“Ask Russ” by Russ DeVan

“Is this a pyramid/scam/Network Marketing?” Dan N. Saratoga Springs, NY

This may arguably be the most cringe-worthy question an enthusiastic (especially a novice) network marketer can hear. Before panic or anger rob you of your voice, take a deep breath (careful that it doesn’t resemble fear or even worse, resignation) and think. Where did this come from? Did I start talking about money or opportunity before adequately establishing the value of a product or service? Did I describe “joining” or “getting involved in?” How about “ground floors” or “levels?”

It’s ok. You haven’t done anything wrong. We’ve all heard this question, but it can be useful to understand that we may have had a part in triggering it. Here’s what I do, although rarely do I hear this very often these days, as I’ve learned that careful listening can pre-empt, it.

Clearly, this is rarely asked because someone is excited or committed to finding a hot “scam.” Ninety-Nine percent of the time what is behind (or underneath, if you prefer) this question is a CONCERN. What they are not saying is: “Uh oh! I’ve heard something like this before and the outcome was less than optimal!” Or maybe: “Is this legal?” If you react defensively and desperately try to explain that they don’t understand and/or are wrong, or why YOUR opportunity is different from what they think, chances are you will only create more resistance and strengthen their resolve. So you ask this question: “What happened? Does this remind you of a negative experience? Please tell me about it!” Then LISTEN. Let them expound…… ad nauseum! When they slow down, egg them on! “Oh NO!? You’re kidding? Then what? How did THAT make you feel?” Until they are all finished…spent…complete.

Then say this: May I ask you just one question? Are you open to the possibility of Network Marketing working for YOU? Two possible responses: “NO!” Okay, thanks, I promise I’ll never bring it up again. Or “Well, maybe if….(whatever conditions or specifications follow) or even on rare occasions, a third, “Yes, I’m open.” The key is giving them a choice and not making them wrong no matter what it is.

Time and confidence in who you are, what you’re creating, and how it includes others, will eventually “disappear” this concern completely, or maybe…just bring a smile.

“People say they are interested in my product or business opportunity and then I never hear from or see them again. What am I missing?” Kim R. Boulder Colorado

A request!

Have you ever seen the classic movie, Harvey? Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) plays a man whose best friend is a six-foot (invisible) rabbit. His family and most strangers think he is one tree shy of a hammock, but he actually may be the only one who is sane. He is PAINFULLY direct and truthful, kind, and humble, but he’s a deadly “closer!” He will meet someone, (anyone) even a veritable stranger, and then he will immediately start asking questions about them.

He’ll make them feel that they are fascinating, unique, and interesting. Then he asks them if they’d like to come over to his home for dinner, sometime. No sooner have they started to politely, (but gratuitously) say something like: “Well thank you, that would be lovely BUT…” before Elwood says: “When?” They say: “Excuse me?” He says: “You said you were interested in coming over for dinner…uh, uh, WHEN? They say: “Well I don’t really know if….?” “How’s Tuesday…say 6 o’clock??” says he. They are left with one option: “Yes,

I guess that’ll be fine.”

Now I’m not suggesting you morph into the fumbling, lovable Elwood P. Dowd. However, I learned some time ago that rarely is there action without a request.

So when someone says: “Sounds interesting, I’ll get back to you.” You offer: “Great! By when?” When? How’s Tuesday…by noon? Now you are operating from a position of strength. It’s called an agreement.

“How come only the people at the top in these things make money?” Lloyd C. Dublin, Ireland

This reminds me of people who say: “How come when you lose something, it’s always in the last place you look?”

Where-the-hell ELSE would you FIND it?

Ahem. To the original question, I might just ask:

“The top” of what? Wait…don’t tell me, let me guess! “The pyramid?” I presume?

Okay, let’s go over this slowly. If you START a business: A Carwash; A Tool and Dye; a Bank; or a Kangen Water Distributorship, WHO is at the top? Right! I know of several examples of businesses where salespeople outearn the President of the company. The President? You know, that’s that person at the top of the pyramidal corporate flow chart. This is an example of someone giving themselves a pass for not having the nerve to climb out of their mediocrity and be responsible for their own success. Sour grapes. I would smile and offer a little Albert Einstein: “Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance.” ?

Russ DeVan
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