Network marketing scams and underhanded schemes are something I have not thought about much lately. When I started paying my bills with my commission checks, people suddenly stopped mentioning the word in my presence.
But a few days ago something happened which made me realize why the general populace have such a fun time throwing rotten eggs at our industry. Here's what happened:
It was past lunch time. I was hungry. A buddy and I were driving past a little restaurant. Before I knew what I was doing, I said to my friend, "You hungry? Let's stop for a burrito."
His reaction, which was a little stronger than "No Way! That place stinks!" took me by surprise. He smirked and gave the place what we call a "Chicago Salute" as we drove on by.
I should have known better. You see, we had eaten there only a few weeks ago, and I thought it was Okay. Not great, but not exactly worthy of being black-listed. But I remembered that we were both disappointed by the place, and we each knew why.
Then I realized what the problem really was, and in a flash I saw an instant parallel to some people's perception that the Network Marketing/MLM industry is full of schemes and scams. You see, when we had eaten there before, it was at the suggestion of a mutual friend.
Well, maybe suggestion is too weak a word to use here. Our friend gave the place a totally over-the top, glowing review. He painted an aromatic, three dimensional picture of the place. "The owners are friendly, the wait staff is hip and gorgeous, the furniture is all designer-made in high Spanish-Modern fashion, and the food is bountiful -- presented in exotic arrangements worthy of an Iron-Chef rerun." Oh yes, and "The burritos are as tender as cake, with the most delicious combination of ingredients to be found West of the Atlantic Ocean. All for Ten Dollars!"
Do you get my drift? We're talking about burritos here. Even so, my buddy and I entered the establishment ready for a culinary treat. What we found, though, didn't quite match up. The place was way too bright, with IKEA knock-off furniture and staff who seemed worn down from being perky. The food was a good value, but nothing "special."
We left there with the realization that out mutual friend suffered from very limited dining experience, and poor taste buds, to boot.
As my buddy's salute was lowered, I saw quite clearly why so many people have latched onto the MLM/Network Marketing Scam bandwagon. It is because the reality of working in the industry never matches the expectations of those who are introduced to it.
Over zealous presentations and slick, hyped-up marketing materials usually underplay the fact that success is achieved by both learning new skills and applying them daily. Couple that with the reality that most new recruits are not born entrepreneurs, and a situation is created where recruits claim the "business" does not "work" and that they were "duped" and "scammed."
I will not defend recruiting tactics here. It is obvious that without a fresh supply of warm bodies the MLM industry would perish. However, I do fault anyone claiming 'scam" when they should simply be admitting having made a business decision based on hope instead of reality, and that they failed at transitioning from a consumer (opportunity buyer) to an entrepreneur. And this fault is double when they justify their innocence by broadcasting a story of scam and fraud. Misery loves company, as they say.
After all, a burrito is a burrito, unless you were expecting it to be a cake. There's no need to shoot the chef.
Tags: mlm scam fraud