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Multi-level marketing, abbreviated as MLM, also called pyramid selling, network marketing and referral marketing, is a controversial marketing strategy for the sale of products and/or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce (also called participants, and variously known as “salespeople”, “distributors”, “consultants”, “promoters”, “independent business owners”, etc) selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants is derived from a pyramid-shaped commission system.
The Internet has made it so easy now. In the old days you had to actually visit people, or at least call them, to pitch your fabulous new opportunity. Face-to-face marketing is still practiced, but it is not so common these days. Besides, no one really loves the idea of having someone over, so they go online where everyone can be as safe as they want. They create sites with videos, testimonials, and pictures.
One of the challenges of MLM is convincing prospects to buy or join with you as opposed to the other reps that live in the neighborhood or they know online. You're selling the same stuff as thousands of others, meaning consumers have a choice. You need to do something that makes you unique compared to everyone else. Give people a reason to choose you over other reps. Some options include more personalized service, starting your own rewards program, or something that offers greater value.
Everyday, people get sucked into the lure of MLMs (“multi-level marketing” or “network marketing”) and I can’t stress enough the need to stay far, far away from them. These include Herbalife, Arbonne, LuLaRoe, Younique, Rodan + Fields, and Amway among many others. I understand the need for flexibility, especially if you are a full-time student or are raising young children. Believe me, I also understand getting a job that allows you to create your own schedule and work remotely takes Hunger Games level competition. I am always surprised when I see college educated women sucked into these things. But it’s telling about other issues, like childcare, maternity leave and corporate culture in the US. MLMs are pyramid schemes, and are extremely predatory because the only way to make any money is to sign up more and more people under you which will just ruin your social relationships and make you a pariah where it matters most: your friends and family members.
A few people do make big money from MLMs. And these people are often trotted out in promotional videos, celebrated at annual events, and very publicly ‘rewarded’ with prizes like prestigious cars (although these ‘prizes’ aren’t as generous as they first appear – you simply get a discount on the lease which you must take out in your own name, and if your sales fall, the discount ends…). You also need to promote the company on the car they ‘give’ you.
The worst thing you could ever do for your personal life and friendships would be to make your future meetings awkward. It is suggested to leave your friends and family approach tucked away, for just a little while, at least until you understand proper network marketing prospecting and recruiting better (if you have the support and backing of an experienced network marketer there with you, then go for it).
Hey Erica, I’m a doterra gal also. Just over 3 years ago I just wanted to see if these hippie oils really worked from there I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and I share with whomever will listen. I recently read this in the leadership magazine and I love it. “An oil for every household, a drop to change a life”. That is my goal. I never plan to get rich off my sharing but if I can change a life, help someone along the way it will be worth my time.
I found your article interesting. My wife and I have been involved with AdvoCare since November 2011. Even if I never make another dime in AdvoCare, I will continue to use the products because they have worked and continue to work for us. What I find interesting is the statistic that the majority – 99.7% in MLM actually “lose” money. What is the context of that statistic? That would mean A: the majority of MLM companies don’t have a buyback or return policy B: people that get started with MLM’s have to take on much more inventory that they are able to sell or C: this statistic is not accurate. I believe that C is the right answer. I do agree there are flaws in the MLM industry just as there are flaws in every industry. However, I believe that the MLM industry has made huge improvements in recent years and we do have a better way. People are the variable. When you have a great product, a passion and purpose that drives you everyday, are teachable and coachable, and love others as much as you love yourself, you can be successful in this business. Through the process of investing in your own personal development and learning to serve others, you are able to lead others to do the same. Thanks again. I look forward to reading more from you in the near future.
What is the lat word in CLOSE? Lose. And that is the way many distributors look at closing. If they don't close the prospect, they have lost. Let's shift paradigms. You don't need to close. You need to OPEN possibilities to the prospect, and OPEN a future that they have only been dreaming about. Open their minds and heart to what CAN BE, not just what is.And after you do that, and If they tell you no, it is not you that is closed, but the prospect is. They are closed to creating their Dreams and building a life of Success. They live a life of permanent hope, not Powerful success.
The Federal Trade Commission warns "Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. Some are pyramid schemes. It's best not to get involved in plans where the money you make is based primarily on the number of distributors you recruit and your sales to them, rather than on your sales to people outside the plan who intend to use the products."
Getting leads is just one step in the sales cycle. Next, you need to qualify them to determine if they're a good fit, then make your pitch, and finally, follow up. Many network marketers don't like the sales process, but it doesn't have to be hard or scary, especially if you start with leads who've come to you specifically to know about what you offer.
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One of the greatest pitfalls most network marketers fall into is the lure of huge potential income from an MLM business. Therefore, they end up not paying enough attention to what the company is asking them to sell. In MLM, as in any other industry, you can’t sell something effectively that you aren’t proud of. You won’t be enthusiastic about it, and potential customers will be able to smell that lack of enthusiasm from a mile away.
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Yet there must be something to the business model, since I see some big business icons like Donald Trump are joining in the MLM parade. I've written about these before, and I'm still looking for one that feels entrepreneurial. Who has a convincing story that will make me feel good and pure as I recommend their MLM to my best startup clients? Do you love them or hate them?
A 2018 poll of 1,049 MLM sellers across various companies found that most sellers make less than the equivalent of 70 cents an hour. Nearly 20 percent of those polled never made a sale, and nearly 60 percent earned less than $500 in sales over the past five years. Nearly 32 percent of those polled acquired credit card debt to finance their MLM involvement.
Multi-level marketing (simplified Chinese: 传销; traditional Chinese: 傳銷; pinyin: chuán xiāo) was first introduced to China by American, Taiwanese, and Japanese companies following the Chinese economic reform of 1978. This rise in multi-level marketing's popularity coincided with economic uncertainty and a new shift towards individual consumerism. Multi-level marketing was banned on the mainland by the government in 1998, citing social, economic, and taxation issues. Further regulation "Prohibition of Chuanxiao" (where MLM is a type of Chuanxiao was enacted in 2005, clause 3 of Chapter 2 of the regulation states having downlines is illegal. O'Regan wrote 'With this regulation China makes clear that while Direct Sales is permitted in the mainland, Multi-Level Marketing is not'.
Multi Level Marketing (MLM) is a business model or marketing strategy in which the distributors' income includes their own sales, and a percentage of the sales group they recruit, which is commonly known as their ‘downline’. Customers can also sign up as a distributor to sell the company’s product. Usually, the sign up fee will be the price paid to purchase the product.
I don’t care where doTERRA in ranked. The oils are good, but the company SUCKS. It is all built on big bloggers. Don’t have a big blog – you’re going to make pennies while others demand you make a minimum $100 a month order. The company itself has great customer service, but try to reach compliance or tell them that your uplines are making fake accounts or ordering off multiple people in the downline just to ensure they make bonuses and NO ONE listens. It’s supposedly geared to help the underdog succeed – this is a gimmick.
Thanks for this post. Very helpful. I do like direct sales; one reason for this is that it helps keep alive that age-old tradition of people interacting face-to-face (rather than mainly through texting and social media). For that reason, I think MLMs should target the lonely Millennials. Anyway, I was a member/distributor of Advocare for over 10 years and still miss the products and the activities in the company, now that I am temporarily out. I still plan to sign up again when I can afford it (long story–I’ll spare you). I am now involved in Melaleuca, and I must say in their defense that Melaleuca’s products are actually not overpriced. Because Preferred Customers are not only not expected, but also NOT ALLOWED to turn around and sell the products at the retail price, everyone pays the same low prices. (Granted, one can indeed go to the website and buy directly from the company if they do not want to become a Preferred Customer. Why would someone do that when the annual membership is only $19? Only if they do not want to commit to the minimum monthly requirement for Preferred Customers.) Public, keep this in mind! Don’t be fooled by the rebels who are selling old Melaleuca products on Amazon for way above the retail price!! You’re much better off buying fresh products directly from the factory, even if you pay retail price. Just sayin. My big question: What about Tupperware? I have been a Tupperware consultant for about 6 months, and I have found it to be extremely difficult to keep business going. The directors training me have said that Tupperware is the second most widely recognized brand name in the world, second only to Coca-Cola. If that is the case, why is it so hard to find people willing to host Tupperware parties? Why does it seem so hard to sell? Also, is it just me…Or, does Tupperware’s compensation plan stink?
Although each MLM company dictates its own specific financial compensation plan for the payout of any earnings to their respective participants, the common feature that is found across all MLMs is that the compensation plans theoretically pay out to participants only from two potential revenue streams. The first is paid out from commissions of sales made by the participants directly to their own retail customers. The second is paid out from commissions based upon the sales made by other distributors below the participant who have recruited those other participants into the MLM; in the organizational hierarchy of MLMs, these participants are referred to as one's down line distributors.
Here's my best advice: Find a mentor. While your mentor may be your direct sponsor or part of your upline, he or she may also be an independent advisor who's in no way connected with your MLM company. Some, such as a consultant, may charge you a small fee and help you evaluate various business opportunities in order to select the right one for your special talents. Others may mentor you for free and possibly guide you to opportunities they feel good about. It's part of their job to earn your confidence and respect. You may choose to be sponsored by them in one of their favorite companies, but don't feel obligated. Don't forget to check their references and dig into their credentials.
We are one of the top companies on the internet for helping you find the MLM leads that you need. Whether you want fresh or aged leads, national or local leads, we have exactly what you will need to build your distributor network exactly the way you want to. Whenever you order MLM leads from us, you can rest assured that none of your exclusive leads will be shared with anyone from the same company or business opportunity that you are promoting. Along with our real-time delivery of your lists, freshness options and total control over your account settings, you can get terrific MLM leads fast!
The Federal Trade Commission issued a decision, In re Amway Corp., in 1979 in which it indicated that multi-level marketing was not illegal per se in the United States. However, Amway was found guilty of price fixing (by effectively requiring "independent" distributors to sell at the same fixed price) and making exaggerated income claims. The FTC advises that multi-level marketing organizations with greater incentives for recruitment than product sales are to be viewed skeptically. The FTC also warns that the practice of getting commissions from recruiting new members is outlawed in most states as "pyramiding".
Q: I'm new to MLM but with a good company with a long history of success. I'm confused and a little overwhelmed by the complexities of the business. We have hundreds of products, catalogs of training tapes and videos, and a big Web site where my customers can order products. There seem to be a million ways to build a business. I don't know where to start. What do you suggest?
You absolutely need to set boundaries or you’re going to get burned out before you ever discover your true potential. What does this look like? Maybe you limit yourself to spending one weeknight and one weekend morning on your business. Sure, there will be exceptions, but you need to schedule in time where you’re not in “business mode” so you can enjoy hobbies, self care, and of course, your loved ones without your mind being elsewhere.
One of the benefits of MLM is the ability to bring in new business builders and profit from the sales they make in their business. While some see this as “using” others, the reality is that you’re being rewarded for helping others succeed. But for them to succeed, you need to see your role not as racking up as many recruits as possible, but in being a leader and trainer. The focus then is on the success of those you help in the business, not on you.
Thank you for your article. I am also with doterra and I never in my life thought I would do something like this. The reason I started was because of health issues that led me to the oils. I have been an RN for 23 years and I feel more free and excited to share about health than ever. If you are going into something to get rich quick, I think that is the wrong attitude. I think most of my fellow doterra wellness advocates, have come to the same realization as me. I believe most of us started out trying to help ourselves and our families. I left my nursing job of 17 years in Feb, not because I am making enough money to replace my past income, but because I truly love helping others and I love the company and what it stands for. I can’t argue about MLM’s because I truly don’t care about that side of it. Maybe I am wrong to think that way. I hope that this ride doesn’t end anytime soon because the difference that doterra is making in my life, and the lives of those around me, is amazing. Thank you again for your information and your viewpoint.
Melinda F. Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady is one of America's leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. Forbes Magazine named her #1 woman for entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. She hosts #SmallBizChat Wednesdays on Twitter 8-9pm ET for emerging entrepreneurs. She also publishes a resource blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com Melinda is also bestseller author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works. Her latest ebook, How To Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online was released in 2012.
As non-employees, participants are not protected by legal rights of employment law provisions. Instead, salespeople are typically presented by the MLM company as "independent contractors" or "independent business owners". However, participants do not possess a business in the traditional legal sense, as the participants do not hold any tangible business assets or intangible business goodwill able to be sold or purchased in a sale or acquisition of a business. These are the property of the MLM company.
But more than product selling MLM/NM provides a lucrative option to earn great part/full-time money and most importantly passive income. Once you sign up somebody in the business by selling a product and he signs-up someone else and so on, you create a network of people who are recommending a product or offering a business opportunity thus generating sales for the company and also earning 10-125 of the total sale happening through your network. In MLM u get percent of every sale that happens in your group of people directly (when u personally sell to someone) or indirectly (your team member sells to someone). So, if you have a network of 10 people and your team sold product worth $1000 then you would earn $100-150 as commissions. For direct sale u get more money.
80. The MLM presenter many times gets out the dump truck, backs it up to the prospect, and then unloads a TON of information on them. NOT! The prospect is NOT a landfill. Present the information one bite size piece at a time, and give them a chance to digest it. Too much info will turn the prospect off. And they will be thinking, "Do I have to learn ALL THIS?"
When it comes to lead services, most businesses do not have as much to offer you as we do. In fact, most of our competitors do not even offer true qualified leads. Instead, they pull as much information as they can from public records, especially from secondhand public records databases that may not be accurate in the first place. After all, when was the last time you saw one of those “data aggregator” websites that was actually legitimate?
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Hi Ray, All great tips! I love tips no. 7 most. Yes, I agree that it is the biggest of all the Network Marketing tips. We will be forever working on our business if we do not have systems already in place so that ANY new team members can get training and success tips easily. The 'leader' is in trouble. I first learned this from Tom Challan who had found himself trapped in the 'leadership role'! Excellent insights, Ray, about true leadership!
“The 2nd value I learned, was that I wasn’t the hero in the story, I was the guide, mentor, coach, and my clients were the real heroes. I realized there was an evil villain hurting my clients, and they were seeking someone and something to help destroy it. My #1 priority went from reaching my sales quota, to listening and producing a solution for my heroes to kill the pain in their lives. Once I learned these two sales secrets, my closing ratios exploded as did the referral sales. I went from closing sales, to creating raving fans.” - Troy Dooly
84. What creates IMPACT? Touching what people Value and hold dear, with the Hope of Increasing it and making it Larger in their life. Find out what people VALUE in their life, then wrap your presentation around it. "This will help you have more time with your children" or "This will allow you to give more money to your church," or "This will guarantee you having more control over your future."
Leads should come in the form of people that are likely to work with you. When you get leads for free, they may not be targeted. That’s okay though, you can target these people yourself, and it’s free to do if you’re willing to put some time into learning marketing. Don’t just get a logo slapped together and act like you’re an awesome company with all kinds of things you don’t really have in place. However, you can work with leads that you target by learning to make a splash in places like review websites and other places people read more about companies.
Video – Having video on a page can work for you or against you depending on what information is provided in the video posted on the lead capture page. The video should NOT be a business presentation. Again, it should pick the interest or curiosity of the prospect to entice them to complete the webform so that you can capture a lead. General testimonials can work well in video. They should not be specific to any product or company by name but should relate to the prospect how it has worked for them. Video on a lead capture page is an option; not a requirement. We’ve been successful in generating targeted mlm leads without video on the lead capture page.
Don’t jump ship because it is hard. The only case where you change your company is if you don’t love the product or company, or you need new leadership. In that case, you must. But if you love the company and have great leaders within it, just keep your head down and power through the bumpy road – your company and its leadership will see your commitment and show you exactly how to be successful in network marketing
Other than that, great info, but I’d have to respectfully disagree with the logic behind not being a part of an MLM. It’s one business model. And whether you want to make it your full time job or just dabble, so long as you find a product and company you love, it can be a great way to diversify your income streams. $5000 a year (or $5) is more than most people make on their 401K, savings or any other conventional ways of investing. It’s an investment, and for those that chose to continue through the plateau, it results in residual income. Don’t like sales? Some of the companies are moving away from the door to door type sales models and putting a lot more emphasis on team building and adding value. And many companies are also discouraging distributors from spamming on social media- again- it comes down to the individual and their own business acumen. We can spend our lives blaming they systems or we can just own ourselves and be grateful for whatever we’ve learned from, and created out of each opportunity presented to us. It’s the choice of the individual at the end of the day but one thing I can say with certainty is that someone who blames MLM for their lack of success is lacking responsibility for themselves in other areas of their life too.