The 10 Most Common Distributor Mistakes (written August, 2013)

Here are the 10 most common mistakes that networkers make. These mistakes are often ones of attitude, missed judgment calls or misinformation.

  • Inflated Earnings Expectations – Yes, it’s true there are many millionaires in the MLM business. However there are many millionaires in the NBA as well. But how many schoolyard ballplayers make it to the NBA? Precious few. This is the case for earnings opportunities for networkers as well. In fact the earning opportunities are unlimited. By and large, network marketing offers a great part time activity for folks who keep their day job. Realistic expectations and goals for the average distributor should be an extra $400 or $500 per month as a supplement income.
  • Go For The Product, Not The Plan – Too often, recruits are seduced into a program by promises of instant riches which are held out as the result of compensation plans that are “breakthrough,” or “revolutionary.” Of course a fair compensation plan that provides good incentives is important. But in the long run it is the company’s quality products to which distributors are bonded and its management and vision that make the difference.
  • Don’t Think Short Term – The MLM business is like any other worthwhile endeavor. Realistically a distributor should not expect to see true fruits of their labor until at least six months into the business. Those who have been truly successful have been at it long term. Give yourself some time.
  • Its Not Easy Money – Often times, the MLM recruitment pitch is one of “easy money.” Prospective recruits are told that they don’t have to work, they don’t have to sell, they just make lists of everyone they know and $20 bills will sprout wings and fly into their mailbox. Those experienced in this industry will tell you that MLM is not an easy money “game.” It is not merely a recruiting game. Distributors who are successful know their product, know their customers, know the company’s vision and are prepared to do the necessary hard work.
  • “Gimmicky” Product – Forget about it – Getting on to the roller coaster of a company with gimmicky “fad products” will give you a lot of ups and downs, but the ride will be over quickly. Sometimes companies can follow through on the momentum of a fad product with a fuller product line. From the onset, distributors would be better served to look for a company with a solid product that makes sense and one for which there is a true “real world” marketplace among consumers.
  • Don’t Ignore the Company Track Record – A distributor who is looking to increase their odds should pick a company with a track record – preferably a company that has been in business and has demonstrated quality management. For those however who are not faint of heart and wish to take the plunge at the very beginning, they should do some significant research into the principles of the company, their prior success in business, their infrastructure and talk to other distributors that are coming in on the ground floor.
  • Run Away From The “Front-Load” – In a day of UPS & Federal Express, no distributor should be asked to carry large investments of inventory. Instead look for a company that demands modest investment from it distributors and ask its distributors to purchase product in an orderly fashion for intended expectation of personal use or sale. Auto-ship programs for distributors represent a far more sober and long term approach than large front-loads.
  • Look For Products With Profit Margins – Too often distributors are distracted by the compensation plan or the earnings type to spend time looking at the profitability of the products and services sold by a company. A company with an exclusive product can justify a higher profit, which means the ability to pay commissions in the long term from the sale of products or services. Historically this is why the largest and most successful MLM companies have had as their mainstay consumable products that are proprietary such as nutrition, personal care or household products. These products are unique to the company, allowing for sufficient profit to pay commissions.
  • Don’t Be An MLM Junkie – There are a few distributors in the industry who have developed the ability to “work” multiple programs. Those professional distributors are few and far between. Since the average distributor is part time to begin with, they should carefully pick a company and stick with it. History favors the long term committed distributor rather than the MLM junkie who hops from company to company. It is difficult enough to focus energy on one company and its products, let alone several. Splitting your time and energy among several companies will probably yield thin results compared to focusing “like a laser” on one company.
  • Don’t Sit Around – Activity is the name of the game in MLM. It is not enough to join the company, call all your friends at once and expect the money to come rolling in. One of the worst mistakes a distributor can make is to sit around rather than getting “proactive.” The most successful distributors are ones that are constantly recruiting, constantly selling, calling upon the same perspective customers and recruits multiple times and reinvesting a substantial chunk of their commission check back into the business of recruiting and selling. Those that merely “sit around” will have unfulfilled expectations.

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