In a previous blog, we examined the reasons why so many people join MLMs, even though the odds of success are so low. If you have a friend or family member who is considering joining an MLM or multi-level marketing company, there is still a window of opportunity to help them see why joining the multi-level marketing company will be a waste of time and money. But, you have to go about it the right way to ensure that you don’t ruin an important relationship in your life. Below is a list of tips for how to navigate this difficult situation and maintain your friendship at the same time.
1) Don’t tell them they are joining a cult
One of the quickest way to irritate your friend is to call the MLM they are joining a cult. The “c” word is incredibly divisive and is a quick way to get your friend to shutdown and stop all communication. In addition, MLMs are keenly aware of their reputation of cult-like atmospheres, and thus will circulate plenty of talking points to their distributors about why their multi-level marketing is in fact very different from a cult. Instead of attacking, ask them questions like:
- What is the average monthly/annual profit for distributors?
- What is the breakdown of sales from distributors vs. consumers?
- Have the founders/leaders of the company experienced legal trouble in the past?
- Is there any way to get your money back if the opportunity doesn’t pan out the way they were promised?
Asking them questions like these will encourage them to think critically (or get additional information from their recruiter) about the true financial opportunity that the MLM offers. Sometimes, just asking these questions may get them to rethink the “opportunity”, or at the very least dig a bit deeper into the company.
2) Offer them a different financial opportunity
If your friend is seriously considering joining an MLM, it’s very likely that they are dissastified with their current financial situation. Multi-level marketing companies are very good at convincing distributors that they will finally be able to “take charge” of their financial future with promises of “residual income” and endless downlines, and this can be an extremely enticing prospect for those who are in debt or struggling to pay bills. As an alternative, help your friend identify ways that they can earn extra money by leveraging a skillset they possess, or even finding an opportunity to do work for you. Helping them jumpstart a side job or business may be enough to get them to reconsider the large and risky investment that a multi-level marketing company is demanding.
3) Let them do it, and support them emotionally, not financially
At the end of the day, if someone is seriously considering joining an MLM, it is likely because they have bought into the hype and they are not interested in facing the fact that it’s next to impossible to earn money as a distributor for a network marketing or multi-level marketing company. If you see that your friend has passed the point of no return, it may be better to just accept the fact that they are going to join, and to instead prepare yourself to support them emotionally. However, it’s very important not to support them by buying their product or joining the MLM and subjecting yourself to the same financial risk.
4) Don’t say “I told you so”
When your friend inevitably quits the MLM (as the vast majority of distributors normally do within a year), it’s important to not gloat and tell them “I told you so.” Chances are they were in a bad financial position before joining the MLM and they are probably now in an even worse one. This means that they are going to be even more discouraged and potentially desperate than they were before, which makes criticism especially difficult to digest. Instead, encourage them by highlighting the fact that MLMs do not set up their distributors for success, and that their failure is not a personal failure, but rather a fact of how multi-level marketing companies are built. Offer to help them strategize about getting out of debt or finding an alternate source of income that has a better chance for success.
Do you have any other tips for how you’ve talked to your friend or family member who is considering joining an MLM? Let us know in the comments!