Why People Hate MLM

Why do so many people hate MLM?

That is the topic of today’s post.

I want to share some insights and lessons I’ve learned during the past 14+ years in this industry that I think will help answer that question.

Why People Hate MLM

Keep in mind this is simply my opinion.

We can agree to disagree.

Let me start by telling you that most people are either overly passionate about loving our industry or overly passionate about hating it.

It’s like porn, politics or religion.

Very few people are neutral.

Say the word “MLM” to 100 people and you will find that close to 95% or more of the responses are one of those two extremes.

Here’s why I think that happens.

# 1 We are Misunderstood

To the best of my knowledge, at least 99.99% of the world’s population has never received one hour of training or instruction about network marketing in school or in college.

You could also argue these same people never received even one hour of instruction about starting their own business either, but that is a subject for another post.

Most people have been taught to go to college, get good grades and find a safe and secure job.

When people talk about making money, most people thinking about getting a better paying job or a second job.

People can understand that.

It’s what makes sense to them.

But, when people start talking about making money with their own network marketing business, or any other home based business, it’s like a foreign language to them.

Tell someone you know you are joining a MLM, and they will look at you like you are crazy.

They’ll probably say something like, “why don’t you just get a part-time job instead?”

# 2 Lack of Training and Certification

Most industries have some type of formal training and certification.

Not so with network marketing.

In most companies in our industry, it’s like the blind leading the blind.

People who don’t know what the hell they are doing are coaching their new people to do the same thing.

As a result, no one knows what the hell they are doing.

That’s the only reason I can think of why anyone would use lies, hype or pressure to recruit someone into their business.

That’s the only reason someone would make income claims or talk about fast or easy money.

That’s the only reason I can think of why someone would use some type of deceptive recruiting technique.

I wish that all network marketing companies had some type of ethics training that every new distributor had to go through BEFORE they were allowed to sign anyone else up.

I wish every company had some type of formal training for their new reps.

Oh well, they don’t.

That’s why it’s our job as leaders to make sure our new reps get this training.

It’s our job to teach our members what they should do and what they shouldn’t do.

# 3 High Failure Rate

Look across any type of business and there is a high failure rate.

The only exception might be franchises.

Most businesses in the real world fail.

These folks have invested tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus a full-time work commitment to start and grow their business, and they still failed.

Network marketing is no different.

Most people will fail.

At least there is very little risk.

I could also argue that most people QUIT network marketing, rather than fail at it.

Most people never even get started with their network marketing business.

It’s hard to fail at something you’ve never even started.

If you haven’t shown at least 100 plans or sponsored 20 to 50 people personally, you haven’t even started.

That’s how I see it anyway.

# 4 Anyone Can Get Involved / No Screening Process

We are one of only a few industries where anyone can get involved without any type of screening process.

Where I live in Florida you have to get licensed to be a dog walker.

A dog walker…

Yet, anyone can join any MLM Company just by signing a distributor agreement.

It’s easy to get in and easy to leave.

We don’t do background checks or credit checks or ask for references.

If you’re 18 and have a pulse you can join.

As I see it, this is a blessing and a curse.

# 5 Pure Commission Based Pay

Any job or career with a commission based pay structure has a wicked high attrition rate.

Don’t believe me?

Go ask your local real estate broker or insurance broker what their turnover rate is.

Most people cannot hack merit based pay.

When you get paid to pick up the phone and smile and dial, most people will tap out and quit.

After all, the phone weighs 300 pounds.

Doesn’t it?

That’s why people look for job security and good benefits.

That’s why people want to work for the government.

Merit based pay always offers the greatest opportunity.

However, there is a risk you could earn nothing too.

Most people will avoid commission based pay at all costs, even if it is a great opportunity.

Commission based pay is not bad; it’s just scary to most people.

# 6 Pay Dictated by Others

If you are a one percenter yourself, this business can still be frustrating.

Even someone who can recruit and sell until the cows come home, can still struggle in their network marketing business.

I feel that way sometimes.

This business does not pay you much based off your personal production.

Even if you can recruit others, if none of them produce like you did, you earn very little.

If none of them duplicate what you did, your bonus check won’t even cover the cost of your auto-ship.

I’ve seen a few people come in the business, sponsor 100+ people in their first six months and quit because none of their people could do what they did.

One of the reasons I love top tier programs is because you get paid on your own personal production.

# 7 Preconceived Notions

Opinions are like assholes… everybody’s got one.

Everyone has a lame Uncle Jim Bob who tried one of those things and lost his shirt.

Everyone has read one of those negative sites online and think everything they read on the internet is true.

Almost everyone is skeptical of anything new.

Here’s the deal, most people have never truly analyzed network marketing the way they did a job offer.

They haven’t looked at the good and bad.

They haven’t interviewed successful distributors.

They haven’t done their due diligence.

Yet, they are quick to come to an opinion about something they really know nothing about.

The Solution

What is the solution?

What can we do so fewer people hate MLM?

One thing really stands out in my mind.

Be an ambassador to the industry.

Be a network marketing professional.

Realize that everything you say and do affects everyone else in the industry, whether you realize it or not.

Don’t talk badly of other companies.

Don’t talk badly of other distributors.

Treat everyone as well as you would treat your own mother or daughter.

Set a good example for everyone to follow.

Always. Do. The. Right. Thing.

I feel we all have a responsibility to help fix the reputation of our great industry.

Final Thoughts

In this post we covered seven different reasons people hate MLM, and I also provided some guidance on how to help overcome that.

Why do you think people hate MLM?

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts about why people hate MLM.

I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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5 thoughts on “Why People Hate MLM”

  1. The main challenge and disdain that I have towards the MLM’ers is that in their mindsets, if you have a pulse…then you’re a prospect. I saw a social media post the other day from an MLM’er that read, “So what state does all of my friends live in?” Two things about that post: 1. It’s clearly an engagement post to get people to chime in. 2. If they’re really your “friends”, then you should know where they live.

    Most MLM’ers will claim to be passionate about the company and the products that are manufactured by that company. I disagree. Ask the Advocare folks as all of the sellers/distributors of those products lost their passion when the compensation plan was abolished back in July of 2019. The products stayed the same – it was just the paycheck that changed. 😉

  2. Thank you for the guides you given. In my country MLM becomes worst nightmare for them because there a lot of scammers and hiding behind MLM name. It is sad because of those people, others becomes more sceptical and refuse to hear about MLM. I know it is hard to involved in this field, but i know God is fair. He will help us if we have good intentions 🙂

  3. You already know my view on using the word “hate.” Hate is the opposite of love. Love can turn to hate because of it not being returned. People do not truly “hate” MLM. However, they may be veamently (sic) opposed to the idea out of ignorance. (Don’r you just hate it [get extremely frustrated] when your spelling is so bad that even spell check can’t correct it.)

    Knowledge can defeat “hate.” One can have a “Saul of Tarsus conversion” like I did. My freshman year in college biology class we were studying how phosphates from laundry detergents were polluting our waterways. Shortly afterwards, our neighbor from across the street (We were renting a second-floor apartment.) tried to sell us her company’s detergent. With my “vast” knowledge of her company, I read her the riot act and ran her off. The next year we were living in another apartment when a man knocked on the door looking for the former resident and then tried to get me interested in the same company. Once again I arrogantly sent him packing. That spring a friend found me between classes and used the curiosity approach. After he answered all my questions and objections, I was converted. My “hate” turned into the love affair I have had for over 45 years. MLM’s enemy is NOT hate; it’s ignorance.

    How do we overcome ignorance? With knowledge, patience, and tact. Some will be open-minded if treated with consideration and love. Others will need space and time to develop the necessary maturity to develop that open-mindedness. A few never will. Some will, some won’t…

    1. Great comments. No matter what we do we won’t please everyone. I have accepted that. The real goal in life, as I see it, is to treat others well. If they see our viewpoint, great. If not, be nice anyway.

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