Is MLM evil? A realistic view at direct sales

Yesterday, I read an great article from Christianity Today, entitled “The Divine Rise of Multi-Level Marketing” ( article discussed the problematic nature of MLMs (aka direct sales), particularly among Christians (apparently you have some Christians who are so overzealous in pitching their wares to the flock that it has resulted in strained communication and church budgets alike). Being a veteran of direct sales ( I was a pretty decent Avon lady back in the day!), I was intrigued by the ultimate argument posed by the article: Is MLM a bad thing to join? Here’s a snippet that I found very interesting: “Further, MLM allows Christian women to engage business, community, and family at once, in a way that the current work–home divide doesn’t allow for, at least not as seamlessly. Many women want to work and raise a family without the demands of a 9-to-5 job.” From here, let’s break down what MLM is- and isn’t.

1.) MLM is NOT an “easy job”. Potential to make money is there…..are you willing to work for it? I’m not gonna lie- upon joining a MLM, you are goaded into thinking that “the product will sell itself”, blah blah. Newsflash: a box of facial cream is an inanimate object. It cannot speak or think. That means that you are going to have to draft a plan to pitch your product- and a good one, at that. Hopefully, you have a competent team leader that will train/groom you for the next 30 or so days. Sounds like work? That’s because IT IS WORK. Also, remember this: you won’t make a ton of dough by not putting in the necessary prep time.

2.) MLM is NOT a license to annoy the ones you claim to love. Treat your MLM like a business. When I say that, I mean this: don’t mix personal with professional. Don’t badger your mom, sister, and friends in purchasing a product in order to make a lil’ change. Prior to signing the agreement, actually read the compensation plan- and re-read it, if necessary. Create a budget. Write a vision statement, then draft an actual business plan. Store it next to your signed agreement. Once again, this is not a “jobby” ( a hobby masquerading as a job).

3.) MLM will NOT make you a sales guru. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is not cut out for selling stuff. If your feelings are hurt if someone doesn’t text you back in an appropriate time, then chances are, direct sales is not for you. You have to have tough skin in this line of work. Persistence is key.

4.) Believe in the product that you have chosen to sell. Plain and simple. If you are passionate about a certain product line and believe that it can work for the other person, that excitement will shine through.

Just my input on the whole debate…..thoughts? Leave them in the comment section!