It was a Tuesday evening years ago, and my friend and I watched in awe as the young man in front of the room showed everyone his month’s checks – a little over $90,000.
I immediately thought, “Boy, if HE can do that, I MUST be able to do that!”
My friend agreed. “Yes!” she said, “You can do that too! Probably better!” The acquaintance who’d brought us beamed.
So far, my brain was fully engaged. My reaction was totally typical of me then (and now).
It’s during the first days of the training that my brain had to be manually shut off. And it went without a whimper. Here’s what they taught us:
1. It’s easy, anyone can do it. Look at me, a former waiter.
2. Talk to anything that moves. Anyone who can fog a mirror.
3. The product sells itself.
These statements went against everything I’d learned in life till then. Including my studies at Harvard and my practices in my commercial real estate business (where I always financially qualified any prospects I’d take on tour to lease or buy a building.)
My brain could not connect the dots between my experience and what I believed I was seeing: Someone in front of me who’s making significantly more than I, who had been ‘just’ a waiter and who was a few years my junior to boot. Maybe I’d just been doing things the slow way until then…
So I just suspended my better judgment and experience – without a fight. That night, I left my brain on the train.
But as that first year unfolded, I came to discover the “lie” of the trainings…
While he had checks, I had nothing but reps who fogged mirrors. No one did anything without me calling and pumping them up. But at least I sold product, so it wasn’t a total bust.
I put the thing on hold fora few months…and went back to my real estate business.
But I never could get it out of my mind.
After all, that cute waiter was doing it, wasn’t he?
Imagine there are a lot of brains floating around on trains. I remember being told some years ago that immediate action was required as “
the train has left the station” (aka the window of opportunity is closing).
Perhaps the greatest service you are providing, Kim, (and there are many) is the opportunity for each of us to get in touch with ourselves, get clear about what really brings us joy and what doesn’t – and the confidence to make the best choices, for us to manifest the highest vision we have for ourselves, despite all the trains and windows outside of us.
By the way, I know some have mis-judged your book by reading only part of the title, and never actually opening the book. I do marketing in my non-mlm life, too – the principles apply to anything, just like the Four Agreements – so I’m “multi-grateful”!
Thanks for the good words. Many people judge things without knowing a thing about them or finding out before they judge.
Galileo also had to deal with that, as has anyone who’s thought up something different from the status quo…
There probably isn’t a single person in NM who hasn’t “left their brain on the train” when dealing with some of the unbelievable things we hear and see in our business. But isn’t the most important thing now making sure all of our sisters and brothers in NM leave the station not only with their brains, but with their brains fully engaged?
I can remember back to 1980 when my sponsor in Amway would come up with a new way of “doing the business” every week. But it always followed the same theme, trick people into going to an Amway meeting. “Don’t tell them it’s Amway. They’ll run in the other direction,” he would tell us newbies in his living room meetings on Wednesday nights.
Where was my brain then?
Better yet, where was my integrity? Where was my sense of fair play? This wasn’t the CIA, we weren’t spying or running secret missions. Why was I blinded by the promises and the revolving door strategies to find new reps and sell soap powder?
Because of the power of money. It is just that simple. We also had our examples of people showing checks and touting their new lifestyles. Just like today’s NM marketing. Oh sure, maybe some companies don’t trot out people waving huge checks around, but they use the formulas and the “white boards” to lure us into believing the big lies, just like they did 26 years ago.
We are always lured by the possibilities of easy money and the promises of “it’s so good everyone will want it.” It’s human nature to want to win the lotto and retire on a 2 buck bet.
It has only been in the last several years that I’ve been able to shake loose of that kind of thinking and realize that to build a home-based business–or for that matter any kind of business–requires hard work, clear thinking, decisive actions and tons and tons of integrity.
What we need now is to spread that kind of virus to others. Maybe we’ll never change ALL of NM, but let’s infect as many as possible with the good virus of right thinking and fair play. Let’s demand that our companies do the right thing and emphasize the right tactics. Let’s refuse to be suckered into the tactics of trickery and deceit. Let’s make as much noise as we can. After all, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
Shake the rafters, rock the boat, rattle the windows and kick the doors fellow NM’ers. And spread the good virus. We have an industry to salvage, and we can’t do anything sitting on our comp plans.
The first few years of my network marketing career I was constantly told by my 5-figure-a-month upline, “The only difference between you and me is the number of no’s I’ve heard.” I can’t tell you how much that always offended me. This was always (and only) accompanied by the great accomplishment stories by the “regular guy who made it big” and left me feeling very much “less than the regular guy”.
Then one day, I called him on the carpet over it all and asked some rather direct questions concerning his “no-show” ratios, etc., and much to my delight, was told that his “no-show” ratios were very close to my own. So, now, when he says that old standby phrase, he adds, “…I’ve just heard so many more!”
As marketers being trained the “old way”, our self-esteem takes such a hit on a regular basis, it’s easy to begin to think we just “stink” at this, and even easier to forget that we do have the right to ask for “the rest of the story.”
Amen to Robert, Judy and Suzanne…
I enjoyed this post; the recent proposed changes in the FTC’s new business opportunity rule should go a long way to getting rid of this type of misleading earnings claims.
I posted a note about this article at: http://www.bizop.ca/blog2/000254.html, which may be of interest.