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Roger R. Ellerton PhD CMC

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Roger R. Ellerton PhD CMC

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MLM Promoters Often Recruit the Wrong People
by Roger R. Ellerton PhD CMC   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Posted: Tuesday, August 08, 2006

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Frequently MLM promoters focus on the wrong personalities when recruiting individuals to be part of their downline. In fact, it is estimated that only about one in ten people recruited succeed at making a full-time living with MLM.


MLM, which stands for multilevel marketing, is a genuine and potentially profitable business opportunity. Yet, before getting involved, you need to understand if it is congruent with your personality.

At one time or another, each of us has been approached by someone promoting an MLM product or business opportunity. Some familiar MLM companies are: Mary Kay, Amway, NSA, Herbalife and Nu Skin. For those involved with MLM, there are primarily two ways to make money: sell product or sign-up someone to sell product as part of your organization (often referred to as a downline) - the latter often being the more profitable.

Frequently MLM promoters focus on the wrong personalities when recruiting individuals to be part of their downline. In fact, it is estimated that only about one in ten people recruited succeed at making a full-time living with MLM. To help explain this poor success ratio, let’s consider the Options - Procedures meta program from NLP.

In NLP, meta programs are filters that operate at an unconscious level and determine how you perceive the world around you. They have a major influence on how you communicate with others and the behaviors you manifest. For this article, we will focus on the Options - Procedures meta program. This meta program is based on the question: Does the person prefer to keep their options open and explore alternatives or feel most comfortable following established procedures?

The terms Options and Procedures describe two ends of a spectrum. On one end, we have Options people who are motivated by the possibility of doing something in an alternative way. They are the type of people who will develop procedures, yet not follow them. They enjoy breaking or bending the rules. Exploring new ideas and possibilities is of great interest. They may begin a new project and not feel compelled to finish it. It is often said of these people that if someone gave them a guaranteed way to make a million dollars, the first thing they would do is look at ways to improve the process. These people are motivated when they hear words or phrases such as: alternatives, break the rules, choice, flexibility, unlimited possibilities, the sky's the limit, expand your choices, let's look at other options. These people do well in situations that require developing solutions or alternatives to current systems - fashion designing, process re-engineering.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Procedures people who like to follow established rules and processes. Once they understand a procedure, they will follow it repeatedly. They have great difficulty developing new processes and feel lost without a clearly defined procedure. They are more concerned about how to do something than about why they should do it. For them, bending or breaking rules is sacrilege! They are motivated by words and phrases such as: correct way, tried and true , first … then … lastly, clearly defined path, proven methodology. Procedures people do well in a structured environment with clearly defined processes, for example bookkeeping or commercial airline piloting.

In a general work context, about forty percent of the people have a preference for Options, forty percent for Procedures and twenty percent are fairly evenly balanced between the two.

Now, let's return to looking at MLM. Of the two types of people, which one will most likely be successful as an MLM distributor? I suggest that MLM organizations have been successful because they have developed proven, successful ways to sell their products and to build an extensive and profitable downline. In other words, their ideal candidate is someone who follows a proven set of procedures - a Procedures person!

Yet, when I am approached by an MLM distributor or attend an MLM recruiting meeting, I repeatedly hear words such as: the sky’s the limit, gives you freedom, you are your own boss, flexibility, explore the possibilities, keep your options open, … . That is, they are speaking to and attracting Options people. Options people are attracted by the freedom and flexibility of the opportunity and readily sign-up. The first time they market the product or business opportunity, they may follow the proven process, the next time, they will probably do it a different way and different yet again the time following that. At some point, they may develop a brilliant way to develop their business. However, they don’t take time to fully develop the procedures before moving on to something new. Thus, they do not achieve the full potential of the opportunity.

On a related note, it has been discovered that telemarketers with a preference for the Procedures pattern sell about three times as much as Options people. Simply because sales (and MLM) is a very structured process.

Author: Roger Ellerton is a certified NLP trainer, certified management consultant and the founder and managing partner of Renewal Technologies. He can be reached at Renewal Technologies www.renewal.ca. The above article is an extract from his book Live Your Dreams - Let Reality Catch Up: NLP and Common Sense for Coaches, Managers and You (www.live-your-dreams.biz).

Web Site: Live Your Dreams Let Reality Catch Up


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Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 8/9/2006
MLM is just another dog and pony show and misleading if not downright fraudulent. How people can continually be suckered into them is amazing.

Good article.