The answer here is somewhat “tongue and cheek” and should be taken with a “grain of salt.” This question is often asked of people who are starting network marketing companies. The majority, if not all of them, respond as wanting to recruit MLM professionals to their companies. An industry observer once commented wryly that too often, “junkies” and “professionals” are merely flip sides of the same coin. Said the commentator, “A MLM junkie is someone who will raid your distributors and take them to another company, while a MLM prhttp://mlmattorney.com/Video-Junkie.htmlofessional is someone who leaves their current company, raids their distributors, and brings them to your company!” Therefore, it depends on which hat you are wearing that day – if you’re the company that benefits — as to whether these kinds of consultants are “professionals” or “MLM junkies.”

In all seriousness, the above comment too often has more than a kernel of truth.

Companies that pay people to bring recruits with them to the new company are not conducting good business strategy. They will often claim to bring thousands, only bring a few, and still get their money. Unfortunately, this happens time and again and it is not an ethical way to do business.

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There are two issues that have surfaced in recent years: 1) social networking, and 2) frequent migration of distributors between companies. With social networking concerns, companies have had to decide on positive protocol for consultants who socialize through technology. In terms of the migration of consultants, companies have often found themselves constantly revisiting policy that both protect the livelihood of all its distributors while also protecting the interest of the company. These issues are constantly under review. Most companies continue to revisit these issues multiple times.

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The MLM industry has, during the last 20 years, developed positive working relationships with regulatory agencies such as attorneys general and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). There was a time, however, back in the 1970s, when the FTC challenged the legitimacy of the direct selling industry as being a pyramid scheme. They accused Amway of operating illegally and Amway prevailed in a very famous 1979 case [below] where it was held that the network marketing industry is a legitimate business model and the business opportunity is not a pyramid scheme.

No legal ruling has been more impactful on the direct sales industry than The Landmark Amway Case.

Afterwards, regulatory agencies and the industry went quiet until the 1990s when it was questioned whether or not product-using consultants were a legitimate end-destination for products or whether consultants were simply retail customers. There has been an ongoing tug of war between the MLM industry and the FTC in terms of determining whether or not personal use should have an impact on a company’s legitimate operations. The industry, with the cooperation of attorneys generals in more than a dozen states, were able to amend legislation in those states to recognize that personal use of product by distributors is a legitimate end-destination, just as if it were a retail sale.

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Many network marketing companies are rightfully concerned about consultants making unauthorized medical and earnings claims on their own websites, as well as creating keyword confusion in the search engines. Therefore, many leading MLM companies provide authorized replicated websites for their consultants and actually prohibit individually-created websites. Therefore, if you’re a consultant, chances are high that you will not be allowed to purchase, design or build your own website. Instead, you’ll be given access to your own replicated website, provided by the company, which is a website that looks much like the company’s main website, but has a unique URL that you can send your customers to so that they can order products through you.

The primary reasons why companies don’t allow consultants to host their own websites are:

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Your cost of goods is calculated as your acquisition or manufacturing cost. The more frequent question we come across relates to pricing. Most MLM experts agree that you must have adequate margins to pay commissions and to make a profit. Different products and services carry different profit margins. In addition, smaller margins may be satisfactory with high-priced products because there is still room for profit. Most MLM companies are likely to pay total commissions equal to between 30 and 45 percent of the price sold to distributors for resale, or prices for which consumers buy directly from the company. A typical company will try to achieve a minimum 5-7 times markup to allow for commissions, overhead and profit. Typical markup for resale by distributors is 25% of their purchase price. A good place to visit this issue is at the MLM Startup Conference, offered by www.mlmlegal.com, where experts discuss margins, pricing, profit, proformas, and a whole lot more.

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MLM attrition is high. This is a fact of life. All of those distributors, who you have signed up, have competing demands on their time. So, if they go passive, it is not your fault. If that happens, you should give it a good shot to encourage them to reengage. However, after a few attempts, you should realize that you may be wasting your time. Hopefully, the value and quality and service proposition of your company’s products will allow you to convince the passive distributor to remain as a preferred customer.

At some point, however, you need to move on and focus on finding new recruits. One company executive succinctly captured the strategic decision in a metaphor when he said, “You can throw alarm clocks at the cemetery, but you won’t wake up the dead; it is easier to make babies.” Although a bit crass, this point is well taken. You should invest your time and effort where it will pay off.

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When you are starting your MLM, direct selling, network marketing, or party plan business, you’ll find that recruiting experienced distributors is often essential to your company’s success. And if you don’t have the background yourself, as a successful recruiter, you need to budget for a Sales Manager position for an individual who does have that capability.

Your ability to recruit directly equates to your success. If you have a background in recruiting and a background in direct selling, then your need for capital will be substantially lower. Recruiting top distributors will enable your company to have the capital to stay afloat and even grow. If recruiting is slow then you will need to raise one to three years of buffer capital in order to support your company in the event of stagnation or loss. And remember, the remuneration that is offered to top distributors will be effective in their decision to stay and help grow the business.

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The issue of levels has not been the focus of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state attorneys general in the enforcement of pyramid laws.

The issue of levels has not been the focus of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state attorneys general in the enforcement of pyramid laws.

The issue of depth of levels seemed to be a major focus prior to the internet and other non-postal (mail) means of communication. In the late 1980’s the United States Postal Service (USPS) examined numbers of levels to make a determination of whether or not, in its opinion, the depth of levels created a “lottery” element under U.S. Postal lottery laws that forbid payment based on chance. Various cases and consents sorted out a safe harbor (at least from the U.S. Postal Office standpoint) for at least four levels (not necessarily agreed to by the direct selling industry). Separately, the Postal Service looked for evidence of “supervisory requirements.” Most companies adopted specific supervisory requirements of sponsors to demonstrate some managerial activity by distributors. For the past 25 years, little recruitment activity is conducted by U.S. mail and it has been a long time since the U.S. Postal Service has expressed a serious interest in this subject. The issue of levels has not been the focus of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state attorneys general in the enforcement of pyramid laws. Instead, the focus for the last two decades has been on the whether or not product/service

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Incentives absolutely increase sales. However, sales incentives go by many names, shapes and sizes.

Incentives absolutely increase sales. However, sales incentives go by many names, shapes and sizes.

Incentives absolutely increase sales. However, sales incentives go by many names, shapes and sizes. Obviously, the understood and expected incentives are bonuses and commissions. Since companies are trying to incentivize different types of behavior, the compensation plans of companies are often complex and multi-task to provide incentives for retail selling, preferred recurring customers, building wide, building deep, working with immediate downline and deep into a downline, time sensitive personal and group sales production, personal and group sales, longevity, quick start, etc. Beyond cash incentives, most leading companies understand the power and inspiration behind noncash incentives that

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It depends on which hat you are wearing that day as to whether they are to be considered MLM professionals or MLM junkies.

It depends on which hat you are wearing that day as to whether they are to be considered MLM professionals or MLM junkies.

The answer here is somewhat “tongue and cheek” and should be taken with a “grain of salt.” This question is often asked of people who are starting network marketing companies. The majority, if not all of them, respond that they want to recruit MLM professionals to their companies. An industry observer once commented wryly that, too often, “junkies” and “professionals” are merely flip sides of a coin. The commentator said, “A MLM junkie is someone who will raid your distributors and take them to another company while a MLM professional is someone who leaves their company, raids the distributors and brings them to your company!” It depends on which hat you are wearing that day as to whether they are to be considered MLM professionals or MLM junkies.

In all seriousness, the above comment too often contains more than a kernel of truth.

Lastly, companies that pay people to bring recruits with them to the new company are not conducting good business strategy. They will often claim to recruit thousands of individuals and only bring a few, yet still get their money. Unfortunately, this happens time and again and it is not an ethical way to do business.

Continue reading »