I originally posted this in a public MLM forum on AOL. It appears here in a somewhat edited version.
I admit I am a big opponent to the motivational systems used by MLMs to siphon off more money from downlines. The recent Dateline show about Quixtar, of course, showed what happens when people fall prey to motivational tools and not true business building practices.
But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Multilevel Marketing, Network Marking, Direct Sales, (pick your favorite term) requires knowledge and training. Reading books is an integral part of learning.
But as happens in most MLM circles, is that the only books read by the MLM masses have to do with MLMs, sales, business, or “feel-good” inspirational stories.
These are fine and good, but lead to memorized passages, biased views, and in my opinion a dumbing down of the people involved in MLM.
If MLMs are truly a “people-business”, then why do we restrict our potential to interact with people by merely reading and reciting the motivational tidbits of writers whose sometime goal is to merely sell more books?
How about reading books that contribute to challenging our thought processes? How about increasing our general knowledge so that we might relate to people on more than one level? How about just knowing a little something more than “pay plans” at a dinner party?
Last year or so, a friend recommended to me the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Karl Popper and Ludwig Von Mise. At first glance, these names have very little to do with Network Marketing. But marketing, in general, is about relating to people. Being well read, in turn, makes you more “relatable” to more people. An ability to think and reason, to follow a conversation, to interject your thoughts on a wide variety of subjects make you more accessible to a wider variety of people.
The Modern Library List of the 100 Greatest Books of the 20th Century was released around 2000. Many of these books, you may have heard of, many contain phrases and passages that are an integral part of our American vernacular and culture. These books are not just for those interested in literature, they could and should be an integral part of your business building.
They are thought-provoking, idea-inspiring, and yes, sometimes even motivational.
The next time your sponsor asks you, “Have you read Think and Grow Rich?”; ask him if he has read Winesburg, Ohio or Lord Jim.
If we are to change the perspective most have of us involved in MLM, then we need to quit being “experts” and “mentors” and “consultants” and strive to become students instead. Continuing education is not just about learning all we can in our field, it’s about expanding our critical thinking processes, it’s about strengthening our logic and it’s about “being” intelligent, as well as “acting” smart.
Think about this, the next time you place that book order with your sponsor.