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Losing Friends and Alienating People

by Derek Sisterhen on June 23, 2010

A few years ago my wife and I were walking through Home Depot on our way to the paint section. When we got there, another couple of similar age struck up a conversation with us about what rooms we were painting, etc; you know, small talk. By the end of the conversation, they said we should try to get together some time. Seemed harmless enough, so we exchanged phone numbers.

A week later I got a phone call from the guy, inviting us to dinner and offering to “tell us about his business.” Turns out he was a Kool-Aid-drinking Amway fanatic.

Just this past week, a good friend was offered an opportunity to hear an Olympic athlete speak on health and wellness. As a doctor, she jumped at the chance. Turned out to be a pitch for a vitamin supplement multi-level marketing program.

Now, I happen to have a few friends that have been successful with multi-level marketing businesses simply because they operated them like, well, successful businesses. The funny thing is that they never told me about what they did until I asked!

Apparently they missed the orientation meeting that taught about misleading, deceiving, and manipulating people into attending a high-on-emotion, low-on-facts presentation from someone who will happily belittle them for not singing up. (“You’re a smart guy. Only a fool wouldn’t want to take advantage of an amazing opportunity like this,” I still remember hearing.)

Many – though not all – of these “opportunities” are positioned as the solution to personal financial challenges. All you have to do is utilize your network of friends and family to build your business and then you can make residual income hand over fist.

Here’s my point: Is it safe to say that many of those falling into the trap of chasing money are doing so at the expense of their relationships?

And yet there are some of us working in careers that demand we work 70 or 80 hours a week…

Rather than drive those we love away from us, what can we do to have a significant, meaningful impact on the lives of those around us?

If we have that kind of impact and it leads to business, great. If not, at least you haven’t lost any friends or alienated people that care about you.

  • http://www.pastdueradio.com Derek Sisterhen

    Hey Dustin – thanks for a great comment. I’ve read some websites for people that get out of MLMs and experience a lot of guilt from the people who stayed in. Apparently, one of the first things these people realize when they get out is how many relationships they strained. Not worth it.

    I’ll have to take a look at what The Donald is up to. He really is the best business role model, you know…

  • http://www.engagedmarriage.com Dustin

    Thanks for a great post, Derek. I've encountered this so many times, and it just tarnishes a friendship when the usual “you HAVE to do this, seriously, look how happy and successful we are, want to place your first order, oh come on man don't you trust me?” approach is taken.

    On a related note, have you heard the radio commercials with Donald Trump hawking his new Trump MLM financial products? It's gonna be hoooge.

  • http://pastdueradio.com/ Derek Sisterhen

    Hey Dustin – thanks for a great comment. I've read some websites for people that get out of MLMs and experience a lot of guilt from the people who stayed in. Apparently, one of the first things these people realize when they get out is how many relationships they strained. Not worth it.

    I'll have to take a look at what The Donald is up to. He really is the best business role model, you know…

  • http://bedrockcoaching.us/blog/ Deacon Bradley

    Well said Derek! There's a guy in my CrossFit group targeting a different unsuspecting person each week with his 'healthy supplement' DVD. Unfortunately it's been hard to get past being used like that!

    I really like your point towards the end about the people who didn't tell you about it until you finally asked one day. Deliver the value and be genuinely awesome first!

    ps: Dustin, it -is- gonna be hoooooge! hah

  • http://coachradio.tv/ Justin Lukasavige

    Thanks for your email. I'm traveling with my family and meeting a few clients along the way over the next few days.

    I'll be back in the office on 7/8 and will respond to your email just as soon as I can.

    Thank you,
    Justin

    http://coachradio.tv

  • http://www.oneextraordinarymarriage.com/ Tony & Alisa – ONE

    We got in an MLM years ago before we were married. Oh boy, that was bad. I didn't have much tack back then and would bowl over people. I still remember telling one of my good friends that this was the biggest mistake he would ever make. It is me who regrets that now. Haven't talked to him since and a big lose on my part.

    On the other hand, Alisa has been doing Lia Sophia, direct jewelry sales, for almost 2 years now and is doing well. She is up front, honest, and truthful when talking to ladies about hosting a party or becoming an advisor.

    Can folks be successful at direct sales? Yes, but you need to be what I described above.

  • http://www.oneextraordinarymarriage.com/ Tony & Alisa – ONE

    We got in an MLM years ago before we were married. Oh boy, that was bad. I didn't have much tack back then and would bowl over people. I still remember telling one of my good friends that this was the biggest mistake he would ever make. It is me who regrets that now. Haven't talked to him since and a big lose on my part.

    On the other hand, Alisa has been doing Lia Sophia, direct jewelry sales, for almost 2 years now and is doing well. She is up front, honest, and truthful when talking to ladies about hosting a party or becoming an advisor.

    Can folks be successful at direct sales? Yes, but you need to be what I described above.

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