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Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroads?

by Steve_Fazia » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:12 pm


I've had this topic on my mind this past year, but had not formulated what needed to be said up until now. You see, a NM CEO recently gave a powerful speech which crystallized a lot of what I had wanted to convey about our industry. Network marketing has a lot of problems right now, and a lot needs to be fixed. People are first attracted to the industry by the hope of creating a better life, but end up exiting in droves. The initial hype which entices them is unbelievable. Once they're in, reality sets in. High priced products, complicated comp plans, forced autoships, excessive fees for websites, marketing, advertising, and a laundry list of other 'gotchas'. Then there's the empty promises from companies that can't deliver. And some companies simply throw the towel in and shut their doors, leaving a distributor force with shattered dreams.

I have been with the same company in the health and wellness arena for many years. As much as I love the products and the vision of the company, I recognize that for a new person, it's a tough build. Learning curve for the product, and not the easiest comp plan to implement and foster duplication. But my residual income from this company, all from part time efforts, has been substantial over the years. I will always be with this company, but recognize deep down that it will never attract the masses for the reasons given in this speech. I've been on a quest for the past 2 years to find a Plan B company that would appeal to the masses, make duplication a piece of cake, and drastically improve retention rates, which is a dismal stat in our industry. Thought I had found it. Brilliant business model, poor execution on the company's part. Enough said. I could go on and on. Read what this CEO says about our industry. Now I know what to look for. His company does not offer the solution, but he does note that the first company which recognizes what he alludes to in his eloquent talk, will be the winner!

Veteran Network Marketing Company CEO Asks:
“Are We Really in the Business of DIRECT SALES Anymore?”
“If we ignore these TRENDS, we do so at our own peril. Our old model, of slow-moving
Direct Sales, isn’t going to cut it. New trends will make us or break us” - Darren Jensen
------------ // ------------
In this shockingly candid opinion piece, Darren Jensen (CEO of one of
the 70 largest 'Network Marketing' companies - Life Vantage) - said he
sees ...
“a few TRENDS emerging that will "propel" our industry into the future,
IF we’re prepared. On the other hand, they will "bury" us if we ignore
them.
He then goes on to say, “The landscape is shifting, and the various sales channels are
converging. In the very near future, our main competition will not be that other Direct
Sales company down the road - vying for the better products and distributors.
We are competing against the entire GIG Economy. That is literally everyone out there
who’s looking to run their own business, or run a side hustle, or buy into an experience,
rather than just a product.“
And then he asks, “Are we really in the business of Direct Sales anymore? …
"I believe that we’re evolving into something more akin to ... a mix between social
commerce and social entrepreneurism.“
He describes the gradual evaporation of the dividing lines between the ONline world
and the OFFline world:
“Digital, and brick and mortar, are becoming seamless. Because huge brands can’t hog
the mic anymore, SOCIAL COMMERCE is paving the way for an entirely new way to do
business. Right now it’s a race to see who can provide the best product - with the best
experience. In a world where anyone online can cut through the clutter - with a great
review - or by launching a game-changing product from their garage - our old model of
slow-moving, Direct Sales, isn’t going to cut it.“
Recognizing the power of Uber, Airbnb, and other tech
companies ... that have redirected (“disrupted”) entire
industries, just like Amazon.com has, Darren says - “The
good news is that social commerce is already in our DNA.
... "if anyone knows how to share a product, and create vast networks, it IS us. The
question that remains, however, is ... how do we Uber-ize our business model? In other
words, how do we integrate the technology that simplifies our approach enough to keep
competing in the new Gig Economy? The first company that answers this wins.“
“My Uber driver might not have realized it, but the best part of that ride (for him, at least)
was that he didn’t have to find his customer. Technology pushed me to him, effortlessly.
He didn’t have to cold call, network, schedule a meeting or convince me.“
He chastises 'traditional' Direct Sales commission structure: “… it’s an understatement
to say that our compensation plans are complicated (sometimes you almost have to be
Einstein himself to decipher the things).” He accurately describes the looming storm on
the horizon for almost all Direct Sales companies: “As a channel, we need to embrace
technology as a way to streamline everything we do. If we don’t, we’re in trouble. If we
ignore these trends, we do so at our own peril.“
He concludes by reminding us of the well-known analogy of Blockbuster video rental
business - being quickly trashed by Netflix ... “We all know how Blockbuster’s story
ended. The company failed to see the growing trend of consumer convenience, and
personalization. They ignored technology ... and they got Netflixed. Today, we can’t live
without streaming services, so it’s easy to wonder how Blockbuster could have never
seen its downfall coming. I don’t want people to wonder the same thing about us.“

I would love to hear what others think of his speech, especially some of you veterans of the forum. (where have you been?):)

Steve Fazia
INTEGRATIVE HEALTH RESOURCE
"Good Health Is NOT Expensive, It's Priceless!"
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by robf1 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:39 am


Hey Steve,

I think in order to capture todays "audience" , companies are going to have to come up with more high tech ways of prospecting, appealing, reaching people. The methods like two old fogeys like me and you used are fading. :lol: IMO. I'm not sure what exactly what it would be..... some companies are already using apps to some degree, and online webinars are taking the place of the old home/hotel meetings. But it needs to be something. Maybe we can think of something Steve......we'll make millions. :D

Rob
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by Steve_Fazia » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:08 pm


robf1 wrote:Hey Steve,

I think in order to capture todays "audience" , companies are going to have to come up with more high tech ways of prospecting, appealing, reaching people. The methods like two old fogeys like me and you used are fading. :lol: IMO. I'm not sure what exactly what it would be..... some companies are already using apps to some degree, and online webinars are taking the place of the old home/hotel meetings. But it needs to be something. Maybe we can think of something Steve......we'll make millions. :D

Rob


Yes indeed! Actually, I didn't think of it, but there is what I believe may very well be the solution Mr. Jensen alludes to. I've been doing some due diligence for the past couple of weeks, and will be testing the platform in the next few days. Will keep everyone posted, but early signs indicate it's a winner that solves all these problems in the industry! :idea:

Steve
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by robf1 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:12 pm


Steve_Fazia wrote:
robf1 wrote:Hey Steve,

I think in order to capture todays "audience" , companies are going to have to come up with more high tech ways of prospecting, appealing, reaching people. The methods like two old fogeys like me and you used are fading. :lol: IMO. I'm not sure what exactly what it would be..... some companies are already using apps to some degree, and online webinars are taking the place of the old home/hotel meetings. But it needs to be something. Maybe we can think of something Steve......we'll make millions. :D

Rob


Yes indeed! Actually, I didn't think of it, but there is what I believe may very well be the solution Mr. Jensen alludes to. I've been doing some due diligence for the past couple of weeks, and will be testing the platform in the next few days. Will keep everyone posted, but early signs indicate it's a winner that solves all these problems in the industry! :idea:

Steve



Be sure to let me know what you come up with.

Rob
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by PeterArnold » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:42 pm


Hey Steve:

Many thanks for sharing this exceptional article from a well known industry CEO.

I have not been in here for a while -- since back when VEMMA and HERBALIFE were both going through their ugly battles with the FTC (which in themselves, gave us a [shocking!] WAKE UP CALL for "significant change" in the Direct Sales / Network Marketing industry too.

Now, Mr. Jensen (the CEO) has expanded on this, with his very timely address to the Direct Sales Association - wow!

If I may, here's my own call on this - - -

As a Business & Financial Consultant -- and also, a [part time] 30+ year participant in the Direct Sales / Network Marketing industry (having been associated with a few companies) -- as well as having had the privilege of serving on the Board Of Directors of its professional association for (4) years, representing Canada (ANMP.com) -- I feel I have had a pretty good chance to see -- the good -- and the not so good -- of this industry.

The BEST - First, I continue to believe there is NO finer opportunity, for both TIME and FINANCIAL Freedom, than the "business model" of Network Marketing. None -- not personal real estate - not the stock market - not gold / silver / rare art / coins / stamps / vintage autos / family heirlooms / bit-coins / forex -- nothing - nada. WHY?

(3) Giant ADVANTAGES - Because WE have "three (3) powerful forces" -- LEVERAGE + COMPOUNDING + RESIDUAL INCOME -- all "working together, in harmony" for us, in a 'Network Marketing' Home Business -- forces that NO other job / business / profession can provide, to my knowledge.

Add to that, the TAX advantages we enjoy (with a "Home-Based" business - and especially so now, with the new USA Tax Act!) -- and all the advances in technology / social media, etc - as Rob mentions -- and WE go to the front of the class -- every time.

BROKEN - Left in its "pure state" - our business model IS untouchable -- but what has happened is -- the 'HUMANOID' FACTOR got in the way! Too many (so called) experts have "messed it up" over the years -- with "greed" often being the centerpiece -- giving it - and this (otherwise) great industry - the kind of "baggage" - and "stigma" it has never, ever deserved -- and as a result, it's become BROKEN (as we used to know it).

P&Ps - Steve, you certainly touch on "many" of the serious problems facing the Direct Sales / Network Marketing field today -- and Jensen does as well, in his bold address -- but I would like to add another one (a "blockbuster", in my view!) -- and that is, the POLICIES & PROCEDURES that companies force Reps / Associates / Affiliates to sign, when they join . Sadly, these "archaic" Legal Documents usually have SO many "gotchas" in them, that can come back to "hurt" field people (Reps) - often causing financial (and emotional) devastation -- I've seen it -- so have you. And what is troubling is - many (most) new Reps never even "read" the fine print - let alone, "study" it - BEFORE signing it. Of course, the companies must have language in there that helps to protect "them" (and thus, the field) - that's a given -- but it's time these (UNI-level) Agreements were re-designed, and in such a way that a more respectful "Business Partnership" environment is forged.

But even worse than ALL of the above -- many (perhaps most) companies / CEOs / uplines / industry leaders -- they are simply "sticking their heads in the sand" about these issues -- they refuse to "face" the REALITIES that Jensen, and you, are warning us of -- and that is a tragedy.

---------------

SOLUTION? - What we need is someone -- likely from "outside" the industry -- with the "vision" - and the "courage" - to DISRUPT it.

Jensen keeps referring to the realities of -- the DIGITAL Age + SOCIAL COMMERCE -- and the urgency of STREAMLINING everything we do.

As I see it, what we need is another STEVE JOBS -- someone to come forward with a company that embraces POSITIVE (but "radical!") CHANGE.

Such a company will not only provide a "paradigm shift" in its entire BUSINESS MODEL -- it will exude TRANSPARENCY + INTEGRITY + OPPORTUNITY (for ALL - not just HEAVY HITTERS).

---------------

That's my own $5-cents worth (Canadian :>)

Again, THANKS for posting, and starting this important thread.

Sincerely / Peter A. / Canada
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by Mike_Michelozzi » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:43 pm


Great topic and thoughts here.

USANA reps can still do well w/Dr. Oz if they work at it.

It's still about trying lots of things never knowing what will catch the public fancy and last . . . . for a while.

Small may still be best meaning finding the smallest denominator that want what we offer.

Online a must and off line still a good place to work.

It's never been easy.

TKDHikingMike
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by robf1 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:25 pm


Mike_Michelozzi wrote:Great topic and thoughts here

It's never been easy.

TKDHikingMike


Amen brother........
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by Mike_Michelozzi » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:39 pm


Hi Rob great to see ya here.

I hope all is well with you and your family.

We be getting to be the mlm dot com old timers :D : especially me - well, you too :lol:
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by robf1 » Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:58 pm


Mike_Michelozzi wrote:Hi Rob great to see ya here.


I hope all is well with you and your family.

We be getting to be the mlm dot com old timers :D : especially me - well, you too :lol:



Good to see you hikin Mike. Hope you and Shirley are doing well. Yep, it looks like me you and ole Steve are the only "originals" left.
Ahhhhh how I long for the good old days.... ;)
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by WarrantiesForLess » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:18 am


Great thread, and like most here, I have seen it all for decades and the markets and advertising strategies keep evolving to a point that what worked yesterday does not mean it will work today, never mind tomorrow and beyond. So it is nice to read the opinions of others in industry and compare notes.

Just like forums like this, it has become a ghost town over past year, as have many other forums I was on over the years. Why have forums died out, many reasons, but given most people are deep into their smart phones and texting, and no longer communicate face to face to learn the critical interactional aspects of old school communicating, we all have to recognize it is a different world than when we started in the network marketing industry.

This forum was initiated on AOL as I recall, and it was a hotbed of activity when email and online marketing became the latest trend in promoting our companies. Those were the good old days, plenty of activity, and now, barely a few posts between my visits. Sad, but hey, that is the reality of the changing world we live in. When a medium is on its death bed, it will not be long before it is indeed dead. So many forums like this have already died, sad to see, especially when I read these very good posts about the changing industry. Change is good, but only if you get ahead of the next trend in marketing. At this point, the only thing that is working is texting, but for how long, no one knows.

When I think back over all the years I have been on line, which goes back before AOL which was in late 80's, I was using the internet which was only used for colleges back in the day. I recognized the power of the internet, and now look at it, so many advances it is difficult to absorb all the changes and enhancements, never mind the frustrations. With advances on the horizon with the new 5G coming soon, faster speeds, more powerful smart phones, who knows what is next in the technology department. One thing for sure, change is never going to stop so we must all stay ahead of trends in products and services, first is always best, and all one has to do is look at how many companies have vanished over the last decade. The list is growing every year, big retailers losing hundreds of millions, I was in local Sears over holiday for first time in years, and it was a ghost store, hardly anyone there, shelves spread out and half empty, it was a shock to see Sear's on its death bed. Even Sam's Clubs shutting down dozens of locations, wow, talk about a dying industry, and then watching Amazon exploding, again, we are moving away from personal interaction in all areas. Now we see driverless cars becoming reality, another wow, and soon cable and satellite companies will go the way of Blockbusters and Circuit City which were giants at one time.

So we all have to realize that what use to work no longer is assured in the years to come. Just like all these dying big box stores, malls turning into ghost towns, network marketing companies always under attack by FTC and SEC, nothing is well defined anymore when it comes to marketing of products or services. I have focused on new technologies for years, but again, what was new yesterday does not mean it will be today or tomorrow, very hard to keep ahead of this moving target. As streaming and higher speed internet advances, how many other companies will fall, who knows?

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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by Steve_Fazia » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:00 pm


Really appreciate everyone's comments on this important topic on our industry. As Mr. Jensen notes in his speech, if we bury our heads in the sand and ignore certain trends, we're going to be left behind. And if network marketing is truly going to be the vehicle to attaining true long term passive/residual income, changes must be made! I challenge everyone here to go back and reread the speech, and pay particular attention to the questions he poses. Notice he states that the first company which answers these questions, wins. I've been kicking around this industry for over 35 years, and have witnessed many trends, both good and bad. I could tell you some war stories, but will save those for another post :shock: I've been part time all those years, while working for that W-2 income. I've recently retired early from hospital pharmacy. So now that I'm able to be full time in this industry, I also want to be willing. Quite frankly, what I've experienced, especially as of late, leaves a lot to be desired; certainly too many problems (thanks for highlighting some others, Peter!) and a lot that needs fixing.

Now, thanks to one of the most respected contributors on this forum, that hypothetical company alluded to in Jensen's speech has been handed to me! As far as I can tell from my brief experience with this business model, this company answers those questions in a resounding fashion (and therefore, wins!). It is truly an industry disrupter, firmly entrenched in the multi-$Trillion eCommerce space. Therefore, it does not interfere with anything someone is already doing, because it involves 'anyway' money, i.e. $$ we are already spending every month. At this point, I could write pages and pages of detail on this revolutionary business model, but I'll spare everyone for now. Suffice it to say, this company has all of the good, and none of the bad. It is transforming the network marketing/direct sales industry as we speak.

Here's a short introduction (6 min.). I believe it will crystallize the hypothetical business model alluded to in the speech. No, it's not an affiliate link, just an overview of a brilliant idea which might very well keep our industry headed in a positive direction amidst the present shortcomings and turmoil. Oh, and one last thing: there is no cost to become a member and use the platform ;)

Steve

https://vimeo.com/245837458
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Re: Network Marketing/Direct Sales: Industries At A Crossroa

by PeterArnold » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:00 am


Hi Steve:

Yes, it's good to see some thoughtful comments showing up here in your (important!) thread.

I'd like to expand on it a wee bit more, if I may ...

CHANGE - As has already been stated so well - everything is "changing" these days - and SO rapidly - including the (old) Network Marketing model (as we knew it). And "change" for most of us is painful - just look at how "job security" has been slaughtered - because, if robots + artificial intelligence + nanotechnology + machine learning + 3D printing are going to be doing all the work - what the heck will HUMANS beings do - nine to five? Frightening.

ONLINE Shopping - This is another example of "rampant change" -- with "hundreds" of famous brand name (brick-and-mortar) stores "closing their doors" this year, all across North America - in large part, to a massive switch to eCOMMERCE. So again, what are 'those' thousands of laid-off employees going to do? - It's scary too.

SOLUTION - But out of misfortune and adversity, very often, opportunity emerges, and what is mentioned in the video you provided does indeed sound like a powerful "solution" that our Direct Sales / Network Marketing industry needs at this time (a solution that CEO Jensen obviously "was not aware of").

HYBRID Business Model - Like you say, this [revolutionary] solution will likely "transform" our industry [as we've known it] - since it's taking only the "best parts" from - Network Marketing + Affiliate Marketing + Cash Backs + Fundraising (ALL being $multi-billion industries in themselves) -- and "combining" them into a (100% FREE to Join) eCOMMERCE model, in such a way that "everybody" gets paid (not just the "heavy hitters", as has been common) -- NObody gets left behind -- and it doesn't interfere (or conflict) with any other business one might have, as you mention.

To my knowledge, up until now - this kind of Home Biz platform has been UNHEARD of in Direct Sales / Network Marketing history.

Steve, many THANKS for sharing this [timely!] news.

Sincerely / Peter A.
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