Question: What’s wrong with Network Marketing?

Question: What’s wrong with Network Marketing?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at


Question: What’s wrong with Network Marketing?

Answer: The way most people go about the recruiting process. The way they sell it. Or should I say hype it.

This is an actual e–mail solicitation letter that was forwarded to me by my friend, Wendy, from Los Angeles.

Subj: >>> CAN YOU HELP ME ? <<<

Date: Sat, May 4, 1996 3:28 AM EDT

From: Robert Smith

Hi, My name is Robert and I saw your name on AOL and noticed you were from the Los Angeles area. I am involved with a company that is expanding it’s business into Southern California and looking for key distributors in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Do you know of any individuals that might be interested in looking at a lucrative opportunity. I sincerely apologize if this message is of any inconvenience to you and look forward to hearing back from you if you can help me.

Thank–you for your time!


(e–mail address withheld)

Here’s my friend’s actual reply —- “I sure can help you! You want to succeed in whatever MLM you’re in? Get The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer. This isn’t the way to write a sales letter, pal. Not if you want to still be in business 6 weeks from now!”

I e–mailed my friend my critique of the unsolicited letter:

Date: Sat, May 4, 1996 6:12 PM EDT


Subj: Re: Fwd: >>> CAN YOU HELP ME ? <<<


OK, the letter reeks. A poor try to bait the unexpected. Perhaps he could have tried the old —- “I’m working my way through college.” That usually hooks the guilt–ridden.

Here are 4 warning quotes to stay away from:

1. “I’m expanding in your area,” went out in the 60’s

2. “I’m looking for a few key distributors,” went out in the 70’s

3. “Do you know of any individuals that might be interested in

looking at a lucrative opportunity,” went out in the 80’s

4. “I apologize for any inconvenience” went out when the Jews crossed the Red Sea.



At first I thought I thought of the letter as just a pathetic attempt at selling, but the more I thought about it, the more outraged I became. MLM, or Network Marketing, is a great way to achieve the American Dream, and here’s some jerk trying to suck people in without a ounce or credibility. So I tried responding, just to see what the offer was. Here’s a portion of what I received. See how it strikes you. See if you would buy after reading it.


Hi, My name is Robert Jones and I have been self employed for the last 11 years and have owned three successful companies and researched 100’s of business opportunities throughout my career. I have looked for years for a business opportunity like this one and I finally found it!

The perfect timing of this opportunity is due to several major components and trends. First of all, the company ((name withheld) INTERNATIONAL) behind this opportunity is a “sleeper” situation —- a company that has been in business for 8 years with phenomenal products, developed by a brilliant founder from his 25 years of treating patients and having success with a specific new approach. Only during the last 4 years has the company used this form of distribution —- with good success but no explosive growth.

However, the company is well established, continually debt free and has financial and administrative structures that can handle the coming explosive growth. In 8 years they have had no complaints with the BBB, Dun & Bradstreet, the Attorney Generals Office or the FDA, (name withheld) is doing about 1 million dollars a month and is destined to be a 500 Million dollar a year company within the next 3 years. Those who build their business now will be the ones who grow and profit with the company. 90% of (name withheld) business is done in only 7 states in USA.

Secondly, a compensation plan is one of the strongest in the industry with no front loading or breakaways.

Robert, who cares? And after rambling a bit more about the products and the compensation plan he closes with:

If this seems a bit way out, let me assure you that the key factors coming together here are product, organization, compensation and unlimited financial opportunity. But, you must be willing to work hard, deal with unforeseen twists and turns in the road, and be willing to go where no company has gone before. In other words, if you are an entrepreneur

or an “net–trepreneur” who wants to lead in business frontiers rather than follow the pack, we would like to talk with you.

(There’s other stuff in his reply about tax avoidance, internet banking and much more lure of wealth.)

Notice anything missing in this correspondence? Here’s five clues…

1. Not one question.

2. Not one challenge.

3. Not one ounce of interest in me (as a buyer) or my position.

4. Not one ounce of proof.

5, Not one testimonial.

In short —- a bunch of selling, and no chance to arouse my interest as a buyer —- other than a quick “greed” decision. Who does this yayhoo think he’s kidding? Even if the offer was wonderful, it does not differentiate or distinguish itself in any way. It does nothing to gain my interest or build my trust.

The California gold rush is over —- somebody better tell this guy it ended in about 1850. However, like the gold rush, Network Marketing has the lure of gold. With more than 40,000 people a week getting involved, MLM’s are becoming a way of the 90’s. But, four out of five who get involved fail because —- they get involved for the wrong reasons, or are not equipped with the right tools and training to help them, or both.

And as for Robert’s solicitation letter —- The more you try to sell me, the less likely I am inclined to buy. Take that to heart when you write a letter.

FREE GitBit… Want to find out what’s right about network marketing, and how you can be among the 20% who succeed? I’ll send you a list of 5.5 guidelines that will lead the way. Just go to — click FREE STUFF then click GitBit — register and enter the secret words, “OVERLOOK”.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte–based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333–1112 or e–mail to

(c) 1999 All Rights Reserved — Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written

permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333–1112