How Not to Sell

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I have a lot of friends who sell a lot of things though direct sales/ multi-level marketing companies.   Thankfully, most of them have learned that 15 social media posts a day doesn’t do anything but annoy people. Same thing with adding people to groups without their permission- not cool.  But there are lots of other, sometimes more subtle ways to irritate potential customers.  Regardless of what the brand experts for your product line tell you, I beg of you not to do any of the following:

#1 Guilt trips.  Don’t tell me that if we don’t buy your products you will miss time with your kids.  Don’t tell me that if we don’t buy your products we will get sick.   Don’t tell us that only dumb people don’t use your products.

#2 Dubious quality claims.  Just because a company chooses to use direct sales instead of traditional retail is no guarantee their products are any better.  All that proves is that they choose to use the sweat of your labor to sell them instead of paying for shelf space.  Everything is manufactured somewhere, so unless whatever you are selling is made by hand by grandmothers on a tropical resort it’s highly unlikely there is anything truly special about its creation.

#3 Beat the “all natural” drum.  57 fruits and veggies in one capsule is not natural. 6 kinds of protein in a brown powder is not natural.  Gels that foam when they get wet (such as body washes or shampoos) are not natural.   An apple is natural.  A kitten is natural.  A volcano is natural.  A water buffalo getting torn apart by a pack of lions is natural.

#4 Putting your product sales ahead of your friendships.  Don’t make us feel like our friendship is on the line if we aren’t buying from you.  Yes we know you want to make Ruby Level this month, and we hope you do.  But some of us can’t afford a $40 lipstick or a $75 T-shirt.  Some of us simply don’t care for meal replacement shakes.   Some of us have multiple friends selling the same thing and so we’re sticking with whoever came to us first.  In the end, why we aren’t buying shouldn’t matter.  A simple “no thank you” should suffice, just as it would with a stranger.

And a final note-  I do wish phenomenal success for everyone I know in direct sales, I truly do! But the cold hard truth is that only a very, very tiny fraction of folks are ever going to make enough money to quit their jobs, move to a tropical island, and drive sports cars everywhere they go.  If you truly love a product and you believe it’s the best thing since sliced bread you go out there and sell your heart out.  But please have realistic expectations and don’t count on your sales making you a millionaire.  I know this flies in the face of what you hear at training events and marketing rallies, but there are many studies that show how few people even break even in direct sales, let alone actually make any money.  And no, your MLM company is not different from all the others.  Sorry to be harsh, but it’s the truth and I’d rather you hear it from a friend.

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  1. Pingback: The Return of the MLM- a Horror Story – Knotty Things

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