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MLM/Network Marketing - What are Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts about MLM/Network Marketing? Is it a legitimate industry? Is it sleazy? Is it a "pyramid scheme"? Does it turn you on? Or off? Has anybody ever tried to recruit you into their "downline"? Have you ever tried MLM? Were you (or are you) successful at it?

What are your thoughts about multi-level marketing? - by Skip Anderson
My neighbor tried to recruit me to Quixtar. I wasn't interested. :( - by Bulldog
I know people who consider financial advisors, real estate agents, and most salesmen and women to be people you want to avoid at all costs - lawyers too. An example from financial advisors - wealth counselors or financial planners - many people see them as people who take advantage of other people using their money for their own gain with the promise they will manage their money for them better than they can themselves. AND when it half or more goes bye-bye it's the economy, stupid!

Of course there's always truth there - bad people and bad companies hurt people. So do bad people and bad companies in direct sales/multi level marketing/network marketing hurt people. Every industry has its crooks as well inept people.

I've been with a company eleven years and it's been a very solid business experience as well as one of financial profit. I can understand why many people fail including people from the sales industry: wearing so many hats - marketing, promoting, advertising, selling, training - is more than they can handle. They just don't have the skill or ability or motivation to master all that. There are other reasons also.

Direct sales/multi level marketing/network marketing is a product or service supply chain to the end user - it's a distribution network. In the best of them they are totally product driven with unique products and people you recruit or sponsor can out earn you which is true for our company.

I'm successful - with my wife and I working together - and will continue to work NOT in what's called "the industry" but with my company. Having worked from coast to coast and spent time living in Malasyais and Singapore - five months to be exact - and having new business in Bermuda has been an exciting and challenging experience.

Working from home since 2002 also has it's rewards and totally fits our lifestyle and ability to manage time and organize our business/lifestyle activities - those are also areas people have trouble and fail but they would also have them in commission sales with lots of freedom on their hands.

I love what I do and love the chance to work with new distributors - selling is relatively simple and easy for us. Recruiting or sponsoring and training a good person is more challenging and the part I enjoy the most.

MitchM - by MitchM
i have been recruited by several mlm guys but always said no. i don't know why i would want to pay another guy money just so i could go out and recruit other guys to give me money just to be part of my organization as they call it. - by BobSales
i have been recruited by several mlm guys but always said no. i don't know why i would want to pay another guy money just so i could go out and recruit other guys to give me money just to be part of my organization as they call it.
It takes a certain kind of person to buy in to the whole MLM idea. I'm not one of them either. ;wi - by Houston
You have a limited perception, BobSales which is probably not your fault. I never paid anyone to go out and recruit to make me money going out to recruit to make them and me money. It doesn't work that way at all.

What I did was more like starting a franchise only it was from home - I ordered a small inventory of products, sold them, made a retail profit on that inventory, and had the beginning of a business.

As I sold more I made more money. Also, some people I recruited or sponsored began and like any food or end user chain or supply chain because I was training and working with new recruits the company gave me commissions on the volume of business, on the products sold.

If new recruits couldn't or wouldn't sell or I couldn't train them no money came in - so that's how it works: retail, recruit, and train to do the same.

A local friend who put a lot into her real estate business started with nothing but an expense of just over $1,500 - at least I had inventory. The same for another friend who put some of him money into training, now he's with an insurance company, and if he recruits and trains well he can earn comissions on the people he recruits' sales - only one level. I can earn on multiple levels which I like.

MitchM - by MitchM
Okay, we've heard from Bulldog, MitchM, BobSales, and Houston -great! Is there anybody else who wants to contribute? - by Skip Anderson
There is not many businesses that do not recruit. I find that in many companies we work for the company and its success. Our own success is put on hold. I taught in the public school system for 31 years and I noticed that they get a steady source of recruits (students) and each year there is the next grade moving up. With jobs moving out of the United States, we need to get in the business of dreaming and getting involved in living our dreams and it seems that we can do a better job if we team up with others and go forward together. We are in business for ourselves but not by ourselves in MLM. - by clarence
I've made a broad and specific study of multi level marketing and conventional sales over the past fifteen years - back when I began looking at multi level marketing - from the structural, distribution, training, management and compensation points-of-view. There are differences and similarities at every point.

I also look at either conventional or multi level sales situations from a pragmatic and objectivist perspective rather than the "what do you want fulfilled in your dreams" perspective. BUT dreams and goals are important because they drive motivation - vision drives motivation.

Freedom - autonomy or independence - are big motivators in either situation as is having the ability increase income through personal efforts. BUT so is doing something that is meaningfully fulfilling with a purpose that is other directed. It all fits together.

MitchM - by MitchM
I work in an MLM company in the financial field.
I entered it with 0 capital, training was free, and it is free for my own team too.
It is tough, and I definately had to do a lot of "getting to know myself", especially because I had no idea of how to sell, and had to learn it.

I think the rewards are massive though if you can hang in there and keep fighting. Having your own team that you built from scratch is a very good feeling, seeing them develop etc. I don't do it for the money at all (of course it is very good money), it is all about being the best and being number 1 in performance.

I think if you only want to be a salesman MLM might not work for you. If you are more of an entrepreneur, and want to build a business in an extremely tought environment with massive rewards, then I definately recommend it. - by dsm56
I think MLM is a very misunderstood business. I have been in some of the companies before and never had much luck but I know it was my fault. I just didn't know what or how to do it. And there is a unique way to make it all happen. Most people will recruit a few people and not know how to train them and everyone gets disgusted because they were thinking all I had to do was get two people to do the same thing that I did. Even people with large downlines will tell you that only a small percentage of the people are really working to expand their business. Still, it can offer one of the best opportunities for the right person. No overhead (well maybe some office supplies), no inventory, no employees. Working from your home can be good but a lot of people have problems doing that. Too much distraction. You have to go to your office, where ever that is in your home, and put in a day's work. But I really feel the major problem is that ,as a rule, the people doing the recruiting do not know how to train anyone in this business. Not everyone now, there are some great people out there. But your average person just being recruited because someone says they will all get rich, doesn't have a clue! All that being said, I just got started with another company. This is after a two year absense from this segment. I'm more determined than ever to have a successful business. I have realized some mistakes I made in the past with MLM and now ready to get off the ground. It can really be the hardest thing a person has ever done! It's not as easy as some people say it can be. Oh well, that's my opinion on the matter. - by mcaldwell
My son-in-law works in sales for a large international company and when we've compared how multi level and conventional sales work - structure, compensation, etc. we're amazed that the similarities of most importance out number the differences of least importance. There are also some obvious differences that have to be recognized.

Learning how to be very selective and how to disqualify goes in the face of what some people or companies teach, BUT it's one of the most important skills to learn - that would be true in any kind of sales environment. Training new recruits is the next crucial step to learn, master, and use in building distribution systems

It can begin with the first step of learning how to retail - how to sell a product or service to people who need, want, and are willing to pay for it.

The best to you.

MitchM - by MitchM
Very well put. I too have worked in sales with large companies. If a sales manager hires anyone but expects that person to learn that business on his own, not train them on the product, then that company is headed down the tubes eventually. But this is what happens the majority of the time in MLM. No training, just recruit. But, if you can recruit and show them how to make extra money within a reasonable period of time, guide them along the way, then they can duplicate that with another, you will have a keeper and a business builder. One person at a time. Really the same in any sales organization. - by mcaldwell
"If a sales manager hires anyone but expects that person to learn that business on his own, not train them on the product, then that company is headed down the tubes eventually. But this is what happens the majority of the time in MLM. No training, just recruit" -- mcaldwell

Company training is crucial so is one-on-one training. My daughter works in a sales environment in a non sales senior administrative assistant position - when she was hired her training was thorough and job description specific. She's told me how that is exactly what the company does with all their new people.

Then comes the question of what is good and what is not good training which has been debated here. Good training has to include every aspect of the business you're in you need to know about in your position- product and service knowledge. If it's sales - which is our topic - it has to include specific sales technique/systems unique to what you do. Like everyone on this forum, I can't speak of every sales situation from personal experience.

I've used hundreds of resources (and still do) and have learned something important from all of them - "High Probability Selling" has been one of the most instructive and "clearing out the paths" for prospecting and selling success. I've also found that the people I work with who have studied this selling process have improved their success quotent.

But I also know that being attentive and curious and open minded you can take something of value away from almost everything - being that student is obviously one of the keys to success all the masters understand.

The best of success to you.

MitchM - by MitchM
Hey Mitch, or anyone else with MLM experience,

I recently got involved with a MLM company that provides a monthly service that everyone can use. As an Independent Associate I get paid residuals for as long as a member keeps the membership. My sponsor has told me to be successful in this business you have to follow the model, which is selling the opportunity first, sell the membership, attend weekly meeting, help your recruit sell...etc. They say don't try the "build a better mouse trap theory" just follow the steps, recruit, show your recruit how easy the process is and repeat. I really don't feel this is necessary because this service can definitely stand on it own.

There's tremendous opportunity, but I have some obstacles: I go to school full-time, I work part-time in retail (wireless sales) and I'm a college athlete. The good thing is I come in contact with many different people through out the day. The bad part is I have time to tell people about the service, but I don't have time to recruit, train, have 2-on-1's, attend weekly meetings and things of that nature.

Is it possible to be successful in MLM without recruiting and just selling the product or service yourself?

I love the fact that this business is based on a monthly membership (the service is similar to insurance) and you get paid residuals from that membership. So here are my goals with this business:

I want a steady monthly income, so that I can focus on school and athletics (track and field). In this company there are to routes you can choose. You can have your commissions advanced or you can be paid as earned.

With the advanced commsions you are given a sum of money with the expectation that a member will keep their membership for a least 12 months. If the member cancels during those first 12 months you get a chargeback thats prorated.

With the as earned commission you get paid "as earned meaning there is no advances but there is no chargebacks also.

I choose the latter option where I'm getting residuals from the start.

I want to recruit and have a down line and all that good stuff so I can leverage my time, but it seems my time would be better spent selling the service myself to as many people as I can. Without having to make commitments to weekly meetings and training that I know I can't keep with my schedule: Does this make sense? - by manchild
Every business or government job, income opportunity, including multi level marketing has its cliches. You want to get from cliche to income.

You have to define success for yourself, manchild. Retailing brings in a little income; sponsoring/recruiting brings in more income usually called by these names: wholesale comissions, over rides, royalties, residual income. To earn any of that you need to build a distribution network with like minded individuals.

Like anything else, what successful people - people earning what you want to earn - are doing and have done. There's usually a system to follow AND some less than obvious things that happens: personality strengths, center-of-influence, capital investment, to be successful.

MitchM - by MitchM
Well success for me, in this business means $5,000 a month in residuals. It would take around 600 memberships sells for me to get there and thats accounting for a retention of 70%. I figure I could easily do that over the next 3 years. Now I know I could reach that goal easier with a downline of like-minded individuals but right I don't have the time. Is this feesible? - by manchild
Residual income is the result of sales through sponsoring/recruiting those who sell and likewise sponsor/recruit those who sell. Most companies require personal sales or group volume (yours) not associated with downline sales to earn residual income. Know your company policy.

Say 50,000 people become distributors/reps for a company. Out of that number about 30% will join to earn a five figure income. Out of that number between 1 - 3% will ever earn $5,000 monthly (or greater) consistently (150 - 450 people) over months then years.

How you use your time is more important than how much time you have to use provided you use it correctly. Do you have fifteen-twenty hours a week or less?

MitchM - by MitchM
I understand what your saying. Now the company I'm with does require a certain amount of sales to come from someone on my downline to reach another tier in the commission plan, but I'm positive it doesn't require that get residuals. The residuals I'm talking about is the money I get every time a member sends in their monthly bill, not the overrides from people in my downline - by manchild
Know exactly how your company pays - every detail, every implication, every specific part of it - know it for you and theh people you sponsor/recruit.

People can make money in different forms - retail, wholesale, and over ride (residual income) in multi level marketing companies. BUT sustained long term income - the $5k monthly you want - has to be built into what's called duplication or leverage. AND that can only happen through individuals who are committed and have a working relationship with you and the people who sponsor/recruit them.

Network marketing - multi level marketing - is a delivery system for products in creating distribution networks BUT it's driven by the connectivity of solid relationships. Relationships are everything in building a distribution network this way.

AND along with that there's always a system unique to the company in how it's structured.

MitchM - by MitchM
Well, I definitely understand how important leverage is. I just need to figure how to do it lol. In the mean time I going to sell enough memberships to cover the rent.shds; Thanks for the responses Mitch. You definitely gave me some insight about MLM and some things to think about. I guess have some more planning to do. - by manchild
Look for a couple of good people who want what you want - $5k monthly residual income as you make some sales. Tell people what you want - the kind of person you want.

This morning I'm off to work with distributors in Bermuda for a week - they've got four group presentations three trainings, and two private appointments with doctor teams planned. My wife and I helped open Malaysia and Singapore for our company back in 03/04 -we have business there and from there which is one of the best things about network marketing.

The best to you.

MitchM - by MitchM
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