"If you get into business solely to make money, you won't. If you try to make a real difference, you'll find success." -Richard Branson
The typical pitch is enticing. "All you have to do is use a few products, get a few customers and recruit a few distributors. Then you teach them how to do the same. It grows exponentially: 5, 25, 125, 625. In a few years you'll earn $100,000 a month! If [Big Earner Name] can do it, you can too!"
Leading with greed is one of the fatally flawed business practices in our industry, for two key reasons.
First, it sets misleading, outlandish and unrealistic earnings expectations.
Everyone may ooh and ahh at the big numbers and fancy titles presented by the smiling Big Earner on the stage, but the truth is that most people will never earn those lofty incomes. In fact, the vast majority of Direct Sales distributors earn less than a few hundred dollars a month. A small percentage earn a livable income and a tiny fraction enjoy the lifestyle of great wealth and freedom so prominently featured at rallies, opportunity meetings and articles in company magazines.
Also, it's important to mention that the 98% who dropped out probably lost money depending on how active they were and how much they spent on items other than products, such as travel to conferences and rallies, catalogs, brochures, web site subscriptions, their upline's motivational materials, etc.
I've often wondered why the measure of success in our industry is big money and free time. What if we don't want an extravagant lifestyle? What if we have more modest goals and expectations?
For example, one of my sponsor's team members got into the business to earn enough to pay their phone bill and their mother's cable bill, and they accomplished that goal. For them, that's success, and I enthusiastically applaud their achievement. Other people want to earn extra income to pay down debt, increase savings, travel more often, whatever their unique personal goals may be. That's how THEY define success, and to me, that IS success.
Why must we constantly focus on the Big Earners and their lavish lifestyles? Instead, let's present a wide range of stories featuring real-life people who achieved modest personal goals. It's realistic, believable and relatable, counteracts the greed-focused marketing that our industry critics rail against, and provides real-world examples of what's possible for average people like us to achieve.
Second, and more important, focusing on the money detracts from how we earn it: Serving our customers.
Customers seem to get short shrift in our industry (although, thankfully, this attitude appears to be changing). However, as any successful business owner will tell you, if we don't have customers, we don't have a real business.
We must remember that we exist to serve our customers, and through them, our community and the planet. The money we earn is the result of the service we provide, and the amount we earn depends on how many customers we serve and how well we serve them.
Money is our scorecard, our reward for a job well done. It's not the job itself. As Jim Rohn said, "We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace." Our primary focus should be on providing value, not keeping score - our customers know the difference.
When we lead with greed and focus on the money, potential customers appear to us as a giant dollar sign - and they feel it. Customers buy from us because what we have to offer meets their needs. It's all about them, not us. They buy for their reasons, not ours. And, not everyone wants what we have to sell. Our challenge is to find those for whom our service or product meets a need, solves a problem, makes life easier, brings joy and satisfaction. Only then will we make a sale and be compensated accordingly.
Let's avoid the lead with greed trap and maintain proper perspective of the role money plays in our industry - and every other industry, too.
In the excellent book "The Go Giver," the character Ernesto says, "'Does it make money?' is not a bad question. It's a great question. It's just a bad first question. It starts you off pointed in the wrong direction. The first question should be, 'Does it serve? Does it add value to others?' If the answer to that question is yes, then you can go ahead and ask, 'Does it make money?'"
The New Paradigm takes Ernesto's "serve first" philosophy to heart. We place service to people, community and planet first, knowing that rich financial rewards will be the result of our hard work and contribution.
Imagine how much good we would accomplish, and how wonderful and profitable would it be, if the entire Direct Sales industry did the same?