Whether they realize it or not, consultant leaders often use time-honored cult tactics of denial and blame to keep women within their sorority. A famous series of experiments from the 1950s conducted by Soloman Asch in England showed that three out of four people will deny evidence right in front of them if the majority says it’s not true. In the study, individuals were placed in groups where they were constantly contradicted by other members. When this happened over a length of time, they would start to agree with the majority—even though it was clear that the opposite was true. In MLMs, “you’re trained to avoid people who question whether this is a viable business or not,” Brooks says. “Which is exactly the same technique that cults use—they try to isolate you from people who question your belief system. I’ve been contacted by a number of people who deal with cult survivors, and some of their clients are former MLM people.”
Recruiting can involve any form of communication like email, private messaging and others, such as phone calls. No picture is needed to start a network marketing business or to be recruited by a network marketer.
Although an MLM company holds out those few top individual participants as evidence of how participation in the MLM could lead to success, the reality is that the MLM business model depends on the failure of the overwhelming majority of all other participants, through the injecting of money from their own pockets, so that it can become the revenue and profit of the MLM company, of which the MLM company shares only a small proportion of it to a few individuals at the very top of the MLM participant pyramid. Participants, other than the few individuals at the top, provide nothing more than their own financial loss for the company’s own profit and the profit of the top few individual participants.
MLM salespeople are, therefore, expected to sell products directly to end-user retail consumers by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing, but most importantly they are incentivized to recruit others to join the company as fellow salespeople so that these can become their down line distributors. According to a report that studied the business models of 350 MLMs, published on the Federal Trade Commission’s website, at least 99% of people who join MLM companies lose money. Nonetheless, MLMs function because downline participants are encouraged to hold onto the belief that they can achieve large returns, while the statistical improbability of this is de-emphasised. MLMs have been made illegal in some jurisdictions as a mere variation of the traditional pyramid scheme, including in mainland China.
So, MLMs profit by conning recruits up-front with a “distributorship fee,” and then make further illicit money by “confidencing” these hapless victims as they fail via the “sale” of collateral material.
Despite their popularity, this type of company doesn’t exactly have the best rep. Though pyramid schemes are illegal in Canada, the perception that all MLM companies have pyramid-like qualities is a lasting one, aided in part by rumours of sketchy business practices and bad press about the industry. For example, LuLaRoe, which reportedly requires new consultants to purchase $5,000 worth of inventory when they join, was hit with a $1 billion class action lawsuit last October that says, according to the Chicago Tribune, “the [California] firm encouraged women who wanted to sell its leggings, skirts and other clothing to take out loans, run up credit cards and even sell their breast milk, then left some in financial ruin with unsold goods… As many as 80,000 people paid thousands up front for inventory.”
Finally, everyone knows that a good bit of the pricing of MLM products go toward rewarding “top reps” with trips to Hawaii, etc. One company told me that the percentage of their pricing that goes toward commissions and rewards is 40%.
Network marketing, also known as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), is a business model where independent contractors buy into a company and earn a commission on the products they sell. The profession appeals to many people because they can be their own boss, set their own hours, and work towards their own success. It is a big commitment, but network marketing can be a very lucrative career.
The age-old technique of “con men” is to create “confidence” in some otherwise dumb idea by diversion of thought, bait, or force of personality. The victim gets confidence in a bogus plan, and, in exchange, the con man gets your money. MLMers are very high on confidence.
For example, when a hypothetical 20-something, Priya, buys skincare, makeup and bath products from Arbonne at a discount and sells it at the suggested retail price, she earns a commission of about 15 percent. But Priya can also earn a percentage of commission on whatever Sarah, a friend she recruited to the company, sells. Word-of-mouth is one of the key strategies in direct sales, so both Priya and Sarah are likely reaching out to their friends and families — and, increasingly, online social networks — to both move product and recruit for their respective sales teams.
Nu Skin, a cosmetics MLM, has accumulated more than $48 million in civil penalties since 1994 for exaggerating the effectiveness of its products, which include baldness treatments, wrinkle lotions, burn creams and others, and for making bogus claims regarding chromium picolinate and L-carnitine, key ingredients in several of their supplements.
You see, there are lots of other people who need to sell the same products as you to make money too. And quite possibly living in the same area, with the same pool of potential customers as you. So if you have the misfortune to sign up to an MLM that’s already popular in your area or social circle, you’ll probably find it hard to recruit customers.
Investigate the products or service the company sells. Since you’ll be responsible for pitching and selling this product, make sure it is reputable. Some MLM companies market questionable or dangerous products, and you could face legal action if you take part. You should keep the following in mind when considering a product:
Essentially, the idea is that any given upline collects a cut of the sales from every member of their downline. As a result, the only path to solvency for the upline is to make sure that the downline recruits as heavily as possible, with as deep a pyramid beneath them as possible – as opposed to conventional businesses, where the path to solvency is to sell sufficient product to consumers.
Jump up ↑ Salinger (Editor), Lawrence M. (2005). Encyclopedia of White-Collar & Corporate Crime. 2. Sage Publishing. p. 880. ISBN 0-7619-3004-3. Archived from the original on February 24, 2017. https://books.google.com/books?id=0f7yTNb_V3QC&lpg=PP1&dq=isbn%3A0761930043&pg=PA880#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
MLMs aren’t a new business model—they’ve just done a little rebranding. A lot of the old guard such as Avon and Mary Kay are still around, but nowadays, some of the most popular MLMs include Herbalife and Plexus (nutrition and weight loss), Young Living and DoTerra (essential oils), Pampered Chef (kitchen tools), Rodan + Fields (skincare), and Jamberry (nail stickers).
Apparently, it is difficult for gung-ho MLMers to see how they look from the outside. They can watch lifelong friendships unravel, churches and civic groups poisoned, the avoidance of friends and family, etc., and never see that MLM was the cause.
Jump up ↑ “13 successful multi-level marketing companies based in Utah County”. Provo Daily Herald. May 11, 2017. https://www.heraldextra.com/business/local/successful-multi-level-marketing-companies-based-in-utah-county/collection_8720a5f3-7203-5b55-864a-f0f3323a2551.html. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
Honest confession: until we recently we thought MLMs were fairly harmless. In fact, we’ve even unknowingly profiled them on our site (we weren’t aware some businesses were MLMs). While they didn’t particularly appeal to us, we didn’t see the harm in them.
That sense of camraderie often starts with a love of the product. Jen Marie Rowsell, a 33-year-old Canadian arachnologist-turned-Arbonne area manager who now lives in Texas, wasn’t even interested in joining the business at first — she fell in love with Arbonne’s product line, which claims to be pure, safe and effective. But, much like the other women FLARE interviewed, she quickly realized that if she was excited about about Arbonne products and telling her friends anyway, it only made sense to actually sell them herself. And that’s when she really began to benefit from the company’s famously tight-knit sorority.
MLMs sell themselves using self-empowerment language and sparkly beauty products. MLMs only sell through a network of consultants, not in online stores or in brick-and-mortar shops. Sellers buy inventory from a parent company and sell it to their friends and family, keeping the profit for themselves like a franchise would. But the real potential to earn money generally isn’t in peddling wares: It’s in building up a team of sellers below you and getting a cut of their commissions. Once a seller has recruited new consultants, she has to push them to buy more inventory each month or to hit consumer-sales targets in order to earn her bonus check and keep the money flowing upstream. This means the further down the recruitment ladder you are, the less opportunity there is to make real money.
The MLMers of the new millennium are starting to sound a lot like the gangsters of yesteryear. In an era where management science and the law generally condemn MLM, they’ve “got their own experts,” from academia or law, who are “on the payroll.” Confidence, remember, is key.
Use the internet to your advantage in network marketing. You can interact with many more people than you would in your personal network. The more contacts that you can make, the more your network will grow. Spend some time to create a web site that people can use to interact and to find out more about you.
In short, we wanted you to know the exact criteria we used in order to select, and then to rank, “The Top 25…” You may agree with our findings, or you may not; we welcome your thoughts and opinions either way. Here’s the Nexera Five-Factor Formula we used to make our selections:
Set yourself up at a booth at a job fair and sell your network marketing business to potential job seekers! They have all the time in the world to dedicate to promoting their company, so they’re perfect for the type of career you’re promoting. Ask for their resume and have an interview with them right there, then contact the people you believe will be the best choices for the position.