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10 Lessons from Money Making MLM Mentors – Part 4

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This is the final part of a 4-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.

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Photo by Lance Reis on Unsplash
  1. It is impossible to assess how effective a mentor’s services are.

Some mentors are very proactive when it comes to producing regular, free content for participants to watch. These are often done on a weekly basis that people can watch on Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms. Mentors will regularly take these opportunities to promote their “exclusive” groups and products that, for a price, can really help you make a breakthrough and – cringe – “crush it”.

A legitimate complaint of my article will be that I have only been listening to free resources from the mentors. That’s a totally fair point, and of course as a point of principle, I am never going to pay a penny towards them. But on the other hand, as with any potential investment, it is only fair that consumers are given sufficient evidence that the training materials are actually worth the money, some of which are sold in the region of four-figures. Considering the failure rate of joining an MLM is 99 percent, there is surely ample opportunity for mentors to, through their paid services, make a dent on that horrific statistic and have the evidence to back it up.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of mentors do not seem particularly keen to provide any sort of data suggesting how successful their training materials are. Their websites are cluttered with glowing testimonials from their clients, but there is no specific information relating to numbers and how much money clients made thanks to the service.

Only one mentor that I looked up had anything resembling data on the impact their training has had on their clients. According to this mentor, their service was able to help clients achieve nearly 6,000 promotions and access nearly 127,000 customers over a period of 18 months. But that is it. There is absolutely no way of determining how many clients these promotions and customers were spread over; there is no way of determining whether those promotions were primarily, low, middle or top ranking statuses in MLMs; and most importantly, it doesn’t remotely explain how much revenue this translates to and what the average taking was per client. The information is meaningless.

Perhaps the most worrying statistic completely absent from the mentors is the amount of people their services have helped transform into millionaires, six-figure earners, five-figure earners or even four-figure earners. This is very likely why, in my experience, mentors encourage participants to use phrases like “financial freedom” or “time freedom” when selling the recruitment pitch, because in that way they are not suggesting to prospects that they could make serious, life-changing money in an MLM. In my view, this is because they are fully aware that the amazing potential of the “opportunity” (i.e. joining an MLM and making serious money) is nothing but a pipe dream.

  1. Mentors are always, always, ALWAYS selling new products.

Alongside “crush it” in my “MLM Mentor Bingo”, there would also be a special square for “promoting products/events”.

During the free trainings, mentors love to pitch their products including books, online masterclasses and live events. The mentor will excitedly tell participants that their product will truly help them “crush it” whether it’s learning about mindset, how to sell products, how to recruit more members, or how to – yes, you guessed it – tell stories (seriously – there have been workshops specifically on telling stories). All you need to do is buy a ticket to the event, or buy the book, and you’ll have the magic tips to success.

Except, mentors have now been saying this for years, and in all that time they are still writing books, they are still hosting events. Go to Amazon and look up “network marketing” and you will see a deluge of books and recordings from mentors. Mentors also host their own live events, many of who have their own, annual “big event” that you just have to attend, sort of like an MLM Mentors Wrestlemania. What’s that? Your country is in lockdown because of coronavirus? No problem – it’s being hosted online – just buy your e-ticket on the website.

The fact is, mentors have been telling their “secrets” for so long that they’re by definition no longer “secrets”. The secrets, systems and strategies have been taught. They are done. There should really be no need for routine, costly books and events (that are, as demonstrated earlier, impossible to assess even work).

This is yet another red flag about MLMs in general. Mentors are constantly producing new material because coaching – not the residual income from MLMs – is how they make their living. If you are an MLM participant considering purchasing a mentor’s products and services, then ask yourself: why do they need to constantly sell these services if they have already made six or seven figure incomes from MLMs? Why are they selling the pitch that MLMs can be an exciting business opportunity, where you can potentially make money in your sleep, if they themselves need to run coaching businesses?

And the red flags do not stop there – consider this. The MLM business model fails so badly because there is no limit to the amount of people who can participate in each company. Despite what uplines and mentors tell you, in a pure business sense, your team mates are not friends, they are not a tribe, they are not family. They are actually competitors. Just like you, they need to sell products to the public and try to recruit the very same prospects you may have your eye on. And this gets tougher the more people who sign up and in turn switch from being customers to competitors. The market shrinks and saturates in one fell swoop. It is bonkers business. It is why 99 percent of participants fail to make money.

My point? By extension, the more people who pay mentors for their “exclusive” services, the more redundant their training materials become. If everyone reads Mentor X’s book “The Secrets to Success in Networking Marketing”, then those “secrets” are known by everyone and used by everyone. They are not secrets anymore. So what competitive advantage do these “secrets” actually give you? Well, none. Let me repeat that: you do not gain a competitive advantage over other competitors if they read the same books and attend the same trainings as you.

The Take Home Message about MLM Mentors

There are three vital points I hope people, especially MLM participants, take home from this article.

The first point is that mentors do not remotely teach you valuable advice about how to run a business. Instead, they rely on teaching little more than psychology, many of which are the same tricks they use on their clients.

The reason businesses like Pizza Hut, Revlon and even your local garage don’t need to message strangers on the internet is because they provide products and services that people actually want to buy. All they need to do is spend money on advertising and provide a quality service to keep people coming back.

Mentors don’t teach marketing (legitimate marketing beyond “building rapport”). They don’t teach product design. They don’t teach how to draft business plans. They don’t teach how to assess, manage and mitigate risk. They don’t teach the very things that real, legitimate businesses have to deal with whether they are big or small. All they teach is psychological tricks and mind games.

If you do have dreams of one day opening a business, then there will likely be organisations in your area who can give you proper advice on how to do this. I would highly recommend getting in touch with a third sector advice group, or your local elected representative, who could sign-post you on to such organisations, some of which exist specifically to encourage new start-up businesses. Don’t waste your ideas in an MLM or in the hands of a mentor – use the resources out there to really put your non-MLM ideas in motion.

The second point I hope has been made clear is that MLM mentors are absolutely not your friends or genuinely care about you succeeding or failing. All they care about is your wallet, and to boost their chances of getting in it, they will employ the same tricks on you that they teach to their clients. They spend so much time telling stories because that is the most effective way of establishing a connection with you and making the MLM dream sound more exciting than it really is. The longer they can keep you hooked in, the more products they sell, the more tickets they sell. The only person who wins from an MLM mentor-client relationship is the mentor, not the client.

And the final take-home message I hope has been made clear is that mentors themselves show that the opportunity, the residual income, the financial freedom and all the other wonderful-sounding MLM buzzwords are nothing more than fantasy. People have indeed made millions from MLMs by selling products and recruiting. Mentors have no doubt enjoyed success in this profession – no argument from me.

But it does not last forever.

If MLMs truly can set people up for life, then mentors will not need to run coaching businesses. They will not need to keep writing and selling books. They will not need to keep hosting seminars. They will not need to keep selling tickets for live events. But they do all this because they probably have to.

And, as in the previous point, the only winners from every purchase of a mentor’s product or service is the mentor. You can learn every “secret”, you can learn every system, you can learn every strategy, but none of them can change the MLM business model where 99 percent of participants fail. Mentors cannot magic away saturated markets, shrinking customers and increased competition every time a new recruit joins the business – and trust me, they never will.

As a final word, I read a comment online from someone who described mentors as “a tentacle of the MLM monster”. I think that perfectly sums up what they are.

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