The Paradox in Network Marketing

... and a Plausible Solution

John Milton Fogg

I have always prided myself in being a very good student. Which is why, when I meet another one, she or he gets my immediate respect and focused attention. Chris Gross -- CEO of Upline -- is such a student when it comes to Network Marketing. Chris has gone to school on our business and its people's values, wants, and needs like few others I've known.

One balmy summer afternoon, sitting on my deck in Charlottesville, visitor Chris asked me why I thought the turnover rate was so high in Networking. I told him. Then he asked if I had a solution. I told him I didn't.

He said he did.

The student was becoming the teacher.

-- JMF

Chris Gross You belong to a fabulous profession, Network Marketing. Your company offers products with unparalleled benefits, and the promise of a better way of life is within everyone's grasp. Yet there is something about our way of doing business, our distribution system, our profession which can set off cautionary alarms inside our prospects' minds as quickly as a driver's radar detector bleep.

What is that alarm and why does it seem so ingrained? Let's call it public perception. So what gives? Who or what shapes the public's opinion? The only plausible answer is Network Marketing and its press.

Throughout its history, Network Marketing has had challenges with its image. It seems that the press jumps all over anything even slightly negative with what seems (to us within the profession) delighted relish.

Here is one explanation: It is no secret that Network Marketing has quite the revolving door. Some say that the attrition rate is in excess of 90 percent. Let's apply Network Marketing thinking to that little nugget of information. Like it or not, we have now employed a large-scale public relations firm to do our speaking for us. We have nine people telling nine people who tell nine people ... who tell nine people ... (does this chain ever end!??!) ... that Network Marketing doesn't work.

Could it be that the culprit for our profession's reputation is none other than Network Marketing itself?

A possible target for improving the public's perception of our profession is quite clear -- it is the attrition rate.

Many Network Marketing professionals will tell you that new Network Marketers demonstrate their greatest enthusiasm about their decision to join the profession at the very beginning (and after they receive their first nice check).


Could it be a desire to make a change in their life? They tapped into their powerful feelings. Energized, excited, empowered by passion, they broke through. They noticed that they wanted to make a change and identified why the timing worked now. Some experts in our business call this "The Why."

What happens next varies from person to person. For many, the patterns of everyday life grab their focus from their new business and redirect it back to familiar and comfortable routines.

What next?

The revolving door opens. What will interrupt their passage right back to where they started? Training is the answer. Many professional Network Marketers recognize just how vulnerable the new distributors can be in the very beginning. These leaders devote their time to training and supporting their new distributors. Timely delivery of inspiration, motivation, education, instruction, with a focus on personal growth issues and early success, are most important now. But as important as timely delivery of this information can be, many new distributors do not receive multiple exposures to this kind of support when they need it most -- in the beginning.

The goal of the Upline Journal is to address just these issues and at the same time focus on our industry's perhaps most significant challenge -- the extremely high attrition rate. Upline provides the nuts and bolts information capable of fortifying all Network Marketing professionals from their first day until they reach their company's highest level. In the beginning, the monthly delivery of powerful generic information invigorates, strengthens, supports and fosters belief in oneself and in the profession of Network Marketing. As time goes on, the distributor grows more and more comfortable, more confident ... with education and experience, they become solid practitioners of our profession.

Clearly these are the kind of folks we want with us when we build our businesses. For the savvy folks who build the business with subscribers to Upline, there are two significant benefits: Efficiency and Leverage. Upline subscribers renew. They renew in large numbers. Depending upon the month, as many as 45 percent of them renew.

As a businessperson serious about building a Network Marketing business, one will want to know how to build a business with the challenge of the profession's 90 percent attrition rate. Remember the nine telling nine telling nine telling nine that the business doesn't work? Well, the 4.5 Upline subscribers are busy too! They are telling four and a half people, who tell another four and a half people, who tell ... the picture becomes quite clear. Still, there remains a large gap between the nines and the 4.5s. This is how the Upline Journal addresses the industry's fundamental challenge.

What about those benefits?

As a serious Networker, you must make a fundamental decision, in the interest of efficiency and leverage, about the industry's fundamental challenge. Do you concentrate your efforts on the nine out of ten folks who will be gone within one year, or do you focus your energy on the 4.5 Upline subscribers who will still be with you when they renew next year?

While you may believe that Upline is required reading for yourself, that may not prove to be sufficient for building a solid business. You and everyone in your organization may need the generic inspiration, motivation, education, instruction and personal growth articles we deliver each month. Wouldn't your business have a more solid foundation if it were built upon a bedrock of belief (in oneself and one's profession) than if it were built upon the shifting sands of a 90 percent attrition rate?

A thought worth considering? A choice worth making. A risk worth taking.

-- Chris Gross, CEO 

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Last Word - January 2000, 888-UPLINE-1,


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