Half Truths

Um…”We make money talking to people”

That’s another popular mantra among MLMers. It it true?

My friend Archie (now a top banana) calls
60 people per day to offer the business opportunity.
(Yes, he really does.)

Last Monday he made his 60 calls
(referrals, cold calls, etc). He connected with 35.
Left 25 messages.  Alas, there were no takers Monday.
Nobody signed up for product or the business opp.

Did he make money last Monday?

If you think yes, read on.  If you say no, school’s over.

The only time you make money talking to people is if one of
those people buys something.  Either from you (your inventory) or
from the company.  That’s the story. Because. You earn a percent
of whatever orders (recruit and customer) you bring in. So no
orders, no percent => no money.

Instead of, “We make money talking to people” how about

“We make money whenever someone we talk to
places an order.  Because we get a percent of it.
That’s how it works. So I talk to as many people
as I can. In case they know someone.”

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • There’s a difference between being busy and being productive.

    Yet some days, no matter how many people you talk to, your thing is simply not a good fit.

    As they say in baseball, “You win some, you lose some and some get rained out.” 🙂

  • Kim, I think you have stated the situation in a more precise manner and I personally like your description with this one distinction. Archie spoke or left a voice message with 60 people on Monday. As you tell the story no one bought anything on Monday and therefore Archie did not make any money for his efforts (talking with people) that day. But does that necessarily mean that he won’t at some point in the future earn from his efforts on Monday. For example, I personally reached out and spoke with numerous people on a particular day in November of 2011 and nothing came from my efforts that day. However, one of those individuals signed up with me in January of 2012. So, was the effort I expended on that day in November worthwhile? Did I know beforehand which individual or individuals would eventually step forward and join the team? Could there yet be others to come forward and “buy” something from me from my activity in November of last year? Wasn’t Archie planting “seeds of prosperity” on Monday even though he may not realize his harvest until some time in the future? Could there be another way of looking at this situation and let me illustrate it in the following manner: Let’s say Archie makes a $1,000.00 profit from each sale but on average he has to talk to 100 people to find that one person who makes the purchase. Couldn’t you say that each person he spoke with was worth $10.00 while he was searching for that one in a hundred who was truly interested in what he had to offer? If you viewed it from that perspective, then would that provide some positive motivation to keep moving forward even when “nothing good” seems to be happening? Well, that’s my 2 cents on this topic, Kim – thank you for the post.

    • David,

      Yes you are right. Totally reasonable way for a sales pro to look at it.

      The point is that too many mlmers want to deny to others that this is sales and marketing business. Many people who give up do so because they didn’t realize they had to bring in orders to earn income. That’s pretty different from ‘just talk to people.” People do everything to hide the kind of work
      a person has to do when they recruit them. Only after they’ve signed up does the truth come out and then they’re labelled lazy and worse.

      My point: tell it like it is up front. You must get orders to make money in this business. You’re then more likely to get people for whom this is the right thing and who stick. Think?

  • If you have a lot of such a Mondays you need to look yourself in the mirror and ask something…
    At the end results count, but MLM is not a bussines where you make balance sheet each end of the day, but at the end of the month you should do some analysis…something what @David Grogan has proposed.

    • Simona,

      Archie is the #1 producer in his company. The point was it is not ‘just talking to people’ that makes you income. That’s what some mlm recruiters say, to make it sound easy. It’s getting the orders that makes you income and that is a lot harder than talking to people. It’s talking to many, until you find the few right ones. 🙂 That was the point of this.

      • understood…
        what I notice is that if you put a sales ad people will call and say they are willing to start, after they see that it is MLM, they say NO!?

        • Hmm. That’s often because of the reputation of MLM. the way it’s practiced by some people is hiding what is really involved, banging on people to hit on their friends, promoting by saying how easy it is to make money – when it is not – that is the problem. If you run a sales ad, you separate the product and customer gathering part from the “mlm” part so people can choose to do one or both. Those kinds of scripts are in the Art of Recruiting or Skeptical Market Recruiter programs I have on Banana Marketing. Do you have either of those? http://bananamarketing.com Check the “Recruiting” tab at the top.

          • Hi Kim, I still consider that the most important thing is to talk to people and do presentations. When you have a verry good product, just only talking will bring buyers. In my 17 years experience in Network marketing is that people do not talk. Since they would talk, they will have orders coming in. So in my opinion is to talk and do presentations. The orders are only a side effect of those 2 activities.

          • Maryana,

            No question, a person has to talk to people to get orders. And since you are talking to people AND doing product presentations – which are obviously designed to demo the product and offer it for sal – this is a very good thing. When I say that the instruction many recruiters give out, “All you have to do is talk to people you know” this is only half the story. Of course, the purpose is to make it sound easier than it is. “Talking to people you know” and recommending things we like, does not normally involve a friend making money from another. Think? however, if the recruiters said, “You have to talk to people and do product presentations” that would be great. And more honest. People talk to each other constantly, but not with the goal of getting the other person to order something, on which the talker will benefit financially. That is why, I believe, so many people do not talk to others, as you point out. Once they discover is is not just “talking” but presenting, or talking in order to get an order or a referral, they realize they are not prepared and are not sure what to do now. So, they sometimes do nothing at all. Sigh.

  • Kim,

    There are a few different pieces of the puzzle people must have to even begin “Selling” correctly, which is what prompted me to buy and follow your stuff. 🙂

    First of all, we’re not really selling anything unless we own that specific item or service, correct? We are, in fact, referring others to buy from the company we represent… which is what earns us a commission on that sale.

    Many peoples problem with “Selling” is their attitude towards the way they were treated at some point by a “Used Car Salesman” type that wouldn’t accept no for and answer… so they look down upon selling because they THINK that’s what sales is, based upon their previous experience(s).

    If people would learn from YOU how to approach and “Sell” products and services correctly… without having to worry about BEING a Used Car Salesman type… they would then realize and understand what a REAL, Professional sales person is and how it’s done right.

    David was right on above when he pointed out that we’re simply “planting a seed” when we “Talk” to people, but it’s more than that. It’s a matter of talking to people in the “Right” way… with the “Right” attitude and mindset.

    Yes, we are “Selling” and making a commission when we do find people that want to buy what we’re recommending to them… that’s a fact, but most people don’t really understand that process… which is why many say no.

    If people would stop trying to “SELL” everyone, instead of trying to find the RIGHT folks who WANT what we offer, we would be planting a lot more seeds of achievement for a healthy harvest in the spring.

    Archie may not have made any sales that day, but if he had learned from you how to do it correctly, he would have a much better chance of return phone calls, potential sales and/or more referrals to follow up with the next day, week, month or year.

    If we understand that we ARE planting seeds, instead of trying to make the sale NOW, perhaps those folks we’re talking to would be more receptive to a follow up?

  • Since gardening is a hobby of mine and I am getting ready for spring the last comment so hit home with me. The efforts we do by talking to as many folks as we can that are folks like us..want our type of product/service will pay off just like when one plants the seeds in the garden, waters and nurtures it to completion, so does one “drip” on the prospects by keeping in touch with them by return calls or sending information on the product/service until the time is right for that person to buy the item you are selling. I now, thanks to you Kim, understand and am ok with the fact that I SELL my product, to folks just like me…..I am sending this to my “sales force” to help them sell more product.

    • Hey Bones,

      Actually, this came from an email I got from someone today. Not you.
      Unrelated to our previous exchanges. I know you know better.

  • Another great post Kim….

    The question we all need to ask ourselves is:

    “How much is it costing me to not make the call?”

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