Monday, 8 June 2009

Multi-level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a form of Network Marketing (however the terms are often used interchangeably). It is a marketing strategy that compensates promoters of direct selling companies not only for product sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they introduced to the company. The products and company are usually marketed directly to consumers and potential business partners by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing.

The idea behind multi-level marketing (MLM) is simple. Imagine you have a product to sell. A common MLM product is some sort of panacea, such as a vitamin or mineral supplement. You could do what most businesses do: either sell it directly to consumers or find others who will buy your product from you and sell it to other people. MLM schemes require that you recruit people not only to buy and sell your product, but who will also recruit people who will not only buy and sell your product but also recruit people.

Distributors earn a commission based on the sales efforts of their organization, which includes their independent sale efforts as well as the leveraged sales efforts of their downline. This arrangement is similar to franchise arrangements where royalties are paid from the sales of individual franchise operations to the franchisor as well as to an area or region manager. Commissions are paid to multi-level marketing distributors according to the company’s compensation plan.
MLM is very attractive, however, because it sells hope and appears to be outside the mainstream of business as usual. It promises wealth and independence to all. Unfortunately, no matter what the product, MLM is doomed to produce more failures than successes.

The most successful MLM scheme is Amway. It has millions of distributors worldwide with sales in the billions. At the turn of the century, the average Amway distributor earned about $700 a year in sales, but spent about $1,000 a year on Amway products.

Most states outlaw this practice, which is known as "pyramiding." State laws against pyramiding say that a multilevel marketing plan should only pay commissions for retail sales of goods or services, not for recruiting new distributors.
Why is pyramiding prohibited? Because plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. And when a plan collapses, most people -- except perhaps those at the very top of the pyramid -- lose their money.

This is not to say there is no benefit to MLM membership. You get certain tax write-offs. You get to buy products, some of which you will be happy with. You get to go to inspirational meetings, some of which will make you feel good. You may meet new friends and you may even make a few bucks. But more than likely you will end up alienating some family and friends. You will probably end up buying more stuff than you sell. And you will learn a lot about deceiving yourself and others. You won't be allowed to tell anyone how you are really doing, for example. You will always have to think positive, even if that means lying. You will have to tell anyone who asks that you are doing great, that business is wonderful, that you've never seen anything go so fast and bring you income so quickly, even if it isn't true.

More to read : Affiliate Marketing
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