The 4 Deadly Habits that Give MLM a Bad Name

Many who are in a stage of reinvention decide to get involved with network marketing as their transition business. The business model is sound. It is a method of offering a quality product, while building a client base, and recruiting a  team to leverage income. In addition the training offered is a benefit to people new to business.

There are conflicting statistics about the success or failure rate where variables such as prior experience, time dedicated to learning the systems or commitment to earning a living.

All variables and disagreements aside, my purpose here it so share what I believe to be the 4 bad habits that give MLM or network marketing a bad name and why so many new network marketing people get off to such a bad start.

1. Hidden agendas

2. Product versus people

3. Lack of awareness

4. One-up-man-ship

Hidden Agendas

When I was green and starting my speaking business I can’t tell you the number of times a multi-level-marketer invited me to lunch to meet someone who could take my speaking career to the next level. The promise was delivered in various ways: “I think I can introduce you to a company that could use your training,” or “I can show you how you can be speaking in front of thousands in just a few years.”

Once I got to the luncheon it turned into a presentation about the MLM Company and how once I signed up and recruited my people, I would then have my audience whom I could train. Then it was followed up by a promise that once I made X amount of money the national headquarters would surely want me to be their keynote that year.

The  dishonesty was  justified with, “I just thought once I had your attention and you saw the value you would thank me for opening this door.”

The intention might have been good but the reality is this: There is no justification to lying to someone to trick them into your down-line.

The solution: Be transparent about why you want to meet and quit making assumptions about how someone else needs to build their practices. Never make promises that you cannot fulfill.

Lack of Awareness

It’s great to be passionate about your product, but listening to a one-man show of someone talking about how I should sell their vitamin and how it would changes the world, is a huge turn off, especially when I have my own product to sell.

Several times I’ve been a keynote speaker at a small business event and a network marketer will approach me with ideas about how I can make a fortune selling his product because of my large mailing list. The conversation is always one-sided, over-bearing and without any awareness, the marketer is at the front of the line talking about his product while people are in line waiting to buy my book. Hello??

Solution: Take into consideration the agenda of the other people in your presence. Listen more than you talk. Ask a question instead of spouting out statistics about how your product cures cancer, reduces wrinkles or saves you thousands in legal fees.

Product versus People

The great thing about MLM companies is the training and support they provide. You can’t get this kind of training without paying big bucks if you start from scratch. Yes, the systems are in place, and the tried and true methods work. There’s just one big problem: not everyone is as interested in your product as you are.

There are a couple of products I purchase as a distributor. As much as I love the product, I hate to hear from the person who introduced me to the product.

Every question they ask feels like it’s the opening to a sales pitch or just waiting to share a new statistic. No matter what my answer, they are offering me an upgrade or a new product promising to make my life better. (Let me own that it may just be my perception.) Nonetheless, we never have a conversation that isn’t primarily about how her product can make my life better.

In the end, it’s about your vitamins. It’s not about your pots and pans. It’s not about your cosmetics. It’s about relationships.

The Solution: Strive to be interested in the other before making a sales pitch. Master your energy and slow down your enthusiasm until you make a connection. Find ways to help this person first then they will be more open to listening to you about your product.


This is the very worst habit that I have seen with almost every network marketer. Their product is from heaven and their competitor’s product is evil. The reason many people dread talking to the  multi-level-marketer is that no matter what cosmetic, what vitamin or what juice they are drinking, the network marketer tells them their product  is inferior to the one they represent and they can back it up with “research.”

There’s always a Swiss scientist, a Japanese inventor, a neuron-surgeon or Nobel-prize winner who has done research proving why you are an idiot if you don’t switch products. It is exhausting and off-putting to anyone who has to stand hostage to this kind of conversation.

The solution: Quit trying to prove others wrong and quit talking about how other products are inferior. You only create resistance on the part of your potential client. Simply acknowledge that there are many great products and the reason you switched or went with the one you represent. Then put your tongue in the top of your mouth and avoid the need to argue should they disagree.

All things considered, your expertise, your willingness to work, your commitment to being successful, if you will avoid these four deadly habits I’ll bet you will be a top leader in your network marketing company much quicker than the others who have hidden agendas, talk too much, put product over people, and try to prove everyone else wrong.


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