Thursday, January 5, 2012

Network Marketing

I would just like deviate from my usual lessons to talk about mulit-level marketing or network marketing. I am neither encouraging people to join it nor am I discouraging others. What I am writing is purely a personal opinion. I suggest that you do some research if you intend to join a network marketing company.

I received a phone call from a guy who tried our services in one of our franchised shop. He said that he has a business to offer which is similar to what we are doing. When I pressed for more details and asked if he can send me information via email so I could check this out and get back to him as soon as possible he insistented on meeting me personally. So I agreed to meet him the following day.

When we met and I asked how can I help him out, he began to tell me about his 'business'. He said that he has been in network marketing for a couple of years already. He told me how much other people are earning because of this new business. He even told me that this company is expanding in Asia through the Philippines and that Philippines will be the 'tip of the spear' (words of their CEO) in Asia. 

I asked about the products and how are they different from the other products being offered in the market - either through retail sales or direct-selling. They told me that their product is superior and are 100% organic. The products don't have any side-effects. They then immediately proceeded to tell me about the compensation plan and how much do I need to invest.

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After the presentation, they told me that one of their 'legs' is already strong and they need to strengthen the other 'leg' to be able to earn the incomes they showed. They said that I don't have to do anything but to tell people about it and they will be the one to present.

I thanked for them for their time and told them that I will be doing some research and will be talking to my partner about their proposal. They left me a product I can try out.

In all honesty, this is not the first time that someone approached me and asked me to join their network. In my previous job, we even thought about implementing such a system. I and my other colleagues decided against it after seeing how it would work. So the CEO decided to get consultants who have been doing network marketing for more than a decade.

When I do get invitations like the ones I mentioned above, I do some research. Thank God for the internet! Information is just a click away.

People join network marketing companies for a variety of reasons. Some do it for the money, others do it because they want to help, others because they just want to buy the products at a discounted rate.

There are many write-ups written about network marketing. There are books, articles, opinion pages and even studies that have been made for and against the subject. I recently found out that my Alma Mater has a course on it.If you want to learn about the subject, I suggest you can read the articles on the Internet or buy books both for and against it so you can form your own opinion about the matter.

Most who are into network marketing will say that it has changed their life. They flaunt the fruits of their labor - mostly expensive cars and new homes. Some take and post pictures of the vacations they have taken and the countries that they have gone to.

Network marketers use the products they sell. They tell others that they are primary users themselves. They give testimonials on how their health has improved or how they have become more beautiful because of the products. I have personally tried the products myself just to test their claims. The results have been mixed. When I tell them about the results, they usually tell me that I have to be a regular user for the products to be truly effective.

I also ask about the company and its track record. They usually tell me how big the company is and who owns the company. When I do get these information, I just go online look for and verify their claims. I have found out that some the claims about the company's history are dubious. All you need is to type some key words in Google to know the entire history of an MLM company.

While some MLM companies offer real products, some of their claims are highly exaggerated. They will present studies, journals and papers supporting their claim. Some of these written materials are authentic. These companies paid for their own researchers to back up their claims.

But I have also found out that other products in the market also have the same effects. They are, however, more affordable.These products are being sold in traditional retail outlets. They are priced much lower because they don't have the burden of shoulder for the commissions and other perks established by MLM companies.

Network marketers will also impress you with the number of members in the system. They will tell you who are the prominent members and where they have already expanded. While this may sound impressive, I would like to find out how much an average member is earning. We must take away the outliers who are the top 10 earners and bottom top ten and just get the median.

They will also tell prospects that opportunity comes only ones to convince them to immediately sign-up and invest in the system. i personally would rather make my own opportunities.

As the baby boomers age, you will see more and more networking companies selling health and wellness products. The baby boomers or the graying population are the primary target of these companies. Members are told to actively promote and sell the products these people.

One thing I would like to give credit to these companies their ability to train people. The training is so good that people are willing to go outside of their comfort zones to be able to achieve their dreams. Although I know many who still fall short.

While I don't condemn the system, I personally believe that network marketing is not for me. It is not my forte. I would rather put-up a traditional business that employs people and grow it from the ground up. While network marketing can provide people with unlimited income potential, just like any other business, you also have to work hard for it. But in the end, it is the company or your upline who will benefit the most. If you are not sure about the company or the system, I suggest you read and research first.