How To Lose Friends and Have Them Treat You Like a Leper

By Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing and Questar TeleCommunications

“Oh my gawd! Here he comes again?”


“That MLM’er! The one that was in here last week. He was too cheap to leave me a tip, but he left his business card for some multi-level business! What a cheapskate!”

This sounds like a typical conversation between a couple of waitresses at a restaurant where one of them got burnt by someone trying to “prospect” them into a MLM business.

Sound familiar? The poor schlep MLM’er doesn’t know any better: that’s what he had been taught, “Everybody’s a prospect!”

Yeah, right!

No… truth be known, everybody is NOT a prospect in Network Marketing! Not only for your business, but also NOT for your product or service.

Get over yourself!

If you want to annoy your friends and family, lose all of your confidence and fail miserably at your network marketing business, go ahead and adopt the mantra that “everyone’s a prospect.”

If prospecting everyone that comes within three feet of you is your only marketing strategy, be prepared to adopt at least two (2) exit strategies (also know as “Plan B”):

  1. Go join the 97% of network marketers that quit the industry without making a profit.
  2. Or become a hermit and leave society.

Because, eventually you’re going to alienate everybody who has ever known you, and word will get around… when they see you coming, they will close their drapes, turn off their lights and act like they’re not home. They will get Caller ID installed on their phone and send your telephone calls straight to “voice mail hell.”

Think I’m joking?

Try it. And I can guarantee you that within one year—or less—you’ll be on to the next “latest and greatest” thing since sliced bread.

You’ll be out of that old MLM faster than a west Texas coyote can eat a bag of Cheetos. And you won’t be happy either.

You want to make people “madder than a mosquito in a mannequin warehouse?” Just button-hole everybody you run across, and you’ll quickly develop the reputation as the “get away from him” guy and not the “go-to” guy.

The mantra “everyone’s a prospect” has been the worst myth ever foisted on the unsuspecting and has been used as the principle lead generation techniques for decades.

But is there any truth to it? Ask the millions of aspiring entrepreneurs who have tried and failed—miserable, and broke—more than once. They will tell you, without fail, it’s not for lack of “presentations,” “pitches” or “contacts.” Often, it’s simply because they’re trying to sell to an audience that just doesn’t care.

Your company has spent millions on “market research” and knows exactly how many people you need to “talk up” to get someone interested and how many of them it takes to get a prospect signed up. Your upline will tell you repeatedly that it’s just a game of numbers.

What they don’t tell you—and will NOT tell you—is the amount of rejection you personally have to endure and how it is demoralizing, discouraging and unnecessary. They won’t tell you the truth about the flawed model, because they know if you figured it out, you wouldn’t be their next “sucker.”

Now, I realize this picture I just painted you doesn’t sound real positive. As a matter of fact, it’s got a whole lot of “negative energy” in it, because truth happens to be a “two-edged sword.” Truth cuts both ways, and it’s something the New Wage crowd hasn’t learned yet.

Can you be successful in Multi-Level Marketing?

Absolutely! But only on one condition: you build your business on relationships and trust. If someone doesn’t know you, if they don’t have a relationship with you, how can they trust you? They can’t. And it’s not until you start taking their concerns into consideration and developing a friendship (relationship) with them that they can come to a conclusion whether they can trust you or not.

I have a report in my files written by Ann Zieg, who is considered an authority on network marketing and MLM. She points out a lot of the flaws in the model and how it has been abused over the past several decades.

She says the same thing that a lot of others are saying: The number one LIE in network marketing is that everyone is your prospect.

MLM companies tell their reps to approach everyone with a pulse: “If they’re not covered up with dirt, they are walking upright, they’re alive… they’re a prospect!


Pestering the waitress, the bartender, your barber, your hair dresser, your kid’s teacher if they ‘want to make more money’ is embarrassing. Not only for them, because you’ve put them into an uncomfortable situation that they now have to try and get out of graciously… without hurting your feelings.

You try that with me, and I’ll hurt your feelings. I’ve been through this all too often.

It’s a tedious approach, but worst of all IT DOESN’T WORK. Even if you do happen to recruit your sister, brother or cousin, they won’t last long. And if you ever try to recruit them into the next “Big Thang” they’ll just brush you off. Even if you do get a few prospects this way, they won’t stick around long or be able to duplicate your success: if you’ve had any success at all.

Compare this approach to your brother-in-law, the plumber, the electrician… or maybe he’s a carpenter. When was the last time a plumber or carpenter came up to you in a coffee shop and asked you to purchase services from them?

The last time I called a plumber or carpenter was because I needed one for something around the house, and I’m terrible at both. You also don’t want me messing around with electricity! I called the plumber or carpenter because I sought them out through ads in the yellow pages or word of mouth.

You can make money being a carpenter or plumber just like you can in network marketing. So, why shouldn’t a plumber or carpenter approach everyone with a pulse asking them if they need their services?

What’s the difference?

They seek out their target market.

They advertise in the yellow pages, etc., or they have a good “word of mouth” reputation around town. It is then that people call them if they want/need their services. Their success rate (sales) is much higher since they only deal with people who need/want their services.

Something happens when you chase people down to get their business: they run! If you back them into a corner, they are overcome with the “fight or flight” syndrome, and they come out scratching and clawing to get away from you.

They may have been interested in what you had to offer… at first. But now they tend to want to run away from you. Don’t take it personal. You’ve already made it that way. It’s an involuntary response that most people do not overcome.

And don’t give me that crap that “they’re just not intelligent enough to understand the concept” or they have a “poverty mindset.” I know too many people who are happy with their jobs, whether it pays a half million dollars a year or a hundred thousand a year.


Because they find it fulfilling.

I also know too many people who are making millions every month and they’re too busy working with something that is proven to work. What they might want to know from you is this: show me proof that your system works.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but let’s get back to basics.

You might have the best product or service in the world, but not everybody is going to need it. If you’re selling some diet drink, not everybody is obese and going to need it. If you’re selling an energy drink, the kid who is on a constant “sugar high” definitely doesn’t need to be drinking it.

And that also goes for recruiting them into your business. They may not be “the brightest bulb in the value pack” when it comes to sales and recruiting, but they’re good at making sawdust and fixing leaky faucets. They might not be able to explain a compensation plan that looks like a pyramid made out of bunch of dots, circles and connecting lines. But they can fix your toilet when it’s broke, or put in a new cabinet in the kitchen. Something you CAN’T do!

I have a friend who used to sell some sort of weight loss drink and “breath spray.” Yeah! Imagine that! He tried to “button-hole” everybody in his church until they run him off. Then he started going to the church across the street, and it wasn’t long before he had them on the run, too!

Today, less than a year later, he’s off into something else. And before the diet drink bizop, he was into something else. The guy had quite a history of a lot of failed attempts in MLM.


Because he believed the Big Lie. The one that says everybody is your prospect.

No, they’re not.

But they can be your friend.

Remember the old classic by Dale Carnegie, “How To Win Friends and Influence People?” It’s a great book and I still have an original copy from 1959. Mr. Carnegie didn’t teach button-holing as a way to make friends and influence people.

Just be yourself, and when people ask you what you do for a living, tell them in ten words or less. Make it your “elevator pitch.”

My friend, Dan Williams*, writes about the Superman Elevator Pitch in one of his articles.

And who are you?

Superman, a super hero saving the world!

Great, superman. What is it exactly that you do?

I fight for truth, justice, and the American Way. I also jump tall buildings in a single bound which makes it easier to catch criminals.

Super! What makes you different?

Well, unlike some other super hero’s that I won’t mention, I don’t wear a funny hat, so people tend to take me more seriously.”

And what do people do if they want to know more?

Great question. If you have a cause you would like me to fight for, just give me a call for a free consultation. I am always near a phone booth ready to take your call.”

Do you see how simple Superman’s answer was? It was actually less than ten words, and it was short, and to the point.

Some old friends of mine in Austin, Texas hosted the morning radio show at KVET radio and would tell people to “put a bumper sticker on it.” Same concept: bumper sticker—elevator pitch. Make it short and sweet. If people want to know more, they’ll ask. Just like the ensuing questions that Superman got after he answered his first question.

I’ve been on many an airline flight where I’ve sat next to someone and we would strike up a conversation. I’m sure you’ve been there, too. When I was young, and living over seas, I was living in North Africa and going to school in the states after the Libyan Revolution of 1969.

People would ask me, “And what do you do?”

Duh! Go figure! “I’m a student. I live with my parents during the summer in a foreign country, and I go to a boarding school in the states.” (It couldn’t get much simpler than that.)

Now that I’m older, I go to parties where I don’t know anyone and someone asks me, “And what do you do for a living?” I tell them “I’m a writer and author.” If my new friend is a female, I’ve attracted a new friend (and possibly a phone number). If it’s a guy, he walks away like I’ve got some sort of plague. Sometimes I’m treated as if I were Ernest Hemingway (who, by the way, was one of my favorite novelists).

If they really want to know more about me, and what I write about they’ll ask. I really don’t have to “button-hole” them and force it on them.

By now, you should be able to determine the genre of my writing. But enough about me.

What about you? And that is the key to this whole equation.

What about your prospect? What are their interests? What are their challenges? Maybe they have a problem with their telecommunications, and you know of a solution. Maybe they just need a house cleaning service and you know someone who does house cleaning that you can recommend. Maybe they’re new in town and all they need is a fence builder or a landscaper. Do you know someone who builds fences and mows lawns?

If you do, then you can become that new prospect’s “go-to” guy and give him the reference. Are you going to make any money on the deal? Maybe… maybe not. But who cares? What you’re doing is developing a relationship—a friendship—with them, and a “trusted source” of information.

Later, who knows when, you might have a new customer or a recruit develop out of that relationship. But, don’t push it. Don’t ruin a good friendship if they don’t appear “open” to what you’re doing.

Be a “solutions” person with your new prospects, but develop the relationship first.

(*Dan Williams is the founder of The Networking Community and author of “Tales From The Networking Community”

How To Lose Friends and Have Them Treat You Like a Leper – GUERRILLA REVIEW.pdf


Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s