This is a series by Athena Dean Holtz on Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) in the Church. Click here to start at the beginning.
The California “Gold Rush”
As I sat down eagerly with my “upline manager” I was told to make a list of at least 100 people, everyone from our friends and family to the clerk at the local grocery store and the pastor at church.
“Think of every possible person you can, and just write their names down on a piece of paper,” said my manager. He even gave me a memory jogger so I wouldn’t miss anyone. As I read the words, “school, church, PTA, relatives, the clerk at the grocery store, the person who sold you your last car,” my mind began to churn with long lists of names.
“When you finish listing everyone, go back and put a star next to the people who are in some form of leadership; people who have a following, people who are excited, motivated, hard-working, successful; people who influence others. These are the ones we want to recruit into your organization because they are the kind of people that others will follow.”
They didn’t exactly say it, but they wanted to use my relationships, my credibility with people and my resources to get their business in front of qualified prospects and make sales and recruit more people, starting the process of 100 names all over again.
I was nothing if not outgoing, so I made up a list of 200 prospects and threw a big party at my house so I would have a captive audience for my very first opportunity meeting. I invited everyone I knew to hear the good news! The barbecue was smoking out in the back yard, and festive music was playing in the background. Jason and his upline managers were there to show me how to “work the crowd.”
I was totally convinced that I was helping my friends. After all, I had a great product. It would make and save them money. Why, it could save their lives! My zeal to help myself by helping others was born. After dessert, we gathered everyone around a white board and my upline manager began to share the dream.
The fund-raising business I had established a few years earlier helped raise needed capital for local non-profit organizations. It was showing signs of weakening, so as fast as I could shut that down I went full-time into this new crusade. With no second thoughts, I opened an office above a real estate firm in Burbank and ran newspaper ads all over town. I held two opportunity meetings a day and turned into a well-oiled recruiting machine. With each new recruit I’d sit down and help them make that all-important list.
“Let’s face it, the people who will want to help you the most are those who love you and care about you! And how could you possibly hesitate to go to those closest to you first? You owe it to your friends and family to share this important information with them! If you’re active in a church, that’s a great place to start!” I would encourage them with such intensity that they never questioned me or my tactics. I told a very convincing story. After all, I was sold and knew that they should be as well!