I know of lots of network-marketing companies that are popular right now: you are sponsored by a friend or family member and start your own business for a small start-up fee, and get your own website and/or catalogs where people can order cosmetics, health products, home decorations, or some other commodity from you. The supplier cuts you a check for the products you sell, and they also pay a bonus to your sponsor in exchange for mentoring you and helping you sell your products. If you want to increase your income, you can also sponsor people to start their own businesses, and the supplier will pay YOU a bonus based on how much they make. Mary Kay, Avon, Pampered Chef, and Lia Sophia are some of the most popular companies that follow this model, and some people who start businesses through such companies become very successful (some who are careless or receive poor mentoring end up ruining themselves financially and/or socially- you have to be careful how you proceed, of course!) I have a small business through a company that follows such a model and have really enjoyed the high quality products and the overall business experience.
That explained, I recently have received multiple requests from strangers on linkedin or facebook, followed by a message saying, "I have a great business opportunity for you!" From looking at their profiles, I am guessing that these are real people- not spam- who do network marketing businesses and are trying to find more people to sponsor. It BAFFLES me that they are approaching complete strangers over the internet and inviting them to do business with them!
1. It makes their supplying companies look bad. Who doesn't go to clean out their email spam folder and find LOADS of email saying, "Work at home!" "Fire your boss!" "Become a millionaire now!" For people who don't know the tell-tale signs to look for to know the difference between a scam and a legit business, these unsolicited messages from strangers won't look any different from the ones in their spam folders. Thus, these legit companies will look bad and the people who sell their products will look like idiots.
2. They are insincere. These people will send messages saying, "I looked at your profile and you seem like a sharp go-getter who would really succeed in this business!" Well, my facebook is set to private and my linkedin states that I already have my own network-marketing business (and another etiquette no-no is to try to convince someone to quit their business and come join yours instead!) so, no, you didn't look at my profile and you DON'T know if I am "sharp" or a "go-getter."
3. It's outright foolish to ask a stranger to enter into a business partnership with you. It takes time and probably some small financial investments to help a new person build their own small business- don't you want to know their integrity and work ethic beforehand?? The wrong person could give you and the entire company a bad name!
To those who work with these businesses, I wish you success and hope your business prospers, but, if you want to build your team, do it the right way! Host parties where people can play around with and order your products (and be honest in the invites- "This is a party to sample makeup/health drinks/tupperware/scented candles and see if you'd like to buy some." Don't disguise it as a bachlorette party or spa night!). Or hand out samples to your friends and leave them a business card or catalog(don't ask them to place an order on the spot!!!). Good products should sell themselves, not require you to beg people to buy from you. And discuss your business opportunity with friends and family- mention it, and only keep talking if they are interested. If they aren't, don't waste your time or theirs.
Sorry for the rant, but I am tired of being embarrassed by other people's conduct with their network-marketing businesses. When you use lousy business etiquette, you make yourself and everyone else in your company and other networking companies look bad!!!