Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Building an Ethical Network Marketing Business

Did the title get your attention? Good.

Firstly, let's get a few NOTs out of the way.

This is NOT a criticism of the network marketing industry as a whole, nor should it be seen as an opportunity to take pot-shots at individual companies.

What I am concerned with is the ethical perspective of some network marketing "experts". As an example, the advocation by some of lead generation activity that verges on spamming. The sort of advice that recommends creating 100 webmail accounts of the getinfo01 - 99 @ variety, so that you can bypass the submission terms and conditions of free advertising sites by simultaneously using all 100 email accounts to produce your leads. You can predict the resentment that this behaviour causes amongst both website admins and other users.

I know of one "expert" whose idea of lead generation is to effectively steamroller over the "opposition" by inundating an area with lead generation aimed at his website. He gets his accounts revoked on a regular basis, but he doesn't care because he's got his leads. His behaviour has a negative effect on both his downline, who can't emulate him, and the other poor network marketers whose adverts look similar to his and who can't work out why they've been booted off a particular site with their first and only advert.

What these "experts" fail to remember is the networking part of network marketing. Networking involves building relationships with others and that includes the moderators of the sites where you are promoting your own business. Spamming sites with cut-and-paste advertising clones is just one of the reasons why MLM is held in such low regard by others, to the point where you can't promote yourself as a network marketing representative on many free sites.

Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't have a couple of backup email addresses, in case you accidentally fall foul of the submission guidelines on a given site. Nor am I saying that you shouldn't place a variety of adverts on the same site, if the guidelines permit that. But you need to be clear in your mind as to what you are trying to achieve - is it long-term sustainability or short-term profit?

To be a leader in network marketing, you need a strong set of values as a foundation for how you do business with others. If you behave like a flim-flam artist, you will drive away honest hard-working distributors who have been told to duplicate their upline's systems, but cannot bring themselves to use your methods.

These aren't precepts, but they are common-sense guidelines for building an ethical business:
  1. Treat everybody you 'meet', whether online administrators, customers or potential representatives with respect.
  2. Keep in contact with everybody you 'meet'. You never know who may join your business - it may be the friend of the person you were nice to 2 years ago.
  3. Ask yourself, how do others view me/my behaviour/my business activities. Then ask your best friend for an honest appraisal. If you don't know how you come across, you can't improve.
  4. List 5 qualities that you want to make part of your personal brand. Mine are honesty, loyalty, hard-working, nurturing, coaching. Write them down and put them somewhere prominent. Remind yourself to be your brand every day.
  5. List 3 core values you intend to adhere to. Simple is better - think of the French motto, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" - both catchy and pithy. Add those to your brand statement.
  6. Commit to a kaizen mindset.
Nightingale Conant's UK website has a good mission statement generator. Why not try it out and see what your mission statement looks like when you slot in your core values and qualities?

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