Recruiting in Rocky SoilIt is not just about you…

Too often, network marketers are tone deaf as they recruit and sell. It is easy to fall into the easy path in which talking points, which extol the virtues of the product and opportunity, are presented to potential customers or recruits without first understanding the mindset of their audience.

Standing in the shoes of your customer and recruit is essential. There is a reason that Fortune 500-brand companies engage in significant market research and focus group activity before launching products. They understand that “having a good product” is not enough to close the “bonding” loop. Unless, you are the rare genius of Steve Jobs, who was able to create a new product, for which there was no market, and to anticipate that “if we build it, they will come,” then there is no escaping the hard work of finding and preparing the “soil” for planting.

And it’s not about the coffee…

And, as good as the product or opportunity may be, one must realize that the relationship may be the driving factor in success. In a recent book by Starbucks’ President, Howard Behar, It’s Not About The Coffee, Mr. Behar explains that the success of Starbucks was stumbled upon; ie., that Starbucks is not a coffee seller that seeks relationships with its customers, but rather it is a company that fosters store experiential environments that bond relationships with customers first, and a company that sells coffee, second.

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Shills operate not only in in-person situations but also online.

Shills operate not only in in-person situations but also online.

A “shill” is a hired person (or organization) who publically assists in inciting enthusiasm for a company and/or their products in order to encourage the general public to join a MLM company as a consultant or to purchase products/services. “Shills” are typically very closely associated with the company who hires them to deliberately give spectators (for example in an audience scenario) the impression that they are a passionate consultant or customer, when in reality they are secretly working for the company they pretend to endorse.

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A number of states have multilevel distribution statutes that require registration. States such as Massachusetts, Georgia, Louisiana, Wyoming, and Montana require MLM registration. Other states with MLM statutes, such as Texas, Washington, Idaho, Indiana, South Dakota, etc., do not require actual registration.

No state approves MLMs and there are no advisory opinions to be sought in the U.S. on MLM. I.e. there is no approving of MLMs in all 50 states.

In regards to registering as “doing business,” states generally do not regard selling through independent sales representatives as “doing business,” requiring registration to do business. MLM companies resist this classification, which is

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Credit to labarbosa Most direct selling companies permit advertising, but provide specific guidelines and protocols for promotion. Some companies require that all advertising be submitted to the company for approval.

The MLM company does, in fact, have the right to set the rules for marketing of its products or services, and those rules are typically found in the advertising guidelines section of the company’s policies.

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Jeff Babener’s Youtube video channel has reached over 67,000 views! Visit our Youtube channel to view some of’s most popular videos!

MLM Attorney Jeff Babener discusses compensation plans, pyramid schemes, the MLM Startup Conference in Las Vegas, the network marketing industry, and many other aspects of the direct selling business. Here are some of our videos (and don’t forget to check back for more educational videos in the future!):

Attorney Jeff Babener, Discusses Various Topics in a MLM Compliance Training Session

Earnings Claims and Consumer Protection Laws

Interviews with Expert MLM Attorney, Jeffrey Babener

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) releases an annual report of the top ten consumer complaints. For the 13th consecutive year, identity theft has topped the list as the most reported complaint by consumers. The FTC received over two million complaints in 2012 and 18 percent of them were related to identity theft. That equates to 369,132 complaints about identity theft.

The FTC’s report offers national and state data.

The remainder of the top ten consumer complaints are offered by the FTC:

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Visit and for MLM news headlines anytime. and offer a vast collection of MLM news headlines. offers news stories going back over ten years. offers headlines organized by month and year.

Here are a few MLM news stories that we’ve recently highlighted from the beginning of this year:

Ackman, Herbalife and Celebrity Short-Sellers (1/1/13)

Activist Takes on Ackman Over Herbalife (1/2/13)

UPDATE: Herbalife completes
purchase of former Dell plant (1/3/13)

How to balance traditional, online, and social media (1/3/13)

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The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) has released its 2012 global direct sales statistics. In its document titled “Global Sales by Product Category – 2012” the WFDSA outlined the global sales of specific direct sales product categories.

In summary, out of 100% of global sales by product category, cosmetics and personal care products revealed the highest global percentage with 35% of global sales. Wellness products came in second place with 25% of global sales. Household goods and durables came in third, representing 14% of the global marketplace. Clothing and accessories came in fourth with a nine percent share of global sales. “Other” products represent four percent of global sales, while home care, as well as books, toys, stationary, etc. both held three percent of global sales. Home improvement products, utilities, and financial services all tied holding a two percent share in global sales. Lastly, foodstuff and beverages only held one percent of total global sales.

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The MLM industry doesn’t simply embody cosmetics and plastic containers anymore. Although cosmetics and nutritional products are still leading sellers in the MLM industry, new companies are coming up with new products all the time. Today, the direct selling industry offers nearly every product available to retail consumers, and new products and services are being offered all the time. One of the newest categories of service being offered by direct selling companies include energy products: electricity, natural gas, and green energy services, among others.

MLM companies are beginning to direct their attention towards men. The most famous, perhaps, is Man Cave. Direct selling is such a successful business model that even Donald Trump joined the bandwagon with his own MLM company, The Trump Network.

The Direct Selling Association has over 70 product and service categories offered by direct selling companies, from vacuum cleaners to coffee, from jewelry to insurance, from photography to cutlery. offers over 700 MLM company profiles in categories ranging from wine to emergency preparedness, from loans to greeting cards, to hobby and crafts.

There are a lot of choices with so many products and services being offered by direct selling companies. With so much to choose from, what are your favorite products (or services) to sell in your direct selling business? If you are a MLM customer, what products do you prefer to purchase?

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