MLM Success: Thoughts to Consider

(Jeffrey Babener has served as a legal and business advisor across the board, from Avon to Excel, from Shaklee to National Companies. Here, in draft excerpts of a forthcoming book, he “goes” a bit philosophical on the reader… but don’t mistake the message, it is pure marketing advice…)


The only thing I know is that the shower curtain goes inside the bathtub…

-Conrad Hilton

So said Conrad Hilton when asked how he was able to build a worldwide hotel empire. His message was that no one starts at the top. Everyone starts at the bottom and the most important thing to remember is to get started and to learn the fundamentals of the business.

Several years ago, Mary Kay commissioned a study as to the factors for success and failure of distributors in the business. Interestingly, the study found that, after signing on, as many as ten percent of Mary Kay distributors never really “got going” at all or moved beyond the point of sign up.  Obviously, this is a wasted opportunity.

There is an invariable inertia against moving forward for both distributors and those they sponsor. The message: if you are looking for success, you and your downline, must learn the basics first and you must “do something” … Start! Now!


You only have one chance to make a first impression…

-Cheryl Lightle, Founder, Creative Memories

Whether you are recruiting or selling, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the person with whom you are speaking. Often, the message received is not the message you intended because you did not understand your audience. As the PR director for NuSkin once noted, “[A] perception may be factually right or wrong, but it is always right in the mind of the person who holds it.”

When you describe the opportunity or the product, make sure that the listener is hearing the message you want to convey and that you are perceived and imagined as you would like to be perceived. As Andre Agassi once said, “Image is everything.”


Your character is your fate…

-Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

The advice from Heraclitus may or may not be true, but it should be. The wisdom is probably mirrored in every culture, philosophy and religion. Theoretically, it means good deeds, good rewards. Again, this is a code of conduct that serves you well in life and in your business. Your actions inspire trust in your customers, recruits and downline, and this translates tangibly into the building of sales and a sales organization.

In Japan, direct selling has always been a well received vehicle. Just look at the success of Amway, NuSkin, Herbalife, etc. In fact, the model of direct selling has been a primary method of selling automobiles in Japan for decades. A Japanese expression explains an interesting paradigm in this culture. Loosely translated, it says that if you ask your friend to buy something from you, he or she must buy it. Obviously, network marketers in the U.S. would love this paradigm for their sales endeavors. But, the corollary and lesson are that the Japanese culture is based on honorable behavior. Friends do not “burn” friends. Friends honor friends. And this leads to the reasonable expectation that friends will honor requests to purchase products or listen to opportunities. To the extent we can emulate such an honorable culture in the U.S., we will enjoy the benefits. In other words, from a practical standpoint, your character is, in fact, your fate.


Lech Lecha … Go be yourself …

 -God to Abraham, Genesis

Okay, God doesn’t give marketing advice. But the original Biblical expression from Genesis, “lech lecha” arises from the mission statement God gave Abraham to go to another land and become a new person. Scholars have argued forever on the literal and figurative translation… go, go to yourself, go for you, go on a journey, go to become yourself, go on a spiritual journey inward to become the person you were meant to be

From a marketing standpoint, there is a message here also. Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else. Build your business and conduct your life on your own terms… take an inward journey and become the person you were meant to be… the person you will be. The fact is that “authenticity” is a major selling point from the customer and recruit’s perspective. In fact, a close look at the top distributors of many leading direct selling companies will reveal individuals who had no prior networking experience, but their honest passion for the product and mission of the company catapulted their success… and they did it on their own terms and in their own style.

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