Thursday, 12 March 2009

When economies dive, MLMs thrive.

“Hi Z. I wud like to introduce U to health juice product called xxxxx introduced by my dentist dr xxxxxx. There will b a talk on de juice n MLM business at her house at 3pm 2moro. If u want to come pls meet at my hse at 245” – so goes the text message from my sister.

After due consideration, here’s my reply – “Thanks but now for now – hve plenty of health supplements oredy.”

3 days later, a cheery call from hubby’s normally reticent nephew.

“Assalamualaikum, How are you Pak Cik?”

“Alhamdulillah, Zali. And you?”

“I’m fine, thank you. Pak Cik, are you free later today? Just like to come by with the family – jalan-jalan”

“Sure….. do come. We’re free after zohor. 5 o'clock we have somewhere to go”

“OK. We’ll come about 3”

Hubby wonders why Zali, someone whom we see perhaps once every 2 or 3 Hari Raya’s, suddenly wants to pay us a visit, and it’s not even raya.

“In these uncertain times, it can be anything”, I said.

I remember circa 1997, 1998 (the previous economic crisis) the MLM introductory line was something like – “Hi, I’m xxx. I’m an associate of your friend, yyyyy, and we would like to invite you to come on board with us in an exciting business venture involving an international company which has been around for 50 years …………. “.

That was when hubby and I were roped into the xxway network marketing activities. We lasted about 3 months. Why? Firstly, we could see the children were beginning to suffer from parental neglect and secondly, the nocturnal activities were taking a toll on our day-time careers, which were paying the bills anyway. Thirdly, I wasn’t comfortable with the manner in which the group were glorifying the top-most leaders like they were demi-gods. I am against any form of hero-worship, actually.

Before that in about 1990 (still in the throes of the 88 crash), I dabbled in xxxxlee. I got recognised though I was left with some stock that I could / did not move, and zero support from the up-line who was busy building another leg (MLM speak for branch) in another state. So that year I did not renew my membership.

I’m not knocking MLM. I think it is an excellent way for anyone to learn sales and marketing, and at the same time be exposed to the ins and outs, and ethics of business. The motivation seminars and positive talk can change a person if he is teachable and receptive. One can build self-confidence, and be able to communicate quite effectively whether one-on-one or on stage in an audience-filled hall.

But for me, sad to say I’m not cut out for business. I usually end up selling products to my friends and relatives at cost, or I would just give them away out sympathy for the recipient's financial situation.

Anyway, Zali was marketing a water-purification system. Yeah, he and his wife went through all the sales tactics we were all too familiar with like checking out our kitchen water-filter with the hand-washing pretext, telling why we should be drinking this water and not that water, proving it with the electrolysis precipitate demo, some scare statistics, how a DOCTOR had recommended it to them because a DOCTOR SHOULD KNOW!

Well, these are uncertain times. Zali’s employer is facing lean prospects. Zali himself seems to have changed personality-wise and is working hard. We bought the system.

Not so much because of the water, mind. My octogenarian Mum is doing pretty well, Alhamdulillah, on boiled tap water all this time. And the house plumbing must be at least 40 years old, come to think of it.

My sister’s doing OK on her retirement fund but I’m not sure about her dentist. Perhaps she needs side income, too. The dentist’s good, though. In just one meeting, my sister is now direct distributor with a stock-pile.

All the best to you new network marketers out there!

(Psst …… Had you all started out earlier by a couple of years, you would be recruiting bands of newly out-of-work members now instead of YOU being recruited. But hang in there long enough and you shall be rewarded, God Willing)

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