For the Unsuspecting Curiosity

Just to share my experience gained from an attempt in a network marketing business, a.k.a. multi-level marketing business.

Their advertisements are usually ambiguous. Phases such as “assisting leaders in simple demonstrations”, “flexible timing”, “no experience needed”, and many others that reveal nothing about the job nature, are often used. When you call up due to curiosity, a meeting is arranged and still you will not get any information on the company name or the job scope.  

Upon meeting your “mentor”, you will be talked into believing that there is great potential in this business opportunity, and that there is great potential in yourself. Further “training sessions” would include familiarizing yourself with the company profile, the organizational structure (with the names of the big shots to be “worshipped”), and details of the products. At this point, your involvement is still far from the big picture of success. Yet you would already have spent a considerable amount of time feeling important, but doing nothing substantial in reality, and not even earning a single dollar. But to be successful, one will need to invest time and effort, and so let’s stretch our patience a little.

Next, your mentor will be asking you to “try” the products for yourself as it is only with personal experience that you will be able to sell a product more convincingly. It sounds perfectly logical, only that your role will be switched to a customer in this instant and the money you are spending on the product will be the money your mentor and the big shots are earning. So at this point, you have yet to earn a single dollar but instead you are buying the product for yourself as a consumer. Stop and ponder if this “trying” is really necessary. Perhaps you could do an online research on the products before parting with your dollar.  

The next step in planning your success is to list down your potential clients (a.k.a. your relatives and friends). Ask yourself if it is necessary to list down the contact numbers, even if your mentor were to tell you that the reason for doing so is a preventive measure against the event of losing your phone contacts. Does such a reason make sense to you? I learnt much later from other sources that sometimes such lists, with contact numbers revealed, were taken away by the mentors, for “some reasons”.

The next thing that will happen is that you will be pressurized into arranging sales calls. If during this time you show any signs of backing off, you will be invited to attend those inspiring noisy sessions whereby some big shots will be so “kind” as to “sacrifice” their time to motivate a group of novices like yourself. The big shot will share his/her experience that comes with a typical sad background and the manner in which success is supposedly achieved through perseverance. The mentors will be rallying at the back to show support as “worshippers”. A big booster to the morale level, if one has not been exposed to similar sessions previously. Or you will be seated down to a one-to-one talk with your mentor’s senior as they will be very “concerned” about you, and will want to “help” you.

When arranging the sales call, there are two ways you could go about doing it. The first is the frank approach; tell your relative or friend exactly you are doing, and ask if they could spare some time to listen to you and your mentor. The second is the not-so-frank approach; your mentor will instruct you what to say, what not to say. The effect in reality is to “set up” your relative or friend. Ask yourself this: How would you feel if your friend asks you out for a drink but ends up bringing a stranger to ask you to buy something? From what I have heard later on, many friendships and bonds were burnt due to mishandling of such sales calls.

If one day you have finally decided to exit from this business opportunity, be prepared for a psychological battle as your mentor (and probably his senior/mentor too) will be using phases such as “we have a proven technique”, “we have trained strong leaders over the years”. You will be made to feel like you have not tried your best and that you are a loser if you quit. The attack on your self confidence can be devastating if you do not know how to handle it. This is especially so if this is your first attempt at trying to get a decent living. Just remember this, anyone can call you a loser, but you decide the value of that comment.

So if you see such opportunities, there is no need to turn your head and run the other way. If you are curious, go ahead and explore with an open mind. Learn from it whatever you can. One last thing, remember to perform an online research on the company once you get the company name. The findings should be useful in guiding you along in planning your next course of action.