Want to Be Successful at MLM? Leave Your Friends Alone

I am not in the market for expensive products. I am interested in your life, not in your latest special.

Someone asked in a local parenting Facebook group a few weeks ago, how to be successful as an MLM (multi-level-marketing) sales person. 

I don’t know if I was having a bad day, or if I had seen three too many side-by-side success story pictures of a particular beauty line that particular day, but I, as nicely as I could, basically said “leave your goddamn friends alone!”

Here’s the thing; those of us non-MLM people are really getting tired of the constant barrage of sales tactics in our newsfeed. I think I can safely say that many people are increasingly annoyed with our friendship being used as a way to get us to buy what they’re selling.

I have had a number of friends complain to me about mutual friends selling them on product lines, or, even worse, getting into the biz.

I have had to unfollow two friends on Facebook who I genuinely love. I am not in the market for expensive products. I am interested in your life, not in your latest special. That’s not why I’m on Facebook and if it’s all that I see in my newsfeed, I’m going to mute it the same way I would any business that is advertising too much.

I really really don’t like MLMs. I don’t like how the general premise is that your first line of fire is your own network, to exploit the people who know you and trust you and want to help you. It feels icky to me.

You are altering the relationship that existed before you ever asked. And to what end?

Perhaps you don’t care what any of us think. Perhaps you’re doing really well, and you have enough people supporting you that me saying “do you realize you’re pissing people off?” rolls off your back. That’s cool. Don’t listen to me. But just know, when you answer EVERY. SINGLE. QUESTION. with “there’s an essential oil for that,” some people find it tedious and annoying and get turned off, and they will tune you out.

We are your friends and your family. We want to support you. But we also don’t want to feel like you are using our relationship as a means to make money and get some fabulous new title, Facebook shout out and a raise.

I don’t need to be told that I’m generalizing. I know they’re not all bad and not everyone sucks at taking no for an answer. I also know that many MLMs claim they’re different. If your status in a business is entirely based on how many people in your personal network you get to buy from you or sell under you, you’re in an MLM. Which is fine, if it’s your bag. But, like I said to that mom that day in that Facebook group, some friends will be turned off if they feel like you’re trying to use them, and their money, to bolster your level in the organization.

Don’t exhaust people with product pitches. Don’t ask them for coffee or to PM you to get private info about how they can be successful too. Don’t wax poetic about how life-changing the product and/or the organization is. Don’t make your newsfeed all about what you’re selling and no longer about who you are. And, most importantly, take no for an answer.

And then go find other ways to make a sale.




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Leslie is a professional writer and editor and mother to two kids who keep her on her toes. When she's not at her computer typing away, Leslie enjoys hitting the yoga mat (a new passion!) or discovering new shows to serial-watch with her husband.