Everywhere I go, whenever someone discovers I am involved in multilevel marketing, or MLM, I am always asked: “Do people really make money doing that?” I like to answer that question with another question: “It’s a $30 billion industry involving some of the biggest companies in America. What do you think?”
MLM has an undeservedly bad reputation. Why? So many have tried it with unrealistic expectations, failed, and decided it’s a “scam.” And while there are disreputable companies out there, it’s easy to fail as a distributor with even the best MLMs. The secret to making money in MLM is really no secret: It’s hard work. Unfortunately, most people quit MLM before they figure that out.
Why do people quit? I hear about a variety of reasons: Not making money, can’t get anyone to join, found something regular, can’t get anyone to buy the product, can’t get the people I sponsor to recruit, and (my favorite) can’t sell things. These are all real excuses but, in my opinion, they are all lame excuses.
I have found four key factors that will help you avoid these excuses and pitfalls, ensuring your success with MLM and with your downline—the people you recruit.
Factor No. 1: Have Confidence in the Product and in Yourself
When you are looking for a regular job, you don’t always have the luxury of choosing the company you work for based on your respect for them. But when you are involved in MLM, you not only can, but should, choose a company based on how much you like their product or service. This may seem obvious, but if you don’t believe that your company, its principal owners, and their staff are providing some sort of quality service or product, you won’t stay with them for the long haul.
Of course, you will have to try the company’s product or service. This sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people who join an MLM company never try out the product or service they are selling. How can you recommend something you’ve never tried?
Also, if you don’t have the confidence to believe in yourself, you will never get far in MLM. When someone has quit on themselves, it’s easy to quit on an opportunity—especially if they’re not making any money in the program at first.
Most people lack the self-confidence it takes to stick their head above the crowd and be accountable. I know this from personal experience. When I was getting started, I was scared to death to call someone on the phone and try and recruit them. Why? Because I doubted my ability to both lead and encourage others to follow their dreams, and to offer advice. How could I recommend an opportunity to someone I hardly knew when I had not yet had success at it?
It’s kind of like the scenario of the chicken and the egg. Do you become confident first and then become financially successful? Or is it the other way around? If the former is true, where do you get the confidence when you’re flat broke and have no track record?
Here are three things you can do right now to gain all the confidence you need:
Read books about building your self-esteem. You’ll find tons of these in your library and local bookstore. They will aid you in not only believing in yourself, but also in creating a big enough dream that will keep you going when the chips are down.
Use your company’s products and services. If you’re satisfied with their usefulness and their cost, you’ll feel comfortable recommending them. You have to believe in a product or service in order to be able to talk about it sincerely with your downline and your potential prospects.
Associate with people in your upline who have done what you want to accomplish. Seeing that others have succeeded in your program will enhance your own faith in what you are doing. If you can’t find a profitable upline, it’s time to move on.
Factor No. 2: Learn to recruit
Every MLM company has developed its own version of a recruitment system. While many systems have factors in common, each company offers something unique to its sales force when it comes to bringing in new people.
Some recruiting systems are streamlined and simple. Others may use 15 different brochures, flyers and postcards. Whatever it is, learn your company’s system well and then learn its ins and outs from someone who uses it successfully. Once you have done this, all you have to do is “duplicate” that person’s efforts to achieve the same results.
Also, make sure your downline members understand your company’s recruitment system well and use it correctly. The last thing you want is downline members creating their own system without input. Model a good example they can follow to achieve their own success.
See more MLM success factors in Part 2.