How Setting the Proper Expectations is Better for Everyone
Several years ago, my young son developed a passion for gaming. As most parents would, my wife and I supported his new-found passion by buying him several video games, which we would promptly find scattered carelessly around his room. Scratched, smashed, dirty – you name it – he simply didn’t take care of them. So we decided to take a different tack. We would no longer buy our son games. Instead, he would have to work for them and purchase them with his own money. He mowed lawns. He found odd jobs. He worked harder than I’ve ever seen him work, saving his money every step of the way. When he finally purchased his new games, something amazing happened: we never found one of them on the floor again. He meticulously cared for them and painstakingly organized them. These games became his pride and joy.
Why? We care more about what we work for than what’s handed to us.
Think about it. What was something in your life that you worked extremely hard for? Now think about what that accomplishment or possession means to you. Conversely, think about the last holiday present you received. It’s probably hard to remember. It’s the same reason the vast majority of lottery winners go bankrupt. If we don’t earn something, it’s of little value to us.
The same is true for network marketing. It’s not a free ride. It’s not a lottery ticket.
But somehow, many in our industry have perpetuated that very myth. To make matters worse, it’s setting an unreal expectation for new distributors – something that can have a rippling, lasting impact on individual businesses, as well as entire organizations.
Work Is a Fundamental Part of Networking
Network marketing does not bend the fundamental laws of business. The same principles that govern the broader business landscape govern us as well.
But that doesn’t stop the pervasive spreading of what I call the “bikinis and Lamborghinis” syndrome that infects companies within our industry – the false notion that sipping from coconuts on white-sand beaches automatically comes with the territory. The problem I have here is two-fold. First off, it’s completely wrong (but more on that in a minute). Secondly, it’s a blatant appeal to materialism that I don’t just find abhorrent, but one I consider dangerous for the entire network marketing industry.
Several years ago, a network marketing company offered luxury vehicles to any distributor who qualified at a certain rank. Great, right? Except in this case, the company only picked up the lease. Distributors who no longer qualified for the rank were still on the hook for the payments that many could no longer afford. The repossessions that followed became a black eye for the company – and the industry.
The majority of our distributors have graduated from college. Many hold master’s degrees. Several are doctors and lawyers. These are accomplishments that take years of hard work and practice. But somehow, we’re led to believe that with a magical wave of the wand, our brand new network marketing company will immediately begin generating the type of income we need to not only quit our full-time jobs, but also transport us to a life of white sands, coconut water, and expensive cars. This simply isn’t true.
Opportunity doesn’t grow itself. There is no such thing as money for nothing.
According to our data, achieving our PRO 7 rank (which requires a cumulative monthly organizational sales volume of 100,000 points) takes about 500 active downline distributors and more than 1,000 customers. I’m sure the data for most other companies bears this out as well.
These numbers represent hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and a lot of it. Recent data from the Direct Selling Association confirms this as well. Distributors who spend more than 30 hours a week on their business are far more likely to achieve a leadership position. My point is this: expecting full-time results from a part time effort doesn’t add up. More importantly, it doesn’t make sense.
The Principle of Proper Expectations
My argument against the perpetuation of the myth of bikinis and Lamborghinis goes deeper than its appeal to blatant materialism. I can’t stand it because it’s damaging to our business. It sets improper expectations for new distributors.
Consider this. According to a study by the Direct Selling Association, if a new distributor’s experience was ultimately less difficult than what they were expecting – based on the expectations we set for them – roughly 75 percent stuck around and persisted in the business. But when expectations weren’t met – and their experience was ultimately more difficult than expected – that number dropped to nearly 25 percent. Roughly half persisted if their expectations were merely met.
This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a work-hard business.
And the lesson here for all of us is that if we shoot straight with new distributors and let them know upfront how much hard work and effort is involved, it will pay higher dividends down the road. In fact, if we’re going to err on one side or the other, exaggerating the effort required is in their best interest.
Either way, setting proper expectations of the hard work required will have a massive long-term impact on our organizations.
More importantly, it will have a massive, long-term impact on these individuals and their lives.
The Principle of Proper Expectations runs counter to the pump-and-dump mentality that exists with a small percentage of recruiters who join organizations and pump up prospective distributors with false hype and the get-rich-quick mentality before jumping to a new company as the hype fades.
Instead, I suggest that we build our organizations on a culture of hard work and tried-and-true business-building principles. Far too often, it’s not the product or the company that fails new distributors. It’s us. It’s the expectations we set and the myths we continue to perpetuate. Like my son and his video games,
if we show distributors the joy and satisfaction that comes from working hard to build a business that will last a lifetime and leave a legacy, they’ll take care of their businesses and their customers.
They will teach those same principles to others. The ranks of our distributors will swell with the entrepreneurial-minded. And our entire industry will be better for it.
I want to personally congratulate my friend Darren Jensen. CEO of LifeVantage and a great teacher, coach and a cherished contributor to The Network Marketing Magazine. Darren has just been named to the DSA Board of Directors. Just another example of his service to our industry!
Thank you my friend, George Madiou LFVN_News_Jensen_DSABoard_2018_8_23
Latest posts by Darren Jensen (see all)
- Social Media Tips, Because Who Doesn’t like Free Chicken Nuggets? By Darren Jensen – From the archives - September 30, 2019
- IT’S A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION By Darren Jensen, CEO LifeVantage - April 1, 2019
- TURNING TECHNOLOGY INTO A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE By Darren Jensen, CEO LifeVantage - February 1, 2019
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