Far Worse Than Ignorance

I’m asked a lot of truly interesting questions from a very broad cross section of professionals. Some answers require a lot of thought while others require none.

The question I’m asked repeatedly is one of those that’s quite simple to answer. But the answer is very important. Here’s the question:

“Do most Networkers fail because of ignorance?”

No. Most Networkers fail, not because of ignorance, but because of the illusion of wisdom.

Our industry, unlike medicine, law, teaching, stock brokerage or accounting, has no requirements for participation. Even real estate sales people take tests that demonstrate minimum standards of competence. Fail, and you’re denied a license.

In fact, if you get caught impersonating a police officer, you’re in trouble. But if you’ve never recruited one person, sold one product for a Network Marketing company or ever participated in any MLM venture, you can still fabricate your credentials, slap up a pretty website and sell the illusion of wisdom about how to succeed in Network Marketing.

Not only can people impersonate successful distributors, but they can actually earn a lot of money teaching what they’ve never done. But wait, there’s more…

Not only can an incompetent sell the illusion of wisdom, but if he or she provides a large enough financial incentive to MLM leaders, affiliates will promote his or her training materials to their downline. But wait, there more…

If a person is a celebrity author with brand name recognition, all they need to do to sell their books and tapes is say something nice about the MLM industry. Evidently, Networkers are so starved for credibility and recognition, that anyone who has ever achieved success in any field will be welcomed by our profession like some liberating hero.

A person who has been on TV a few times or written any bestseller on any subject need not even create the illusion of wisdom. Presumably, their celebrity alone qualifies them to deliver speeches, and sell books and training information that will help Networkers succeed. But wait, there’s more…

If your company owners like to schmooze with celebrities, you’ll notice that every year at the annual convention, when the most loyal and committed leaders make a pilgrimage to the biggest corporate event of the year, everyone will be treated to celebrity speeches.

If Paris Hilton needed the money, I’m sure she’d be keynoting several MLM conventions. Those of you who have been in this industry for several years may remember that immediately before his murder trial, OJ Simpson was a keynote speaker at the annual convention of one of the most respected MLM companies. He was their celebrity pitchman because he once played football. Go figure.

So, how do we professional Networkers help new people avoid falling prey to the illusion of wisdom? I have a simple plan.

First, introduce your people to this blog article so they can appreciate the problem.

Second, teach them to verify the credentials of any Network Marketing trainer before buying materials. Often, a simple e-mail request for proof of credentials and follow up verification will suffice. Call their former company and verify their income claims.

Third, send an e-mail to your corporate leaders requesting a speaker at your next convention who is a recognized industry professional like Rod Cook, Jerry Clark, Sandy Elsburg, Todd Falcone or Dr. Charles King.

Fourth, do not, under any circumstances, promote training materials to anyone in your downline, no matter how much you’re financially incentivized, until you are absolutely certain that the trainer’s credentials are legitimate and you’ve successfully applied his or her strategies.

Fifth, encourage distributors to get out of their seats and into the streets. Cyberspace is crammed with the illusion of wisdom…and very little substance.

Internet training is far too seductive and filled to the brim with get-rich-quick schemes aimed at vulnerable new business builders. But a pretty website does not a competent mentor make, and it’s our job to warn folks.

Remember, unlike virtually every other field in capitalism, we have no competency tests, minimum standards of performance or standardized licensing procedures. Like the early days of mixed martial arts, “there aren’t any rules!” Most new distributors do not fail because they’re ignorant. They fail because someone who has successfully created the illusion of wisdom sells them a system.

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