Enron for example. And there's nothing inherently 'bad' about a multi-level sales force. When you think about it, almost all businesses (and even non-business) organizations can be thought of as multi-level. The Federal Government, the Army, the Catholic Church and, of course, any large corporation with layers, upon layers of management come to mind.
So, the very first thing you must do in order to succeed with MLM is to accept it as a legitimate business model, which it is. If you don't have that understanding, then you're doomed from the beginning because you won't be proud of what you're doing. You should be, because MLM truly is the business of the 21st century. So, with that in mind, let's cover the basic principles of success with MLM.
You need a Target Audience for your product and your business plan.
When you are watching TV and see a commercial that really turns you off because of the music, the people in it, the imagery they choose to use, or even the advertised product itself, chances are that you aren't part of the target audience! Advertising agencies always have a specific target audience in mind when they create ads for TV, radio or print.
So, the first thing you need to do is focus your mind on who would be attracted to your company's products and/or business plan - i.e. who you can reach with it. Generally speaking, you want to find people with a problem that you can help solve. That can be a health issue, for example, but it's usually a wealth issue. Think about it, if you're selling a weight-loss product, skinny people aren't part of your target audience. Pet care products can't be sold to those who don't like pets. In other words, it's important to have a product that your target audience will actually use. The larger that group, the better!
As for the business side of it, some of your target audience might like to buy your product from you (or wholesale, from the company itself) on a regular basis. However, some of them might have little to no interest in the business angle. But that's not a problem (sales are always good) and some of those customers might buy enough to retail it themselves and then turn into business builders. Others will have far more interest in the business side and care little about the actual product. That's OK, but remember this: Nothing happens until something is sold. If people simply want to recruit other sales people, but not buy, use or sample out the product, then you really won't be earning anything.
You need a Plan and a System that anyone can do.
This is crucial. By 'plan and 'system', I am referring to what you do - actually DO - on a regular basis in order to establish and grow your business. You need to know what to do. It needs to be simple and it needs to work. Obviously, I believe that the Internet is vitally important. However, people have earned fortunes in this industry long before there were personal computers or anything known as 'the world wide web'. On top of that, a lot of people aren't writers and don't have any technical know-how.
That is why you need something called a 'script' that is appropriate for your target audience. It needs to be short, simple, easily memorized and effective. Usually, this takes the form of a question or a short series of questions. It can also take the form of a testimony. Example: Your overweight friend says, "Hey Bob, you're looking fit. You've really lost some weight!" You answer, "Yeah, no kidding. It's because of this supplement I've been taking. Here, take a look at it." Then pull a sample out of your pocket and hand it to your overweight buddy. Ask him to try it and give you some feedback. If it works for him, you've got a believer and a potential business partner.
Then you can follow up by saying something simple, like, "Hey man, there's a business side to this thing too. Here, watch this little video online. If what you see makes sense, let's talk some more."
Some MLM pros will tell you that sampling doesn't work. They may be right about some products (such a shampoo, dog food or whatever), but it is highly effective with other products! The point is that you need a plan and a system to get your product into the hands of your target audience - and that plan and system must be the kind that others can duplictate. Sampling is one such system, but there are others. At any rate, if you don't have a specific plan and system for marketing your product, then you will fail.
You also need a simple system for training your recruits.
It goes without saying that anyone you bring into your new business must be teachable and coachable. That has a lot to do with their motivations (see: Target Audience). But your company should have a complete training package - either on DVD or online - that anyone can understand. This is vital. Also, regular training calls that you can listen into are huge. As your MLM downline grows, you won't personally be able to interact with everyone. That's why you need a solid system, at the company level, that teaches everyone the same thing and in the same way. It also has to be effective training that has been proven to produce good results.
My advice is to avoid any company that doesn't supply good quality, effective and understandable training. Likewise, any company that does supply it is an attractive one. It goes back to what I said earlier. To be a success in MLM, you need to know what to do! If you don't know what to do, or how to do it, then neither will anyone else.
Seek out some personal, one-on-one training from an expert.
In MLM, there is a classic problem. It's called 'the blind leading the blind'. If you truly want to do well with MLM, you need either a sponsor or an upline member who will coach and mentor you on a regular basis. This should be someone who has already succeeded at the business. Such an individual can also be invaluable on 3-way calls, helping you with presentations or just answering questions about anything and everything.
Being around a high-energy individual is contagious. Watching and listening to what they do and say (and how they do it) is priceless. You can't get that kind of experience any other way. For example, my sponsor is a world-famous MLM pro and his sponsor is vice-president of the company. These guys help me on a weekly basis and we work together to make sure new recruits have everything they need to win. Without that, it's easy to start drifting without a rudder - despite all the best company-level training. You need personal mentorship (from a winner) to win, trust me.
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