I remember the first time I was exposed to Multi-Level-Marketing.
I was a kid, maybe 12 or 13, and at my grandparents’ house for a family barbecue. They hosted several of these every summer when I was a kid. They had a neighbor who used to drop by now and then to visit. Likeable guy, very friendly and everyone seemed to like him. But, at the time of this particular barbecue, people seemed to be annoyed by him and were trying to avoid conversations with him. I was curious why this was. Everyone used to like when he’d stop by. What had happened?
I made my way over to where he was talking to a small group of family friends and got within ear shot of the conversation. He was telling them about some cleaning products and other household items that he sold in his spare time. He said that he was making enough money from selling these products to quit his job, if he wanted to. He also told them that they could do it too. They could work whenever they wanted to and would be in business for themselves and be their own boss.
I remember thinking to myself how great that would be. I was always hearing grown-ups complaining about their jobs and bosses, and saying how they wish they could retire early and enjoy life. It sounded to me like this neighbor guy was trying to show them how they could do just that.
So, why were they getting annoyed by him?
I asked my mother why people didn’t want to talk to him. She said it was because every time he came to visit, he would be trying to sell something or get people to join his company. It was all he ever talked about anymore. It made people uncomfortable.
I guess I could understand that. At my age then, the only thing I could compare it to and make it relatable would be getting approached by a little girl trying to sell Girl Scout cookies, or a kid selling candy for school. You don’t necessarily want to buy, but you feel like you should.
Fast forwarding to me in my twenties…
I was between jobs and I responded to and ad in the paper for a Management Trainee position. It ended up being an entry-level sales position selling inexpensive generic versions of designer fragrances. I was to got to friends, family, stores and shopping malls to pitch these smell-alikes to everyone who would listen. In a very short time, I became “that guy.” Remember the one everyone avoided at my family barbecue? I knew I’d crossed that line when my father told me to leave my merchandise in the car at my family’s Christmas party. I asked if I could bring it in out of the cold if I agree not to try to sell any. He said I could. People saw the box and asked questions and even sampled the product. I made my first, and last, sale on Christmas Eve to my grandmother. I also made my dad pretty upset. I decided that if I ever had anything to sell again, I wouldn’t try to sell to family.
The point I am trying to make with this long winded little tale is…
The methods of the past should be left in the past. These old school sales tactics that a lot of MLM uplines still teach to this day, no longer work. With all the advertising that people are bombarded with everyday, it’s no wonder people hate telemarketers and and pop-up ads on their computer screen. They can’t escape it. Everywhere they go and doing everything they do, someone is trying to sell them something.
This is why methods like Attraction Marketing and Social Networking are becoming the norm for most businesses who are brave enough to step out of the box and try something different. They position themselves where people are going to look for their particular product or service. They don’t jam their product or biz op down the throat of the prospect. They build relationships with the prospects. Show them that they understand there needs, offer solutions to their problems and make sales as a result. The prospects actually often request information rather than involuntarily receiving it.
MLM is changing! It’s do or die! The revolution has begun!