Author Topic: Saying no thank you to MLMs  (Read 2193 times)

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norrina

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Saying no thank you to MLMs
« on: December 12, 2013, 03:37:23 PM »
I've put this in the All In A Day's Work folder because it is an ongoing situation that I am facing in my professional life, even though not directly with co workers per se. Also, I think I recall seeing questions about responding to invitations to join an MLM before, but I can't find any threads now.

A little over a year ago, I started my own "small business", and in order to build my client base have joined two networking groups. Meetings are weekly, and "one-on-one" meetings between members is encouraged. One-on-ones are intended to give the members a chance to know each other more personally, and to pitch their business/product to each other on a more tailored level.

My dilemma is that both of these groups have members that are participating in various MLM schemes, and my one-on-ones with these members tend to turn towards the other member trying to convince me to take up selling their product or service. The business model of an MLM is not one that I support, and additionally, at least one of the products or services being sold is something that I have grave concerns about. Not only am I not personally interested in buying or selling these products or services, I can not in good conscience recommend that my family and/or friends do so.

My question is, how can I politely make it known that, well, my fellow network members are just wasting their time running their spiel at me? The product/service that I am most uncomfortable with seems to be the most ubiquitous within these groups, and at this point I have had at least 4 representatives bend my ear about it. I know what the product/service is, I have researched it thoroughly, and I want nothing to do with it. Quite frankly, I'm not 100% convinced that I wouldn't be playing fast and loose with the ethics of my professional field to endorse it. I don't feel it is necessary for me to start broadcasting my disfavor or otherwise running down the system, but politely expressing that I am familiar with the program and it isn't for me doesn't seem to be working effectively for me.



Coralreef

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 03:49:16 PM »
From what I understood, you have your own product/service to get off the ground.  The MLMs want you to add their stuff to what you already do? 

"I'm afraid that won't be possible.  It would conflict with the time/energy I have to put into getting my own business off the ground."

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Surianne

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2013, 05:49:14 PM »
Hmm, I'm a little confused about how the networking group functions.  Do you know what their business is before setting up a one-on-one?  In that case I would say just turn down the one-on-one meeting.  If you *don't* know it in advance, then maybe suggest that to the group--that they make it mandatory to write up a short summary of your business to allow members to be informed when selecting their one-on-one choices.

In my experience, networking groups are full of people pushing their MLMs.  I don't know many people who actually find the groups to be useful.  I will admit my experience is pretty small, however.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2013, 09:41:17 PM »
Are there anything like profile pages, where you would list what you're interested in? If so, along with describing what you do have, maybe "I am not looking to market XYZ, but if I ever do get involved, I promised my best friend I will do it through him" would deter them without starting a discussion about the flaws in the product and approach.

If not, it might be worth asking "before I take up your time, is this about thus-and-such? Because if so, I promised my old friend that I'll do all of that through him."
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sparksals

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2013, 09:46:22 PM »
So you are trying to expand your business but don't want to hear about others?  You can just at you have your own business but when you join these networking groups you have to expect a sales pitch. Otherwise the solution is not to join. It comes with the territory.

I also have 2 home businesses amd belong to a Chamber of Commerce and networking groups.  I have never had a hard pitch to join a business when I already have one. Maybe you need to change network g groups that respect your business.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2013, 11:34:24 PM »
I also work for myself and have joined quite a few networking groups.  The best ones I have found are ones that are run by chambers of commerce's. 

Raintree

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 11:35:32 PM »
I have also been in a similar networking group, and, from the sounds of it, probably a branch of that same one the OP is in. They have chapters everywhere.

The purpose of these meetings, if it's the one I'm thinking of, is to seek out referrals for each other, not to pressure everyone in your group to buy/participate. The purpose of the one-on-one meetings is to find out more about each others' businesses so you can find out what kind of clients they are looking for. You're not obligated to refer people to them if you don't personally feel you'd recommend them, but it's a way to form interpersonal relationships on a professional level, to increase the number of contacts who might send business your way.

The purpose of these meetings is NOT, "Here, use my service/buy my products because you won't believe this amazing array of miracle vitamins." Acceptable (IMO): "I sell miracle vitamins from my home-based business. My best clients include senior citizens who are looking for ways to improve their health without drugs; I'm looking for new clients who may be busy young professionals who don't have time to shop from stores." (Or other...we were told to focus each week on a specific type of client).

 NOT acceptable: "This is my amazing miracle vitamin; you should buy these, and sign up to be a distributor!! You can make so much money selling these vitamins!! Here's some magic water too, that cures everything from a hangnail to cancer. You should come to a presentation this weekend!!"

I quit networking meetings altogether, in part because I was tired of the MLM pitches aimed at me. (And not just MLM pitches, but every desperate person in an oversaturated industry wanting to redesign my website, plan my finances, etc etc. I realize I was also there to pitch my services, but my approach was that I wanted referrals, not to solicit other members to buy).

I had the same dilemma as the OP, and in retrospect, I think it would have been best to say, "I'm not interested in buying for myself, but please tell me about the clients you are looking for."

norrina

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2013, 10:00:29 PM »
Thank you everyone. To answer a couple questions, it would really be against the spirit of the group to decline to have a one-on-one. And I'm not at all opposed to having one-on-ones, and hearing about the products/services. After all, the point of the group is for everyone to learn about each other and everyone's business/product/service so that meaningful referrals can be made. I in no way expect to promote my own business without hearing about the other businesses in return. By all means, tell me about your product/service. But please don't wax poetic on what a great opportunity it would be for me personally to come on board your selling team after I have politely stated I'm not interested in that arrangement, or directly solicit names and contact information for my family and friends.

Raintrees's explanation of the type if groups I belong to is spot on. And I have definitely made referrals. If someone needs a plumber/accountant/caterer/chiropractor/etc., I'm happy to give them the name and number of a fellow group member. If someone mentions they've had headaches recently though, I won't necessarily suggest they try this amazing miracle drug a fellow member sells though, if I'm not personally sold on the miraculous properties of the drug. Likewise, if I make a referral, or use a member personally, and things don't go well, I'm not likely to make a referral again. At the end if the day, I have to protect my own reputation, and that means only recommending things I personally believe in.



blarg314

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2013, 11:18:49 PM »
If someone needs a plumber/accountant/caterer/chiropractor/etc., I'm happy to give them the name and number of a fellow group member. If someone mentions they've had headaches recently though, I won't necessarily suggest they try this amazing miracle drug a fellow member sells though, if I'm not personally sold on the miraculous properties of the drug.

That's a good point - recommending a plumber is one thing - if someone has a leaky sink, that's what they obviously need.  Providing a name of a licensed medical practitioner when someone asks if you know one is okay. Recommending a particular medical treatment or drug, obtained from someone who is not a certified medical professional, when your recommendation is being given in a quasi-professional context is a totally different thing, ethically.

I suspect that the MLM people are signing up for the networking group solely to find more people for their sales pyramid, and they have no intention of an honest give and take.

Would it be possible to have a personal no MLM policy for one on one meetings? You'll happily meet with anyone, *unless* they are involved in MLM. Or could you cut a meeting short and walk out the moment it turns out to be that? Because if you have to say yes to all one-on-one meeting requests, and you can't leave until they're finished talking, I don't see that there is much you can do aside from live with it, or quit the group.

artk2002

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 09:59:13 AM »
I suspect that the MLM people are signing up for the networking group solely to find more people for their sales pyramid, and they have no intention of an honest give and take.

I agree. Unfortunately, many MLMs encourage rampant boundary trampling in order to get more people to participate. Sadly, people sold on the "get rich quick" promises of MLMs put themselves in the position of having to trample those boundaries to try to get ahead. The idea of referrals isn't one that works well in the MLM world. They'd much rather that you sign up and then do the hard work of recruiting others.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

norrina

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Re: Saying no thank you to MLMs
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2013, 09:21:51 PM »
I suspect that the MLM people are signing up for the networking group solely to find more people for their sales pyramid, and they have no intention of an honest give and take.

I agree. Unfortunately, many MLMs encourage rampant boundary trampling in order to get more people to participate. Sadly, people sold on the "get rich quick" promises of MLMs put themselves in the position of having to trample those boundaries to try to get ahead. The idea of referrals isn't one that works well in the MLM world. They'd much rather that you sign up and then do the hard work of recruiting others.

I suspect that my "solution" is going to have to be developing a stronger backbone. I don't have a problem at all with telling telemarketers I'm not interested and disconnecting the call, or door-to-door salespeople that I'm not interested and closing the door. I probably need to be a bit less blunt about the procedure with people I'm seeing on a weekly basis, but the premise is still the same.