MLM gniniarT: Why Is It Provided Bass Ackwards?

By Len Clements © 2013

I knew in first grade that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I didn’t just set up a lemonade stand, I also offered snow cones made from my Frosty Sno-Cone Maker as well as Incredible Edibles (made from a toy that produced gummy insects – you Boomers will remember). By the age of nine I didn’t just have a paper rout, I published my own newspaper! It was called “Neighborhood News Beat”, which I’d produce using the then very expensive copy machine at my dad’s office. Although both of these ventures lasted about as long as the attention span of any single-digit-year-old, there was never any doubt that someday I’d make a living by owning my own business. Indeed, the only job I’ve ever had that required me to “clock in” was a two-month Summer gig devouring free Taco Bell food – where I was inventing most of the items now on their menu (the double shelled taco with beans in the middle? I was making those in 1975!). So, of course, it was inevitable that I’d eventually go to college and get a business degree.

Learning how to do something before you begin doing it makes sense in most endeavors, especially when it involves one’s livelihood. If you know you want to own, operate, or at least manage a business someday, you’re likely going to get a degree in business, or somehow become well educated in the type of business you wish to operate, and how to operate it. Obviously. Right?

So, why do network marketers do exactly the opposite?

In fact, this profession is the only one where you’re asked, and we unquestionably agree, to start our business first, and only then begin the process of learning how to successfully operate it. Is it any wonder why this profession has such a high first-year failure rate?

The first, if only, objection to a get-trained-first approach is that we tend to be in a hurry to make money. I get that. My degree is only an Associates Degree (in Business Data Processing – circa 1984) for essentially the same reason. After two years of watching my fellow students fight for limited computer lab time, and with Kinko’s still a gleam in some future entrepreneur’s eye, I decided to start a computer time rental and training facility. While my fellow students spent two more years learning how to run a business, I was running a business. But I did spend two years learning how first. Most MLMers don’t spend two hours (alas, even after they start their business). To be clear, I’m not talking about spending two years studying network marketing before jumping in. Successfully operating a multilevel marketing distributorship is not easy, but it is relatively simple. In fact, I’ve produced a six part training series, totaling less than six hours, that covers practically everything you’ll ever need to know to succeed in this business. It’s not rocket science.

Based on an extensive 18 year survey, conducted by my company MarketWave, Inc., of over 7,700 reps and prospects, we know that at least 86% of those who join an MLM program to earn an income have a “primary goal” of making enough to quit their job and comfortably live of their MLM residuals. That is, it’s not to get rich! They intend for their MLM venture to be, hopefully, how they earn a living, and support their family. It’s essentially a career choice. Yet, not only do most networkers not spend the requisite four years to educate themselves on their chosen career, they devote little if any time at all preparing for it. What’s more, they typically spend nary a minute learning how to select a viable, safe, legal, MLM program that best suits their personality and product interests.

Ironically, the concept of building an organization of pre-trained distributors first, and then migrating them into a specific MLM opportunity, was developed by a college business professor. Prof. David Frost heads the only fully accredited MLM degree program in the United States and, to my knowledge, the world. This program is offered by Bethany College ( Unrelated to the college itself is “The Networking Project” ( This project was co-produced by Prof. Frost and myself to fulfill the need for basic training, and to facilitate the quick and easy formation of a downline of what are essentially well qualified, and educated, prospects. Think funded proposal, with participants placed in a 2×2 structure, and no commissions. The cost of entry is a mere $9.95, one time, which not only gets you access to an online facility to build and track your team, but an audio and book library stocked with well over $100 worth of training and educational material. For example, my “Inside Network Marketing” eBook and “Case Closed: The Whole Truth About Network Marketing” audio CD, John Fogg’s “Greatest Networker in the World” and “It’s Time… For Network Marketing” eBooks, and Daren Falter’s “How to Select a Network Marketing Company”, which accounts for about $60.00 in materials already, not counting the three other audios, ten other books and reports, and the afore mentioned six part audio training series. Everything on the site is completely generic by default, but we do license the program out to anyone, within any opportunity, as an open source, fully customizable system.

Yes, learning how to build a profitable MLM business first will take some time, and delay those profits. But if it were to substantially increase those profits, and cause them to occur sooner once you’ve started, might it be worth the wait?

Think of it this way: If someone offered to pay you $1 million to swim across the Hudson River, and if you don’t make it you’ll drown, wouldn’t it make sense to delay the effort for a week or two in lieu of a few swimming lessons?

Alert #186: 8/10/2011

Len Clements to Conduct
Seven Part Training Series

In Conjunction With Free ANMP Training Calls

MLM 101: Basic Training From A to Z

I’ve listened to a lot of people attempt to train others on how to be successful at network marketing, for free. I mean a lot. Like, probably around 200 or so over the past 21 years. About two-thirds of them simply repackaged what the other third had already taught me. You know the old saying: Steal material from one person and it’s called plagiarism – Steal it from several people and it’s calledresearch. A lot of MLM trainers apparently love to do research. Roughly half spent way too much time pitching their training that wasn’t free, and about half of them spent most of the time doing that. You know that other old saying: You get what you pay for. Then there’s the small, but not-small-enough, minority that used their free training as bait, then switched to an opportunity pitch (i.e. you can’t get their extra powerful “inside secrets” unless you were part of their organization). Maybe a couple dozen of them actually taught me something unique and practical, that I could actually start using to build my business right now, never even indirectly alluded to their own opportunity, and spent no more than 5 minutes pitching their wares. Tom “Big Al” Schreiter, Richard Brooke, John Milton Fogg, Michael Clouse, Daren Falter, Margie Aliprandi, Hilton Johnson, Kim Klaver, Brian Klemmer, Nicki Keohohou, Ruth Van Buren, and another dozen I can’t recall, just off the top of my head. Out of over 200. And, yeah, I suppose I have researched them all, a little.

Although I’ve had great success within the profession of network marketing (I was the #1 earner in 7 of the 9 years I was with one company, and I’ve been among the top five earners in two of the other three opportunities where I was a full time distributor), and I certainly performed a lot of training to my own downline, my success within the network marketing industry (when my MarketWave hat is on) has come primarily from consulting, expert witness services, and training people what not to do. I’ve never really been known as an “MLM trainer”. But I also know a lot of things that you absolutely should do, and I’m amazed at how few trainers are including this vital information. So I think I’ll definitely accomplish the uniqueness goal. I’ll probably spend no more than two minutes out of the hour talking about my book and CDs and, most importantly, I know you’ll get practical strategies and techniques that you can implement immediately. In fact, that’s my biggest peeve about a lot of training I see today. It’s so much more motivational or educational rather than operational. For example, I recently participated in a webinar conducted by a leads generation guru who spent the entire hour telling us the importance of lead generation, the right attitude to have about acquiring leads, how lead generation companiescategorize and price their leads, how the internet has “revolutionized” the lead generation business, and about every other thing I would ever want to know about leads – except how to get one! Even during the Q&A, when I specifically asked for some specific lead generation tactics, all I got was “you have to talk to people”. Getting even a single, specific, lead generation method from this guy was like pulling teeth from a blue whale (which don’t have teeth – that’s how hard it was).

This Thursday, I’m going to tell you how to generate a lead. That’ll be the first segment of the series. It’s also probably the driest, most boring segment, but it’s one of the most important. Leads are the fuel that run your entire organization creating machine. You could master everything else there is to know about network marketing and have the world’s greatest products and pay plan, but without someone to tell about it you’re all dressed up with no place to go.

Here are the segment topics…

Aug. 11th: Lead Generation
Aug. 18th: Qualifying Your Prospect
Aug. 25th: The Follow Up
Sep. 1st: Overcoming Objections & Competitor Hype
Sep. 8th: Motivation & Goal Setting
Sep. 15th: Reducing Attrition
Sep. 22nd: Legal Issues/Live Q&A

The series begins this Thursday, August 11th, at 5:30 pm PST (8:30 pm EST), in conjunction with the regular weekly training calls offered by the Association of Network Marketing Professionals (ANMP).
Call 712-432-1000, 569-864-201#

A few years from now, when you look back on all those trainers you listened to and render them down to the few who didn’t bait-and-switch you, didn’t spend an unreasonable amount of time pitching their other stuff, and did impart original, immediately usable techniques and strategies to help you succeed, I’m confident I’ll make your list.

Thanks for your trust, and support.

Len Clements
Founder & CEO
MarketWave, Inc.

Podcast #8: Randy Gage in “The Kitchen”

Host: Len Clements

Kitchen Guest: Randy Gage

Topics Include: Training, Industry Trends, and the “Generic MLM trainer” Blacklist.