The True Secret – MLM is not a “Field of Dreams”


In recent conversations with consulting clients (mostly perspective MLM software clients) it’s interesting to note that many feel MLM is like the movie “Field of Dreams” expressing sentiment similar to, “If you build it they will come.”

Far too many companies look at MLM as a method of taking their product to market thinking it’s a fast and cheap method of reaching thousands of people who will consume and then tell others about their product.

Others look at it in a more sinister way. MLM for them becomes a format to abuse the unknowing, the newbie, and the inexperienced. While this taints public perception on MLM, these companies are the huge minority. There are good, great, and even excellent companies that use MLM to move their product to market while empowering those individual members of their business opportunity.

I’m not a lawyer, but I will state that not all businesses classified as “legal” are all good, nor all those classified as “illegal” all bad. It’s been stated, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I have seen many good hearted and good intended companies struggle to meet the minimum definitions of “legal”, while others whose sole motives are purely that of greed are able to properly jump through the hoops of the legal guides without issue.

MLM can be much more than a method of distribution, in the right hands it can become a powerful tool of empowerment that can lift those members/distributors who participate. Unfortunately those who would abuse MLM can twist it into a powerful tool of devastation.

The True Secret to developing a successful company is not even a secret at all. It’s right in front of everyone who is headed down the path toward developing a company using MLM as a method of marketing. The secret is the people, those who participate in an opportunity to share a product they love.

[Digression: Of course there are those who are able to sell Ice to Eskimos, so to speak, and need not love the product. That’s not the norm. Most in the masses will tell you, I don’t like to sell, or I can’t sell. But that’s not exactly true. Everyone is selling something.

In an article I wrote some time ago called, (Netripenuer 101) Find that Something! I wrote:

“I can’t recall how many times I have heard the phrase ‘I am not a sales person’ or ‘I can’t sell’ or ‘I don’t want to sell anything’. Each of these phrases was said by someone SEARCHING, even DESPERATELY SEARCHING for a way to make money online or just make money period. ”

“The bottom-line: SELLING is the only way to make money. If you are not selling something (Trading Dollars for a Product/Service), then you are not EVER… NEVER EVER… Going to earn any $$$. ”

The seeming paradox is revealed by realizing that most people don’t see “Sharing” something they love with someone they love as “Selling.” We do it all the time; with movies we like, a great restaurant, a home builder that did a good job, etc. etc. We just tell others what we think and why.

The difference in the mind of the masses is the motivation. If it seems we are motivated by money to tell you we like something, and we think that you think the reason we are telling you is because of that money… Then that’s selling (in our minds). But, if we’re motivated by a Higher Calling of passion for the product… It changes how we fell about “Selling”… (in our minds) it becomes “Sharing”.

Please think of a business, any business, or anyone who has earned/made any money at all, at any time. Was that money earned/made with out the sale of a product, concept, idea or service?

The answer is an EMPHATIC… NO! I’ll drop this point for another time…If you think of one email me: mel@melatwood.com]

Back on topic:
As a consultant I was in a typical conversation with a client years ago, a conversation that I’ve had over an over with many a start up MLM company. They were asking me how to guarantee they would be successful. Without contradicting myself, I clarified that while I could offer no ultimate formula that would guarantee their success, I would share the Truest of all Secrets… The KEY INGREDIENT for real success. The 4 letter word I gave to him as the key, simply went in one ear and out the other… or perhaps right over his head. I realized then why traditional business people have difficulty with the concepts in MLM. Unfortunately this key word is typically left out of traditional business altogether. It’s rarely discussed as a viable business concept, even seen perhaps as “hokey”.

However, this word is the driving force for success in MLM as the concept (while touted by many, but not really practiced at heart) of duplication is critical. Duplication requires more than a company driving for numbers. It required creating a base relationship. In my article ‘3 Steps to Victory in any Home Business‘, I wrote, “Helping others accomplish the same level of success you have is what pushes you and your income to the next level. Often forgot but ever important is that your groups success directly impacts your success. Help them reach their goals. Help them be successful and you too will obtain your own Success.”

While that was written with members/distributors as the audience, it has great application for companies. The 4 letter key word I shared with my client is critical in this process. Many ‘top’ builders, trainers, and consultants in the MLM community preach a concept of number, numbers, and more numbers. They use tactics that teach people to build a home by “Throwing mud on the walls. What sticks, sticks! What doesn’t… who cares? Move on.” This mentality of looking at the numbers rather than the faces of individuals is a pitfall many MLM companies get into as they try to reach the projections in their Business Plans.

Several years ago I created a website called www.H-I-C-K.com based on a motivational speech I gave at a clients national convention several months before. I risked sounding like a loon back then… and I will risk it once again. HICK is about simplicity of life. It is about removing the complications of dishonesty, lying, deceit, discrimination, disloyalty, disenfranchisement, etc, etc.
As a continuation of the thought, making life simple through honesty, integrity, charity, and kindness, it has occurred to me that many companies wondering What went wrong? or What happened? When faced with their failing company they have only to look at how much they actually cared about their members/distributors. The lack of caring is actually more hurtful and destructive than all out hate. While many might feel that apathy is simple, in MLM it is FAR more complicated.

Most companies don’t start their new MLM business set on taking advantage of others; they simply are not focused on others. So, many with apathy proceed forward unaware that they are providing a tool that will generate hope and excitement, that will inspire and motivate, and that will invigorate the dreams and aspirations of people who desire to simply better themselves, their lives, and the lives of others. Apathy by a company to the strength and importance of the human spirit is missing the fuel, the key ingredient, which can ignite an explosive momentum.

The real key is love.

What is love? Others have said it best “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love“. Obviously the English language lacks the clarity on this to accurately express in a single word the concept of love. Agape or Philia, Greek words defining specific types of love, are the foundation for the concept of H-I-C-K expressed above.

As I mentioned in my last blog, most people focus on the 4 legs of the stool: Company, Product, Compensation, and Training & Marketing System. While these are indeed critical, it has become an ever increasingly difficult chore to simply make ones decision based solely on these 4 factors. In every stool you’ve ever seen there have been 5 other pieces. Not just the 4 legs, but the top (the story), and the 4 rung’s holding the 4 legs together (Honesty-Integrity-Charity-Kindness). One can not possess these last 4 characteristics without Philia or Agape, which is Love.

Those with Apathy will leave out Charity and Kindness and find themselves making justification of their lack of Honesty or Integrity. The main legs of their stool will become wobbly in the top (the story). Their story, while perhaps not apparent at first will start to shift and become unstable over time.

Without 4 solid legs a company is nothing… but you can’t make a stool of 4 solid legs without the rungs between the legs. These rungs (Honesty-Integrity-Charity-Kindness) are the glue that holds everything together.

Atop the 4 legs is the seat or top (the story). There is no good story without 4 solid pillars of corporate strength held together with Philia/Agape and displayed as the 4 rungs of Honesty, Integrity, Charity, and Kindness.

For a company to create a cohesive, synergetic, and even an explosive combination it requires more than simply using MLM as a model of distribution in isolation. A company must apply these concepts to encourage, cultivate, and tenderly care for the needs of it’s distributors.

Ultimately from a corporate perspective we’re looking for loyalty back from those in our company. We want people to stick with us. You’ll notice it’s hard for a human not to love something or someone that loves it. There is no greater bonding force than to feel like you matter and are cared about. It is the very core essence of human motivation, to be valued and loved.

Countless fathers and mothers slave away each day sacrificing of their time and energy to provide for their families. They do this for the validation they hope will come through the love of those they are doing it for. If that validation and appreciation is not given we find homes dividing, fathers and mothers abandoning their posts, and the disintegration of the family.

In your hands, as a company that provides an opportunity, you hold the ability to awaken the fire inside those whose fire has been extinguished.

It’s the faces that count, not just the numbers.

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