Friday, March 18, 2005

Ethical Building of an MLM Business

This post is brought to you thanks to a Raging Calvinist who sparked the idea for it after I read a post on his blog. Jerry had been called by an old friend who wanted to introduce him to a great business opportunity, but couldn't tell him the details. Those would be reserved for a meeting instead.

I can't blame anyone for feeling somewhat used and jaded at this typical approach that many people involved in the multi-level marketing industry use. I've had it used on me with less than impressive results for the person using it. The person using it may think that they are doing you a favor by introducing you to this sort of industry, but the net result is that you feel like they are building their business on your back and they expect you to do the same to others. If only everyone would get on board, then we will all be rich, except for the poor suckers who get in at the bottom. This is also the approach that a lot of novice MLM'ers take when they first get into the industry. It is like they have been born again and they can't wait to share the "good news" of how to be born again financially.

Now, I happen to be involved in a network marketing business, but because of the reasons listed above, I have chosen to conduct myself in a far different manner. For one thing, the only reason I got involved with my present company is that the products they offer are based solidly in a new field of scientific research and they are impacting the lives of people in a very positive manner. Some MLM companies are driven by the business model and compensation plan. I'm not interested in that sort of thing. I have enough to do in my life without trying to sell people on a compensation plan and the market of people who actually want to have a network marketing business as a career is extremely small. It just doesn't inspire me with the sort of passion that I think you need to have in order to succeed in this business. The other thing I don't like about these sort of companies is that they often make their pitch by appealing to coveteousness. I struggle with enough sin in my life without needing to cultivate it or by encouraging others to cultivate it. Instead, I prefer to work with a company that is product driven. In other words, you have a valuable and unique product that performs well, and which people will come back for and which can't be found anywhere else. Why pay more money for something you can find cheaper in a grocery or health food store?

I don't hide the fact that I am in a network marketing business, and I don't try to sucker people into coming to meetings or try to hide what I am doing. I hate subterfuge and feel that if what you have can't stand up to the light of day, then you have no business trying to fool people into giving you a hearing.

So how do I do it? I offer people information and that is it. I am not a salesman and I don't sell or use high pressure tactics or pout if people turn it down. I answer all questions as honestly and openly as I know how. If I don't know the answer, I say so, and try to find it out.

My main motivation is to help people with their health and I see this as one of the best ways of helping for those who want it. They know where to find me later on if they change their mind. I also make a conscious effort not to view people as so many cash cows to be milked. If people don't want it, I don't see any point in browbeating them or acting like it was an act of betrayal of our relationship or that they are stupid for not seeing what is being offered. People often aren't ready for the information you have and this is not their fault. It often requires a paradigm shift to see what is offered and those sort of shifts often take time to accomplish. Acting like an idiot won't help shift that paradigm and may actually prevent a shift from occuring.

I used to run away from network marketers, and still do in many instances. At the same time, I have made the effort to understand the industry a bit better and have come to realize that if you do it right, it really is a viable way of making a living and helping people while helping yourself. The key is mainly heart motivation. If you sincerely want to help people and put that at the front of your mind and heart, then you can do this with a clear conscience and people can sense that. If your motives are less pure, people can smell it a mile away.

Here are some of my own personal rules for doing my business:

1. Never offer this to someone just because you know them.
2. Always put the best interest of the person you are talking to first. Don't give someone the biggest package because it serves you better. Try to accomodate them where they are at. It is better to have satisfied customers than frustrated would-be business builders who really don't want to be doing this.
3 . Leave friends and relatives alone unless you really think this will be of substantial service to them and the likelihood of them responding is high.
4. Never promise anyone that this is easy. It is a business and needs to be treated like one.

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