What name do we use for our distribution channel? For what we do? Is it “Network Marketing?”
First, what we do is a PROFESSION. It requires experience, beginning as an ‘Apprentice.’ The better we get at what we do, the more we produce. As in ‘Intern‘, we can earn more income…and have more value as we develop an organization. As we grown and mentor, we can become a true ‘Professional.’
In its inception in the a950’s, this “Channel” of distribution didn’t really have a particular name. Sometimes it was
· Multi-level Marketing
· Sometimes it was ‘Network Marketing.’
We fell into the umbrella of “The Direct Selling Association” – which is the industry trade group that represents all forms of these channels of independent business owners.
As the Profession has grown in the past decades, the term ‘Network Marketing’ has more been adapted to describe companies like Shaklee, which has a pay plan that goes beyond simply selling directly to customers and instead rewards people for leadership, for creating organizations and for building in depth.
These distinctions are clearly outlined in Richard Brooke’s book “The Four Year Career.” The special Shaklee edition of this is available at www.AltusProductions.com.
In some circles this term ‘network marketing’ isn’t held in high regard. Unfortunately there’s reason for that rap. Some companies have exaggerated claims, have marketed inferior products, and have flaunted excessive earnings claims. So yes, a few bad apples can spoil the perceptions of a whole barrel. Liike the ranks of some ‘car salesmen’
This leaves legit companies scrambling for how to distance themselves from those bad apples. Some choose to simply change the name from ‘network marketing’ – although it doesn’t change the actual reality. See more here: “Direct Selling vs. Network Marketing.
If you hear a term like – “Social Marketing” – that may capture the idea of what we do but with a different set of words. It doesn’t necessarily imply only using Social Media, but it can include Social Media as ways to reach out and find some people who might be looking for who we are and what we do.
What we know, bottom line, is that no matter HOW someone finds a customer, the value to us and to them and to the company comes from OUR creating personal relationships with them. For US that’s creating the kinds of repeat customers that have sustained our businesses for decades.
It’s the magic of personal Referrals. Of Trust.
No amount of ‘social media’ alone with create that.
And only when we focus on developing organizations, with leadership, as Dr. Shaklee modeled for us, do we create the impact of MULTIPLYING, not just addition (and subtraction) that shows up in Direct Sales.
And only then can we legitimately develop the kind of ASSET income that can provide generational wealth.