If You Are Too Empathetic You’ll Become Sympathetic and Then You’ll Be Pathetic -The 3 Stages of MLM

I do not know where I found this quote but it resonated with me and my experiences in network marketing. When I enrolled my first distributor way back in 1988, I was under the impression that I was totally responsible for this person's success in the business. Stage 1 – Empathy Like many of us…

I do not know where I found this quote but it resonated with me and my experiences in network marketing.

When I enrolled my first distributor way back in 1988, I was under the impression that I was totally responsible for this person's success in the business.

Stage 1 – Empathy

Like many of us who initially join a networking program, I felt that my job was to tutor this new person in the business. I would spend hours training my new distributors even before they placed their first order. I was on the phone with them every day and if they had any concerns I felt it was my duty to call the company to “fix” things!

As time went on, I even got sucked into and involved in my downline's personal lives – their ups, their downs, the family squabbles … you name it and I was involved in it! This was before I knew better.

In the beginning, I felt that this was my “job”! I thought that I was supposed to be empathetic to all of my downline's needs.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Stage 2 – Sympathy

How about Stage 2 of this philosophy? The phone rings and you look and see that it is one of your “usually down in the dumps” distributors who you just know is going to cry the blues to you about their business, their health or problems in their personal life … and you cringe. You do not want to answer that phone call. You were excited about your day until that phone rang. Now, you are afraid to answer it and have your distributor drain your energy by taking you down that hour-long pity party path.

Trust me – I have been there, and it almost cost me my business! In fact, I have encountered many prospects who had at one time been involved in direct selling and recruited a team.

I knew that they had great potential to make “it” happen in my new business only to have them say to me “I never want to babysit like that again!”

I could not blame them for saying that, but the right thing to do would have been to let them know that that is not the way network marketing is supposed to work.

However, at that time in my life, that is what I did – I “managed” my team. I was sympathetic to their plights. It's hard not to be a caring person and want to lend an ear or shoulder to cry on. However, ask any professional network marketer and they will tell you that you can not and should not try to manage or motivate anyone. You can not and should not be the person that your downline calls to complain or spout all that is wrong in their life and in the company. All you can do it try to excite them with an idea, a dream, a concept, and then if they “see” the vision, that will be all that is needed for them to motivate themselves.

What I found is that once a new distributor goes down that path, most are never open to looking at MLM again. The sad news is that it did not have to be that way – they just totally misunderstood their role as a sponsor!

If you can not break out of this cycle, you will become pathetic. Yes, I'm being harsh, but honesty can be brutal. If you continue to get sucked into life-sucking and productivity draining activities, you will be able to grow your business, and your downline will be able to grow their business.

Stage 3 – Brutal Honesty

Now fast forward a few years (yep, it took me that long to understand my “real” role as a sponsor!) The phone rings and it's a “depressed” distributor. I answer the phone and once again, this distributor starts to whine and complain about everything.

(You name it … they are going to complain about it – the company, the comp plan, the management, the marketing materials – everything! Of course, it's all the company's fault, not their fault – forget that there may be dozens , hundreds or even thousands of distributors who are making it work and who are successful in this same company!)

However, this time I stop them before they (let's call her Joyce) even have a chance to get started and say “You know, Joyce … I was thinking about your involvement in this business and I think you should quit.”

Now this is going to freak out a few people – I mean, who would say that to one of their distributors, right? Do you really want a distributor to quit? Did not you work hard to recruit them, get them signed up and start building a new leg in your downline? Read on …

Silence on the other end … then … “What do you mean?”

“Well Joyce, this is a business and I expected that when I was involved in this business you were an entrepreneur and you wanted to grow a business. action steps daily, you will over time make it happen and achieve success. However, I see now that this is not happening for you. if you simply quit this program and we can remain friends. ”

If you are reading this and thinking “Wow, I could never do that!” then you are still in that “empathy” mode, which might be good for family and friends but is never good for growing a business.

I can also tell you when I stopped being a “victim of my downline” I cut down on my “listening and babysitting” time to almost nothing. This save me a huge amount of time for EVERYTHING ELSE … productive things such as recruiting new, excited distributors and working with my downline members who actually wanted success. I also was able to simply enjoy the free time I had from being involved in the business. What a difference!

You must get it through your head that you are not being harsh for refusing to get involved in the daily activities of your downline.

Your job as a Sponsor to your downline is to do the following:

  1. Always be upbeat about your business so that you become a role model to your team. Take your negatives upline and your positives downline. This has been the First Law of MLM since the 1950s!
  2. Always be publicly and visibly working your business so that you become a role model for your team. They will do what you do, not what you say.
  3. Always be available to do a 3-way call or attend a team meeting for your downline to help them recruit new team members. This is essential so that both their incoem and your income grows.
  4. Always attend Company Events . If you are not coming to a Company Event, why would you expect your downline to go? Remember – they will do what you do!
  5. Always be available for a new distributor “Getting Started Training” whether that is on the phone or in person. Your job is to show your newbies the “map” to success and then assist them in getting there – but only if they are using! If they insist on “re-inventing the wheel” let them go and do not waste any of your valuable time on them.

Do these things and you will have fun, make money and hang around with positive, motivated, upbeat people and it just does not get any better than that!