Recently, I polled my friends about my joining a multi-level marketing company. Something like Mary Kay, Rodan + Fields, Beautycounter or Arbonne. From my newsfeed, it seems like so many of my friends have taken the plunge and are successfully using an MLM as a side hustle. I thought it would be a good way for me to make some extra cash, maybe I could put that money towards our home fund, or trips to Texas, or just general savings.
While many of my friends supported me and encouraged me to take the next step, quite a few had very strong feelings about me not participating. Honestly, they made a lot of sense. Their main hang up with MLM’s is how the companies teach you to sell their product and that they promote partnering with them as a “small business venture”. Those same friends challenged me to do something unique and 100% mine. Ultimately, I chose to forgo joining an MLM.
I will be honest and say I’m not 100% sure what goes on behind the scenes because I have not been an MLM partner. But, what I do know is that you are taught to be aggressive and that your partnership is not a “small business venture”, but a glorified salesperson. The potential for commissions may be unlimited, but you’re still working for another company as an employee. And many times you are required to pay the company in order to qualify as a partner.
Hold on, though, the purpose of this article is not to bash MLM’s or the people who choose to work with them. I know that many people make decent money from them and they can be a way for stay-at-home moms to make a living and still be home with their children. The reason I am writing this is that I think there should be an etiquette for how to approach people. Not only with MLM’s, but in all the sales world.
Don’t add your friends to your personalized sales page.
I know its tempting to do. When I was thinking about joining an MLM, I went as far as categorizing which friends I thought would buy and which friends I thought wouldn’t buy. But even as I was selecting my friends for one group or the other, I felt as though I was preying on my friends – just setting up my “leads” for the kill. Instead, build your friendships into something beautiful. Genuinely care about your friends and if they need something that you sell, they will come.
If your friends tell you “thank you, but no thank you”, leave it at that.
Don’t pressure me to buy. Don’t guilt trip me or shame me into purchases. I know what you sell – believe me, I know. Your constant advertising makes it obvious what you are selling. I have no problem seeing your posts in my feed (I can turn them off at any point), just don’t make me feel bad for not buying what you are selling. Trust that I will reach out to you if I am ever in need of your product.
Don’t message me in an impersonal group text.
That doesn’t mean you can send me a “personal” group text, though. It means most of us can tell when you have copy-and-pasted something that you sent to your other 450 closest “girlfriends”. Please don’t make me reject you to your face. It isn’t fun for me and I know it isn’t fun for you. These messages come across as disingenuine and tacky. Ultimately, it just results in me resenting you and your product, making the likelihood of me buying from you lower than ever.
Finally, remember that we are your friends and we want to stay friends with you!
No matter who you are or where our relationship stands, know that I still care about you in some form or fashion. Please don’t burn that bridge because you could make a few extra dollars. It makes me feel like you don’t care about me as a person, just me as a client. There is a higher chance that you reaching out to me simply for monetary gain will make me think twice about why we are friends in the first place. Especially if we do not talk much anymore.
For me, nothing turns me off more than to be forced into doing or participating in something I didn’t ask to have. I am not looking to get notifications for your Facebook “party” or have to turn you down when you message me out of the blue. Don’t make me uncomfortable, don’t annoy me, don’t force me to participate in your sales pitch without my consent. Be respectful and kind. Your clients will come.
Do you have other rules of etiquette you would like to add? Let me know in the comments!