What is it about MLM that gets people so emotional?

June 21, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Lifestyle, MLM | Leave a comment
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It seems to me that for many people there is just an immediate, emotive response that is just not supported by any serious analysis; and even more interesting, despite this apparently almost universal knee-jerk distain, not only are there more and more people involved in MLM, but most of the people actually seem happy with the experience.

So, what are the facts?

2008 (the most current figures that I could find):

In the U.S.

  • 15.1 million people involved in some form of direct sales (that’s 5% of the US population!)
  • $29.6 billion in sales


  • 65.3 million people involved
  • $114 billion in sales

Satisfaction surveys run by the Direct Selling Association in the U.S. revealed –

  • 80% of sellers say direct selling meets or exceeds their expectations; and
  • 85% of sellers report a good, very good or excellent experience with direct selling

And most revealing, 74% of U.S. adults have purchased products from a direct seller!

If, as is asserted so loudly, most people would have nothing to do with MLM, why would 74% of adults buy products and services from such an apparently distasteful distribution channel? It makes no sense!

In 2009 the world experienced an epidemic of layoffs, down-sizing, and corporate failures but not one person involved in MLM lost their job. What happened instead reflects the basic integrity of MLM.

A recent update on MLM in 2009 commented “direct selling is still strong around the world. Seventeen countries now have more than US$1 billion in sales annually through this channel of distribution.

The results are indisputable. Business in North America is gaining representatives; Asia is decreasing slightly in revenues, but growing in direct sellers; South America continues to rise; and Europe is doing well.”

With a history that goes back over 50 years, MLM has been scrutinised by probably more regulators than almost any other industry, and continues to be subject to intense scrutiny, MLM has grown to be the distribution method of choice for many companies:

  • Robert Kiyosaki has applauded the industry. Check out his video clip.
  • Donald Trump has even endorsed and promoted a MLM (ACN, the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications services) and featured one of their products on Celebrity Apprentice.
  • Warren Buffet has bought several direct sales companies including Pampered Chef and is reported as saying “dollar for dollar, it’s the best investment I’ve ever made.”
  • Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records and a host of other Virgin companies, founded Virgin Cosmetics in the UK — a direct sales company.

And, seriously, it sure as heck can’t be related to the unreasonable expectation that everyone who joins a MLM company is going to make a bucket of money – that is just impossible!

Let’s face it; do you remember the job interviews where you got the pitch about the great career prospects that were on offer for you in the company? And how you could go all the way to the top?

The reality is that it didn’t happen and wasn’t ever likely to happen. We just knew that believing otherwise is just fairy tale stuff.

The standard business structure is the same – a pyramid shape – where the chance for most of us ever crawling up the pyramid to the top is about zero.  Of the 350,000 who work for GM only 1 gets to the top – no level playing field; no chance for an aspiring new recruit; and very long odds.

In a MLM business everyone starts with the same opportunity and can reach the top levels regardless of when they start and what their background is – as long as they have a determination to treat their business as a business not a lottery.

And the odds of making it to the top? About 1 in a 1,000 – better odds than 1 in 350,000

So, what is the real reason so many apparently have a negative attitude towards a good, solid, open business opportunity that gives someone willing to invest some time the chance to live life for real?

More on that in my next post.


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