Ethics in Network Marketing

What are MLM ethics?

Before I define MLM Ethics let me take a moment and talk about ethics.

Ethics is defined as “moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.”

I like to think of ethics as “morals” or “values.”

Ethics are a set of beliefs and values that are important to you.

It’s a set of principles that guides your life.

It gives your life meaning and purpose.

Your ethics are determined by the way you were raised, your religion, and what is important to you.

Some examples of ethics might include:

  • Treating everyone with respect
  • Never telling a lie
  • Never stealing
  • Never causing harm to someone
  • Keeping your word

Personally, I think there is no such thing as MLM Ethics.

Instead, I believe that people are either ethical or they aren’t ethical.

That applies to all aspects of their lives, not just their network marketing business.

That being said, I do realize that there are some shady people in our industry.

There are lots of good people, too.

But, there are a few folks out there who really give our industry a bad name.

These are the the folks who use hype, pressure, and lies to recruit people.

They say whatever they think their prospect wants to hear, just to get them to join.

If you are involved in the network marketing industry, you need to be ethical.

That means you need to educate your prospects and not give them false promises.

If you are telling people they can get rich quick, that they can build a business simply by talking with friends and family (or doing nothing at all), and that building a successful business is “easy to do” you are being unethical (in my opinion).

Whenever I talk with a prospect, I want them to know that building a MLM business is just like any other business.

It requires:

The last thing I want to do is hype up my prospect and make them think that they can get rich quick, without doing any work.

I also let them know that there is no guarantee of success.

Individual results will always vary.

Of course, I also tell them about the possibilities that our industry offers.

I just tell them BOTH sides of the coin (the good and bad) so they can make their own informed decision.

I’ve also learned that when you hype people up and make them false promises, these folks usually end up quitting the business within one to three months.

Since you’ve given them false expectations, they will be disappointed when they don’t get the results they want, and then they will quit!

After all, if you were promised to make $10k per month within three months of joining the business, and you still weren’t making money after six to nine months, you’d probably quit too!

It’s much wiser, and much easier to use good MLM Ethics and be straight forward and honest with your prospects, right from day one.

Let them know what it really takes to build a successful business.

And if you are talking about the products, make sure that you tell them that the products are not reviewed or endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Don’t make false promises about what the products can do.

If anything, underestimate and undersell the products so the person will be extremely happy when they get good results with the products.

Here are some additional tips you can follow to make sure you are being ethical in the MLM Industry:

  • Don’t advertise anything about getting rich quick or making big bucks right away
  • Don’t advertise your business opportunity as a job
  • Never lie to your prospect or team member
  • Look out for the other person’s best interest, not just your own
  • If you are recommending an additional product or service to your prospect, and you get paid to do so, make sure your prospect knows that
  • Treat everyone you come in contact with as good as you would treat your own mother
  • Never lose someone’s trust
  • Make sure everyone knows that individual results will vary
  • Never sacrifice your integrity to make a fast buck!
  • Always do the right thing no matter what!

Final Thoughts

In summary, most people in our industry try to do the right thing.

ethics in network marketingBut there are a few people out there who give our industry a very bad name, because they make false promises and “say whatever they need to say” to get someone to sign up as a distributor.

I’ve always believed that honesty and straightforwardness are your two best options.

When you are open and honest with people, you might “lose some prospects” along the way, but you will also find plenty of people who want to work with you.

The bottom line is to never sacrifice your integrity to make a quick buck!

Be ethical in your network marketing business and treat everyone you come in contact with as good as you would treat your mother.

Just follow the Golden Rule!

What are your thoughts?

What do you think about MLM ethics?

What are some personal experiences you’ve had of people doing the right thing, or the wrong thing?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Just leave a comment to share your thoughts.

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13 thoughts on “Ethics in Network Marketing”

  1. Live with integrity and don’t worry about the others who don’t. Their shady tactics and greed are very very noticeable and people will avoid them like the plague. Only work with honest people who are looking to help others. Find a good mentor that you can trust and chat with regularly. This industry is awesome when you are networking with the right people.

  2. Honesty is an important part of being ethical. I have known some people who have intentionally misled people to think they will attain a certain amount of money rather easily simply to get their numbers up and then those people were shocked to realize that was not the case. They either became very angry and left or felt very disappointed and felt sort of trapped into staying because they had invested a lot. Being honest will make people (customers and team members alike) view you as trustworthy which then builds you a reputation as being a reputable person who represents a reputable brand.

  3. You are either an ethical person or you aren’t. That’s it, plain and simple. When it comes to MLM, do the right thing and everything else will fall into place.

    1. I agree with you Tony that integrity is something that people either have or they don’t. It is a part of their character and if they have it, chances are they always will. If they don’t have it then chances are they probably won’t. When you make the choice to operate in integrity you reap the positive benefits in everything you do, and in business integrity will take you very far with your customers and your other team members.

  4. I was thinking about your comment at the beginning of this article “…there’s no such thing as MLM ethics…people are either ethical or they aren’t ethical” and I agree. A person cannot fake it in one area of their lives if that’s not who they really are. This article also prompted me to think more about leadership, particularly the influence aspect of it. When people become a part of your business, you are in a position of influence, and what you do and teach can profoundly influence them in negative or positive ways. There is an inherent responsibility in being in a position of influence to hold the best interests of others as a priority. An unethical person is not capable of this.

  5. Absolutely! Some fall prey to misleading a potential customer or business prospect by inflating the value of their product, their success, or their income, all designed to make more sales or add to their down line. As Eric Worre states in a video on, “Deception is the same as lying…Just tell your story.” He goes on to point out another temptation that falls under unethical practices, the practice of targeting a distributor from another company by either trashing the company that the distributor currently works for, or enticing him to come aboard by inflating the value being offered. “Do not take a person who is happy where they were and make them unhappy,” is Mr. Worre’s directive, qualifying his statement by acknowledging that if someone is already looking at other opportunities, and you honestly present your business and an informed decision results in a switch, then there is not a question of ethics. The importance of understanding the difference is quite clear.

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