Network marketers: Identity crisis?

One strange thing about network marketers – they seem to have an identity crisis.

Anyone ask Steve Jobs what he does, the answer is straight forward: I sell iPods (or cool electronic gadgets…”

Andrew Carnegie said, “I manufacture and market steel.”

Insurance people say, “I sell insurance.”

IBM people say, “I sell computers.”

Network marketers say all kinds of things:

“I do network marketing.”
“I do Shaklee (name your company).”
“I help people become financially free.”

Wonder why people in our industry can’t define themselves in a less strange way.

What if Steve Jobs said, “Oh, I do online and retail store marketing. “

No one would have a clue.


About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Hi Kim,

    Don’t you think that this identity crisis is due in part to the fact that Network Marketers are trained not to talk about selling anything? In addition, they are taught to be indirect.

    In the elevator speech trainings I have heard and read through the years the trainers encourage an indirect answer that sets up an obvious question. For example: Stranger says,”Tom, so what do you do?” Tom replies,” I show people how to add $200 to $400 per month to their checking account.” Stranger comments, “That’s interesting. How do you do that?” Tom continues,” Network Marketing, ever heard of it?”

    Another approach to the elevator speech (many other names), that I like to use would answer the question “what do you do?” as follows:

    ” You know how a lot of folks run out of money before the month is over? Well, what I do is show them how they can put a few hundred dollars extra into their checking accounts each month. The way we do this is by teaching them how to work their own business about 10 hours per week from their home. Who do you know that might like to know about something like this?”

    I have to admit, that in business mixers, sometimes my favorite approach is, “I do Network Marketing.” I deliver this line with eye contact and great posture, ready to read their response. It’s fun for me. If they are a Networker they usually ask what company you are with. If they are not a Network Marketer they usually ask some thing like, “What’s that?”

    Kim, I use the word ‘posture’ because to me it incorporates so many important ingredients such as; confidence, poise, erectness, integrity, boldness, pride, good impression, experience, etc. The posture and enthusiasm utilized to answer the question, “what do you do?” is often far more compelling than the words themselves.

    Straight up,
    Tom Doiron

  • Tom – gotcha.

    You write:”Well, what I do is show them how they can put a few hundred dollars extra into their checking accounts each month.”

    The trick is how to say that with integrity. The fact that almost everyone drops out makes it seem as though offering someone $300-400 (or you name it) is just selling an illusion – it’s the one thing what we seem not to be able to offer, given the drop out rates.

    We can blame them, yes, as most networkers do. But is it fair to tell others that we can do something for them – offer an extra $300-400/mo – when we barely do that ourselves?

    Just pondering these questions…

  • Hi Kim,

    With one of my businesses, $200 to $400 per month can be done with reasonable certainty, even without a downline. It is strong on retail with a good margin for the distributor. They still have to do some work to promote the products, but it is doable, and therefore I can deliver the message with integrity. I choose my words carefully when I say, “we show them how they can put a few hundred dollars extra into their checking accounts each month.” I do show them and some do put a few hundred into their accounts monthly.

    Are you advocating that because not everyone does, that I shouldn’t say it? It’s performance based pay, not a guarantied wage.

    Watch out for Reindeer poop,
    Tom Doiron

  • Tom –

    How many people – of those who have started with what you’re referring to here – are actually “putting a few hundred dollars into their checking accounts each month”? Each month?

    (I expect it to be a very low number.)

  • Hi Kim,

    It is probably more than you would guess and because of the earnings, the company has a higher that industry average retention rate.

    None the less, I get your point. Can I guaranty that everyone that gets involved will have the equal results? No, because I can’t predict the level of activity each recruit will put out. I am not trying to do a commercial here, but this company has a very strong retail arm that enables this level of income without a downline. It was one of the major attractions for us.

    Kim, perhaps it is safer not to mention business or money at all, and go strickly for referral customers ? Let all else fall where it will. Won’t be eating holiday dinners alone that way. Right?

    Who do you know who,
    Tom Doiron

  • All distributors sell things.

    Some have fun doing it because they truly believe that their product adds value.

    But you still have to proud that you are in sales – because you my friend are what makes all economies work!

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