Closing a Chapter, Part 2

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Coalition: Here is Part 2 of Linda’s recent experience with a personal care MLM. We’re putting it up in four parts over the next week or so, but you can head over to her blog if you want to read all of it right away! To read how her story started, catch up with Part 1. And now, on with Linda’s story:

Linda: At one of our smaller, monthly group meetings, the presenter gave a little talk about how to recruit people and she spoke of people’s “weaknesses” and their “pain” which made me feel awkward, I mean, yes I want to grow my business however I do also have a moral compass — targeting people who had credit card debit or debt of any kind was so low. I remember raising my hand and actually asking “Well, surely if someone is in debt, they won’t really have the money to pay for these products?” Her response was — “Well, you’ll find that people who are in debt kind of like to spend money regardless, so, in theory we’re only encouraging them to spend with us…” I was totally and utterly uncomfortable with this. I have had debt in the past, and I know first-hand how horrible it is. The fact that I was aiming to get rich off of the shoulders of someone who was struggling didn’t sit well with me. It was then that I started to really question what I was doing. I actually thought that these meetings were a complete waste of time. They were extremely repetitive and I guess, just additional brainwashing.

No matter how much I plugged the products or talked about the business, NO. ONE. WAS. INTERESTED in signing up or buying the products. When you take into account that a toothpaste I was selling was retailing at just over £11+ postage — and you can purchase a well-known, dentist recommended brand for £3–4, you can see why I was struggling. No amount of persuasion, and I have worked in retail/sales on Bond Street and Harrods in the past, could sell the overpriced products. I manged to sign up one old friend I hadn’t spoken to in years because, and I am ashamed to admit it, she was so utterly miserable in her job I guess she was desperate for anything that would help her escape, and I convinced her this was the opportunity she was looking for! I also signed up a nail technician I got talking to, however after a face-to-face meeting with her and Danni, where she voiced her concerns about the fact that she had been advised by her family that this was a pyramid scheme, she messaged me to say she was stopping. I kept my positive vibes up, I kept telling myself it would change; however, I was now beginning to think that I was becoming a clone of Company X. I felt like I was losing my identity. Every time I spoke to someone, I saw them as a potential recruit, as a way of progressing my “business”.

I was incapable of having a conversation with anyone without trying to plug the products in one way or another. If I spoke to warm contacts (friends or family) I risked alienating them and cold contacts (strangers) are very rarely willing to trust a complete stranger. Therefore, you are trained to make cold contacts warm, however in my opinion this is a false way of building a true friendship, as your ultimate goal is to recruit. The whole process is based on making money and pushing your business forward. It reeks of desperation and falseness. I attended several Network Marketing meetings off of my own back (may I also add that MLM companies such as ours had been frozen out of several Networking events in my area, no doubt because the organisers were sick of reps recruiting) I was told it was because there was another rep from a similar company attending, however I truly believe that the organisers where just trying to be nice about the truth. MLM reps are also banned from many Mum and Baby groups, as again, the organisers think the reps simply prey on the mother’s need to find a flexible job they can work around their children.

I kept on wondering how the hell the other reps were receiving such massive product deliveries for their customers. Instagram and Facebook were often littered with people posting about orders, boxes full of products. When I started looking into MLM Scam websites, I found out that reps from other companies were told by their uplines (the people who recruit them) that they should keep any empty boxes and use these to bulk up personal orders to make it look like bigger deliveries. This goes to show just how innocent (or naïve?) I was. I would never had done this! All my posts were genuine, however no wonder my orders were of only a few items, most of which were for me. I couldn’t believe the deceit and it didn’t stop there. I also discovered and again, I laugh at myself for not knowing this — you can buy followers on social media – personally, I think this is a little bit desperate, I mean, surely, if you have followers, it should be because your posts etc. are of interest to people — the fact that you can pay as little as £10 for 1000 followers makes me balk. I then started to wonder, if this was what a lot of the Company X girls did, to perhaps show they had some sort of popular following, lots of customer and potential recruits — attraction marketing remember?

Another niggle was Danni. When we initially spoke about Company X, she told me she had left her full time job, as the money she was making as a Company X rep was now the equivalent to what her monthly salary was…I thought this was brilliant and I knew realistically this would take time. Danni had now been a Company X rep for over four years and as we grew closer, she would admit little things that raised alarm bells with me. The fact that she didn’t earn this all the time. There were quite a few months where she made very little, or that it was a struggle at times and she sometimes looked at perhaps getting another job. She would quickly then retract her statements and say she could never go back to working for someone else, not now that she was her own “boss”.

What happens next? Read Part 3 of Linda’s tale!

Feature photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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