2.22.2010

A Ramble about Network Marketing, Health, Cults and Rationalizations

I am coming up on my first full year of being engaged in a network marketing (or multi-level marketing or pyramid scheme or whatever else you want to label it, not a Ponzi scheme because there's no tangible goods in a Ponzi scheme and Kyani's juice, gelcaps and nitric oxide drops are very real). Anyway, I could put engaged in the previous sentence in quotations because at this point my level of engagement in actively working the MLM program is close to zero.

It hasn't always been. When I first started in it, I was very gung-ho. Put too much time into it, invested too much energy in it and eventually burnt myself out after not seeing very much success while others were getting multi-thousand dollar checks (yes, I've actually seen them, they are real, the money is very real).

It wasn't just the lack of conversion from money outflow to income though that burned me out. Never having been part of a network marketing company before I'd didn't have too many preconceived notions going in. And the ones I did have were, like most people's are when they hear the term network marketing or multi-level marketing, negative. Especially since Bernie Madoff was so fresh in the news and the thousands of previously rich people who's lives he smashed against the rock of greed and unsustainable promises.

I went into it cautiously but was seduced by the lure of the formulas, the seeming ease of it and the impressive successes of others. But the funny thing is that it all felt so forced, so staged, so driven by baser impulses that I found that I really didn't have much of a taste for it. Sure, it can be very, very easy money for some people but so can selling piece of shit cars for some people but that ain't me. My inner skeptic overcame my outer adherent.

At this point, or maybe even paragraphs ago, you might be asking yourself why I'm still involved with Kyani at all. And my reason is pretty simple. In the near year I've been using the three products I have not been sick once. My job as a computer tech in elementary schools exposes me to pathogens nearly constantly and I did not get sick once. Also, the Nitro FX makes my bike rides substantially better because of the improved circulatory benefits of the stuff. Before I started using Kyani I was getting sick every six weeks or less. In one stretch I bounced from one flu to the next for over a month, losing work days and feeling like utter crap.

Yes, I know this sounds like a sell job but honestly I'm not trying to sell anyone. I've tried selling people on Kyani and that doesn't work, at least not for me. So, instead I'm going to tell my story and see where that gets me.

It works. Plain and simple. My health is, thankfully, pretty good all the way around. But it is better taking Kyani. I stay with the company not because I like the business side but because I value the health benefits of the products themselves. And I recommend them to anyone who wants to feel better. Would I make a few bucks if someone tried it? Yep, but that's not really why I'd want someone to sign up and try it. I want people to give it a try because it can make a big improvement in your life if you suffer from chronic pain or diabetes or asthma or any number of other things.

And if you do try the Kyani products and they don't work then the company will give you your money back, minus shipping and I'll give you that if you want. Seriously. The worst part about writing this stuff out is knowing how it reads, knowing how quickly eyes glaze over and attention is diverted to some shiny widget.

But if you had a way for someone to not be in pain all the time, if you had a way for someone who's hands and feet tingle constantly from diabetes, if you had a way for someone to breathe more easily, stand up more easily, not ache then wouldn't you want to do every damned thing you could to introduce that possible solution them?

Which brings us around to the cult aspect of network marketing and probably the main reason I'm not more active in the company anymore. The practice of working a network marketing business is to play to psychology, to play the prospects like instruments and get them singing by the end of the meeting. There's psychology in every aspect of the meeting, in every aspect of the invite and in follow ups and introductions and everything else. It is the selling that is distasteful to me

And the edification aspect. That is a huge part of the process, to edify your upline, to talk them up, to psychologically weaken your prospect before they've even met your upline. The whole thing felt and feels forced and unnatural and more shysterish than an honest desire to help other people feel better and live better lives. Especially once you get to know some of the people in your upline and realize that some of them aren't laudable in any way and some are downright sleazebags. In fact, there are a couple of people in my direct upline that I wouldn't stop to spit on if they were on fire.

So there's a little glimpse into the pros and cons of network marketing from a grunt in the trenches. I love the products and loathe the business side of it. I can deal with it though because I know that people who use the products will feel better and lead more complete lives.

I like improving people's lives, its part of why I find technical support so gratifying and it is one of the main reasons I was drawn to network marketing in the first place. But all of the fluffy BS stuff? I can do without it.
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