What’s the difference between MLM, network marketing, party plan, and direct sales?

Actually, they all fall under the general umbrella of “direct sales.” Historically, direct selling only involved direct person-to-person sales, often door-to-door. In the 1950’s companies such as Amway, Shaklee and Mary Kay introduced to the direct seller the ability to sponsor other sellers, to build a sales organization, and to receive an override commission on the sales in their sales organization at multiple levels. This is the origin of MLM, multilevel marketing and network marketing, which are all the same thing; i.e., direct sales with a multiple-level

Continue reading »

Network Marketing is a post-World War II phenomenon that was kick-started by companies such as Amway, Shaklee and Mary Kay. However, the origins of network marketing today planted their roots just prior to the turn of the century, in 1900.

Historians often say that “you can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been.” The early journey was interesting and set the pace for what all networkers are doing today.

The Earliest Periods

Face-to-face selling is not new. It’s as old as history itself. It crosses all continents and cultures.  Primitive tribes bartered food and crafted goods to trade with each other. Phoenician traders moved beyond barter to use currency in selling goods on trade routes. Over time, trade routes for sellers evolved in the Orient, Middle East and Europe. Moving beyond a self-sufficient agrarian economy, cobblers made shoes, tailors made clothes and metal smiths made tableware to be sold directly to consumers. The Industrial Revolution led to mass production, and traveling sales agents called “chapmen” or “bagmen,” carried samples and took orders for later shipment.

Continue reading »