Multi-Level Marketing: Do This Or Quit

Is A Multi Level Marketing (MLM) Business Right For You? Personally, I have previously been a part of two MLM style organizations. They are tough organizations to make a living in and the large majority (more than 95% to 98%) of their salespeople (business owners, reps, consultants – whatever they might be called in that organization) close their business within the first 5 years.

What is an MLM?

Wikipedia describes it best, “Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing, is a controversial, pyramid-shaped marketing strategy.”

There are many challenges with this type of organization, but I am not totally against them. For me, it gave me a taste of selling, marketing and running a business. While in the end it wasn’t for me, it did help me in understanding growth, marketing, rejection, and the importance of repeatability.

When is it right?

Below are my eight criteria for anyone who is in, considering entering in, or considering leaving an MLM style of business. 

  1. You must love (not just like)95% of the products that you are selling.  If you don’t, find a different MLM to join.
  2. Ensure you study your products and can speak to them confidently.  You should be using these products in your home 100% of the time.
  3. You must be able to follow the process the MLM organization has laid out for you without question.  There are people who have made this very successful already; you need to do what they are doing. Find out who the Diamonds are (they are always “Diamonds”)
  4. Get in early!  When you are in older MLMs it can be much harder to make a living because of market saturation.  Sure there are 36 million Canadians… and many of them are already highly skeptical to begin with when it comes to MLM type businesses and the products and services they are offering.
  5. Find your target market. You have to find the right market of people who are not only interested in paying a premium for your product but also are interested in selling it for a very low commission. This makes your market much smaller. Any MLM organization that tells you that your target market is “anyone” or “everyone” is trying to sell you on the business itself. Use discretion. You MUST know your target market to be successful.
  6. Run it like a real business.  Invest in marketing and do as much sales training as you can.  You must understand value.  It’s not about the product; it’s about the promise of what it will do for the potential client. If you don’t like sales, networking, meeting people, being naturally charming… then this isn’t for you.  Running a business takes long hours, hard work, and an investment of money (even if they tell you that you can do it without an upfront investment. If you don’t like sales, you should not be in an MLM even if they say you aren’t selling but you are “sharing”. It’s still sales and people pick up on the key phrases all the time “It’s not really an MLM”, “I’m sharing not selling”, “can I invite you to a meeting”, etc. There is no magic bullet!
  7. Understand, in absolute detail how you can make money in the organization. I would argue that in an MLM it is sometimes more difficult to make a living because of the complex commission and payment structures.
  8. You need to have a personal testimonial about what these products have done for you in your life.  Not something you make up but something that has impacted you so greatly that the thought of NEVER using this product again would cause anxiety or stress.  You must believe that this is a product you must use for the rest of your life!

I never say to not join MLM’s what I say is that you must KNOW the business! MLM’s are a tough model and hard for the lowest level seller to make any money. In one case, a client I spoke with needed 10 people on two separate legs (10 customers, 10 sellers) in order for her to even pay for her monthly auto-ship orders. Do your research!

Christopher is the CEO and Founder of Change My Life Coaching —  a fast growing whole-life coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream JobChristopher spent 10+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker that truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at [email protected].

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