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Network Marketing Ethics, Part Three: The Distributor AGAIN

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Welcome to the third post in the series about network marketing ethics. Last time, we discussed a few issues that tend to lead distributors into behaving in not-very-ethical ways sometimes. Today, we take on a few more issues, starting with…

The biggest prospecting lie ever

“Everyone’s a prospect.” Ever heard that before? As soon as you sign up with the company, you’re supposed to list every single person you personally know and share the opportunity with every single one of them. When you run out of your “warm” market, you start talking to everyone who comes within three feet of you.

I don’t know about you, but I have better things to do with my time. Network marketing is not for everyone.

*SHOCK!* Yes, I know, I just shot a cannon at one of MLM’s greatest sacred cows. But the truth is, everyone is not a prospect. My seventy-eight-year-old mother comes to mind.

Why not everyone is a prospect

Here are some reasons:

  1. Not everyone cares about the product.
  2. Not everyone wants to take extra time to try to build a second income.
  3. Not everyone has the money to invest to begin an MLM business (and many of those never will have the money they need because they will stay stuck in their victim mentality until the day they die).
  4. Not everyone needs an extra income.
  5. Some people have had such a bad experience with MLM that they won’t ever touch it again – no matter how hard you try to convince them that it can be different this time, with your company.
  6. God doesn’t call everyone to market product.

This is why assuming that everyone is a prospect is not ethical. Why network marketing has such a reputation of turning out obnoxious, selfish individuals who continually harass their friends and family about the opportunity.

Attraction marketing

If you don’t assume that everyone is a prospect, then how on earth can you build your business? Simple: attract people to you who are interested in either the product, the business, or both. How is this done? There are a variety of ways. The easiest way is to leverage the power of the Internet. Since I specify how to do that in another one of my books, Home Sweet Work  (available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U4ZRR2U?*Version*=1&*entries*=0), I won’t go into great detail here.

However, if you regularly post to a blog; interact with others on Facebook; put up videos on YouTube; and/or publish articles to such websites as EzineArticles.com, squidoo.com, and hubpages.com, you can attract people who are interested in the product or the business to yourself. This is called attraction marketing, and it eliminates you having to deal with the three biggest objections that prospects will give: “I don’t like MLM,” “I don’t have time,” and “I don’t have money.”

An offline example is to rent a room in a library or restaurant and advertise a meeting to educate the attendees about either the product or the business – offering, of course, a free meal or refreshments to those who show up. This is not as effective as marketing online, however, because it can be costly and the people who show up – if anyone does – may still have the same old objections. If you can get away with it, a better way might be to teach a class through your local Parks and Recreation Department – as long as they don’t have any rules against you recommending a particular brand of whatever product you plan to push.

“So, do I just ignore my family and friends?”

If you have family members or friends who have made it clear that they don’t want to have anything to do with MLM, respect their wishes. But chances are, most of your family members and friends have not specifically said any such thing.

In that case, you can do one of two things. First, use Facebook to deepen your relationships with the people you already know, and to develop new relationships. As you grow these relationships, you can start posting about your business a couple of times a week, focusing on the product. Talk about the product in an organic, genuine way, not a salesperson kind of way.

Learn how to do it right by filling in the form in the right sidebar===>> in order to receive your free copy of Rocket Sponsoring.

Another alternative, or one you might use in addition to Facebook, is this: once you set up your own blog tell each of them, individually, that you have started an online business and you would like them to check out your website and let you know of any typos they see or design tips they might come up with. Ask them if, after reviewing your site, they can think of anyone who might be interested in either the product or opportunity. If so, would they please either give you their contact information or share your website with them?

See how low-key that is? No hype, just sharing your new endeavors with the people you know.

And who knows – a few of them might surprise you and sign up, without you having to break into a sweat!

Not everyone is a prospect, either to purchase the product or to work the business. Learn to market to those who are truly interested, and network marketing will be a lot more ethical – and a lot more fun!

Handling objections

If you stick to the principles of attraction marketing, you will never have to deal with objections. The people that come to you will understand what the business is about. That being said, the best network marketers will inevitably have conversations with people that lead to a discussion about their business. At that point, because you really care about people and want to help them, you will offer the opportunity as an option to assist them in reaching their financial goals.

And many will, in return, offer objections. What then?

In the MLM world, when a prospect asks a question, you’re supposed to answer it with a question. God forbid anyone ever give a straight answer! (Another form of manipulation, by the way.)

Forget memorizing a script that answers every single possible objection to signing up with the business a prospect might have. Want to know a much more effective, much less stressful way to answer objections? It’s simple: don’t.

That’s what I said. Don’t answer objections.

PROSPECT: “I can’t afford a distributor pack.” (This is either a lie to get you off their back, or the truth and they’ll probably not purchase product for longer than two or three months if they actually join.)

YOU: “So sorry to hear that. Let me know if your financial situation ever changes.”

PROSPECT: “I have to ask my wife.” (He is trying to find a nice way to tell you “no.”)

YOU: “Okay. Have a nice life.”

PROSPECT: “I don’t know anybody who would want to sign up.”

YOU: “Well, thanks for your time.”

See how easy that is? The people who throw out objections are usually the people who are going to ultimately say no, regardless of your verbal manipulative prowess. So why beat your head against the wall trying to get them to sign up?



MLM scripts abound. There are scripts for running a home meeting, scripts for answering objections, scripts for talking one-on-one about the business, scripts for calling leads.

Most of them are manipulative. Manipulation is not ethical.

“But, my sponsor said the scripts work!”

Oh, really? How many people stay in MLM who joined because the person who sponsored them did so by playing psychological games? I would venture to say…none of them. The people who stick with MLM are the ones who joined because they either loved the product, or believed in the opportunity. Sure, you might get more quick-start bonuses by using manipulation, but you won’t grow your residual income. And you won’t be behaving ethically.

The reason for scripts

Scripts exist for one reason, and one reason only: fear. The company is afraid of failing. The distributors are afraid of failing. They can’t let anybody just pass them by! They have to do something to convince them that they need this! If they don’t say the exact right thing, they will lose money.

Oh, horror of horrors!

What if a brand-new distributor answers questions directly? What if she says the wrong thing? What if he just tries to have a real conversation? Oh, no! We must not let that happen. People won’t make the right decision for themselves unless their arms are twisted just a little bit. And how do we twist their arms? By memorizing statements and questions that are proven to make people feel guilty/scared/embarrassed/stupid if they say no to your offer.

That’s insulting. How would you like it if other people saw you that way? “So-and-so will never figure out the right thing to do unless we play with his mind a little bit.”

Ouch. When it’s you we’re talking about, it’s another story, isn’t it?

To treat others the way you want to be treated is the ethical choice.

Forget the scripts. Learn how to be yourself with other people. If you’re a quiet type, it may take you longer than others to build a business. That’s okay. The important thing is to be able to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of every day knowing that you did the right thing.

Patience is an important MLM virtue

One of the most annoying questions network marketers get is, “How long will it take for me to make X amount of dollars?” You might be asking yourself the same question. So for this last section in the part where you get to analyze your own perceptions and behaviors, I want us to contemplate patience.

“Good things come to those who wait.” “Anything of worth is worth waiting for.”

By and large, the top money-makers in any company got there by being patient. Note that I don’t use the word “wait.” This conjures up images of bored people flipping through old magazines in a doctor’s office.

Patience is not simply the will to wait. Patience is being able to persist with a calm attitude. When you have a bad day, you get up and keep going the next day. When things seem to be going slower than a tortoise, you don’t quit. You continue on with a sense of peace, knowing that your persistence will eventually pay off.

In order to persist you have to be doing something. In MLM, this something is doing the work you need to do to attract people to your business or product. Skeptics love to quote the statistic (a very old statistic, by the way, that I don’t think has been researched lately) that “over 95% of people who join MLM leave in a couple of years without making any money.”

I can tell you for a fact that most of these people did not do much marketing. They talked to a few friends and family members who said, “no,” then just sat around in the matrix hoping for some “spill” so they could at least make a few hundred dollars a month without lifting a finger.

Many won’t even wait a couple of years to leave. They’re gone in a couple of months because they couldn’t take rejection and didn’t want to keep trying. Then they go around telling everyone how evil MLM is because “nobody except the distributors at the top ever make any money.” (I will refute that assertion in a bit.)

“Make your money back in a month!”

Ever heard that? Many (most?) company opportunity videos promise that you will make back your initial investment in a month. “All” you have to do is sponsor two or three or four people.

Only two results can come of this, neither one good. The first is that the new distributor instantly becomes a manipulator, even a deceiver, in order to fill their first level as quickly as possible. The second is that the distributors who don’t achieve that goal become discouraged – and therefore eventually drop out.

Is time on your side?

Do you love the product your company provides? Would you use something like it even if you hadn’t joined the company? Then relax and share the plan and product in a casual, low-key way as prospects come your way. Then you will actually enjoy your business, and if you enjoy it, you will build a downline!

However, it may take you a year to find four people who will stick with you for the long haul. And it might take each of them six to twelve months to find their four. And so on. But if you practice patience, you will likely get your monthly product paid in the first couple of years – hopefully even sooner. And once that happens, the residual income check often begins to grow exponentially.

Want a true story about patience paying off? Several years ago I met a Shaklee representative who was making a six-figure income…and it had taken her ten years to get there. Think ten years is a long time? Then chew on this: how much residual income would she have been making after ten years if she had quit two years into it?

Be patient. It will automatically protect you from getting sucked in to the hype and manipulation side of the business. And, it will make doing network marketing a lot more fun.

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