Is Network Marketing A Real Business?

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By Eric Worre

I hear it all the time, “Network Marketing is not a real business.”  I don’t know if the people that say this are just misinformed or if they have never taken the time to figure out what Network Marketing really is.  I thought it would be helpful to do a comparison.

What is a real business?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, “a business is a regular occupation, profession, or trade.  The practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce.

The question quickly comes to mind, “What is commerce?”  It is defined as “the activity of buying or selling, especially on a large scale.  The social dealings between people.

So, by definition, a “real business” is one that provides someone with an income and that income is generated by either buying or selling.

What is Network Marketing?

Network Marketing is defined as “a type of business opportunity that is very popular with people looking for part-time, flexible businesses.  Specifically, it leverages the social aspect of commerce to generate leads, sales, and recruits.”

By definition Network Marketing sure seems to qualify as a “real business.”


Why do so many people have such a stigma about the profession?  Why do so many people think of it as a pyramid scheme?  Why do so many people think that you have to be a great salesman to make any money?  These are the questions I hope to answer in this article.


From the beginning, Network Marketing has been oversold.  “Sell the dream!” up-lines used to say.  What they meant was, make people believe in the lifestyle they could have and they will join.  Don’t ever talk about the failures, don’t ever talk about the struggles, just show them how great it might be someday.

The problem with this way of thinking is that it sets up new recruits for failure.  They join believing it is going to be easy, that it will not take work or effort, and then when they find out that their original thoughts were completely incorrect, they quit.

Can you imagine the failure rate of small businesses if 75% of people opened their doors thinking “My products are so good they will sell themselves.”?  Can you imagine how many small business bankruptcies there would be if the owners thought, “All I have to do is find 5 customers and they will each tell 5 others.”?

Network Marketing has such a stigma is because it has been oversold.  Tell people the truth, don’t be scared to be vulnerable.  Build the relationship don’t sell the dream.


If you haven’t realized it already, almost every business is organized in the same manner.  There is an owner or a CEO, and below them are usually two executives.  Below those executives, there are a series of managers, and below them are a series of employees.

Sound familiar?

The pyramid structure can be seen in thousands if not millions of businesses worldwide.  I personally love it when people say this to me.  I simply respond “Then every business must be a pyramid scheme.”  They usually do not know how to respond.

The issue at hand is that a lot of people use this thought process to disqualify Network Marketing as a “Real Business.”

Once again, I believe this is an error on our behalf.

First, we should not assume people have an understanding of business structures.  Many of the people we approach about running a business have never run their own.  Remember, always meet your prospect where they are.  Do not assume that they have knowledge of anything.  Take your time and walk them through the introduction process slowly.

Second, make sure that you teach your prospect how businesses are structured before they have a chance to use the “It’s a pyramid scheme” objection on you.  If you start your conversation about business structure and how they are formed long before you invite them to your opportunity, you will already know they understand.


One of the most common responses I hear is “I’m not a salesman like you.”  If you are getting this objection from your prospects a couple different things are going on.

First, they perceive you as a salesman.  Your message is about sales.  When they ask you what you do you respond “I sell __________.”?  It is important to remember that you are not a salesman.  You are a consultant.  You consult people on how to make their lives better.  You consult people on how to add an additional stream of income.  If you speak and act like a consultant, your peers will not perceive you as a salesman.

Second, during your invitation, you are selling.  It is very hard to sell someone on the idea of starting a business.  They know before they ever meet with you if they would ever venture into entrepreneurship.  There is no need to sell someone on starting a Network Marketing business.  Tell them your story.  Tell them how it is going for you and the changes you are seeing in your life and leave it at that.


So many of these issues come from the lack of a single skill.  Overselling Network Marketing comes from a fear of rejection.  We are afraid to miss out on a new recruit so we over promise.  Objections like, “It’s a pyramid scheme” come from a failure to prepare a relationship before an invitation.  Finally, objections like, “I’m not a salesman like you,” is manifested from poor posture.  We don’t posture ourselves in a way that makes the prospect want what we have.

If you want to learn how you can effectively overcome these objections and your fear of them, check out my Mastering Objections FREE webinar.

FREE Objections Webinar

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