This week I was lucky to be flown up to Sydney for a nice night out with a company I am an ambassador for. It was a great night with some awesome people, but more on that in my next blog. This blog is about before the event and what one little conversation set off in my brain.
THE SET UP
It was a beautiful sunny day, as all of the various ambassadors assembled in the hotel foyer to get cabs. You know the scene; you don't know many people so you make polite conversation and be on your best behaviour. Being one of the older guys and believing in gentlemanly habits, I grabbed a cab and invited some peeps to join me. One rather striking couple came and sat in the back and that's when it happened.
I'm a friendly guy so I ask what people do for a living to break the ice. Well the first one was a big faux pas. Turns out she was quite famous, yet I didn't have a clue. She really looked the part - pretty, amazing dress, stylish as you would expect. But that wasn't the surprising part.
What really surprised me what her boyfriend. An awesome guy, who I hit it off straight away. Just a down to earth dude, friendly and likable. He introduced himself with aplomb with - "I'm in Network Marketing." BOOM! Simple as that. No hesitation and right to the point. Most people I have met are shy and elusive when they talk about their MLM they represent. In fact the training says don't tell them at all! Get them to an event then spring the trap, like people can't smell it a mile away....
That's why I loved this guy. Upfront, honest and genuinely proud of his job. Loved it. So it made me think about all the people who dismiss Network Marketing as a con. Something to be shunned and almost afraid of. Like selling health goods was akin to getting people to drink the kool-aid or throw their money down the drain. Perhaps that's a fair perception as I'm sure many people have been burned by the promise of big money in Network Marketing companies. But then again, 90% of small businesses fail too - so do we put up our nose when our friend says they have started a small printing and want us to buy some business cards?
There seems to be a big divide between those who are advocates of NM and those who HATE it. A bit like Beliebers and the rest of us. But why the need for hate?
THEM AND US
It really made me think about my recent venture into the travel Network Marketing business. I joined to help get more holidays with my kids, a fairly honourable reason I would suppose. I didn't expect some of the reactions of people to my news. The judgement in their eyes, the almost fear that they will think less of me. I know some people have said straight away 'it's not for me', like I'm suggesting they strip for a living. Rather than join the fastest growing travel business on the planet.
Now, I'm a bit gun shy to be honest. I feel a bit guilty and don't tell people about how I travel. Too afraid of what they might think. But why should I be ashamed of something that I have seen a lot of good and successful people really make a go of? Because of some shonky people in a similar industry? Well put up your hand if your industry hasn't ever had someone do the wrong thing. Hands down in your a lawyer, doctor, real estate agent, accountant, police officer or just about anyone in IT! People are shonky, not industries.
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM
So what makes us reject the business model of Network Marketing? Was everyone burned by Amway back in the 1980's or is it something about selling? I would love to hear your thoughts as it seems to be such an emotive subject. But why? It's just a business model. I sell everyday in my other business, as do most entrepreneurs and small business owners - heck who doesn't have to sell something! Your kids school raffle tickets, your friends new clothing range or yourself when you go for a job. Let's face it we all sell. So what rubs people the wrong way about MLMs?
THE BOTTOM LINE
People are all different. We like different music, movies, clothes and jobs. We have different values and customs. Of course everyone wouldn't like the same industries, but do people have criticise something they haven't experienced or don't understand? I remember a time like that and it was called the 1970's, when being different was dangerous.
I hope one day to have the courage of this awesome guy I met who helps people get healthy. That's it. He genuinely cares about their outcomes and believes in the products he suggests. I could buy them from a shop with the same level of skilled advice, but why not support him in his business endeavours. After all he is just a guy making a living and surely he deserves a break. Maybe it's time to investigate rather than judge. Surely if Rich Dad, Poor Dad says it's okay, who am I to disagree!
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