I’ll be honest and say that I’ve tried my fair share of MLM companies. Three, to be exact: Arbonne, doTerra, and Zyia Active. These days, it seems that everyone and their dog are a part of one MLM or another. They all claim that they’ve doubled their previous salaried income, and have retired their spouse so that they can also stay home all day and be “super successful” through their “new business adventures”. Skeptical? So was I. But I wanted to be able to “retire” by the age of 30. Although their business models seemed too good to be true, I decided to try my luck at it anyway. Just as a side note – if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
By definition, a MLM (Multi-Level Marketing business) is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services. The revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried work force. These work forces are selling the company’s products and services in exchange for a small commission of the product. MLM’s are also known as pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing.
I’ve spent far more money than I’m willing to admit on trying to make these MLM’s work for me. Firstly, there’s a large fee in order to join. If I’m going to be selling someone else’s product for them, why am I expected to pay? Secondly, as any up-line member will tell you, you have to actually be using the products yourself in order to promote them to others. Although this makes sense logically (why would you sell something that you’re not using yourself?), it’s a very large investment into something that may, or may not work in the long run.
As mentioned above, I have previously “partnered” with three separate MLM companies. I have purchased the products, and used them as I would any regularly store bought product. I can honestly say, that they don’t begin to compare. MLM products tend to be incredibly over price. However, they don’t tend to have the quality to match the steep price tag. Consultants are often told to “talk up” their product as often as they can. Some consultants also use “product bashing” as a technique; they will focus on how bad a similar product is in comparison to theirs. If you have to bash another company’s product to get others to believe how amazing yours is, there is a large problem.
Too Many Consultants
With so many people deciding to hop on the band wagon of MLM sales, it must be hard for the consultant’s to find customers. Looking at it from a customers point of view, it can put them in an awkward situation of not knowing who to choose if they decide to purchase a product. If three of their friends, their aunt, and mother in law are all selling the same product, who will they say yes to? The market is so saturated with people selling the same things, there is a very small client base for them to choose from.
No, I Don’t Want to Host a Party
A common selling tactic with MLM companies are the use of parties. With a MLM party, the consultant is required to find a friend to host a party. They would invite their friends to promote the product. Parties can be hosted either in person, or online. The MLM consultant usually brings the products to demonstrate, lets the guests try out the products, and then has an incredibly dragged out lecture on why the party guests should “join their team!”. People that attend these parties often feel pressured into purchasing a product in order to support their friend who had hosted. More often or not, the guests don’t want the product, and simply just went to support their friend.
They’re Too Pushy
What happened to “no means no”? Many MLM consultants have forgotten this concept. You can say no in ten different ways and in seven different languages, and some consultants still push you to purchase or join. What they don’t tell you is that unless you join their team, or buy a product, they don’t get paid. Most MLM companies have quotas that their consultants are required to make each month if they want to earn their pay. Have you noticed that consultants tend to be most pushy at the end of the month? For many people, ignoring the consultant’s requests or even blocking their contact address has become necessary.
Consultant’s in the MLM industry will tell you that “Multi Level Marketing is the next biggest thing”, “I do all my work from my iPhone” or that “it’s the best way to diversify your income”. Many will point out how they’ve been able to transition into working from home and retiring their spouses. And for a very select few, this may actually be the case. There are some consultants who are able to make a living selling the MLM products. However, this is not the norm. You should not be expecting to quit your full time job in the first few months of your new “business”. Nor should you be expecting to become rich from selling the products.
If selling an MLM product feels right for you – go for it. Just be aware of how much money you may lose. Also, don’t try to sell to me; MLM? It’s a no from me.