Multi-level marketing: The great opportunity….or is it?

multi - level marketing

Multi-level marketing, direct sales, network marketing, it goes by many different names. Basically, it’s selling someones product for a commission. It is your own business, without having to drop a huge initial investment. This model is not new or exclusive to multi-level marketing, many financial advising firms hold a very similar model. But, direct sales has a pretty bad reputation tied to it. Many run for the hills when their friend or family member calls them up with ‘this great opportunity’. How does one create a successful business in multi-level marketing?

The bad rap

Sometimes network marketing can get a really bad rap. Some are called pyramid schemes (if they don’t sell a product, they are schemes). Some reps are simply too aggressive, or use ineffective sales tactics. Others see all their friends and family as prospects, and treat them as such. Sometimes, they befriend you, then you find out that they are just trying to sell to you. Some won’t take no for an answer, if they are your friends how’s that for awkward! There are number of issues that contribute to the bad rap. You can see some more contributing factors here.

So, where do we go from here? It can feel like you are starting up with a huge black mark if you want to get into network marketing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. But, you do need to play your cards right.

Why the high failure rate

There are number of reasons why the failure rate is so high. The seminars that prospects attend can be very emotional and uplifting. Someone goes from rags to riches and you can too! I started by selling (I know I say selling, but honestly these products and opportunity sell itself!) to my friends and now I make thousands a month! It was so easy, and I only work part-time! Network marketing is a business, and it has to be treated as a business. These products will not sell themselves, you have to have sales skills to make them compelling. Sales can be very difficult, a lot of objections and rejection. The hard parts don’t seem as hard when you are signing up! Sit back and relax, since you get paid when the sales people you recruited make money. This does not work in the business world. You can why so many quit shortly after joining multi-level marketing from tough nickle.

I want to be different!

You should be different! Tough nickle brings up some very good points that I agree with regarding network marketing. One of the big ones is the redundancy in the products. There are a bunch of people literally selling the exact same thing! Then, reps will try to get you to sell the exact same thing under them! That’s how you make money! That’s how you’re supposed to do it! There is a reason why there’s a 95% turnover rate in the industry. Not everyone can sell the exact same thing, in the exact same way. It’s not how business works.

Price, Quality, Convenience

These business principles still apply to multi-level marketing. You have to be mindful of the competition. What bothered me about selling via network marketing, was my hands were tied when it came to market demand. What do I do when a competing product comes up that is just as good (if not better) and costs less? I didn’t run product development! I only sold the products, and if corporate did not catch up to demand my business was up a creek. That was not how I wanted to handle my business.

The products are a tool for your business

I do not recommend relying on your multi-level marketing corporate headquarters to determine how you should do business. They all tell you sell the products get a down line just like everyone else. Again, be different. Sell your unique business brand. Feel free to use those the MLM products as tool, but don’t depend on them for your livelihood, because if they go out of business you do too.

So, where are you going here…

A few examples here: If you really like a special MLM brand of essential oils, consider making DIY products with those oils and selling them at craft fairs, or etsy, or online. Let’s say you really like a MLM brand of spices mixtures and oils. You can begin a food blog using those spices, and have a link to sell them on your blog. You can make an e-cook book with your recipes. Like clothes? shopping and fashion? Sell fashion consultant services. Sell the clothes at trade shows, boutiques etc. Basically, if the MLM company goes belly up, you should be able to easily move on with out them. You should be able to easily find another tool to use to keep your business going. Now, how do you want to use these tools?

A Few Red Flags

There are a ton of MLM companies out there. Whatever you want to sell or use you can likely find through MLM if you want to go that business route. However, if you want to go the direct sales route, there are a few red flags to be on the look out for when choosing a company. Remember, it is your business! Within the parameters of the law you should be able to run it however you would like.

You must use our marketing products…

If a company states that you must go through corporate to get items, marketing material such as business cards, promotional material, signage etc. be wary. It’s great that corporate companies offer this as a resource for you to use, but it should not be mandatory! These items should be a resource to you should you choose to use them. But, they should not force you to use them for essentials like business cards. You work for yourself.

You can only sell at parties…

I understand the goal behind this, if you want to buy product x,y,and z just host a party! If your party does well enough you get it for free!!! I’m not saying the hostess rewards aren’t good, but your customers should be able to buy from your site, from you etc. Having to wait to put an order in until a show costs you, the rep. No one wants to wait that long. Allowing your customers the freedom to buy from your site at midnight is also essential. MLM attracts a lot of moms 🙂 sometimes that’s the only time an order can be placed 🙂 The biggest thing here is that if you want to have a party have it. If you don’t then don’t! Your business your rules. Otherwise, it’s really their business and you work for them….which defeats the purpose of going into business for yourself 🙂

Meet those sales quota or you’re out!!!

Many companies require you to meet certain sales quotas to maintain your consultant status. If you paid the fee for the products and to be a consultant, who are they to tell you that you have to stop?!? What happens if you have an off month you get fired! from your own business! (this sounds oddly like many financial advising firms 🙂 )

Final thought

If you want to go into network marketing! awesome! more power to ya! However, just like when you sign a offer letter know what you are getting into. Have a plan to be successful. Figure out how you are not going to be a part of that 95% statistic. Treat it like a business, not just a thing you kind of do in your free time. Good luck to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Multi-level marketing: The great opportunity….or is it?

  1. I haven’t presonally participated in any MLMs, but some of my friends and family have. And it puts a strain on social relationships becasue they see you as a customer.

    1. Jen, that is the worst! that was one of the big reasons I quit doing it. I did not want my friendships becoming awkward. It’s a bummer that there is so much pressure to ‘sell’ to them though.

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