The Power of Networking

Back in 1963, Harvard social psychologist Stanley Milgram performed an interesting experiment. Building on earlier ideas about social networks by Michael Gurevich, a PhD student at MIT, Milgram performed a number of experiments where he sent packages to randomly selected individuals. The package included instructions asking them to forward it to a particular “target person”, but with the following proviso –

If you do not know the target person on a personal basis, do not try to contact him directly. Instead, mail this folder to a personal acquaintance who is more likely than you to know the target person.

Participants were also asked to return a pre-paid postcard to Harvard, so that the researchers could track the packages. After analysing the data, Milgram concluded that people in the United States are separated by, on average, about six people- the now famous Six Degrees of Separation. Milgram’s work has since been heavily criticised, primarily because most of the packages never arrived – people simply didn’t forward them on at all.

Recent research has seen a remarkable confirmation of the Six Degrees concept. Jure Leskovec of Carnegie Mellon University, and Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research studied the addresses of 30 billion conversations between more than 240 million people on the Microsoft Messenger network during June, 2006 – the largest social network ever analyzed. The average “degrees of separation”? 6.6

When showing the Amway business plan or doing a followup with a prospect, I often do an exercise where I give the prospect 5 minutes to write down as many names as they can think of, people they know. Most folk can come up with 40 or 50 names in that time. I then point out that if they can write down 50 names, so can most of those 50 people – a potential network of 2500. And they too can write down 50 names, giving a network of 125,000. And so on, and so on. I believe that in most Amway markets, 100 to 200 people registering as IBOs is usally enough to generate a Platinum sized business, which in the US averages around $50,000/yr income. In only three degrees of separation we’ve identified a potential network of 125,000 people. Who doesn’t think you can find, among 125,000 people, 100 to 200 who’d be interested in using and/or marketing top of the range health and beauty products? What about in six degrees?

You and I and everyone else are, on average, less than 7 people away from sponsoring virtually anyone on the planet into the Amway business. No matter what’s happening in your town, or your market, there is no doubt that over the next year there will be people who join Amway and go on to become Platinums, Emeralds, Diamonds, even Crown Ambassadors.

They’re in your social network now, on average less than 7 steps away. The question is – whose Amway network are they going to be in?

Comment below or discuss this post on Amway Talk

12 thoughts on “The Power of Networking”

  1. Hi,
    That type of question should really be directed to your upline. Even within one organisation, like BWW, differences in your LOS and even in your particular circumstances mean that any advice someone here gives you might be completely wrong, and even detrimental! So I recommend speaking to your upline.

  2. hi. i am from india. i am building the business in india and also in north america and canada. i am part of the bww team. i would like to understand more clearly as to the number of eagles that i have to create in each leg to make the leg go platinum.
    sarath humar

  3. Hi ibofightback,
    congrats on switching your site platform to wordpress, its a great move in my opinion. I just wanted to let you know ( incase don’t) that there is a great plugin for wordpress which enables commentors to reply to comment inline as opposed to replying five comments later. I would be hard for me to provide a url for the plugin since I’m using my moblie to write this as this is the only ‘fast’ internet conection I have in my summer home. However, you can google ‘wordpress threaded comments plugin’. I also believe that a known commenting service ‘Discuss’ (or something like that) just came out with a plugin for wp that allows the same functionality and it also allows you to import comments to you wp site incase you want to go back to using the default wp comment function and databases. I thinks this will help your visitors get more involved into conversation. (excuse my spelling as my mobile doesn’t have a spellcheck app).

  4. I’m in the middle of reading Tipping Point at the moment actually.

    Seminars, tapes and conferences make something a cult?

    Geez, better tell all those colleges and universities … :-/

    Of course you need to “build belief”. That has to happen in companies as well. Nobody joins a company and has instant belief in it’s products and corporate culture unless they’ve had experience with it before. They have to develop it.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a “TRUE BELIEVER” in Nutrilite. Amazing brand.

  5. I also read “Tipping Point” and there is one more thing about:
    The Tipping Point coining terms like Connectors, Mavenss, and Salesmen. In our business, with some fine-tuning, a person could be all three of those, and that’s where the Diamonds and higher pins emerge from.

    There is a MAJOR difference in the description above and what you do. These people are TRUE BELIEVERS in their mission, their product or service. In your business you need to BUILD this BELIEF in a skeptical prospect, through an extensive series of seminars, tapes, meetings and 3 day conferences.

    Thus the claim of “CULT-Like” tactics. There is a BIG difference.

    Now you know.

  6. No, I have no idea what goes on in all the different organizations. Unlike yourself I make no claims about organization for which I have no experience.

    I’ve already told you this isn’t a corporate run blog. If you can deal with that, that’s your problem.

    If you’ve been in Amway any length of time you should have at least a slight understanding of how the business works. You may have notice North American sales haven’t changed much the last ten years. You may also have noticed that every year there are dozens of new diamonds and hundreds and hundreds of new platinums.

    I can’t speak for Yager group, maybe it was/is going backwards. But if there’s hundreds and hundreds of new platinums then someone is growing, that much is clear.

  7. Your implication then is that YOU KNOW what goes on in DOZENS AND DOZENS of organizations, and THOUSANDS of lines of sponsorships?

    Thank you, you’ve just CONFIRMED this IS a CORPORATE run blog. Now I KNOW.

    And for your information, I was 10th in depth from Yager, and 3 of those were Diamonds and Double Diamonds, not even in the business anymore. In fact they admitted this business was “going backwards” for YEARS.

    And your advertising, not only does it SEND people to find the TRUTH, it REMINDS how many untold OTHERS of WHAT was done to them.

    Finally, since this is YOUR parade, I don’t want to rain on it. Feel free to remove my posts, as there was no way to say this privately.

    Now you know.

  8. wkranowitz – I’m not paid, none of my companies/LLC/whatever are paid, nor are any of my friends or relatives paid by the corp or IBOAI or any BSM companies or any diamonds or anyone else to write this site.

    Your puerile use of the word “pyramid” goes to show how ignorant and closed minded you are about how Amway operates.

    Your arrogance in claiming to know what happens in dozens and dozens of organisations and thousands of LOSs shows you have little interest in even trying to understand it. You’re just interested it telling the world about your minor experience in some minor part of Amway.

    Take your ignorance and hubris elsewhere please.

  9. I read Tipping Point, and I credit Gladwells 2nd book “Blink”, (1st published in 2004) with helping me get OUT of the Amway Motivational Org TRAP-CULT.

    It explains that your “gut feelings” are actually comprised of hundreds of computations by your mind, and you should pay more attention to and not be so dismissive of your “Gut Feelings”.

    The 6 degrees theory is persuasive and true, the problem is that is has NO BEARING on the viabilility or profitability of your business. Seven people join, and TEN quit. You are simply promoting the Pyramid. The Pyramidists eventually become CULTISTS

    And by the way, this blog has “Corporate sponsor” written all over it, no matter what you say. Your insistence that “you aren’t paid” probably means that “your LLC or your Corporation is PAID, and NOT YOU”, which means you are technically correct. Anyone that has been ‘in’ your business knows full well the inuendo, exaggerated projections, implied success, and borderline truths that are taught by your “Independent” Organizations.

    Finally, I don’t recall Gladwell supporting ANYTHING Amway does.
    What exactly do you mean Gladwell’s thesis supports Amways Business Model?

    And a suggestion. Your TV commercials should be promoting the CORPORATION are a caring, responsible, generous corporate citizen, instead of telling people to contact an Ibo for overpriced products. You need IMAGE improvement, NOT reminders of what all your “independent business owners” are trying to do, which is promote your “6 degrees of separation (pyramid)”.

  10. Brilliant post, raises the level of discussion more than seven degrees!!

    Following on Migram’s work, Duncan J. Watts published Six Degrees (2004), another landmark work on how networks function and degrees of separation in a variety of disciplines including social networks, and also scale-free networks.

    Malcolm Gladwell extended Milbank’s ideas on this in his best seller, The Tipping Point coining terms like Connectors, Mavenss, and Salesmen. In our business, with some fine-tuning, a person could be all three of those, and that’s where the Diamonds and higher pins emerge from.

    Gladwell’s thesis also supports the revised business model happening in the UK, and also in North America which requires that customers be a key part of any “network” being built even if they appear to be terminal points on that network.

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