads between all closers…
Just make sure these closers take the business seriously. Keep stats on your sales team to ensure they’re actually closing leads…
I thought about building a sales team to run my leads. I may reconsider this in the future, but as of right now, it makes more sense financially to connect with prospects myself.
Q10: Who do you follow and learn from the most when it comes to MLM with funnels?
Steve’s Secret MLM Hacks podcast is really the best content for MLM and funnels. Even if you’re not in MLM… If you’re marketing anything online, this is a great podcast.
For marketing in general, I consume everything I can from Russell Brunson. For funnels, I spend a lot of time in Blake Nubar, Spencer Mecham, and Chris Fong’s Facebook groups.
When it comes to publishing and blogging, I read some of the bigger SEO blogs. I also listen to the Authority Hacker Podcast.
Q11: What are the favorite tools you use in your network marketing business?
Of course, ClickFunnels software for generating leads and creating sales funnels… I use Proof software on all of my funnels. WordPress is the best for driving organic SEO traffic to funnels… Ahrefs is one of my favorite SEO tools.
I spend zero dollars driving traffic to funnels. Blog articles I wrote a year ago are consistently bringing in applications to join our team every day.
Q12: In using ClickFunnels for network marketing – how do you structure your pages, offers, and copies for conversions.
Honestly, as far as structure goes, I don’t stray too far from templates… Steve Larsen for example, has created funnels for everyone from Tony Robbins to Marcus Lemonis. If he gives me a funnel… I’m not going to get too creative with it.
I’ve recruited a lot more than the “industry average” and if you look at my recruiting funnel @ joinmydownline.org, it’s pretty much as Steve gave it to us!
My big advantage in using ClickFunnels for network marketing is that I know my customer… I’m on the phone with people every day. If you know who you’re creating offers for, you know their pain points, that really helps with the success of your business.
Q13: From your experience in this field, what piece of advice would you give to a complete newbie who is new to using ClickFunnels for MLM or network marketing as a whole.
LEADS are the lifeblood of your network marketing business. There isn’t a better platform for generating network marketing leads than ClickFunnels.
If you’re brand new, with no list, no following, no brand, etc… there are so many ways to start generating leads fast.
While it can’t hurt, you do not have to position yourself as the network marketing expert or thought leader…
Most MLMers are doing this part-time and don’t have the resources to build a huge following quickly.
If you want to be the authority, Steve GIVES us that training. Free… It’s great for your business long term.
My advice to start building quickly, is to find the LOUDEST VOICE in your upline organization.
- Who’s making the most noise?
- Who’s attracting attention?
Use UberSuggest or another free keyword research tool… Are people searching for your company leaders online?
Since you’re on the “top earner’s” team, create content that attracts their warm market. Collect their audience, promote their offer, and give incentives for joining under you…
You could also reach out and interview this ‘top earner’ in your company. Create a funnel so that people have to opt-in to watch the interview. You can then nurture leads via an email sequence. There are so many options! But MLM is a team sport, so do not be afraid to leverage your upline.
Your upline leaders want to help. I talk to Russell Brunson’s upline almost every week.
Q14: Do you have any other advice for struggling network marketers?
#1 One – Be a Content Producer…
There are two types of people that join an MLM… Producers and consumers.
It’s great to consume content, read articles, listen to podcasts, and further your training. I’m always soaking up information.
BUT if you’ve been consuming for a little while, likely you know more than most of the newbies out there.
You know enough to start producing your own content.
Start publishing through whatever platform you’re most comfortable with. I’m an introvert, so I prefer blogging. But you can start a YouTube channel, a podcast…
Figure out what platform works best for you, and just start.
People get stuck in the consumer phase. You can read every marketing book ever written. Consuming does NOT move the needle. Start producing content!
#2 Two – Ask Not What Your Upline Can Do For You…
Be the downline that you want to recruit. I joined Steve Larsen’s downline and just started working hard. I never messaged him or asked for anything. I got on Steve and Coulton’s radar by crushing it.
I’m not only building a downline in his MLM, but also one of his top affiliates for his digital marketing courses. They’re on my Dream 100. I don’t mail them cute packages or brown nose; I just focus on making them money.
Fast forward several months, I was invited to Idaho for Steve’s OfferLab event. It was a mind-blowing weekend. I met some of the biggest marketers, 2Comma Club winners, and others I follow online.
If you’re like me, MLM is not your only stream of income, but treat it like a business. I know it’s cliché, but the best way to get on your Dream 100’s radar is to provide value without expecting anything in return.
Network marketing is a great way to connect with some top performers in the industry.
Q15: Do you have further training or resource where you teach people how to use ClickFunnels for modern-day network marketing?
Check out FreedomRep.com. That’s the site I use to build my network marketing team. I use it to blog about everything from funnels, blogging, affiliate marketing, and network marketing.
I really do love to know your main takeaways from this interview. Or maybe you have further questions and clarification to things on how to use network marketing with ClickFunnels or sales funnels in general…
Then drop your comments below.
You can connect personally with Ilir Salihi on Facebook (personal profile) and through his blog.
Check out the amazing funnel he and his MLM team uses in recruiting downlines on autopilot:
Recruiting funnel: https://joinmydownline.org
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