This is a multi-part series examining the various coaches and mentors who promise the secret pathway to success in MLM. It is also a guest post from The MLM Mentor Monitor (pseudonym). The MLM Mentor Monitor is the long term watcher of the MLM world and an active critic of MLM. They have been spending some time observing the mentors who offer training to MLM distributors at all levels on how to expand their businesses and reach success in network marketing. Here are ten things the MLM Mentor Monitor was struck by during his voyage around the world of the MLM mentor.
Are you in a multi-level marketing (MLM), or networking marketing business? Need advice on how to “crush it”? Are you struggling to make sales? Can’t recruit new people? Do you need a kick up the backside to reach the next level and really achieve financial freedom?
Then have no fear—you just need to follow a mentor and do what they say. In MLMs, these mentors may call themselves coaches or trainers, but here I’m going to refer to them as mentors. Some are small scale, existing behind a Facebook page or website, some are better known, with books and appearing on stage at MLM events. If you are new to MLMs, or new to watching MLMs with a critical gaze, then you may not realize that in the shadows of this shadowy industry is a bolt-on coaching industry which can be much more lucrative than being an MLM distributor.
In this article I concentrate on how the high profile mentors operate.
What is an MLM mentor?
If you’re acquainted with MLMs, then you’ve most likely come across a mentor. These are the people whom many MLM participants hail as demi-gods; they’re people who are said to have started with nothing, but through hard work and dedication have risen to the top of their respective MLMs and beyond, to call themselves gurus for the whole industry. They’re the people you’ve probably seen on Facebook videos or mentioned as highly important people in the MLM industry. They’re the men and women who waltz onto MLM event stages well-dressed, with pearly-white teeth, oozing confidence and with big stories to tell.
A mentor’s mission is simple: to help people achieve “financial freedom” through their continued participation in the MLM industry. For a price, you can even join their exclusive groups and be personally mentored to become the next big earner in your MLM. A mentor’s main way of communicating is by hosting live videos on their social media pages and being hired to speak at live events.
While this all sounds good in theory, as with everything associated with multi-level marketing, there is a lot of smoke, mirrors, and many red flags. At best, I found their training tactics ethically questionable, and at times downright slimy.
Here is the first two of ten things I learned from listening to and watching mentors on their social media and YouTube platforms.
- Mentors never give practical business or financial advice.
As is common in MLM circles, mentors like to keep reminding participants that they are business owners on an entrepreneurial journey to potential greatness. In reality, participants are part of a scheme where their advancement is dependent upon their ability to build a large downline who will continually purchase product, with those at the bottom of the system struggling to sell products to real customers outside the scheme. The real, consequential decisions that decide the direction of the business are made at boardroom level by salaried executives.
The issue is that if participants are indeed business owners, then they will have statutory obligations to follow in line with their national laws. This may include duties such as registering the business, filing and auditing accounts, and paying tax. Whether it is a registered business, part of a franchise, or a sole proprietorship makes no difference—there are still obligations that will need to be met. Mentors within the MLM industry never discuss these issues in their events.
A vital objective for a business owner is to also ensure that their business is profitable and able to withstand future risk. Alarmingly, money is likewise never spoken about by mentors unless they are talking about seven/six figure earners as examples of success. Apparently, according to one mentor, the “mission is more important than the commission”, and the bigger goal is to help change people’s lives rather than, you know, make money.
Not once, ever, has a mentor I listened to ever encouraged a participant to do something as basic as keeping an income-versus-outgoings spreadsheet. On the contrary, they seem more intent on distracting participants away from the financial side of business and on other issues instead. So if they don’t give advice on common business issues and finances as a business mentor would do in any other industry, then what exactly do they talk about?
- Mentors love telling “stories”.
When you listen to a mentor, it is only a matter of time before you will hear them say something like “Let me tell you a story about…”, or, “This reminds me of the time that…”, and so on. Mentors will then tell a story about a problem they may have encountered and overcome, or an inspirational story involving a successful person or even themselves. There may even be a moral behind the story, but in pure practical business terms, it serves very little purpose.
The use of stories is important for mentors because this is an effective way for them to build an emotional connection with their audience. As mentioned previously, a popular story for the mentors is their own “rags to riches” story of how they started at the bottom of an MLM and made their way up to success—this makes them sound relatable to their clients or audience.
The more emotional a story is, the better it is for mentors to keep their clients hooked in the performance. This is why, particularly during grand stage events, they sound much more like motivational speakers or even evangelical preachers, rather than business experts.
Stay tuned for Part 2 releasing next weekend!