Can free be a fix for NM?

I don’t mean free product samples…

For as long as I can remember, “free” has been a total turn off for me.

Free was stuff either not worth having at all, or it wasn’t really free. Hidden price tags – time and energy to complete the survey, the drive to Timbuktu to get the free thing, subjecting yourself to sales calls, etc, or, you only get the free thing if you buy something else, blah blah blah.

I’ve long recommended that NMers not give out free product samples to people unless there’s a reason to believe they’re genuinely interested. The only ones making money on those free samples are the companies. The only ones paying for them are the reps, in money and stress.

However, I’ve come to like free – for certain sorts of things. Let me explain.

I’ll skip the free do-nothing cell phone with the expensive, monthly two year contract. But, I’ll take a genuine preview of something that can improve my life somehow.

Kind of like a good movie trailer or an excerpt from a book or CD.

The online ‘how to’ information sellers have been perhaps the biggest and most consistent money makers online. Some people have raked in millions of dollars in a the first few days of a well planned how-to [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][you name it]online program launch.

How-to marketers have long offered previews of what you need to do to make their programs work. They tell you in detail what sorts of things they have done to make it work. NOT just the results, but the nitty-gritty of what you need to do to get those results.

For example, I, with several hundred others, spent $2k on an Internet marketing program last month. (One of several similarly priced programs last month.)

I got this one based solely on experiencing what I’d learn first, with stuff I could try myself before buying. Including very useful online videos. Doing those things made it easy to see the seller and I harmonized. And that the things they were teaching were things I wanted to learn.

All those who bought this got the same information over a few weeks beforehand.

About 500 people bought the program, as far as I know. That’s 500 x $2,000. You do the math. That was taken in over two days. It’s a self-study and do program, much like NM. You have to learn and do things to make any money.

I wonder how one might do that in the NM field.

I don’t mean selling pie in the sky results and promising everyone the moon if they only give us $1500 or $5,000. Nope. That’s the old school stuff we know makes people run when they hear it’s NM.

I mean giving someone a taste, through sample tasks, of what one would have to do to bring in income. Like the big marketing guys are doing to rake in millions.

I wonder what would happen if the networking companies and recruiters were to offer – instead of promises – ‘free’ mini-experience-exercises of what it takes to make money in the business, the same way the successful how-to make money online marketers do. And THEN offer people the program. Wouldn’t the right ones come?

Most people who drop out of our business tell me they really had no idea of what they were getting into. This would end that problem. They’d have seen what kinds of things they have to do, just like the big how-to marketers do.

Of course, the resistance would be extreme from recruiters who depend on many people blindly signing up and desperately handing over their last money.

But perhaps some recruiters will realize that a few good self-selected people will bring them more income and less stress than the masses who are lured in on a dream, and no idea of what they have to do make it work.

What kinds of free, sample exercises would you offer people who are considering doing NM – before they’re asked to make the big commitment?

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About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Offering to help people begin their advertising campaigns……themselves.

    I have helped people begin to advertise online so that they can get a jumpstart on whatever marketing they choose for their business.

    Brenda Bunney

  • Offer a free program on figuring out what their niche is. They would have to try the product first to see what it does for them. Most Co’s offer money back guarantee so there is really no risk to the consumer. So have them try it first as a customer. Then if they like it and notice something, then show them for free (a good coach would do this anyway) how do define their niche. By doing that they could slowly start to develop some business (let them know these things take time) and over time make enough extra money to get a massage or something special for themselves that they want but are not currently able to afford.

  • I am testing something out of the box: I am in a quest to incorporate a nonprofit organization known as “The Institute for Micro Entrepreneurs” or T.I.M.E. where we are going to provide free training, support and financial sponsorship for people who want to embrace home entrepreneurship.
    We are going to offer a basic internet marketing training using online training tools.
    The nonprofit will not be tied to any home based business in particular but we will offer some due diligence criteria for the grantees. Since it is not a loan the “pay back” would be through donations when they start to receive an income.
    A pilot program will start soon with a limited number of people (already chosen) in North Carolina.

  • Offer free reports.
    With so many people marketing online I’m helping the ones serious about health through free reports to offer their visitors. I go first by contacting these health blogs or websites. Not just any health site works. I spend time reading and getting a feel for who they are. I do my homework so I’m not wasting everyones time.
    Here’s how it’s working: They place a small text link offering a free report on their blog or website. When the right people see it they ask for the report.
    People can order product from the report page and the commissions go to the person with the link. We educate first, give free information, build trust and credibility with consumers and tend to get the right business partners. I work with the people joining our team to make sure they get the most from the programs.


  • How about suggesting them to TRY the business, before they get into the business.

    Example: tell them to invite 3 of his closest friend and/or relatives to a conference call, face to face presentation, or an opportunity meeting.

    Also you could sell him of your products in the same price you buy it and tell him to use it and also give it to 5 of his friends in the same price (with no profit), so they can use it and give him their honest opinion about the product in the business he is considering starting.

    I don’t know if these examples are what you are talking about Kim but these could be good ways to get people in the business(after they saw a presentation) that are “serious” and know what they will be doing to create an income.

    Theodore from Greece

    PS: Excuse my English – i’m just a Greek guy

  • We do, in fact, have an exercise for the potential member. Here is what we do.

    In fact, I’ve done this with two people just in the past 3 days. Both of whom had tried the product sample first, and both of whom had expressed somewhat of an interest in the biz. Result: Both of them have joined my biz after this exercise.

    When I meet someone who has expressed an interest in the biz, I invited them to meet a group of us at Paneras here locally (established weekly gatherings) and have a chat with other members and other prospective members.

    They are free to inivte friends to come as well if they want to. There is no formal presentation whatsoever. It’s just a group (often times quite a large group numbering anywhere from 30-60 people, prospects and members) who are happy to share their product experience and IF ASKED by the prospect, their biz experience etc. It’s far more product oriented and its extremely casual and there is not any pressure from anyone.

    This allows the potential member to experience several things before they join.

    1. They see that they are not the only person in town interested in this.

    2. A group of warm friendly people who are just real people, who have real jobs, and are excited about this product and seem very genuine about sharing their own experiences.

    3. That if they join, they, too, have a comfortable ‘platform’ with which to invite people they know who would like to have the same experience they have had.

    These gatherings which take place multiple times weekly at different establishments at different days/evenings/times in our city have proven to be a very effective way of building. and an excellent exercise for the prospective member.

    It takes a little while to get them going like they are going here in Kansas City, but once they begin to grow steadily, it’s a fun way to build 😉 I think because it’s so social and we are social beings.

    Try it 🙂


  • I might simply direct them to a selection of your podcasts Kim. Particularly the Cadaver Calling Day.

    This would give them concrete examples to listen to, and see what actually needs to be done to work this type of business.

    Who knows, some of them may actually think it’s a lot easier than they thought?

  • Dear Kim,

    You have been quiet for so long, I was wondering what you were up to.

    Cathy’s suggestion seems most on target.

    I am having a difficult time making a parallel to your experience, Kim, because I am not sure exactly what you went through that convinced you to invest the $2k. Can you please explain further what you meant when you said,”Doing those things made it easy to see the seller and I harmonized.”?

    I can’t count the number of times I heard people say they have to try the product first before they can sell it. So if all we had to do was pass out free product to have a huge, duplicating downline, then I have been spending my money in all the wrong places. So you give them free samples….for how long? Does a wow-wee product experience guarantee you have a 6 figure earner by the tail? Can product enthusiasm alone build and sustain a large, prosperous team?

    What does NM have to give away that would tell people if it is for them, besides information. More specifically, if this is the company they should build as a networker.

    Everything that keeps coming to my head is a qualifier. Like you have to sign up 10 customers and have 5 guests attend a presentation before your application will be accepted. That sounds like an uphill struggle.

    Just call me stumped,
    Tom Doiron

  • TOM D,

    You said:
    So if all we had to do was pass out free product to have a huge, duplicating downline, then I have been spending my money in all the wrong places. So you give them free samples….for how long?

    Tom, I think this depends on the product. In my biz, I usually simply give them a one time little sample size bottle so they can see how they like the taste. I am not looking for them to notice anything from that sample. (Hint: I also ask them drink it when I am still there talking to them because if they don’t chances are they never will and I’ve wasted my money).

    I do this of course, because rarely will a person drink something daily if they can’t down it. (We are commissioned on the samples just as we are the product so it’s all volume) I should clarify this is what I do with one of our products which is not an ‘immediate’ result product.

    Then you asked:

    Does a wow-wee product experience guarantee you have a 6 figure earner by the tail?

    Nah, but a ‘wow-wee’ or ‘sizzle product’ as it’s called, at least from my own experience, does present a higher chance that the person will want to at least try the product for 30 days. No guarantees of course…but it certainly helps if they can notice something with the very first sample you give them.

    I offer this information based on my own experience with the two products we have. One would not be considered a ‘sizzle’ product (immediate results) and one is for sure a ‘sizzle’ product and we are having more success getting people started on the product when we share the sizzle one with them. So this it not theory, we’re seeing it happen ever since we’ve had the sizzle product.

    Lastly, you asked:

    Can product enthusiasm alone build and sustain a large, prosperous team?

    I would vote yes to that question. The vast majority of our time in my own team, when talking to a prospect, is spent talking to them about one of our two products. As Kim as pointed out many times, out of 100 people, 99 might have an interest in better health for example, when perhaps 1 out of 100 has a sincere desire to do what it takes to make a home business work for them. So, w/ that information, why not go w the odds? 🙂 And, personally, I think Kim was probably just using an even number to get the concept across because in reality, it’s probably not even 1 out of 100 that would choose to do what it takes to build a large NM organization. 1 out of 100 might say yes to the biz (for a season) but as far as a true ‘doer’…it’s probably less than that.

    Running niche ads as Kim suggests would probably offer better odds of course because they are responding to you because you ‘called their name’.

    Keep in mind that there are some products/services where you can’t really sample people so this info is of course only helpful if you have something you can sample people with.

  • Thanks, all…


    you asked, “So if all we had to do was pass out free product to have a huge, duplicating downline, then I have been spending my money in all the wrong places. So you give them free samples….for how long?”

    This what I would NOT do, unless I know the person has a genuine interest in the product. Like I wrote, product samples wasted on the wrong people cause the giver stress and poverty.

    Giving product to someone who is already into health in a big way, say, or into supplements, might be a good start – for getting a new customer and perhaps, 1/100 a rep.

    What I was talking about are experiences in DOING THE BUSINESS that could be the free, upfront samplers.

    E.g. The program I bought offered an hour video on the kinds of things this guy taught. There were things for me to try before I bought anything, and I did try them and they harmonized with who I am and how I like to market.

    Another guy gave out a 70 page PDF document with all kinds of useful marketing tips and how-tos — all free, and if the reader liked that, they could buy a program from him.

    In NM, it’s all promises about how much and how easy. We might do better to give a prospective business person some examples of the kinds of things it takes to build the business – e.g. get customers, find reps, and have them try some as someone suggested here, BEFORE they are asked to commit to the business.

    That would reduce the numbers coming in, but we’d have better matches, less drop out and better word of mouth.

    Does that make sense?

    There are no guarantees of anything, ever. Just better chances of some success.

  • Hi Kim,

    Sorry I got a little sidetracked.

    You have said it yourself that just because someone loves a product does not mean they want to promote it or make a business out of it. Although, if Steve Jobs called you, you might take off. LOL

    Thanks Cathy for your comments.

    Kim after rereading all this I had a thought. You know how the companies always put out these DVD with testimonials from the top banannas? Well what if they made movie of a day in the life of a motivated rookie and also a day in the life of a top bannana.

    Just a suggestion for discussion, because I can’t see it happening.

    Don’t you think that sometimes distributors forget that these MLM companies benefit from branding and product movement regardless of the circumstances.

    Monkey see – monkey do,
    Tom Doiron

  • Tom — the usual DVDs with testimonials are almost meaningless today, since so few people ever experience anything like it.

    Having real live experiences of someone in the trenches? Not likely. Would be fun, though.

    But I don’t mean that anyway.

    I mean giving folks who are thinking about doing NM some actual suggestions of the kinds of things they’d have to do, to acquire customers and reps – both online and off, belly-to-belly examples and online stuff.

    Specific things THEY can learn to do from what’s offered online by such a person, and then try the things and see if it goes with them. Before they commit.

    I might even offer some of the things we are doing to build our own little new company, as an example of that.

    But MANY internet marketers use that strategy already, so it’s nothing new to them.

    NMers should learn how to do that, and not be afraid to show what it takes to make it.

    But of course they’ll fret no one will sign up.

    And they’re right. The mostly wrong ones, won’t – they’ll be spared the lost money, the self esteem problems and relationships stressed out by the silly things they’re made to say.

    But the recruiters and company brass would never go for that, they would lose too much money from the new and naive sign-ups.

  • Hi Kim,

    Last thought on this thread, and it’s all your fault.

    Referrencing those meaningless DVDs; they sometimes kindle anger in me because of the way they present the biz opp. The top banannas make it sound as if the toughest part is making the decision to become involved, because once you do then you’ll be on the yellow brick road to the pot of gold waiting for you.

    Gimme courage,

    Tom Doiron

  • Tom – You’re welcome 😉

    Kim, Q

    When you say have them see what it takes to build a biz (belly to belly stuff etc) before they commit, are you talking about before they even agree to try the product? I ask because it has been my experience that unless someone actually likes the product, even if they have what it takes to build, they are not enthused about doing so unless/until they know that they like the product. I know this is how I operate for sure. i.e. I don’t want to represent anything that I can’t get excited about personally.

    OR did you mean once they know they like the product but before they comit to working the biz.. we show them the real world stuff that we do at that point.

    Just curious which you meant because if it’s the latter (which is my guess)they would still have invested some money in trying the product so their entire experience is not really ‘free’, but neitehr would it be a huge comittment of any sort at this stage.


  • Cathy –

    Yes, I’ve always wanted to try any product before considering selling it.

    That’s true for marketing a product or program as well. I’d never promote anything I hadn’t tried myself.

    The challenge is that nearly all mlm-ers insist everyone sell the product, as they’ve been taught.

    But nearly 100 of 100 will be customers only, provided they’re not hounded to do the business. In which case many will return the product. Because they don’t want to be associated with people who push others to sell.

    That’s why I ask the referral question for both the business AND product – Do you know anyone…

    So in case there’s a super sales type, I can spend some extra time with that person, and even give them the product to try first.

    But since most people don’t want to sell, no matter how easy you tell them it is (they know better) they will all be buying the product first, yep.

    That super sales type person, to whom I might give the product to test, once they love it, THEN I’d show them the marketing methods and have them try some of those things, before they commit.

    Direct sales and especially NM, the way it’s taught by most recruiters, is very different and much more difficult that traditional sales.

  • I really enjoyed all your comments. I am thinking about this try before you buy concept. I bought your book Kim about a year ago when I used to be with another NM and when I switched I forgot about the methods. But I am now thinking about going back to them again, since all my upline talks about is recruiting.

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