Some time in your lifetime you will be approached to “give your opinion” on a business opportunity or product that a friend of yours is offering. In other words, you will be approached to join, to look at, or to preview a Network Marketing Company also called a MLM or Direct Sales.
Before I continue let me inform you that I’m qualified to write about this subject because I spent 17 years in it. I have never written about this topic on this blog because I didn’t see the information valuable since I am no later actively working my business. But recently, I attended a presentation with some of my close friends of a company called Zeek Rewards.
The saying “If it looks to good to be true, it just might be” was the thought I had that night. Recently, the North Carolina company was shut down for being a pyramid/ponzi scheme.
I thought to myself, “I really need to share with those in my life about what to look for when deciding on a company.”
Here are the 10 most important things to know before you decide to join a network marketing company.
- Is the company a member of the DSA – Due to being involved in the industry, I’m approached about once a month or so to join someone’s company. This is the first question I ask before looking into it any further. The DSA stands for Direct Selling Association and is the managing entity for the industry. Once a company is a member they follow a set of rules and regulations.
- Do your due-diligence - Once you have been exposed to a company - google them. What are others saying about the company, the product or services? How many years have they been in business? Are they a private or public company? How many consultants are in the company or in your area? Is there a real market for this right now and why? Can you sell and recruit over seas? Most of the time the person sharing the company with you will give you this information but I would still recommend you do your own due-diligence.
- Know the Lingo - Downline, sideline, upline, sponsor, director, gold, silver, ambassador, national, regional. These are just a few of the words that are thrown around. Before you look into a company, learn the lingo and what it means. I personally recommend a book called “Your First Year in Network Marketing”: Also, a great book is “Dare to Dream, Work to Win” by Tom Barrett.
- Understand the Pendulum - MLM companies tend to either focus solely on product on one side of the pendulum or more on the business on the other side. Too much business focus means money being exchange and no real product or service being offered in other words a pyramid scheme. Too much focus on the product or service means most of your money will be made from your direct sales and not as much from your downline. Product heavy companies ask you to purchase stock so you have the items to sell on hand. It can be a large investment up front. The best company to look for is one that falls somewhere in the middle. Opportunity to offer the product and the business with a benefit to earn money both ways. Sometimes companies offer a preferred customer option. A preferred customer can order the product on their own without having to build a business or downline and you earn a percentage every month. This is a great way to earn what they call residual income.
- It reads like stereo instructions - If someone tries to start explaining their compensation plan to you, it just may sound like stereo instructions if you have never been exposed to the industry. Bi-lateral, dual, multi, wide, deep are some of the terms mentioned. Again, read a book on network marketing so you are familiar with the types of comp plans and which is best for what you are wanting to achieve.
- Know the real-time investment - If someone says you only have to work 5-10 hours a week to build a business to make so much a month, RUN!! This is one of my biggest pet peeves about this industry. To build your MLM business it will take you as much energy and time as it does to open a bricks and mortar type of business. May not be as much money but time invested, yes!!! Once you have built a customer base and sales team then you may only need to work 10 hours or less a week but that may be months, possibly years later.
- Be a product of the product - My businesses were successful because I offered the product first. I wanted believers and testimonies of the product. Then once they experienced the results they could see the benefit of building the business. This is what I call working smart not hard. Also, these team members are the most committed. If for some reason the business side did not take off for them, I always had them as a customer.
- Sharing is Selling – No matter what anyone tells you - sharing is selling. You will have to sell. First yourself, then your product. People do business with those they know, like and trust and if they don’t know, like and trust you then won’t buy anything from you no matter what you are selling. To be successful in sales you need to know what the customer needs and how your product or service will fill it.
- What is your “Why” – This is essential to know as you build your business. If you don’t know your “why” then your business will not last very long because it is the “why” that keeps you from quitting before pay-day.
- Target 90 Days - This is the essential time frame of whether this business will work for your downline. If distributors aren’t making some kind of money after 90 days, then they will be discouraged and will not continue. Most companies setup incentives for the first 90 days so to reward you financially right up front. All MLM/direct sales companies deal with attrition rates meaning the numbers of people coming in and out of the company.
Well, I know this was long but I want you to be informed. Please understand that I am not advocating whether to join or not to join a network marketing company. I am just offering viable information so you can make an educated decision. There are so many amazing companies out there that are making a huge difference in the lives of so many people around the world. Please check them out!!!
Thanks for reading and please share. You never know who might be looking or deciding as you read this. Michelle
For those that are in the industry, what else would you add as a “need to know”? Leave your comments. Thanks!!!
Are you currently in direct sales and not achieving the results you desire? I would be happy to offer you a 1 hour complimentary coaching. I’m currently working with some clients in the industry that are experiencing success after my coaching sessions. For more information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.