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Best-MLM-Opportunities, Issue #001 -- It Makes Me Sick When . . .
June 10, 2003

I'm sick of being told things like, "Build your Team first before you even start thinking about product promotion."

Yeah, I know there are some advantages to this approach, e.g., you maximize your p*tential inc*me by building a large downline and discovering "business builders" in the process.

(The term "business builder" generally refers to individuals who are either established dir>ct mark>ting or netw*rk mark>ting professionals or people who take to the business like an exhausted horse to the salt lick.)

And if this approach works for you, fantastic.

But there are a lot of us who are disagree with the "sell the opportunity first" approach.


I suppose my discomfort started when I was "Amwayed" 20 years ago. What bothered me most about the experience was that I trusted the man who met with me. I looked up to him.

I was a young twenty-something college student with an entrepreneurial spirit. He was the husband of a wonderful nurse with whom I worked (and to whom I was desperately attracted! :~).

Rather than telling me about the company, its products, and a little about the business opportunity, he gave it to me with all cannons firing. The term "hard sell" is too soft to describe it. I felt beat up afterwards! And I felt betrayed.

I know, I know! Not all Amway (Quixtar) reps go for the jugular like him. My high school buddy's parents were long-term Amway distributors and they were two of the most ethical, kind people I've known.

Nonetheless, that experience turned me off from an industry that I was intuitively attracted to "back in the day" of the early 1980's. If he had just given me a couple of free product samples, appropriate for a college student, I probably would have become a retail customer and gradually become interested in making some money as a distributor.

Cinnamon Stick Boy

I mean, I was one of those kids in elementary school that was peddling cinnamon sticks--which sold at a great profit margin, by the way! (Eventually my Mom figured out where all her cinnamon oil was going and that was the end of that enterprise).

So I was actually a prime candidate for Amway--if I hadn't felt betrayed by the "opportunity first" hard sell. And I know there are a lot of folks out there who feel the same way.

Just Say No!

So here's what I do to resist the pressure, which can be intense at times, to become a "Sell the Opportunity" salesman. I'll write it in the second person so it's not "all about me" but please understand that this is what works for me. I simply offer these as suggestions, which may or may not work for you.

By the way, when I refer to "products" I am including "services" in the definition. It's just less cumbersome to refer to a company's "products" rather than writing "products or services" every time.

Ways To Resist The Pressure

(1) Remind yourself that being genuine and honest is the best way to build credibility and trust.

(2) Tell your sponsor or whomever is pressuring you to "Sell the Opportunity First" that you appreciate his or her advice and respect their opinion. However, you prefer to focus on the product because, after all, if we don't have confidence in the product, why would even think about promoting the business opportunity?

You might go on to say,

"Plus, by promoting the product, I build trust and credibility with my customers, some of whom would never have been interested in the business opportunity. But because of their experience with our high-quality product and my excellent customer service" (it's okay to pump yourself up a little! :O) "some of them will become curious about the business and eventually become distributors."

(3) If your sponsor comes back at you with one of the dozens of "reasons" why your approach is flawed, politely ask him or her something like, "Will you support me even if I choose a different sales and marketing approach than your own?"

If they say, "Yes"--and you believe them--thank them for their open-mindedness and assistance.

If they say, "No," ask them if they would recommend someone in their upline who does support a "Product First" approach. If they refuse, you'll know you're doing the right thing by dropping them like a hot potato!

Then look for a mentor in or outside that MLM who will support a Product First approach.

(4) Periodically review the Federal Trade Commission's discussion of "Pyramid Schemes:"

Pyramid schemes - a form of multi-level marketing - involve paying commissions to distributors only for recruiting new distributors. Pyramid schemes are illegal in most states because the plans inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. When a plan collapses, most people - except those at the top of the pyramid - lose their money.

And Your Responsibilities as a Distributor:

If you decide to become a distributor, remember that you're legally responsible for the claims you make about the company, its product and the business opportunities it offers. That applies even if you're simply repeating claims you read in a company brochure or advertising flyer.

Now, I know that the Federal Trade Commission's opinion of the MLM Network Marketing industry is not exactly positive and their definition of pyramid schemes makes almost all MLM companies look illegal.  ;^|' 

At the same time, given recent publicized legal actions against some reportedly unethical MLM companies, we should be careful what we say and how we conduct our business. See:

(5) Ask yourself, "would I request more information if I saw an ad written like mine or if I talked with someone who described the product as I do?" If you wouldn't, the pressure to sell the opportunity over the product might be unconsciously influencing your thinking.

(6) Ask another Network Marketer what they think about your classified ad, web site, or verbal "pitch" about the company you represent and their product(s).

Ask the same question on one of the online Forums for MLM Network Marketers. Expect to get some negative feedback from the "Promote the Opportunity First" crowd. Ignore them.

(7) Keep in mind that by promoting the product first and the opportunity second (or not at all), you will attract like-minded entrepreneurs. They will like your approach and want to sign up under you rather than an "Opportunity First" sponsor. You will enjoy leading your team much more when you all have the same basic approach to marketing.

(8) Most importantly, remember the ancient wisdom, as true today as when it was originally spoken (and later written down), "To Thine Own Self Be True."


Wishing You Good Health and Prosperity,


P.S. I can see the email now: "Hey, Worthen, your ad promoting such-and-such program is totally focused on the business opportunity! You're a hypocrite!" Ahem. Okay, let me make myself perfectly clear (uh oh, maybe I shouldn't start out with that phrase ;o): I am not saying, "Never promote the opportunity."

I am saying that when speaking directly with potential product customers or with individuals who I don't know much about, I do not emphasize the business opportunity.

However, in general advertisements, where the audience includes business opportunity seekers, I do promote the business opportunity.

It's a matter of emphasis and overall attitude.


Dr. Mark Worthen
1905 Charlotte Drive
Charlotte, NC 28203-5783
Toll Free in US & Canada: 866.721.1408 (24/7)
Cell Phone: 704.301.3798 (0800 to 2200 EDT / 7 Days)

Vol. 1, No. 1
10 June 2003

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