Low rent language exposed: All you have to do is…

Network marketing (formerly known as mlm – multi-level marketing) has an image problem. How often have you lost a customer when they find out it’s mlm?

In much of the business world also, the folks who do it are considered low rent.

“”Quality folks don’t do the MLM stuff. It draws the low-rent, scammers of the world.”
“They use and abuse their friends and family.”

Even the prospective customer, is considered low rent – “[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”][she’s] the kind of person willing to spend $6 on a cosmetic from someone down the street. You can’t do that with Tiffany Jewelry…because the kind of person who wants to spend $60 on lipstick is not usually the person who has a worldview that says “I’m likely to believe someone down the street that wants to sell me something.” Seth Godin to John Fogg

Low rent:

Of low social status or moral character: “Steve Buscemi … may play low-rent, amoral types—hit men, weasels, snivelers—but…he’s more complicated than that.”

Lacking taste or refinement: a low-rent television drama. (from
Distasteful: icky

What to do? Change it the only way I know: from the inside out. Any person in the business whose values are NOT low rent, and who want to change the language they use so it doesn’t evoke low rent anymore, can start right now. Change your language to reflect YOUR values.

In a low rent class last night, someone told the group that they themselves were often embarrassed by what their company and upline reps say to people to try and recruit them. A big chorus of agreement.

So in class, we collected a short list of commonly used lines that recruiters use to entice others into the business, all of which the group fingered as “low rent language.”

So why had they used this language themselves, you ask? Some folks admitted that they had been idly parroting what they’d heard from those who were higher up the food chain, because they’d been told they should “duplicate” what’s being said and done to become successful. So they did. And didn’t realize they were adding to the problem.

Now, this group will never repeat certain lines ever again, no matter who pressures them, because the language does not represent their own values.

Top low rent evoking lines:

1. All you have to do is…[anything can follow this, e.g. talk to people; go to your friends; sign up 9 people, etc.]2. Could you use another $12 million (you name the number) this month/year?
3. It only costs $99 (or $19.95) to get in and you can make $100k per year!
4. The window of opportunity is closing, and no other windows might open.
5. This is the best opportunity out there!
6. You don’t have to sell. We share, show, or teach. (MLM generic trainers teach this as well. Responding to a question from someone wanting to know how to introduce the business to her customer, the trainer said, “talk with your customer about buying and sharing (not selling) enough product with friends and…” (from a 4.12.06 posting)
7. Exactly follow our duplicatable system! (The ‘systems’ people found, often enrich the upline (selling leads and CDs etc), and discourage creativity of any sort. What self-respecting entrepreneur wants to just duplicate the behavior of someone else?)

Do you have some low rent-evoking lines you want to add that you won’t be repeating anymore, based on your personal values? Or some low rent practices you will stop doing now that you know that when you say or do them, your values are showing?

Tell all in the Comments below.

Remember, when you promote something, the language you use tells the other person what your personal values are.

“Our first task is to become aware of our speech and what it reveals about our character…Once we become aware of how we do talk, the need for changes will become evident” – Buddha, in Buddhism A Concise Introduction.

| | |
|| || [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Sidetracking slightly… (and I’m sorry these things are longer than usual comments’…

    Perhaps an undeveloped edge lies in the first line…

    >’Network marketing (formerly known as mlm – multi-level marketing)’.

    Are they the same? I suggest not. (And please, stop me if you’ve heard this one – I’m told it’s an uncommon perspective, but I really have no idea.)


    MLM. Or NM?

    [SUMMARY… A rose by any other name? A spade is a spade.]

    Are MLM and NM the same? Or is the latter simply part of the continuing trend of finding more palatable ways to describe things which have a tarnished reputation?

    Is there a real distinction? Should there be?

    My view is that, regardless of the fact of the matter (and many will – perhaps rightly, in view of the common practice – say there’s no absolutely no difference between MLM and NM) it’s a constructive way to approach a contentious issue.

    Consider this, please:

    There’s a basic flaw with Network Marketing? What? Simply: it behaves too much like MLM.

    This gets to the root of that question I’m so often asked: ‘Why do you use the term ‘Network Marketing’ rather than ‘MLM’ – aren’t they the same?’.

    No honey – they ain’t.

    In MLM, the emphasis is on the ‘multi-level’ thing – building a tiered structure.

    With Network Marketing, the deal is to ‘market’ to/through a ‘network’.

    Far from simply being a more palatable pc way to describe the same thing, they’re very different.

    Thing is though, many and perhaps most people (even those who know better) confuse and merge the two.
    So, is the distinction genuine? Or just part of that ‘continuing trend of finding more palatable ways to describe things which have a tarnished reputation?’

    Personally, I’m not sure – and realise the ‘dangers’ of simply retagging something to aid its acceptability. Without addressing the very real problems attendant in MLM/NM, there’s a ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ issue here… or, as was recently suggested: ‘that finely-honed digging implement to which you so-lovingly refer is, after all, just a ******* spade’.

    Whether you’re an MLM-er, a Network Marketer or ‘involved in Relationship & Referral Marketing’ is a matter solely for you. The key is to do it well.

    What can’t be disregarded is the external perception of the business, like this from BusinessWeek:
    Many makers of such products employ the aforementioned multilevel marketing sales tactics, which the companies refer to by euphemisms like ‘network marketing’.
    Overcoming existing prejudice will require serious counter… a process I suggest begins here and now with a genuine ‘NM is not MLM’.

    Anyone up for this?

  • In the Fogg/Godin piece, the wise slaphead goes further and tellingly makes the point:

    My worldview says, ‘under no circumstances will I spend more than one second considering something like that [Network Marketing], because I decided a really long time ago that I don’t like Network Marketing and I’m just not interested. So, we never get to looking at the spreadsheet because my worldview says, ‘You’re a little sleazy, this is a little ‘scammy’ and I don’t do that, I do something else.’

    In that ‘one second’ the language we use ain’t gonna make any difference – they’ve already blanked. And, isn’t language merely the visible symptom of that deeper maliase?

    ‘It’s how we carry ourselves…’ true class always shines though. So by improving the ethics and raising the professionalism the language will take care of itself.

Leave a Comment