Updated: Sep 3, 2018
According to Robert Kiyosaki, network marketing is the fastest growing business model. However, I am watching many people flee the industry at rapid pace and it made me wonder why.
What is making people leave this industry that has blessed so many families worldwide?
About a week ago I asked my social media audience who has been involved with a Network Marketing, Direct Sales or MLM company in the past. It was a post that generated a lot of responses, but more important, it created a lot of thoughtful and excellent conversations.
When I made the post, I received quite a few responses on the Facebook post. However, what I thought was even more interesting was the number of private messages I received in my inbox. It was a 1:3 ratio of what people answered publicly vs. what they sent me privately. Why? I'm sure there were a mix of reasons but I concluded that it was due to embarrassment, shame of leaving/quitting, or not wanting former teammates/upline to see what their complaints were.
In reviewing the comments I realized that there is still so much work to do to change the perception of the industry, but it also means that we need to also take into consideration how we onboard new people who join the company - and how we support them through transition as they resign.
One of the most common things I read over & over again is that reps of certain companies left because they constantly felt stressed or anxious about achieving goals set forth by their upline. This is great feedback and if you are currently working with people on your team it is important to have 1:1 conversations with individuals to understand their goals. Why are they a part of Company ABC? Some people join a company with the goal of replacing a full-time income whereas others just want to be a part of a company with great products to earn a discount.
We can create stress and cause people to leave the company - and industry - if we do not know how to support them. A rep that is interested in being affiliated with the company for a discount will have very different needs than those who are interested in building a full-time income. Creating the proper support and communication methods is step #1 in making sure reps have a good experience and do not disappear.
Another frequent comment I heard revolved around product quality or changes without notice. Again, this is an important issue that should be addressed. I work with a manufacturer that designs and delivers products for one of the businesses I own alongside my husband. I understand that there is always the risk that things can be delayed, quality changed or general issues may arise. In this instance, the most important thing we can do is to communicate with our team. If we know a particular or beloved product will no longer be available, let your team know as quickly as possible so that they can support their customers. One of the comments I heard, "I could no longer represent the company because I was putting my reputation on the line and I didn't want to sell things to my family, friends or customers that was not the quality I expected." Quality matters whether that is in the product itself, the rep communication or the customer experience.
Finally, one of the things and read and it struck me greatly is that they never got support from their upline and they felt alone. After that experience they assumed all experiences were the same regardless of company. To be honest with you, this was the comment I hated to read the most. I feel it is an obligation to support, communicate and interact with anyone who is part of your organization. Don't let people feel like they are in this alone because it can be overwhelming and scary if you are new, don't have experience, thought you'd have support and so forth.
I am a fan of this industry which is why I have continued to build a successful organization despite owning businesses outside of network marketing. I think that unfortunately many people enter this industry with limited knowledge and it becomes a bad experience, and one that unfortunately makes others hesitant to join.
If you have been burned or had a bad experience in the past, know that all companies and leaders are not the same. There is an opportunity out there for you. It's a matter of taking the time to do your due diligence and find out what works for you in terms of leadership style, company, comp plan, products, etc. This industry has so many wonderful reasons to be a part of it whether you are looking for camaraderie, wealth, freedom and so forth.
Over time I will dive into different topics in greater detail, but based on the feedback recently received, it is apparent that communication, expectations, product/quality and general support are the things that can make or break a person's willingness to be a part of a company.