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The MLM Dilemma: People Acquisition vs. Delivering Real Value

Nov 16, 2007
Sometimes we paint a huge bulls-eye on our chest and ask to be shot. That's how I felt a few years ago when I entered a multi-level-marketing (MLM) business for all the right reasons. Coming from a professional background and having held high-level positions in reputable companies, I came in with the purest business heart. I thought the product and vision of the company matched my own, which was to deliver real value to my clients and in-turn, build a long-term sustainable revenue stream. That is where I discovered the MLM dilemma and it taught a valuable lesson in humility and business.

The message sounds wonderful to most people, "Just a few hours per week and fire your boss". Sound familiar? Most MLM companies rely on one thing to drive real profits: people acquisition. So the sales pitch is based on achieving financial freedom and the benefits of entrepreneurship, rather than on the mechanics of how to get business or the tangible product. First and foremost, MLMs have to sell the business opportunity to make money. The product or service almost becomes inconsequential and, because of the commission structure, the company has to charge outrageous monthly fees or product costs in order to return a profit for the upline representatives.

Based on my research there are many MLMs who are trying to bridge the gap and are providing products and services that benefit their representatives in the areas of health, the environment and personal finances. But most representatives still fail to meet their personal expectation set by the MLM when they joined: to acquire financial freedom. I believe this is the biggest reason why the MLM industry has been given a black eye. Not because they present inherently bad business opportunities, but rather the expectation they sell to the consumer.

As consumers, we can only blame ourselves. These MLM companies have figured out what we buy. We won't spend a lot of money to drink the next greatest protein shake but we will invest heavily in freedom. If you are currently in a network marketing or MLM business or considering joining one, here a few simple questions to ask:

1. Is there a real way to make money without just selling the business opportunity?
2. If I am unable to sell and market the business opportunity effectively, is the product I'm expected to buy on a monthly basis fairly priced and valuable in some way to me personally?
3. Will the business sell itself or do I need to develop tools and marketing strategies in order to succeed?
4. If I'm not part of the founding organization, is there an opportunity to still generate wealth?
5. Is the product I'm selling part of a fad or is there long term potential for growth?

Answering these questions will better set your expectations and bring you closer to determining if the business opportunity is a good fit for you. Many of us may still need to try on a few more before we find the right one, but I believe MLM businesses with the right commission structure and a unique selling proposition can find a favorable place in the business community.
About the Author
To learn about a new company I discovered that is overcoming the MLM dilemma, visit Click Here
Brett Nordin is a business consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for various business topics including sales, marketing and business development.
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