What This Blog Is About

What This Blog Is About

Most web sites and blogs about Direct Sales / Network Marketing / MLM focus overwhelmingly on the negative - what's wrong with it, bad experiences, scams, etc. This blog is different. While we discuss the Three Fatal Flaws and other problems with current industry practices, our focus is on positive and pragmatic SOLUTIONS.

Our Vision: To reform and transform this noble and time-tested industry into a positive force for good that powerfully and effectively serves and supports the best and highest good of people, community and planet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More About Direct Sales

Recently we learned that Network Marketing and Multi-Level Marketing are a form of Direct Sales, although "Direct Sales," "Network Marketing" and "Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)" are often used interchangeably.

To enhance our professional education, let's explore this topic a bit further.

There are basically two types of Direct Sales companies. It's all about person-to-person sales and delivery of services and products to customers, so the types have more to do with

  • How we are paid
  • How we build a team

Single-Level Marketing (SLM) - We are a distributor for a company and paid for serving customers, but we don't have the ability to build a team. We are on our own and only paid for what we sell. Example: Door-to-door satellite TV sales.

Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) - We are a "distributor" for a company and paid for serving customers, and we have the ability to expand our business by building a team of distributors to do the same. We are paid for what we personally use and sell to customers, and we are paid on what our team uses and sells to customers. Example: Nearly all Direct Sales companies.

Network Marketing - Same as Multi-Level Marketing, more often used because "MLM" has such a bad stigma.

What's important for us to know about our industry is that we have the ability to work on our own and be paid for serving our customers. Then, we have the option to expand our business by building and growing a team...and be paid for the service we AND our team provide to our customers. 

The ability to expand a business in this manner is called "leverage," limited only by our desire and leadership ability - one of the unique advantages this industry offers over traditional business models.

Whether we are affiliated with an SLM, MLM or NM company, and no matter how small or large our business, we are all Direct Sellers in the Direct Sales industry.

What Is Direct Sales?

I am often surprised by how few people in Direct Sales and Network Marketing industry can explain what it is...especially to people who have little or no experience with the industry and/or the business world. (Today we are only talking about a textbook definition of the industry itself, not the answer to "What do you do?" - that's a BIG topic for another time.)

Direct Sales is one of three ways to get services and products from the people who make them (producers) to the people who buy them (consumers/customers). The other ways are traditional retail stores and online web sites. 

In the Direct Sales world, how do the services and products "get" to the people who use them? Through personal interaction.

Just like Girl Scout cookies. The Girl Scouts sell and deliver almost a billion dollars of cookies each year to cookie fans like you and me. You may have purchased a tasty box of cookies directly from the daughter of a friend, family member or neighbor - that's a direct sales transaction. Girl Scouts are direct sellers of cookies!

So the key is personal contact. In fact, direct sales companies generally require distributors to only offer services and products to people with whom they have a personal relationship, such as friends, family and acquaintances.

Knowing that a personal relationship is necessary allows us arrive at a simple answer to the question "What is Direct Sales?" Person-to-person sales and delivery of services and products.

Also, did you know that Network Marketing and MLM are a form of Direct Sales, although "Direct Sales," "Network Marketing" and "Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)" are often used interchangeably? 

Regardless of what we call it, the essence of Direct Sales is people helping people. In a future post we will talk about the unique advantages of this way of doing business, something that retail stores and web sites - our competition - can never do! 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Our Vision and Manifesto

We believe that the Direct Sales industry is badly broken and in need of reform. Decades of deceptive business practices based on greed, hype and false promises have crushed the spirits, hopes and dreams of millions of good-hearted and well-intentioned people, who trusted the industry (and those who brought them in) to provide an opportunity for them to control their own destiny and create a better life for themselves and their families.

For 98% of these people, a better life is not what they achieved. Instead, the majority suffered the stigma of failure, personal embarrassment and in some cases, significant financial loss. Now the industry, called Direct Sales, Network Marketing or Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), is scarred with a horribly negative reputation and has lost trust, credibility and respect in the mind of the public.

At the same time, what has been unfortunately overlooked is the greatness and good that has been preserved and perpetuated - how companies in this industry have magnificently contributed to the health and well-being of people, community and planet. Beyond what the industry has currently achieved, we believe there is tremendous untapped potential for the industry to serve, empower, and contribute in more ways and on a much greater scale yet to be imagined.

If the industry has done and has potential to do much more good, why has it failed 98% of those who participate? Why does it suffer such a negative stigma? Our 8 years of research and experience have yielded one conclusion: it is not the Direct Sales model itself that is at fault; it is the way the business is practiced. The basic business model, person-to-person marketing of services and products, is proven and solid. Instead, corrupt, unrealistic, unsustainable and in some cases fraudulent business practices are the cause of the industry's woes, wreaking havoc and unfairly creating the perception that the business model itself is flawed.

Therefore, our mission and focus of this project is to revolutionize and transform this noble and time-tested industry into a positive force for good that is trusted and respected. We will retain the best of what it has to offer and discard the destructive business practices that have prevented the industry from achieving its full potential and positively impacting the lives of people around the world.

To accomplish this transformation, we are developing what we call the New Paradigm, the model for a new type of Direct Sales business that others can follow - a simple, effective and robust higher-purpose venture based on ethical and solid business principles that serves, empowers and supports the essential needs of people, community and planet.

We also are creating a community of like-minded people who are passionate about their health, passionate about the environment and passionate about making a lasting difference in the lives of others. We are teaching this group how to dream, design and build a great business that provides an opportunity to control their own destiny and create a more fulfilling life for themselves and their family through service to others, their local community and our planet - producing a lasting legacy and a better world for us all to enjoy.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Why Does Something That Should Work, Not Work?

I began asking this question eight years ago, not long after joining my first network marketing company.

I'd fallen in love with the products. I'd fallen in love with the company. I'd fallen in love with the opportunity. I went to the rallies. I made my list and did as I was told. I followed the system, made the calls, gave one-on-ones, brought people to meetings.

The result? A resounding THUD! (The sound of failure and disappointment, that is.) 

I didn't expect to get rich overnight. In fact, my initial goal was simply to earn $500 a month to help pay my mortgage.

I didn't think it would be easy. I was in the midst of building a consulting practice and understood that creating a successful business takes time, hard word and persistence.

What surprised me was the lack of concrete results in terms of customers, team and profits. I gained a handful of customers, whom I served and appreciated. No one I talked to wanted to join the business - once they realized it was network marketing, they responded with a swift "No."

Over time, as I observed the meetings, researched the industry, examined the system and tried numerous ways to make it work, I reached the conclusion that something was inherently wrong. At the same time, however, I became more and more convinced of the promise and potential the industry offered.

My mission then became to put my 20+ years of business analysis and process improvement experience to work, figuring out what was wrong, how to fix it, and how to make it work for people like me - average people who want to create a better life for themselves and their family. Eight years later, after much research, experience, and with the help of amazing people contributing their wisdom and ideas, a solution to making it work became clear.

Now it's time to flesh out the details and put the solution to the test in the real world. I'm like a scientist or researcher that excels at developing ideas and theories in an academic setting. I also excel at project management and team leadership. However, I need the assistance of colleagues who excel at building and selling and doing, who will collaborate with me to put the solution to the test in the marketplace. (The beauty of collaboration and teamwork - we bring our unique, complementary strengths to the table and work together to accomplish great things.) 

This blog is dedicated to spreading the word about what we want to accomplish, documenting our team's efforts and creating a community of like-minded people who see the vision and will help bring it to life around the world.