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Updated on December 20, 2012

I have been involved in Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) since my days with Amway, now Quixtar, back in the early 1980’s. The lure of making money without my committing commensurate amounts of time has always been attractive to me. It was as exciting idea then as it is now. Let’s face it people, it is part of the economic system not to pay you what you are worth when you work for someone else. People that have to work for others are going to be subjected to ever increasing indignities as the years pass. This includes lower benefits, salary and job security, etc.

I never made much at MLM, because it really requires a salesman’s mentality to succeed and not everyone has that. I disliked self-promotion and while I wasn’t afraid to take risks to reach financial freedom, I did not like the sales aspect of the business. I guess it showed as I was never very good at it. I still had this vision of wealth beyond all dreams of avarice so I signed up with Pre-Paid Legal (PPL) in September, 2007. I liked them because they offered a service which was unique and useful to the public, as it was one service where I did not need to go out and sell a plethora of products each month. Once you sign someone up for the service, until they cancel, you are in pretty good shape. “Everybody sells vitamins, why are yours any better”? I could avoid questions like these. I am not ‘plugging’ Pre-Paid Legal but using them as example to make my point and tell this story.

So, I started full of enthusiasm ready to promote a service that everybody needed, even if they were not yet aware of it. I wanted to ‘plug in’ to the roadmap and not reinvent the wheel. My up-line told me that this was best. I got my personalized business cards, purchased motivational literature, showed up for all the business meetings and rallies and listened to the superstars of the business share words of wisdom and motivation with us ‘wannabees’. The hard part was going to relatives, business workmates and friends promoting my new business and inviting them to join me. When the idea of this sort of activity was presented to me, I went into an instant state of paralysis. I did get a couple of relatives to sign up, but it was like pulling teeth.

I wasn’t doing well and the activity was becoming tedious because I had so little success. I wanted to ‘think out of the box’. I put ads into to the classified section of the community papers (less expensive) in the ‘help wanted’ section. Believe it or not, I did get several calls of inquiry. After speaking with them and giving an idea of what it was about, many prospects said that they would come to the orientation. I had 10 people who promised to come and no one showed up. I could not figure out how not one person who said they would come actually came. Why would they lie? They did not have to, they could have simply said ‘not interested’ and I would not have taken the time looking for them. The first time, I thought that this was an aberration, a fluke. But, it occurred after the third time I placed the advertisement. Once you are out here, you come to believe that most people are not very imaginative, they want much more, over and above that for which they are willing to work. They flip burgers and clean bathrooms because it is all they are willing to do because it is within the parameters of the level of effort that he or she is willing to put forth. Meanwhile, I was seeing myself as the Wile E. Coyote of network marketing and all the promotional literature and books that I was buying were all written by “Acme”. Something needed to change and change quickly before I ran out energy. Reminds me of that “Bugs Bunny” cartoon when after fails to fall when he was supposed to he says, “I know that this defies the law of gravity, but you see I never studied law.” In other words, nothing was working and it did not make any sense as to why.

First, I needed a new prospecting methodology, one that did not require me to interact with astronomical numbers of people to find the one that could ‘get it’ and come join. I did not want people I had to goad, coerce to come and get involved. They were useless to me and the organization and would peel away at some point anyway. I had an up-line with one of those salesman type personalities, you know, the ‘gift of gab” and all of that. He was so smooth with all the scripts we were supposed to use, you never got the impression he was selling you anything or taking you out of your way. He could have had` his hand in your pocket while you were thinking that it was your own hand there. Well, I had this idea of using a company to provide a list of leads for a specific area code. I did not have much money, so I committed to doing this once a month. I bought a hundred or more names, phone numbers and addresses of people who in interviews or surveys said that they were interested in multi-level marketing and would consider getting involved if the right opportunity presented itself. I had the most success looking for right kind of leads from MLM Lead Specialists . I say that because I did not need 10,000 leads from all over America, I needed them localized with phone numbers, names and certain demographic data so we (my up-line and I) could meet them personally and invite them to the orientation. They provided the right kind of leads at a low enough prices allowing me to test and retest my theory helping to refine the selection process. We came to agreement, my up-line and I, that I would pay for the lists, he would agree to make the phone calls and set up the invitations. He would get the commissions for each new PPL member he brings into the group, but the person would be patched into my down-line. By the way, I don’t like the word ‘downline’, I prefer to say; made a member of my team. He used his salesmanship on people already predisposed to look seriously at this kind of opportunity. The chances are far greater of success. With people like this, I knew that it would only be a matter time before I would see the money. I get to have my organization developed with people who are serious and ready to forge ahead. I did not have to cajole them or hold their hand. Also, from among this group would be a personality type similar to that of my up-line leader. I could duplicate this technique with everybody on my team allowing everyone to make progress much more quickly. This worked between me and my up-line because I was willing to spend a little money to get results; so many others on my line of sponsorship did not want to spend the money but would rather waste their time, which in my opinion is ‘money’. We brought in some new people under this approach. Ultimately, my up-line said that he was too busy to pursue the telephone calls even with his auto-dialer equipment. As it was, I had to back away as I was nearing retirement, physically moving away, having some personal issues that consumed a great deal of time that had to be addressed.

If I were the up-line, I would see things differently. There is nothing more important than getting quality people and keeping them excited and motivated. Success is infectious and makes even timid people such as I stick his chest out and strut around like a peacock. You can hardly restrain yourself when you are part of something that is working; it shows in your manner and body language which while not readily noticeable by you is noticeable by the person with whom you are speaking. It is that excitement and confidence that you get from results that make those you speak with want to be a part of whatever it is that you are doing. If I had to be on the phone with prospects from lists purchased by other members of my group and adept at it, I would do it as much as possible. If you are contemplating MLM get a leader/up-line with the salesmanship skills if you don’t have them already. There is no point in having the blind lead the blind. Getting the reward of results for your effort is worth more than attending 100 meetings featuring motivational speakers. By putting your people first, you not only improve their prospects but yours as well.


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    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Theresa, it is true, one size does not fit all i will have to share my adventures or misadventures about my former day trading frenzy sometime.

      As always thanks for dropping in.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Very interesting and different approach and demonstrates that one size or approach does not fit all, but there are other angles to be considered and developed.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks for reading and commenting. The culture around these MSMs have been overpowering. If you the half of what I went through to try to get this stuff to actually work as all 'the winners' were telling that it did.... It does take a certain personality type, a type that I found that was irritating and superficial in the real world.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "I never made much at MLM, because it really requires a salesman’s mentality to succeed and not everyone has that. "

      Spot on. The two times I was in Amway, I was taught to view everyone I met as a prospect, not as a human being or a friend. it just didn't work for me. My upline was like family to me as long as I produced: if I didn't produce, they had no need for me.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      FF, thanks for reading, it is good to get your comments as I am sure that you may have been through this sometime yourself.

    • frugalfamily profile image

      Brenda Trott, M.Ed 

      7 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for sharing your personal story about MLM. I think you are right on the nose both about needing to work for yourself and about time equaling money.


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