TNMM March 2024 “Ask Uncle Russ” by Russ DeVan

Russ DeVan

Dear Uncle Russ:

I “shut down” when I think a conversation is going well with a prospect, and suddenly they’ll ask: “Is this network marketing/a pyramid scheme?” I immediately feel defensive. What do you do or say?

Frustrated but Persistent ___Madison Wisconsin

Dear Frustrated:

Sadly, I don’t get this kind of question or these concerns that much anymore. That may be because, especially in these times, more people are open to or looking for alternative or even multiple streams of income. Or perhaps many are still unaware of the acceptance, size, and popularity of this profession on a global basis; exceeding 200 Billion in Sales.

In my opinion, the best way to handle this concern…and let’s face it, rarely, if EVER, is that question offered because someone is MLM “curious,” and it is to get INTERESTED in it.

“What happened?” is one of my favorite responses. “What do you know, or what is your experience of network marketing?”

Then LISTEN! What happened to them? What do they know…or NOT know?

The idea is to appreciate why they think what they think, not to agree or disagree.

When they are completely heard, ask these final two questions: “Is there anything else?” If the answer is no, then: “Are you open to the possibility of Network Marketing working for you? Whether they say “yes”, “no”, or “maybe,” you should be good to go!


Dear Uncle Russ:

I want to make money. It seems when I talk to people about the business opportunity, a great majority say they are only interested in being “just a customer.” When I focus on the product or products, what I am able to sell, usually after providing a plethora of information, documentation, etc., seems hardly worth the effort.

 Han “Solo” ____ Merced, CA

Dear Han:

My advice is to learn to EMBRACE the customer!!

Many compensation plans today lean heavily on and incentivize customer acquisition. This is especially true since companies, due to the popularity of affiliate marketing, allow for consumer direct purchasing and discounts for continuity or subscribe and save commitments.

Also, I’ve found when you don’t “need” a prospect to become a distributor, often their interest in actually becoming one increases exponentially!

The easier it is to promote, have fun, and be excited about a product, the more attractive the opportunity becomes. Product and ease of promotion is KING!


Dear Uncle Russ:

What do you think are the best things about the Network Marketing “model” for business, and what are the downsides?

Aspiring Entrepreneur ___ Newport, RI

Dear “Aspiring:”

I have felt strongly, for more than 43 years, that Network marketing may very well be one of the last bastions of free enterprise. With little more than what would be comparable to the downpayment on a car, excellent people and communication skills, and a burning desire to succeed, an individual with a vision, a plan, and a passion for a product or service can build a residual income that can set them financially free.  Perhaps the most wonderful benefit of all is that all this can be done while assisting and making an equal or greater contribution to others!

The “downside,” if it could be considered, is that it takes hard work, time, courage, determination, resilience, a willingness to be open and coachable, and a love and tolerance for your and others’ humanity.

I’ve been blessed with what some may think is “dream-level” success…and I’ve also taken my lumps. All in all, I consider choosing this as my profession as one of the best decisions of my life.

Love, Uncle Russ…


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Russ DeVan
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