Teachable: payola in NM?

In network marketing, one of the most common questions upline ask new a recruit is, “How coachable are you?”

Being teachable or coachable matters – it often quickens the route to mastery. And being coachable matters more than talent in certain cases.

In ballet for example, Seth Godin tells us:

“Years ago, at the great Bolshoi Ballet, auditions for the troupe were conducted among 8 year old girls. That’s because it took ten years to become great. How did the auditions work? The teachers weren’t looking for the best dancers. They were looking for the dancers who took coaching the best. The rest would come with time.”

Being coachable matters.

payolaIt matters in NM too. The trouble is that more often than not, new recruits have no idea that those in their upline, who are doing the coaching, are being paid on what they’re promoting.

The ‘proven systems’ they promote include leads, the business websites, the materials – whatever it is that is being promoted as that thing you have to do to demonstrate you are “teachable.”

How many networkers being trained have any idea that their uplines are being paid for the ‘proven systems’ they push their recruits to buy?

Upline payola.

There is no problem anyone being paid on what they telling recruits to buy – if they tell up front. But how many do?

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About the author

Kim Klaver


  • My experience with upline was them encouraging me to go to every meeting no matter the cost because if I didn’t “You will be behind about one year if you miss one of the big conventions and about three months for missing the weekly meetings.” The implication was I wasn’t coachable.

    As far as buying products and the marketing materials, my former upline did encourage buying whatever the company had available. Once again, I wasn’t coachable if I didn’t want to do everything that had worked for them personally.

    The nice thing is that in my new company, I am left on my own to make product and marketing material needs. I am kept informed as to what is available, but my decisions are very much respected.

    I think the upline needs to have a duplicatable system if they are going to ask someone to be coachable. It is hard to be coachable if the system is not duplicatable.

    Brenda Bunney

  • I put it right out there that I am able to profit if they use my system – however, my true goal is not to get money from the system, but to have reps that can use the system for their own success.

    After all, we are talking about covering my personal investment of $50 a month… that isn’t exactly breaking the bank for something that I would pay for regardless, because I believe that it works.

    I would rather pay that $50 and have team members succeeding than floundering for ways to make their business grow and prosper.

    Not every team member is a good candidate for a system. One of the beauties of NM is that you can develop your own style. But for the average NM’er eventually there comes a time where they realize that teaching others their “style” won’t work and that some people NEED a system to feel safe, productive or guided.

    Can you tell that I am talking about myself? LOL!

    To our success!

    Candy Loay

  • IF the system that’s being pushed by the upline is duplicatable AND affordable to everyone then I don’t have a problem.

    What I have a problem with is that sometimes upline pushes you to use a system that is expensive and not very duplicatable. In my case before, my upline didn’t even use the system himself. But had I fallen for it…and it would have worked for me…he would have benefitted greatly at my expense.

    Was I not coachable/teachable because I didn’t use that expensive system? Are you not teachable because you don’t go with what doesn’t make sense to you personally? I really don’t think so.

    Have a great weekend!

    Ilka ;o)

  • In Shaklee,the CD’s etc are available to all at the same price..As a sales leader I make no money on my downline ordering these products. It has worked for Shaklee. Judy Sheehy

  • I don’t have a problem with an upline making money. I do have an issue with the guilt that they can create. I have a great upline. He understood when I took time off when I had a baby and he encourages me to do the business in a fashion that suits me. In turn I aim to treat my downline as separate human beings with distinct styles, needs, and goals.

    Nancy Carlson

  • I have problems with the word “coachable”. If coachable means a willingness to take suggestions, to look at one’s weak spots and improve them, to try things that are scary because someone else’s experience shows that they are useful, then one should definately be coachable.

    However, I have often heard the word used to mean that I should check my intelligence at the door. I have been to trainings where I was asked to say things I was uncomfortable with, and my refusal was a sign that I was uncoachable”. I have been to trainings where I was supposed to accept all the information given without questioning it. If the word “uncoachable” means this, then I am proudly uncoachable.

    In the ballet world, maybe all a troupe needs are 8 year old girls who show a willingness to do what the teacher says–but I suspect not. I’m sure they need some magic combination of strength of talent and suppleness to suggestion. And I hope this is true because I do not believe that everyone can become a prima ballerina, nor do I believe that students are safe when they blindly follow their teachers. History has shown us that being too “coachable” can be trouble.


  • I think the most important thing about training is that we stick to the system. If we teach one thing to build our business, but do another, we’re giving our recruits a false sense of how to work the business. All the add-on stuff just makes the system look inadequate. If the system is inadequate, they maybe it’s best to find a different program.

    Just my $.02

    Jackie Bubis
    Getting better every day.

  • I am in my sixties and Uranus is passing over my Moon. (an astrological influence that is making me feel ornery and independent)

    Quite frankly, I have lost patience with the whole self-improvement coaching scene. I am far from perfect, but probably about as good as I am going to get.

  • With USANA, we purchase our tools from them. One new software program is called PresentationPro and there is a one time fee of $49.95 and a yearly update fee of $20.

    This gives you the ability to create presentations of all our videos and Power Point Presentations and then you can burn it to a DVD with a personal label for your prospect or save the video presentation to the web and send them a link.

    I just sent to emails with the link to our USANA Difference video and another link to a video explaining our compensation plan.

    This is system is easy to use and very inexpensive. Anyone can do it. And it does not break the bank.

    Additional USANA worked a deal with Microsoft so we can use their Live Meetings software for web cast. More experienced presenters give live presentations that anyone with internet service can watch and listen for free.

    If you want your own room for 50 people it is only $19.95 each month or $24.95 per month for a 500 person room. This software works really well, it is easy to train your new people on how to use USANA back room. Everyone logs into your Live Meeting room for free and then you just go onto the web and log into your USANA back room and everyone is watching you on their computer. A great training tool.


    Duane Spears



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