Multi-Level Marketing Companies (MLM’s) are popular among folks who want to quit their job and start a business. This is understandable because multi-level marketing companies advertise their business opportunities to people who want to life a life of freedom that lets them work from anywhere and generate large amounts of income. Unfortunately, we generally only hear two different perspectives on MLM’s:
- They are the savior of the world and will make you rich overnight or;
- They are evil scams that are going to destroy the world.
Both are lies. Let’s start with the definition of multi-level marketing from Wikipedia:
Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s “downline”, and can provide multiple levels of compensation. – Wikipedia
Multi-level marketing companies are, at their core, a product and a distribution network. When you join an MLM, you get a quality product that you can sell and you get access to the distribution network (subscription service, payment processing, warehousing, shipping, etc) of the MLM company. That’s not trivial. That’s a good thing.
You do, however, still have to create a business around that product and distribution network. That means you have to do marketing, make sales, build a following and all the regular hard work that comes with building a business. You can achieve great success in MLM, if you remember these 5 truths about multi-level marketing companies.
1. You will not get rich quickly
If there were a secret formula to getting rich quick, we would have no money or poverty issues in the world. And if this secret formula existed, it would cost way more than a $49.95 “starter kit.” Marketing and selling an MLM product is just as much work as marketing and selling any other product. Some multi-level marketing companies will say it’s easier because they have an established brand. That can be beneficial if the company does indeed have a strong brand, but nothing “sells itself.”
If you build a passionate following of prospects and work hard to genuinely understand and help them with their problems, you will eventually build a very nice, profitable business.
2. It is not easy
It won’t “spread like wildfire” on social media. The MLM pushers suggest that if you post it on your Facebook wall, people will see it and they will tell their friends, who will tell their friends, who will tell their friends and then they’ll spout off some statistics about how if only 1% of those people buy, you’ll be a bazillionaire. That’s not true. Very few things actually “go viral” and we are a long way from scientifically understanding viralocity in the online world. We don’t need scientific research to know that a link to buy some supplement, foot lotion, or time-share on your Facebook wall ain’t goin’ viral.
You still have to put in the work. You have to knock on doors, build relationships, get told “no” many times. You have to do that with any business. MLM is no different. But, if you do put in all that hard work, it will work. And it will be worth it!
3. Multi-level marketing companies do not offer an “opportunity”
Opportunity is everywhere. Look at the person closest to you right now. He or she undoubtedly has some sort of problem that you could solve. You might have some knowledge they need, a skill they need or a product they want. Anywhere there are people with problems, there are opportunities. They are everywhere. So, if a multi-level marketing company is telling you they have a “business opportunity,” tell them, “So what? There are business opportunities everywhere.” What you really need to be successful is execution. Ask how they will help you do the work you have to do to be successful. Do they offer coaching? Do they provide training, resources or mentoring? Those are the things you need to be successful. Not some product poorly disguised as an “opportunity.”
Good, honest, successful MLMers won’t even use the word opportunity. They use the words “hard work.” But, if you recognize that success is created by execution and hard work, and you work hard, you’ll make it.
4. Their products are not “taking the world by storm”
Products schmoducts. There are very few truly unique products out there. It’s not about the product, or the idea, it’s about the execution. It’s about building up a group of people who know you, like you, trust you and want to buy from you. Don’t fall for sales tactics that try to pressure you into joining an MLM because it has some “revolutionary” new product or gadget that’s going to change the world. The printing press and the Internet changed the world, but some protein powder probably won’t.
Make sure that the product the MLM offers is one you believe in. Use it and get results form it. Then it won’t matter if it’s unique. Your results and your passion for what the product can do will help you sell it.
5. All your friend and family will not join (they won’t buy either)
In fact, if you aren’t careful, you’ll alienate your friends and family. Let your friends and family be your friends and family and go find real prospects who are strangers to sell to. You can’t take a business to a large level unless you sell to strangers eventually, so you might as well just start off there. We all have a friend who is involved with different multi-level marketing companies and when you see them coming, you say, “Oh crap, what MLM is she going to push on me today!” Don’t be that person.
Get involved with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs who will support and encourage you to be the best you possibly can be. If you surround yourself with the right people and do the hard work, you will be successful and then your family and friends will come to you and ask how you did it.
How to be successful in MLM
Many MLMers have had success and have made it their life’s mission to help others achieve the same success. Find one of those folks and join their downline. The product and distribution network is taken care of and they will add education and support into the mix that is the “secret majic formula” you need to be successful. The product and distribution network is a great advantage, but remember that there are many ways to successfully start a business and MLM may or may not be the best option for you. No matter what business you start, you have to have two things:
- A product or service that people want
- People who want it
When you have those two things, all you have to do is close the deal. Don’t let a naive MLMer, an Internet marketing guru or anyone else tell you otherwise. No matter what route you take, start by identifying value you can offer and people who want that.