Getting Along In Mail Order/Multi-Level Marketing….… (written December, 2000)

I hope everyone’s holiday season is going to be a joyous and bountiful one. Most important, I hope this New Year brings you all the wealth you want and the health to take advantage of it.  This issue is dedicated to those of you who don’t know how to get along with others in this industry. Far too often, I see so many of you good people jumping to conclusions, making accusations, and being down right offensive without even realizing it. If we would just “treat each other in this business as you want to be treated”, we would all see more often than not, we would all be satisfied, which means we would be more productive and we all would be more positive influence to others.  So here are a few tips for getting along in Mail Order/MLM…..

Tip #1: Be accessible and only deal with people who are accessible. Guys, so many of you tell me of so many “bad” things that happened to you in this business and I always reply, why don’t you tell those people and of course, 99% of the time, you are not able to get in touch with these people. My rule of thumb: No matter what their reason, which could be totally legit, if I can’t get in touch with them by telephone, I can not be involved with their opportunity.  Likewise, I expect people to call me as I am available by telephone, fax, e-mail, and in person.  I am accessible and I expect this of others. So should you.

Tip #2: Please remember there are always two sides, maybe three sides to all stories. I hear so many times about these “bad” things, and then when I probe a little deeper with questions like, “What did you do?”, “What did you expect?”, and “How much did you invest in time and effort?”etc. Only to find out that they really had no clue what they were talking about.  When you are trying to get along, hear the other person’s side first, then integrate it with your side and you’ll come to an understanding with yourself before you come to an understanding with the other person. Add the two sides up and they will equal one.

Tip #3: Keep your expectations realistic. Hey! I hear so many times the most ridiculous of expectations. Understand this now – the name TINA, which stands for There Is No Average! There is nothing “usual” and there is nothing “normal” or “common”. Your results will always vary with yourself as well as others. With this in mind, if you have no idea what you might get because you haven’t done it yet, then have no expectations or have just a small expectation. When I run ads, I look to see if I am breaking even after 6 months. When I join a program, I look to earn my money back within 6 months. Did you notice, I said, “break even” and “earn my money back” in 6 months? I keep my expectations low and I keep them realistic. Too many times, I hear so many of you tell me things like, “I want to make a lot of money this year, but I don’t have the time or the money, but I’m going to succeed, yatti, yatti, yatti.” Not to burst your bubble, the difference between success and failure is your own commitment to your own goals from your own expectations. If your expectations are way too high and unrealistic, what are the chances you are going to reach your goals? Therefore, what are the chances you will stick with your commitment?

Tip #4: Be Polite and Be Fair. In life you will catch more bees with honey, then with vinegar. In life, if you are not being fair with others, you will not only be miserable, but you also will make enemies. All too many times, I hear people tell me that they spent this much for advertising and didn’t make their money back. That is the risk you take. Advertising is not guaranteed. When IBM takes out a 5 million dollar minute slot during the Super Bowl, are they guaranteed to make their money back from that? As an advertiser myself, I am being paid to mail your flyer to the best prospects I can find. That is where my responsibility ends. You did not pay me to get responses and results for you. If you placed an ad in your local town newspaper, are you paying for the distribution of the ad or are you paying for responses? Don’t get me wrong, responses are our goal, but that is not what we are paid for. Be polite about it and be fair with your analysis. People who try to make trouble for others are only making twice as much trouble for themselves!

Tip #5: What appalls me the most and what is the most childish behavior I have ever seen in adults is Jumping To Conclusions and Making Unsubstantiated Accusations. Everybody gets mad from time to time. Everybody has got to let out frustration from time to time. There is no doubt about it. We are all human. But before you accuse anybody of anything or before you jump to conclusions about someone else or before you claim this or that, take one step back and ask yourself, “How would I feel if somebody accused me or jumped to conclusions regarding myself?” Not very good huh, which brings me back to Tip #1. If you are upset about something, before you make the most vial of mistakes, get on the telephone and talk it over.  Most of the time, I have found, with myself and with others, once we talk it over, our accusations and our conclusions were way off base – way, way off base.

Tip #6: There are no free rides and nothing will come easy. If you do not understand this most basic of concepts that you will need to invest time into your business and money into your business, then there is nothing I can say. All businesses, including ours, requires your time, your effort, and your money, yet you might get nothing from it! But the nice part is that with this industry, you can invest less time, less effort and less money than with other industries – especially when you start out. If someone sounds like they are offering you a free ride, run for the hills. When is the last time you got something for free? Was it worth it?

I don’t know you and you probably do not know me, but I am pretty sure that if you are floundering in this industry, you are stuck in one or more of these tips I just mentioned. Either you are not accessible or are dealing with people who are not accessible, combined with unrealistic expectations and not getting both sides of the story, which leads to not being polite or fair and jumping to conclusions and making accusations because you thought it was easy and you were getting a free ride. That sounds like a prescription for failure. But as I always say, mistakes happen all the time, correcting your errors and improving on your positives is what propels us to success. Please start using these tips more often and maybe, one day in my lifetime, this industry will not be considered the “Rodney Dangerfield” of the business world.

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.