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    11 Replies Latest reply on Jul 12, 2009 4:54 PM by Lighthouse24

    What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?

    onpurpose Adventurer
      Most home based business opportunities are with direct sales or multilevel marketing (MLM) companies. The challenge I've found with most MLM or direct sales companies is the "sign and drive" mentally. The theory goes... the more people you get involved the better. It is all transactional, the business equal to a one night stand. These business schemes and compensation plans build few relationships and violate many of the sustainable qualities of doing business: trust, relationship, and true value from the beginning. Instead, they rely upon hope, promises, and dreams to engage new distributors to convert their money, sweat, and relationships into sign-ups, but few successes.

      Candidly, too many of these businesses are built upon greed and rely upon people's greed. Inevitably, a lot of people are left holding the financial bag while a handful get wealthy. Not all, however, are bad. Be selective! Do your homework.

      Call me old fashioned, for work to be meaningful, there needs to be a connection to the work involved, relationship building, and a true exchange of value. A measure of personal satisfaction plus pure financial reward provides a deep sense of difference making for self and others. Few direct sales companies walk this line well.

      What's you experience with MLMs and Direct Sales companies?
        • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
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          • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
            bentenn Adventurer
            I deal with a wide range of small business owners and only a small number of them are invovled in MLM / direct to consumer sales. If you like this sort of business structure, go for it. Selling a product or service from another company directly to your customer can be a fun and rewarding business opportunity.

            But if you have experience or expertise in some area or activity that serves either consumers or businesses, you might want to consider starting a business that utilizes your particular unique set of skills and experience. That will give you control over the products or services you provide, pricing, marketing, schedules, etc. Likewise, you will also have to create all of this yourself.

            So if you prefer to just do the selling, then MLM or a franchise might be good for you. Good luck. Ben
              • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                onpurpose Adventurer
                Hi Bentenn,

                I've owned several businesses now for 26 years in commercial real estate, publishing, and business consulting.

                As an author and professional speaker, I've spoken at events for the likes of Tupperware, Vorwerk, Amway Diamond Groups, and so forth. I've also spoken or consulted with CEOs of other companies that are start-up or much smaller than those mentioned.

                I posed the question because I see so many people going into direct
                sales companies rather naively. Many get burned, yet a few people are
                successful. I was curious about other peoples experiences.

                Interestingly, I was the keynote speaker for a client last year. My non-direct sales wife attended the convention and fell in love with this company's cause and became involved. Now she's doing well mostly because their cause is compelling and they are really more of a direct services company than direct sales. There's an integrity and authenticity she's found in helping people and getting paid to do.

                I was curious to see if others had similiar experiences and companies in the direct sales industry - either bad or good.

                Thanks for commenting.

                Be On-Purpose!

                Kevin
              • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                DomainDiva Ranger
                I have been in an MLM since 2003, I don't have a big group or generate a lot of income but the skin care products are phenomenal and the nutritonal product 'Complete' manages my RA so that I do not have to take any Vioxx or Celebrex (which made me totally ill anyway...). All organic aloe vera as the base ingredient and no junk? What could be better?
                • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                  RedneckRabbi Newbie

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                  • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                    Lighthouse24 Ranger
                    My opinion/experience is that the products and/or services offered by most MLM companies are not worth what they cost -- and in some cases, are not worth anything. That's usually evident when the company spends more money broadly promoting the business "opportunity" to potential downline sellers than it spends to produce/provide the actual product or service to real customers -- and when the bulk of the company's revenues come from sign-up fees and purchases made by downline sellers, rather than from sales to real customers who have no reseller relationship with the company. The exceptions to that, of course, include some very successful and well-respected firms that use direct sales or MLM -- they definitely do have real customers who buy repeatedly, and that generate real (and substantial) sales revenues. But those companies are truly the exceptions in my view.
                      • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                        DomainDiva Ranger
                        I sort of disagree/agree with you. Companies like Avon, Arbonne and Trilogy have incredible products. I purchase from all three. Mark Kay moved manufacturing to China and the products have suffered. I also purchase my electricity provider service from an MLM here in Texas.
                          • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                            Lighthouse24 Ranger

                            My opinion is that most of the MLM products, services, and "opportunities" I've seen are not worth what they cost, and in some cases, are not worth anything. That's just my experience, which is what the original post asked us to share.

                            You named two of the companies I was thinking of when I wrote:
                            The exceptions to that, of course, include some very successful and well-respected firms that use direct sales or MLM -- they definitely do have real customers who buy repeatedly, and that generate real (and substantial) sales revenues.

                        • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                          amspcs Ranger
                          MLM's have a very bad rep. Some deserve it, some don't. As with everything else, you can't
                          judge the entire barrel by just one or two apples. I think being a succssful MLMer requires a very
                          specific and finely adapted personality type. IF you fit the mold, and IF you find a legit MLM opportunity,
                          go for it. But, as with any other biz opportunity, do your homework and go in with your eyes open.
                          AMSPCS
                          • Re: What's Your Experience with MLMs and Direct Sales?
                            vnavguys Tracker
                            Of all the MLM programs I have seen friends involved in, it seems like they are all real exicted in the beginning and then get burned out. It seems like everyone runs around fighting over a quarter. I think the biggest appeal to MLM is what I call the "easy" factor. Easy, cheap, free and quick are all powerful sedatives for people wanting the quick answer to their problems. Usually most find that building something that lasts takes none of these features.