Sunday, May 19, 2013

HILARIOUS: The evasive deflection of reasonable questions to MLM

English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer....
English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer. Icon for FAQ or Help. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are some perfectly reasonable questions to ask an upline that tries to sponsor/recruit you, and some folks out there, "veteran MLMers" have written answers to them.

Frankly, some of the answers are total crap. They are evasive deflections that may work on naive and gullible sheeple, not genuine prospects that you hope to turn into sales leaders that will sell a lot of stuff and make you rich in NMLM (if NMLM works the way it was supposed to work, but that's another story).

I ran into one such article, titled "Handling the Top 6 Questions People Ask About Joining a MLM company" written by a Melanie Michelle, and it's truly hilarious. Virtually every one of her answers could be cited as a "bad argument". Let us examine her article here:

Question: How much money are you making?

Her Answer: It’s really is none of their business. However, this is a great way to answer that question: “My lifestyle requires a different dollar amount than yours does. I am very happy with what I’m making. Don’t focus on how much I’m contributing to my household, but focus on how much you want to make and we can both work towards your goal.”

Why this answer is wrong: This can be roughly summed up as "How much do you want to make?"  And answering a question with another question is a deflection. Here's the same sort of Q&A, albeit about a much older profession...
Q: What's your name, pretty one?
A: What do you want it to be, sugar? 
A Much Better Answer: I think what you meant to ask is... How much can YOU make, realistically, in the first year, right? Honestly, I don't know. I am not you, I don't know how good you can sell, though I know you like the product(s), and that goes a long way....

Bonus Brutally Realistic Answer that no upline would give: First year? Almost nothing after expenses, perhaps not ever.

Chance of that answer being given? Zero.

Question: Why do I have to pay money to join?

Her Answer: What business can you get for free? If you start a traditional business you have to pay for a business license, storage, rent, overhead, and much much more. When you pay to join an MLM company you are starting your own business. It’s almost like paying for a franchise except that your investment is much smaller and you have minimal expenses. Don’t worry about why or how much does it cost, but rather ask how much it can make you.

Why this answer is wrong: The answer doesn't answer the WHY. Her answer is an evasion: "but a 'real' biz cost money too, then a half-lie 'you have minimum expenses', then a deflection 'think about how much it can make you'. Sheesh!

A Much Better Answer: (I am assuming this is a legal business)  The signup fee is $X for membership paperwork and setup. The rest is for a "starter kit" that contains ____, ____, and ____ that you can try out and start demonstrations almost right away.

Question: If I join, how much money are you going to make off me?

Her Answer: Think of it this way: Your boss is making serious money off you now. The only difference between your job and us is they don’t care about you, but we do because we work as a TEAM (together everyone achieves more). If I help you make more money, I make more money. It’s a win-win situation.  You could even start making more money than me!!!

Why this answer is wrong: deflection again, then psychological manipulation: they don't care about you, but I do! I WANT you to succeed! False portrayal of win-win as it can be win / neutral or win / lose.

A Much Better Answer: Nothing. I make off you NOTHING, that is UNTIL you sell things, and when you sell thing, you make money. I make a LITTLE BIT off of you only when you do that.

NOTE: I am assuming here that company does not count starter kit as commission-able item. Otherwise this thing is potentially illegal.

Question: What If I Don’t Make Any Money?

Her Answer: Sounds like you are afraid to take risks or you just lack the confidence in your abilities. Nevertheless, if you think that way, those are the results you are going to get. Maybe you meant to ask, what it is that you have to do to make money. The key to success is mindset, taking action, and being consistent.

Why this answer is wrong: Oh, God, where do I start? Are you in elementary school? You start an answer with a "neg" by calling her wussy / chicken / yellow / afraid to take risk? Sheesh! Then the answer goes back into psychological manipulation: we're in this together, you have to be positive... Bull****.

A Much Better Answer: Then I was not a very good teacher, but I doubt that. You wouldn't lose much money though. You can return the inventory for a refund (check return policy). If you are willing to learn, I am willing to teach. Together we can show the world.

Question: What Is My Guarantee?

Her Answer: There is no guarantee. I’m sorry, the only things guaranteed in life is death and taxes. Work hard and you can leave behind generational income.

Why this answer is wrong: while factually correct, it's also irrelevant. The question is about risk, and the answer is an irrelevant red herring deflection.

A Much Better Answer: I guarantee I will teach you all I know, and that the company will issue a refund for unused inventory in X days for Y% of value paid if this doesn't work out for you. Other than that, there are no guarantees.

Question: Is this a pyramid scheme?

Her Answer: A pyramid? Yes, of course it is, I’m not going to deny that. However, a scheme? Nope. Were you looking to join one of those get rich quick schemes? Anyways…did you know your job is a pyramid? Let’s see, a corporate structure goes something like this: CEO, SVP, RVP, manager, supervisor, then you…..Or maybe you are a manager or supervisor but when will you ever get to become the CEO of the company you work for?

Why this answer is wrong: It invokes the old "everything is a pyramid" bad argument, and tries to manipulate the other side "you'll never make it if you do it that way".

A Much Better Answer: No, because a pyramid scheme pays upon recruitment. I don't get paid when I recruit you. I only get paid when you make sales (or I make my own sales).

NOTE: Again, I am assuming a legal MLM.


Frankly, "Melanie Mitchell" is one of the dumbest "networkers" I've ever encountered. Her arguments are lame and inept, and relies on psychological manipulation through intellectually dishonest techniques and outright lies. Why lie when the truth is available?

This sort of a "networker" is what gave network marketing a bad name.

Just in case she ever changes her page, here's her original, archived.

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  1. GREAT post!

    As an MLMer, you proved the point that (YES) there are terrible networkers who should never present a plan without a leader's companion in order to be guided towards the correct direction regarding the answers to prospects' questions.

    Thank you VERY much for this post (and for the blog as a whole). This kind of content helps us understand where our weaknesses rely on and how to improve them.

    I do not plan on quitting MLM nor inviting you to my company (reason why I decided to post it anonymously), but your posts serve us pretty well when it comes to understanding our own world from an outsider's perspective, due to the fact that you present relevant data that could come across any prospect (or maybe up/downlines) but wouldn't be exposed.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks for understanding the intent of this blog. A huge number of MLM noobs don't understand without criticism and change, MLM will never evolve from its shady association with pyramid schemes. Even decades later, most MLMs need to explain why they are not a pyramid scheme. They merely ape the actions of their uplines without understanding what makes MLM effective AND legal, and that means they backslide into pyramid scheme instead of MLM. The fact that corporate failed to rein them in due to the need to post "sales growth" doesn't help.

      You can't solve problems by hiding them. It'll only get worse.