Does she have to sign up with him?

Here’s a question that’s not always easy, depending on which side of the situation you’re in.

“Kim- I had a girlfriend who wanted to try Network Marketing.She answered an ad in the USA Today newapaper.When she called and inquired some more about the opportunity, she was told by the guy that since she answered his ad, she has to sign up with him and because its kind of an unwritten company policy.Do you think a person is obligated to sign up with a person, just because that person placed an ad?” -Karen

Results so far here.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • It may very well be company policy, but if it is, I think it is silly.

    More than likely, this guy wants a return on his investment for running the ad.

    If he had more business than he knew what to do with, he would not be making such statements.

    Paul Eilers

  • I answered no, she does not have to sign up with the person placing the ad. I’ve learned from experience that a new recruit needs to pick their sponsor carefully.

    Case in point: Before I joined my new NM company, I was sent a link to the replicating site. The person that sent it to me is someone I know as an acquaintance, and I know that he is not very successful at NM, nor does he stick with anything for very long.

    When I saw the replicating site for the first time I was immediately intrigued by the product line because my son has cancer and I was very impressed with science and research that’s gone into the products, as well as their Medical Advisory Board. And the pay plan was intriguing because I’d never worked with one that pays out so many ways, so I emailed him a bunch of questions — none of which he could answer because he had just signed up the night before (for free) and had not even ordered or tried any of the products. I knew then and there that if I was going to join this company, it for sure would NOT be under him.

    So I did research on my own, got the answers I needed and mulled everything over for a week or so. I even interviewed an established distributor for this company that I found by doing an online search. I got to know her a little bit and we had several phone conversations. I liked her personality and was planning on signing up under her, but in one of the conversations she admitted she really isn’t working her biz as much anymore and has moved on to something else. So I knew then and there that SHE wasn’t the sponsor for me, even though I liked her personality.

    Then lo and behold, another aquaintance contacted me that is with this new company. I’ve known him for several years and know he is successful at NM, doesn’t give up and he has a lot of confidence in himself. In a few short months he had already built a decent downline with this new biz, so HE is the person I chose to be my sponsor. I do not regret my choice at all and I would do it that way again if I had to.

    However, the first person that sent me his link found out that I did not sign up under him and he was very angry. He didn’t tell me so himself — I heard about it from his upline. So I explained to the upline that it is my responsibility to be very careful about who I choose to be my sponsor, and I chose someone with a good work ethic and leadership abilities, someone I admire and knew I would feel comfortable working with.

    I know that I made the right business decision because my new sponsor has been extremely helpful and supportive. He’s ‘old school’, so I have to work around that, but I’ve been sharing ‘new school’ techniques with him and he’s starting to appreciate the different methods. I’ve sent him Kim’s Manifesto and the link to this blog, so he understands that I’m building a customer base until I find my Aces. He’s actually starting to see the value in not making someone a distributor that should just be a customer. There’s hope for him yet, LOL!

    Achiever Karen

  • No. I feel a prospect should sign up with someone they feel comfortable about. It may be the person who placed the ad and it may be not.

    When I am looking at a new opportunity I’m looking for the answers to these questions…

    _ How will that person support me?

    _Will they be easily accessible to me, or are they too busy to give me the individual support I need? Maybe they already build a big team and don’t have the time to do that. Maybe they’re just recruiting and not “sponsoring”. (There is a difference.) Things like that come through in a conversation.

    _ Will there be Team Support for the team I will be building?

    _ Are there tools available to me and my (future) team to help us grow our business?

    Stuff like that. After some bad experiences with “sponsors” I really have come to the point where I “shop around” and don’t go with the first person that presents the opportunity. Ultimately I am responsible for the people who join my team and I want them in good hands.

    By the way…

    Happy New Year! May 2008 be TwoThousandGREAT for all of you.

    Ilka Flood

  • We (Network Marketers) do NOT own people. I just had this conversation with someone I was mentoring the other day. It was a customer problem, however the same principle applies.

    In her company, once a customer buys from one person, they are “placed in that person’s downline as a customer”. They must buy from that person anytime they order.

    Here’s the problem with that – let’s say I go to Food Store on Main St. The cashiers are slow, the products they carry aren’t very fresh and they never have enough registers open.

    Then I find the Food Store across town. They have GREAT customer service. They always have enough registers open. They have a great selection of fresh products.

    Shouldn’t I be able to choose which store I shop at?

    Network marketing customers should be able to choose who they want to buy products from. They should also be able to choose who they sign up under.

    Now, if a person signs up, THEN finds out their friend is also in the company, they should not be allowed to move under the friend, but if it’s before they sign up, then absolutely – sign up with whomever they feel most comfortable with. This is (should be) a lifelong decision and it’s important that you sign up where you want to be.

    I had a person I was coaching end up talking to someone else, then signed up under that person because they felt they connected better with them. That’s perfectly fine. I want people to be comfortable and be where they want to be.


  • I think the answer is very simple. Of course she doesn’t HAVE TO sign up under the person she first contacted. She was “shopping”. She answered an ad (apparently well written or she wouldn’t have answered); however, since she didn’t purchase anything – she was not obligated to “join” the ad writer. I agree the ad writer was looking for a return on his investment but his statement alone makes him sound desperate. He also demeaned his company by making such a statement. Certainly not someone I would want as a sponsor.

    Apparently there was not a match with her and the writer of the ad who would be her sponsor, her mentor, her leader. She was exceptionally wise in doing her due diligence on the product, company, and who would be of the most help to her in starting her business.

    You should know your own company’s policy on being able to move people or what happens if you yourself need to move. I found mine out the hard way. I had to officially resign my position for 6 months and loose my entire downline. My only regret then was not doing it sooner.

  • Roxanne —

    If someone should have the choice to go sponsor shopping before they sign up, why shouldn’t they have the choice to switch after they’ve been in the company a year or two?

    What if their sponsor just isn’t working for them?

    I think there is an ethical problem (and slippery slope) to think “sponsor shopping” is no big deal.

    What if everyone did that? Or maybe just half? Half of the people you present the business to and send samples to get on the internet and see who the company’s top sponsor is, and sponsor directly under that person instead.

    What would happen?

    Would the top sponsor encourage that? Why not?

    My general rule of thumb — You should sponsor in with the person who first introduced you to the business.

    Walter Reade (from Wisconsin)

  • Hi New Schoolers,

    If you agree to go out on a date with me, then this means you can never marry, if you don’t marry me. It’s my Mom’s policy.

    Does it sound absurd when stated this way? Well?

    May I have this dance?

    Tom Doiron

  • If she has never ordered the product or has no relationship with the company she should be able to “interview” until she finds a sponsor that fits.

    It’s unfortunate for the person paying for the ad but it’s worse when the new person joins and drops out because there’s not a good connection.

    It’s never a sure fit even if you do your homework, but I feel you should have a choice.

    Just my feelings


  • Walter,

    The quote below is a footnote in red on the contact page of one of my replicating company websites.

    “If you have already been in contact with another ______ Associate, we encourage you to contact that individual for more information.”

    This is placed there by the company, IN RED, not by me. Obviously to cut down on disputes over sponsorships.

    I respect your point of view, although I find it a bit idealistic. In a perfect world the first contact would be adequate. Such is not the case because just because someone can muster a massive marketing campaign does not necessarily make them a ‘good’ sponsor. As implied by Ilka, they may just be a mud slinging recruiter.

    In board games, once you remove your hand from the game piece, the move is final. I think this should be the rule in recruiting as well. But window shopping is definitely allowable and goes on more than you may realize. Often quite a lot before you are even initially contacted.

    Think of job searching. Just because you read an ad, submit a resume, and even go for the first interview doesn’t obligate you to take their offer. Choosing an upline with a Network Marketing Company isn’t any less significant in my mind. I know we all talk that the upline is not going to make you or break you. Reminds me of the old, ‘money can’t buy you love’ cliché.

    Walter, I used to wrestle with the sponsorship concern you posted here, until I realized how important the attraction thing really is. ‘The more the merrier’ doesn’t always work. Better is the ‘birds of a feather’ for ongoing success. Far less headaches.

    The ugly duckling,

    Tom Doiron

  • Walter,

    It’s interesting that you say that. You asked me a number of questions about my company and how it worked. You then signed up under someone else. You then apologized for not signing up under me. However, I never thought bad of you for that. I never thought “Well…he asked me questions about how the company works and then went and signed up under someone else”. That isn’t my mindset. I just assumed that you felt more comfortable with the person you signed up under. You actually did tell me you joined him instead of me because of his sponsor. Not to mention, your team is using my idea to market the product. I did offer it to everyone to use, however, I am the one who came up with it. So, the marketing wasn’t the decision maker, it boiled down to the sponsor, correct?

    I would rather have someone shop around first and make sure they are in the right place. That is why I NEVER pressure anyone into joining. I have actually talked quite a few people into waiting a few days to make sure that they are sure that’s what they want to do.

    If everyone was allowed to move wherever, whenever once they joined, there would be no true residual income for anyone. Give people the time to make the decision before they join. Let them get to know you and make sure they work well with you.


  • Walter is absolutely right and I am shocked that this board is so much about “sponsor shopping”. I found my sponsor by literally going to a message board (different website) and saying, “I’m looking for a current distributor in XYZ company, please e-mail me at (my e-mail)”. The first e-mail was from a man in England, but the time difference wouldn’t work, so he introduced me to his upline sponsor, who lived in Seattle at the time (I’m in Memphis). She spent a few months dripping me info (I looked at 50 companies before choosing mine), and when I decided to sign up, I was technically sponsored by the guy in England, though I continue to count the lady in Seattle as my primary mentor.

    Or I could have just, after this lady spent months answering my questions, looked up my company’s top earners and interviewed with them and cheated her out of earnings based on my business.

    The dating analogies really don’t count here; and just because you weren’t sponsored by someone doesn’t mean you can’t seek out a more compatible mentor elsewhere, even if they are crossline. Bottom line, if someone runs an ad that you respond to (which means it’s enough of a purple cow for you and they certainly have done some work to find you), and you want their product or business, and their ad is what even informed you that the business/product existed? How DARE you sign up with someone else!

  • Roxanne,

    LOL! You just had to put me on the spot! 🙂

    Actually . . . I want to clarify what happened. Because I do stand by my thoughts about sponsor shopping.

    I met three reps from the same company at about the same time. I wasn’t looking to change companies at that time, just to network. All three were kind, courteous, and helpful.

    I kept in touch with all three over a period of time.

    Then one of them told me about a new product launch. I loved it. It was me. And I was in.

    So, yes, I’m sure it looked like sponsor shopping.

    But I’ll tell you . . . I’m super impressed with all the individuals like yourself who are building in Vitamark.

    And I would feel comfortable in pretty much any group in the company, including and especially your.

    Walter Reade (from Wisconsin)

  • Anonymous,

    No one here is saying screw people over. That wouldn’t be right.

    What we’re saying is if you find out someone you know is also in the company and/or you don’t “click” with the person who initiated contact, then sign up where YOU feel comfortable. Go shop at a different store. How DARE you think you OWN another person. Because that’s what you’re saying. You feel that if someone answers your ad, you OWN them. I say BULL. I wouldn’t want someone who wasn’t comfortable with ME to sign up under me. What kind of working relationship would we have?? I do this because I’m having FUN. I wouldn’t if there were strained relationships.

    Create relationships with people and be the person they like and they will WANT to be signed up under you.


  • Yeah, Roxanne!

    In your corner,
    Tom Doiron

    P.S. Ever notice how the most contradictory comments come from those hiding behind anonymity. Wonder what they are afraid of?

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