Dear Friend who is new to multi-level marketing (MLM),

So, you've signed up to sell something. Maybe it's plastic containers, stick-on nails or cosmetics. Whatever it is*, I wish you all the best with it! I will even buy stuff from you, provided it's a product I like. I want to help out my friends and family as much as the next person, after all.

But before you flood my news-feed with special offers or fill up my Instagram with pictures of stuff you'd like to sell me, we should have a chat.

Targeted training.

Being an MLM rep means you generally must market your product yourself. Daunting, right? This is why the company will provide you with training. Expect buzz words like "hustle" and new-agey platitudes about working hard to achieve your dreams.

In among all that, you'll get techniques that your company wants you to employ to maximise your sales. So that you, too, can have a company car, a diamond ring, a holiday and a six-figure income! The techniques they give you are varied and many of them might be pretty good.

But many of them are not. They're heavy-handed and borderline predatory.

Facebook Group- Add All of Your Friends!

Starting a Facebook group or page can be a great way to let people know about products and sales. You know what isn't great? Adding your entire friends list to your group without consulting them first. I know some companies encourage this practice but honestly, I don't think it's okay AT ALL.

Some people will leave your group immediately, completely put off, regardless of what you're selling. Others will linger awkwardly, not buying but not wanting to leave and cause offence. Some will give you a mouthful, publicly in your group (awkward) or via a message.

Is it worth doing this for the couple of people that may actually be interested?

Private Message All of Your Friends!

It doesn't matter if you never speak to them, they will definitely want to know about the errr-maaaa-zing lipstick deal your company has going. Who cares if you haven't actually spoken in 4 years, right? It's a great deal!

I'll tell you who might care. Your friend. They might see your name and be pleased that you've gotten in touch, only to discover that you don't actually care about their lives. You're just hoping to make money off them. Does this sound like a good method for gaining customers?

Likewise, posting your advertising material on your friend's page or tagging everyone you know in promo post is spammy as fuck and no one will appreciate it. Trust me.

Repeat after me: Friends and family are not there to build your client base or facilitate your advertising. 

Use Your Personal Profile to Sell!

Hey, use your personal profile for whatever the hell you want- that's your call. If you do decide to use a personal social media account to sell stuff, keep in mind that posting nothing but product spiels gets a little dry for your friends and followers. I don't think anyone minds a post here and there but when you share multiple times a day and it is all sales-related, your posts will turn into white noise.

Social Events Are Not Sales Opportunities.

There are companies out there advising their reps to set targets for social events. Like booking a certain number of parties or selling a certain amount of product at an Australia Day barbie.

No. Just, no.

Humans need social interaction of some kind. That is a science fact, my friends. If you use social events to try to sell things, people will stop inviting you out. You may well die of lack of social contact**.

Guilt Memes.

Posts like this one:

Don't share these. Please.

Selling through an MLM company isn't starting your own business. You are becoming a representative of a bigger business. Semantics? Maybe. Even so, when I see memes like this one being shared around by people flogging makeup or nail wraps, I can't help but think it's pretty disingenuous. 

It's possible that you'll make enough money to pay for dance lessons etc but if you think you aren't making a CEO richer in the process, you've got rocks in your head.

For example, makeup MLM company Younique, is a billion dollar company. And if I, a person who has never sold or even used Younique products, know that, it seems pretty clear that Younique reps know it, too.

So, how can you join an MLM and not alienate your mates?

I'm not an expert or anything but after the research I did when I looked into the way MLM companies target women, I think I have a couple of helpful ideas.

The first is to realise that you are unlikely to become an MLM millionaire. I'm not saying don't give it a red-hot go, just advising caution. If you're picturing a yacht that you'll buy from your Jamberry profit, you're possibly setting yourself up for disappointment.

The second is to have the resolve to get out of it if it's taking up more time than it's worth or causing you additional stress for little reward. Life's too short to be ruled by MLM!

The third is to scrap the predatory techniques your "uplines" and company might advise. Instead, try the following:

Go through your friends list on Facebook, choosing only the people that you are absolutely positive will be interested in whatever the hell you're selling. Once you have that list, go through it again and remove anyone that you don't actually speak to, see or interact with on a very regular basis.

You probably have a much smaller list by now. Message these friends individually. Let them know what you're doing and send them the link to your group/page. Make it clear that if they aren't keen, that's totally cool. Tell them they are welcome to share the link with anyone they know who might be interested.

Share your group or page on your personal profile every now and then. Consider limiting your salesy-posts there to no more than one every few days at most. Remember, your friends and family want to see your thoughtful updates, articles you found interesting and pictures of your dinner, not just the things you're selling.

In short, let people know what you're selling and if you offer some kind of party thing, just don't harass them about it.

Now, those asterisks…

*I truly do wish you all the best with your MLM endeavours, unless you are selling weight loss products or any other product making misleading or dangerous health-related claims. Essential oils aren't meant to replace modern medicine and expensive shakes and pills shouldn't replace a healthy diet.

Also, stick-on "patches" sold for weight loss are totally bogus and that other weight-loss MLM company you might be thinking of? It's essentially cling wrap and should be renamed "It Does Not Fucking Work!"

**Possibly a slight exaggeration on my part, but do you want to risk it?

 

 

#IBOT @ Capturing Life.

Gifs via Giphy.

 

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  • Hugzilla

    Damn girl, you are the queen!

  • Everything I’ve ever thought about MLM but was too afraid to say.

  • Having dabbled in MLM myself, you are spot on lady. Especially the bit about the lack of yacht and rich CEO’s. Lots of people do make big bucks from MLM but it’s a minute percentage of the total number of people who are in the MLM game overall.

  • I hate having stuff shoved down my throat… mlm.. religion… politics .. just leave me make my own decision #tesmIBOT

  • I find it beyond rude to add people to facebook groups for any reason, and downright disrespectful to do it to sell to them. It’s a dick move. I don’t care what the marketing guru of plastic containers and flowering nails says, it’s a dick move.

  • Yep, I had an old friend I hadn’t heard from in ages Facebook message me. I got all excited until I saw she was just advertising her MLM. A bit disappointing, in my opinion

  • Tash Laughton

    This year I’ve had so many FB friends start up with different brands but all pyramid selling… my newsfeed is getting clogged ūüė¨ #TeamIBOT

  • There are times where I do find it annoying to be placed in someone’s group without being asked or being hounded by someone I haven’t seen in ages to do a party. But at the same time, I’m so thankful for the consultants I am in touch with for when I need something and there is no expectation of a party. There are good consultants who understand respect and I think they’re the ones that do quite well. I’m happy for anyone to do well in their MLM company. I just need newbies to understand no means no if I’m not interested.

  • Fuck YES!! Praise be.

  • YES x 100! I have had friends of friends add me and try and sell me isagenix. I EVEN GOT AN UBER THAT TRIED TO SELL ME ISAGENIX. Just no. And all those posts like #girlboss etc do my head in.

  • Haha! Love the asterisks! It Doesn’t Bloody Work! I’m so sick of that stuff all over my Instagram! Automated messages on Insta are the worst! They’re not even friends just ransoms. Great post!