You’ve gotta join this program, you’ve just gotta. Why? It’s the plan, man—we’ve got the plan. I mean, you’ve seen a lot of plans, but nothing like this: we have the best, most revolutionary, most amazing compensation plan, a plan that’ll really make you the big money…

Please. Stop.

Time and time again, I’ve had people fervently pitch me on the exceptional, extraordinary, amazing benefits of their plan—the reasons this plan, as distinct from all other plans, will go where no other plans have gone before. It’s nonsense. I promise: every time, it is nonsense. “Yeah, but…”—no. I’m sorry: no exceptions. There is no plan that will “really make you the big money,” for the simple reason that a compensation plan does not earn you money. That’s not its purpose.

Here’s what earns you money: people purchasing products. Volume. Period. (I include services in the term “products.”) A lot of people purchasing products repeatedly, regularly, over a long period, generates income. That’s it. What a compensation plan does, of course, is sort out how that income is distributed. It’s a sorting system, like the mailroom in the corporate basement—no more glorious, dramatic or exciting than that.

A niggling point? Semantics? Not at all. It’s a crucial point. When you trumpet the virtues of your plan as a top selling point, you actually hurt your case, because you’re confusing substance with incidentals—and on some level, even if not consciously, your prospect knows it.

Selling a strong, qualified prospect on your comp plan is like selling a hungry person on the nutritional value of the package the food is wrapped in. In fact, you do have a great compensation plan: the multilevel marketing concept, aka network marketing. That’s the plan whose value is worth selling. Does this mean your company’s particular plan doesn’t matter? Not at all. There are still “good plans” and “bad plans,” depending on how well they execute the multilevel concept without creating roadblocks or bottlenecks. A good comp plan is as Lao Tzu described a good government: it doesn’t get in the way of the flow.

So please, stop telling me with breathless wonder about your plan’s amazing coded-bonus, matching-bonus, car-bonus and bonus-bonus. I simply don’t care, because in the final analysis (actually, even in the preliminary analysis), it doesn’t matter that much. All you’re convincing me is that you haven’t yet figured out where your opportunity’s real strengths lie.

Have you got good products? Will people buy them? A lot of people—over and over? And are there people of substance, experience and integrity running the operation? Good. That’s an income opportunity.

JOHN DAVID MANN is Editor in Chief of Networking Times.