Brooke Shields: "I didn’t have a sense of self."

‘Actually, I don’t think I had a sense of self. I did whatever it was that would mean you’d like me. That’s all I needed.’

So said Brooke Shields today, reflecting on her state of mind in her early 20s, after having been exploited in showbiz as a child by her mother. She was made to play a prostitute when she was just 12 (!).

I guess everyone wants to do what it takes to be liked, including Brooke Shields. So now, how do we, as networkers and salespeople, get people to like us, when we want to sell them our product or business? What sense of self do we have with our friends and colleagues as networkers/sales people?

On a recent training call, an MD – a woman gynecologist – said she didn’t know what to say to another MD she’d “patched” with her product when he asked further about it. The product helped the other MD relieve his back aches and he wanted to know how to get it.

Her fear?

That he’d discover that she’d get paid on it if he bought it. He’s a friend and colleague. Suggestions for her?

Put yourself in her shoes before you answer. She is an MD and has “patched” another MD in her hospital and now comes the big question from him: Where do I get this?

What should she say, she asked me.

This is a big dilemma for women: Who is the “self” who is a friend/colleague, versus the self who is a network marketer (who gets paid on recommendations for products outside of her regular medical practice)?

What should she say or do so he will still like her?

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Why can't she just be authentic and transparent? Tell him that she has partnered with the company that markets the product so that she can get it wholesale and allow others to do the same thing. She's also finding it allows her to develop another stream of income so that she can diversify. Straightforward honesty works for me. It takes ego out of the picture and allows the other person to do with the information as he or she sees fit.

    Annie Bowlby

  • I'm not completely sure (because this one gives me trouble all the time!!) but I would probably start with, "I can get it for you!" and then, explain about liking the product so much she signed up to be a distributor.


  • I've always liked the approach I learned from Kim on "If My Product's So Great, Why Can't I Sell It?"

    I'd say, "I got such good results from this that I decided to become a distributor, so others could hear about it."

    We need to get over the notion that it is shameful to sell good products and be compensated for it, IMHO. That's keeping a lot of people from enjoying the blessings of MLM in this "jobless recovery."

  • Agree with all the above…Just had a funny thought…if she has a sense of humor she might respond, "Well, maybe it's time for me to tell you about my other self. When I discovered these things and they actually worked, I decided to offer them as an alternative to people I know who have aches and pains. I liked them so much I decided to rep the product line and that's what I'm doing. So that's the story about my other self. So do you still like me?"


    What if, right?

  • I would say, " you'd get it from me. And the reason why I have it is because I tried it before and I liked it so much that I decided to go into business and sell it to people who are looking for the same thing that I was looking for. So would you like to try it now? To see if it works for you like it worked for me?"

  • I would say, " you'd get it from me. And the reason why I have it is because I tried it before and I liked it so much that I decided to go into business and sell it to people who are looking for the same thing that I was looking for. So would you like to try it now? To see if it works for you like it worked for me?"

  • Spot-on, everyone!

    In a social and political system that supposedly fosters "free enterprise," why are so many people afraid to admit that they'll profit from the sale of their product to someone they know and respect? If you don't believe in what you're selling enough to profess your confidence that people want and like it, you really should consider just being a wholesale customer yourself – and NOT try to recruit others. I don't hesitate saying that to people in my OWN organization.

    I confess that I don't understand the meaning of "patched," but I assume that means a sample was provided to the person for trial use, without any sort of sales pitch other than "Here – try this and see if it works." If they later come back and say it worked well for them, I wouldn't hesitate at all to tell them that I'm able to provide it for them. The only question remaining is whether they wish to pay retail for it, or to get it at wholesale prices by becoming a distributor themself.

    In a situation where you're dealing with social peers – people of equal social status to yourself – I don't recommend emphasizing the "make money" aspects of a distributorship until they are completely "sold" on the product(s) itself. Once that occurs, then you can ask them if they know of others who might also benefit from the use of the product – based on their own experience with it. (Chances are, they'll end up doing that on their own anyway, without any prompting by you.)

    If they say they do know of some people, then it's a simple matter of asking them if they would prefer to refer those people to you, or if they wish earn the override on the sales to those people themself. At that point, if they don't want to become a distributor, you'll at least have one new solid retail customer, and quite likely some very good referrals as well!

    Looks like a definite "win-win" to me!

  • Hi Digital Don:

    You write:
    "In a social and political system that supposedly fosters "free enterprise," why are so many people afraid to admit that they'll profit from the sale of their product to someone they know and respect?"

    Because. Like all networkers, the good doctor offered to 'patch someone' (that's a band-aid like little patch that has helped relieve aches and pains) WITHOUT telling up front that she sells it.

    Networkers do that because that's what they're taught, constantly. Have someone try a product – friend to friend – without telling they sell it up front.

    And then, when the moment of truth comes – "where do I get this?" – the giver is in a quandary.

    Because now your friend or colleague, who took the product as a referral from a friend – NOT from a known sales person where she'd have her defenses up – discovers her friend was after all, a sales person for it.

    People feel tricked. This is not doing your friends or colleagues right, according to centuries-old social custom.

    And the trickster (unintended of course) knows it.

    The recipient expects to hear where to go to buy it. NOT that the person who recommended it sells it. You're going against centuries of social custom when you trick you friends like that – by NOT telling UP FRONT that you are selling this thing.

    The friendship is why they give you their ear and heart. And they feel abused.

    Ergo, "now what do I say?!"

  • Traditionally, most folks believe the sale is made at the end of the transaction.

    These days, it is much more effective to close the sale at the beginning of the conversation.

    Let people know up front that you are indeed a sellar/marketer. It takes the pressure off of you, as well as the person with whom you are talking.

    By the way, when I was a kid, I had a crush on Brooke Shields! Ha! Ha! Ha!

  • Hi Kim,

    I definitely like Annie's answer. Why not be straight forward and be honest about it. Honesty is still the best way.

    I also loved your answer. Put a bit of humor in it to break the ice, hehe. "So do you still like me?" Brilliant!

    Just be honest! You might lose a sale (because they may feel uncomfortable about buying from you) but you still keep your friendship …. which should be much more valuable to you then a quick sale.

  • Hi Kim,

    Linking to the self image, most non-sales people do not want to be thought of as a salesperson. For sure their colleague's opinion of them will suffer if they discover a friend morphing into a hustler.

    IMHO this is the real root of the dilemma. Kim you have handled this admirably in your writings as attested to by many of the great comments here from your fans.

    Tuning up the good Doc's attitude toward sales might be a giant step in overcoming her difficulty. I cannot think of a single successful salesperson I have known in 40 years that felt the need to apologize for their profession. The good Doc does not apologize to her patients for being a doctor.

    If the damn recruiters would stop telling people to share and start offering some tested and true, professional sales tactics, this kind of problem would evaporate.

    Last point, nearly everyone in our industry is afraid to ask the suggested retail price for their product. Why would you rope someone into a distributorship if they have no interest in a business just to save money on the product? Like you have written in the past Kim; are we promoting a business, a product or a buyer's club like Costco?

    One more medical point, so I lied. The pharmaceutical reps load the doctors up with samples of the drugs to give to the patients. Then the Doctors scribbles a piece of paper to enable the patient to spend their own money to by a useful supply. I have never spoken with a doctor that has a moral or ethical problem with this system. Have any of you?

    Wishing You Plenty To Live,
    Tom Doiron

  • Thank you all for your great insights. I will surely begin saying up front that this sample I'm offering is something I'm selling.

    It's really comical how my sampling has been working without being up front about this issue. I give them a sample and then they lose it, put it aside, forget about it, while they go on paying twice as much for inferior retail stuff.

    People seem to know that you are selling the thing — and, if they never try it or try it and say they don't like it, they never have to offend by refusing to buy.

    I am ready to try a new approach, because the old one ain't working!

    My other alternative is to ask, "Are you open to looking at a way to earn more money?"

    Why do people make it so difficult to offer them what they obviously need?

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