Archive for May, 2009

MLM — More Loose Misrepresentations

May 26, 2009

With layoffs continuing and jobs difficult to find, a lot of people are signing up for direct selling opportunities as a way to create their own income. Mary Kay reported a 22 percent increase in its new sales force in the first quarter of 09. Avon reported a 51% increase in March in active representatives selling its products. Hundreds of companies promising beautiful skin, free legal advice, reversed aging, magical effects of tree bark, reduced mortgages and unique wealth systems are targeting those desperate for generating income.

As you know, I love entrepreneurial opportunities and am seeing thousands of people who saw their layoff as a wake-up call for releasing a long dormant dream. And there are legitimate options for starting your own business and being “recession-proof.”

But I get tired of the continued misrepresentations by so many of these MLM companies. Here are just a few snippets of recent questions:

Dan, do you have any information on this business? I have signed on as a consultant and I feel like it requires much more time than my upline will admit to.

Hey Dan, Would you check this out and let me know what you think about this? I would appreciate it. According to this guy, this is not something I would have to have meetings for or do any selling…’s all done through the Internet. He says that people that aren’t making money just simply don’t have the right leader.

Dan, I am selling make-up products from_____. I also am selling another line of products that I really like. Now they are telling me I can’t do that. I thought I was in business for myself.

These are common questions – and require more in the way of answers than space here allows. Just be very clear – MLM companies are notorious for misrepresenting what is really needed for success. Because there is so much pressure to recruit new distributors, they are very tempted to say it doesn’t really require any selling or much of your time. Neither could be farther from the truth.

If it could just be done on the Internet, why would they care about signing you on? They could just push a button and magically grow their business. But it doesn’t happen that way. It doesn’t matter how great the products are or how wonderful the company is — the bottom line is that it takes thousands of hours and thousands of people contacts.

Now I know many people are looking for ways to be more in control of their lives and time and MLM offers that. But just as there are a lot of mismatches in regular jobs, there are many mismatches in the MLM arena. And here’s the primary reason: Most multilevel marketing companies are promoting a fundamental falsehood, namely, that anyone can be a great salesperson; they just need the right tapes or coaching. That is absolutely false. Most people will never be good enough at selling to make a living at it, especially the nose-to-nose selling required in MLM. And no, don’t tell me now it can be done on the Internet. To succeed in MLM you need to be able to connect with people and have an ability to handle rejection. Most people don’t.

The success of the few comes at the expense of all the other people, the little people who waste their time and money pursuing a goal they can never reach. And that’s my problem with 99% of multilevel companies. You are encouraged to make money on your ability to use other people. Selling is an honorable profession. If you can sell you can provide a valuable service to your customers, taking advantage of no one in the process. Be cautious of companies that provide one solution to everyone’s dreams. Have you been interviewed as a reasonable candidate for what is required, or have you just been recruited as one more number in someone else’s “downline?” If you are building your own MLM business, would you hire Uncle Fred as a salesman if you had to pay him?

The median income for a direct salesperson is $2400 a year, with only 10% of sellers doing as a full-time job, according to their own Washington, D.C. based Direct Selling Association. Fewer than 1% of all MLM distributors who sign up ever recapture their original investment and earn a profit.

Do your research. Yes you can start your own business, but make sure it is something that “fits” you and where you have a reasonable chance for success. A home cleaning service or selling those great cheesecakes you make may be a perfect choice for you.

Re-tired and doing well

May 15, 2009

Coker’s Tires was a traditional service center in Chattanooga when it was launched back in 1958.  But over the years the competition from the big-box retailers eroded their tire sales.  In 1974 the owner’s son, Corky, took over the small division that produced vintage tires – and added about 5% of the company’s revenues.  Today that vintage division makes up over 95% of the company’s business.  Now the world’s largest supplier of vintage tires, Coker Tires distributes in 40 countries and has made period tires and wheels for countless movies, including recently The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. 

Here’s a business that is growing at over 20% a year while other traditional tire stores are closing for lack of business. 

How many examples have you seen where this principle has been played out?  If you sell washing machines and WalMart moves in next door, they will put you out of business – or will they?  What if you recognized that they sell thousands of washing machines but don’t provide any repair service?  Could that be a lucrative opportunity? 

New housing construction has come to a screeching halt.  If you are a home builder, you probably are ready to throw in the towel – or should you?  With more people keeping their homes and perhaps traveling less, remodeling and addition work is skyrocketing.  Can you realign your business to take advantage of the new trends?

In the old classic book, Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill stated:  Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.

Do you believe that?

“Intellectual Lobotomy?”

May 4, 2009

Does doing your daily work feel like an “intellectual lobotomy?”  Of course an actual lobotomy is that antiquated psychosurgery in which healthy brain tissue was intentionally mutilated or removed for the purpose of behavior control.  The goal was “to eradicate the behavior which others found undesirable.”

Last week Supreme Court Justice David Souter said he undergoes a “sort of annual intellectual lobotomy” when the Supreme Court term begins in October, a condition that he said lasts until the end of the term the following summer.  Wow – that’s pretty grim.  And this guy’s not just standing on an assembly line making widgets. 

Is your work intellectually stimulating – bringing out the very best you have to offer in creativity, passion and excellence?  Or is it brain deadening – requiring that you not think too much or suggest any kind of modification or improvement?  Are you growing as a result of doing your work, or are you shrinking intellectually?

I recognize that “work” is just one component of a meaningful life but I think it’s too high a price to pay if your only compensation is a paycheck. 

Make sure you are:

  • Reading and expanding your knowledge
  • Paying attention to your dreams
  • Exploring new areas of interest
  • Remembering to play
  • Having times of doing nothing
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Making a difference in the lives of others

These can be woven in and out of work.  I doubt anyone ever asked for a lobotomy – it was forced on them by people who claimed to know what was best for that person.  Be very careful of allowing yourself to be put in that position.  Don’t volunteer for an “intellectual lobotomy.”  Put yourself in environments of intellectual stimulation and growth.  You will embrace your God-given gifts and the world will be a better place as a result of you having been here.

I just want security and great pay

May 2, 2009

I’m reviewing tons of coaching requests today – trying to catch up and make the appropriate referrals.  In the information profiles I saw things like this:

I have been a professional interior designer for 29 years, since I got out of college.  ….. There are NO, repeat NO interior design opportunities in Miami, Florida…… Interior design is a luxury.  It is the first thing to go in a market like this.

And this:

I work as a waiter/bartender with uncertain and varying hours. I make minimum wage plus tips. I grabbed the first job I could get because of the economic conditions in our area. I do this job to keep the lights on and food on the coffee table, nothing more.

So I took a break for lunch.  First I stopped at the post office.  In leaving I said to the guy behind the counter, “Have a great day.”  He replied, “I would but I have to stay here.”  My next stop was Home Depot.  When I got to the check-out I cheerfully asked the gentleman there, “How’s your day going?”  He responded quickly, “It’ll be great in about 4 hours.”

How can any of these people expect to be at their best?  To be seen as making a valuable contribution to those organizations?  Yet I also see that the guy who took the job to keep the lights on, nothing more, saying:  “I want to see my hard work pay off quickly and get me promoted/noticed in weeks or months, not years. I like to see results right away.”

Now I’m going to go jump in my Mercedes for a little spin.  I think I’ll even put the top down because I deserve the best it can offer.  If it fires right up and gives me a thrilling ride, then I may decide to put a little gas in the tank – but not before.  It’s the American way.