Tell us your story. How did you discover the network marketing industry?

Tell us your story. How did you discover the network marketing industry?

There are many ways that new consultants are initiated into the network marketing business. Some find or seek out MLM companies on the internet, while others get recruited by friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, or other people that they know.

MLM Attorney wants to know: How did you discover network marketing? Did you have family in the business and were always aware of the industry? Did you learn about an opportunity from an acquaintance? Do you seek out new network marketing companies or are you loyal to a long-standing company? Did you find a product that you liked and joined to get the product? Tell us your story. How did you discover the network marketing industry?

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It is very illegal to pay headhunting fees, i.e., paying commissions merely for distributors to recruit other distributors.

We are often asked by executives starting a network marketing company if they can have consultants earn income by referring others and if it’s legal.

Effectively, multilevel marketing is the sale of products through person-to-person, “referral” marketing. It is very illegal to pay headhunting fees, i.e., paying commissions merely for distributors to recruit other distributors. However, if a distributor builds a sales organization and receives override commissions on the sales activity of those in his or her downline, this is the essence of multilevel marketing, and is quite acceptable, assuming all other elements of legitimate direct selling (vs. pyramiding) are in place.

MLMLegal.com has launched the Innovation Campaign for its February 2014 MLM Startup Conference. Read how to get your two free tickets by clicking HERE!

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Mandated kits are typically in the $50-$100 range.

Frontloading generally refers to a process in which a MLM company, or a sponsoring consultant, encourages a new consultant to purchase far more than is commercially reasonable under the circumstances. Often the “push” is explained to the recruit as necessary to qualify in the compensation plan. This is an unacceptable practice is often one indicia of a pyramid scheme.

On the other hand, virtually all regulatory agencies recognize that purchase of an “at cost” sales kit is an acceptable practice in the mainstream of leading direct selling companies. Such mandated kits are typically in the $50-$100 range. They generally entail “hard copy” or online supply of sales and marketing materials as well as ongoing, updated sales and marketing materials for one year. Typically the mandated sales kit does not include product and generally a company offers an optional deluxe kit that may include product. Such an optional kit, which is often referred to as a “fast start” kit, may contain several hundred dollars of product. This is not unusual. Although the same regulatory standards on upfront, mandated purchases are applicable to party plan companies as they are to other companies; it is not unusual to see party plan companies mandate a beginning starter kit that contains a wide array of products, with a price tag several hundred dollars. Regulatory agencies are very liberal in their view of such mandated purchases in party plan companies because party plan companies are so overwhelmingly retail-oriented and the movement of product to retail customers is the norm, and not the exception.

MLMLegal.com has launched the Innovation Campaign for its February 2014 MLM Startup Conference. Read how to get your two free tickets by clicking HERE!

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As a consultant, where did you first begin selling your products/services?

It is often said that direct selling/MLM/network marketing is about first sharing your product and services within your spheres of influence, that is to say, first harvest the low lying fruit. This means calling upon your friends, family, social acquaintances, co-workers, members of your church, religious group, fraternal organizations, etc. In other words, sell where you are the most comfortable. Generally, this includes territory close to home. Generally speaking if you sell products/services at a distance then it is because you have connections. As you mature, you may venture into other territories, but it likely will be through social networking or by having an online presence.

As a consultant, where did you first begin selling your products/services? How would you rate your success during your first year as a consultant?

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Tell us how your network marketing company is streamlining its technology. Has it eased the sales process or made it more complicated?

Door-to-door sales are becoming the sales method of ancient times. As technology advances so does the network marketing industry. More commonly, consultants are using personalized websites, often provided by their MLM company, as well as new devices, such as tablets, as sales and recruiting tools. Industry experts say that enhancements in tablet communication software enable consultants in the field to achieve greater success. Tablets enable salespeople to give more striking presentations, lower attrition rates, increase sales, as well as make ordering and enrolling new consultants easier. And, industry experts agree that the network marketing companies that embrace the newest technology will attract a new crowd of independent business owners and also the highly-desirable top sellers. Companies that fail to adapt to the latest technology may end up losing its most valuable salespeople to more industry-leading direct selling models.

Tell us how your network marketing company is streamlining its technology. Has it eased the sales process or made it more complicated?

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February 27th & 28th, 2014 - The MLM Startup Conference in Las Vegas

The next Starting and Running the Successful MLM Company Conference is already scheduled for next year! On February 27th & 28th, 2014 we are hosting the MLM Conference for the 26th year! This is now our 66th annual conference (held almost consistently three times per year over the last 24 years). All executives/owners of MLM, direct selling, network marking, and party plan companies are welcome to attend. This is the original MLM Startup Conference, hosted and perfected by direct selling industry expert, MLM Attorney Jeff Babener.

WHO?

Direct Selling Attorney, Jeff Babener, Founder of Babener & Associates and Sponsor of the MLM Startup Conference, has over 25 years of experience in the industry, representing companies such as Avon, Nikken, Melaleuca, Discovery Toys, Usana, and NuSkin.

MLM Industry Consultant, Mike Sheffield, with The Sheffield Group and Co-Sponsor of the MLM Startup Conference, has helped launch over 800 companies over the last 27 years.

Over the course of two days, you will hear from many leaders in the direct selling industry, who include:

Jeffrey A. Babener, of Portland, Oregon, Conference Chair and Sponsor, www.mlmlegal.com, is the principal attorney in the law firm of Babener & Associates. He represents leading U.S. and foreign companies in the direct selling industry. He has been advisor to such companies as Avon, Discovery Toys, Nikken, Shaklee NuSkin, Excel, Usana, Fuller Brush, Cell Tech, Kaire, Sunrider, Melaleuca, etc. He is a frequent lecturer and has been interviewed on the industry, and published, in such publications as Money, Inc., Atlantic Monthly, Success, Entrepreneur, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Home Office Computing, Business Start-Ups, Wealth Builders and Money Maker’s Monthly. He is editor of the industry publication, Direct Sales Legaline. Mr. Babener is also the author of the books, Tax Guide for MLM/Direct Selling Distributors, Network Marketer’s Guide to Success, The MLM Corporate Handbook, Network Marketing: Window of Opportunity and Network Marketing: What You Should Know. He is editor of one of most frequented network marketing educational web sites, www.mlmlegal.com.

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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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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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Most direct selling, network marketing, MLM companies will be lucky if they can retain 15 to 20 percent of their recruited consultants on a long-term basis. Therefore, MLM company owners and their consultants should consider this information of great importance.

How do you retain your distributors? Special treatment can make all the difference in whether a consultant or customer stays or leaves the company. It’s important to encourage upline distributors to give their downline consultants and customers attentive treatment and service in order to ensure that they will stick around. The handling of people through quality service is priceless where advertising and marketing costs may not produce the same effect.

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Jody (Coughlin) Greene argues in her Forbes article titled “Is MLM a Bad Word?” that MLM has had a bad reputation because its structure is similar to pyramid schemes and its negative image isn’t deserved.

Not only is network marketing a proven business, being one of the longest-running business models in the United States, but its marketing strategy has also proven successful. Distributors create income through their personal sales and the sales of those who they’ve recruited in their downline. Because of its pyramid-like structure, MLM has in some cases gotten a bad name.

Ms. Greene explains just some of the criticisms faced by network marketing companies:

Criticism has focused on their similarity to illegal pyramid schemes (hence the “scheme” reference), price-fixing of products, high initial start-up costs, emphasis on recruitment of lower-tiered salespeople over actual sales, encouraging if not requiring salespeople to purchase and use the company’s products, potential exploitation of personal relationships which are used as new sales and recruiting targets, complex and sometimes exaggerated compensation schemes, and cult-like techniques which some groups use to enhance their members’ enthusiasm and devotion.

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