I had what I thought was a good friend some years ago; we met through having the same interests (e.g. working out, partying and chasing women). He was seemingly a good guy who would share with me troubles he was having with his family and I would reciprocate by sharing with him things that troubled me at the time. I can’t say he was my best friend but somebody I would drink a beer with and as I mentioned throw some weights around at the local gym. Our friendship lasted for at least 2 years and I really considered him a “Cool Cat”…until he made me aware of why he befriended me in the first place. He asked that we have a meeting with his dad who had this GREAT plan where we could pay our way through college and then some…his dad turned out to be an Amway follower. At that time Amway was considered a “Cult” and not that well respected, however, what really bothered me was the insincerity this guy had towards our friendship all the while trying to hook me in to a pyramid process. Amway has turned out to be a successful company but how they’ve gotten to that point with their practices back then was at best sleazy. I almost fell for the ride.
I’m approached almost daily to join a “Network Marketing” group or “I guess” (tongue in cheek) established organization wanting access to my network ensuring I can make a ton of money by helping them to recruit. In most of the cases the product presented to me either provided no sustaining value or it was a commodity that offered NO differentiating benefit from a similar product on the market. What bothers me is typically the person proposing the “Multi-Level Guaranteed To Get Rich” idea (notice I’m respectfully not saying scheme) to me never have adequate answers to questions I produce….which causes me to be more suspicious. I have years of sales & marketing experience and this is not to “Self-Bloat” but to say I’ve seen and heard it all….HELL I’m considered a “Smooth Talking Criminal” (haha!!). So, asking questions like “Walk me through the “Sales Buying Process?”, “How is the product made, can you walk me through R&D”?, “Do I only make money based on who I recruit”?, “Do you provide any scientific evidence that supports your product’s performance, and do I have access to those participating in the research?”….usually after these kinds of questions they consider me not a target.
Now, before I continue what some might say is bashing a growing and “On the Level” industry there are some very successful “Network Marketing (MLM) companies out there like Amway, Melaleuca, Nu-Skin, Herbalife etc who are conducting business legitimately and oh by the way….have products that provide “VALUE” to the community. It’s these “Pop-up” fly by night “Meet with me on SKYPE or Google+ and if you can bring your friends along there will be a “little sumtin sumtin for you”. Yes, I want to take a shower after interacting with these people. “The Product” in my opinion is the critical piece here in that most “Startups” who are confident that their product will provide substantial “Value” to a market and have done their homework from an R&D, Market Research, Business Analysis, Scientific Data, and Customer Segmentation” process….do not have “Pyramidal” recruiting as a critical strategy in their business plan. Another words…the product will recruit on its own. Again, companies like Amway and Melaleuca have spent the bulk of their resources on “The Product” and developed/expanded their business based on that infrastructure and “People” followed closely thereafter. What always and will continue to be a negative sticking point with me when it comes to “Network Marketing” (MLM) is when there’s NO value placed on the product and the drive is to get as many people participating in clusters with the “Vision” being “Pyramidal”.
With all that being said the reality is that “Networking Marketing” (MLM) is here to stay and evidence of that was explained by an article named “Network Marketing”….A Growing Industry, Hard Facts and the Future”:
The Future is up!
“So, where is this business going? The answer is “UP.” During the next decade, the Direct Selling Association projects that network marketers will recruit more than 200 million new distributors into the business worldwide. Asian markets are expanding rapidly, including India. In fact, even during recessions, the direct selling industry proves to be rather resilient. To know that all you have to do is check out the latest headlines. That’s not bad for a cottage industry that started with potions and lotions. Many will be along for this ride. “Going Up!!”
There it is, all I have to say is……ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS IF YOU’RE APPROACHED TO PARTICIPATE!
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AH2 & Beyond Consulting