Direct Sales and MLM

Thoughts A Brewin' Newsletter 6: Culture Is Dead

By
Clay Brewer

The world of network marketing is sitting in a pile of you know what, a pile of its own making.

Network marketing is built for the 21st century because networks truly control human interaction more than ever, yet the industry remains constrained under the moniker of this is how our forefathers did business. Companies no longer understand the field leaders and are slowly pushing them out. Field leaders find it difficult to connect with the new distributor not realizing that every new distributor envisions themselves becoming a field leader. And the poor new distributor is sold a vision that they’ll soon determine is just that, a vision, but a vision without substance.

Network marketing companies aren’t meant to be pure democracies as standards need to be set and rights need to be protected, but they shouldn’t be autocratic dictatorships either. Decentralized centralization should be the goal. Zero-sum is where it’s at. Inhibiting distributor creativity and arbitrarily taking away isn’t a good look. Centralization is where an umbrella of culture, trust, and purpose is fostered. This is important if any corporate executives truly want to see the industry survive. Decentralization is where the field is permitted to operate freely and creatively under this umbrella. This is critical in an era where everyone seeks to be an influencer. Not to mention the shift in employee-independent contractor categorization that’s ongoing.

An industry founded upon creating networks is increasingly eliminating its most defining feature.

For the most part, I’m inclined to believe that success is derived from possessing an overarching purpose, not chasing the dollar signs or fame and glory. Unfortunately, the latter is the direction network marketing has permitted itself to pursue and the vision it has been selling. The bigger problem is that this has likely been done unwittingly. This direction has led to events where individuals promise the world by saying very little. Individuals chase the next hip opportunity because they have no reason to stay at the previous one.

No one in the industry is saying it right now, so I will.

Culture is dead in the industry, just as Friedrich Nietzsche exclaimed that God is dead. An overarching purpose has been lost just as first principles are lost. Culture doesn’t mean selling a fake reality or some crap product. It means having respect for what you do. The bad companies deserve to be called out. But the good ones need to set a standard instead of playing into the game. You aren’t going to compete with the bad actors, nor should you. Competing with them puts you in the same room where the contagion is able to spread.

Promises made, should be promises kept. They rarely are though. When you’re on stage or speaking one-on-one, talk about growth and purpose, not some miracle cure for a disease or the ability to make big money. Claims are a part of selling, I get it. But when those claims aren’t true or aren’t fulfilled, people jump ship. I say this to companies and distributors alike: stop trying to chase the aces and stop trying to be the aces. Create a culture that manifests the aces from within. Those that trust the least and are the most paranoid are so because they can’t comprehend that someone isn’t like them.

I’m saying all of this because I believe in the future of network marketing and the possibilities that exist when individuals come together focused on a common purpose of improving each other’s lives or doing something interesting on the side. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, it just has to be real.

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