First of all, for those that are unfamiliar with MLM, according to Wikipedia, Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s “downline”, and can provide multiple levels of compensation.
For most of the writers here at Vulcan Post, we have had our fair share of experience dealing with friends whom are in the MLM businesses. Here are some tell-tale sign if someone is trying to sell you MLM:
1. Hey would you like to meet up?
The first tell-tale is when he or she asks you out for a meeting but refuses to tell you what the “big” thing he or she is working on. No matter how much you ask him on what the big opportunity is, or how you promise you wont tell a single soul, he would still remain tight lipped about it. An added bonus is if both of you have not seen or spoken to each other for a very long time.
2. “You’ve got potential! Why dream less when you can achieve more?”
The second tell-tale is if he or she asks you hypothetical questions that are obviously too good to be true in real life.
He would tell you that what you’re doing now is far lesser than what you can accomplish and offers to give you ‘a helping hand’ to excel further. “You’ve got potential! Why dream less when you can acheive more?!” is a common phrase. He would tell you how this new venture would help you realise your dreams, and mention how wonderful it is for you to be able to not only depend on your parents for money and instead be able to be self-sustaining and even give your parents some money.
He would also tell you that you are working too hard. You should just sign up for whatsoever that he/she is doing, sit back, sip a cup of tea, and the next thing you know, money will find its way into your bank account.
“I never bother about the price list when I dine out at a Michelin restaurant.”
3. Use fancy charts / tables and polished descriptions all nicely fitted on a white sheet of paper.
Another tell-tale is that he or she would use a white sheet of paper to illustrate the whole organization structure and how it all works. They have a ranking of top performers: Ruby, Diamond and Pearl ranking or something along that line.
He or she will try to convince you it isn’t MLM. Typically each meetup session is ended by a simple “demo” purchase.
Here’s a summary:
The supposed credibility of the head-honchos will be used as a major selling point:
- They are groomed in some notable institution or initiated into some esoteric knowledge which triggers the entire start-up.
- They bear visible signs of wealth (e.g clothes, entourage, glitzy conference halls), all accumulated in a short time due to unbelievable effectiveness of their product which has translated into sales.
- They know this-and-this important persons
The allure of the deals:
- Fast returns but accumulative; it comes in fixed time periods. Total recoup of the investment will be accomplished after a minimum length of time, after which you get to enjoy the profits.
- You get extra cuts of profit if you introduce new investors / downline
- New exciting deals might be one-time exclusive with a closing deadline, so you better sign up or else you will miss out!
The credibility of the business:
- It’s booming because it is an international business which is expanding into other countries even as we speak!
- It’s listed so it can be trusted!
So if you do come across these signs, it is almost certain that your friend is trying to sell you a MLM.
Good intentions, just a little over-motivated
Well to be fair, some of the people whom are doing MLM actually do know what they are doing. However, they don’t see it as a bad thing because they know everyone will benefit greatly from it. Similar to selling insurance, they (as educated people) are convinced the products are good through reading up and understanding the contents. So, they do consume their own products.
Also, the large money back guarantee is an assurance for people who have genuine wants to support their family, especially those with piling financial debts. However, the fancy cars and big talk are largely influenced through the Daily motivation sessions they hold at the office.
Overall, they generally begin with good intentions, but just marketed themselves a little too aggressive. These people are usually young and fresh, hence are easily captured by these feel-good motivational talks and influence.