I was only 18 years old when I first heard about network marketing. Young and inexperienced, I was told there are many dangerous deals out there; that I had to be cautious and not trust lightly. As a result, I was skeptical about every opportunity. I showed up to my first business presentation to protect my brother from getting scammed. Today I continue to urge Millennials to do their due diligence before joining a company.
However, the reason why the company I joined earned my trust and commitment was not the product or the pay plan. I don’t think either of these could have convinced me. It was two things that built my trust: first, the stories and testimonials from professionals like police officers, doctors, and lawyers, and the students and housewives who believed and invested into the opportunity; second, the positive vision and friendly, united environment that was representing hope, team work and a bright future I wanted to be part of.
Even to date, what gets me excited and keeps me committed is to be part of teams, companies, and communities with a positive vibe, high energy, and a strong vision. I think that is the number one thing that attracts the young generation to network marketing.
Also, there is difference in how we approach the business. Generally the older generation joins to earn extra cash to pay bills, to be able to retire earlier, to pay off their mortgage, or to leave the job they hate so much so they can sleep more, work less, and take more vacations. In other words, the reasons are more or less negative (based on fear, lack, and avoiding pain).
The majority of Gen Y, however, has a different why or purpose for network marketing, a why that is much more exciting. We see it as a way to reach our full potential, to make a difference in the world, to create global unity and community, to create a better future for our children—in short, to create, expand, evolve, and transform.
These are two different philosophies and ways to take charge of this profession. Adults with jobs or businesses, families, and kids see network marketing as a way to seek relief from these responsibilities. They turn to our business to survive, while Gen Y sees it as a way to thrive. For us, it is a beginning point, a place where happiness and freedom starts—freedom to evolve and expand; not to retire and end work.
Many employers and older networkers do not take Gen Y seriously or listen to our ideas. They don’t take into account our creativity or are reluctant to let us lead, due to our inexperience. They might even call us irresponsible, unreliable, emotional, distracted, uncommitted, entitled, lacking will power, determination, and perseverance. In some cases, there is some truth to that.
The secret to getting Millennials to produce and perform at their highest level is coaching them with love and compassion. I believe that was what kept me going all these years until I started reaping rewards. Despite all the mistakes I made, the times I wanted to quit, all the troubles I caused, my big ego, and the drama I got myself into, my mentors and coaches were there for me. They didn’t give up on me and believed in me more than I believed in myself. They were patient and kept empowering me through the ups and downs without making me feel bad about who I was at the time.
Today I’ve found my groove and build a lot on social media. I meet people online all the time, but I try to take it offline and meet them in person—or on Skype or on the phone. You can generate leads and build a brand online, but you can’t build a team. Network marketing is about creating a strong community, something you can’t do online only. Weekly get-togethers, face-to-face conversations, group fun and entertainment, and live trainings are still the core and joy of network marketing. We do Zoom calls, Facebook chat groups, and conference calls with international teams, but still regular offline community gathering is a must.
At in-person events, my closing ratio in converting prospects to members is 1 to 5 or more. I have to approach 5 times more prospects to get the same results online. However, there are more people there and they are easier to connect with—we have the entire world in our reach with a few clicks.
I love being able to build in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, or Australia without needing to physically be there. These days what excites me and keeps me up nights till morning is educating people in the Persian market about our profession. I love connecting with networkers in Farsi and translating trainings into my mother tongue. Without social media, we would never be able to connect with hundreds and thousands of networkers in other countries, even in isolated areas of the world. I love social media and I think the world is just learning how to use it to create unity and community in virtual way.
I would love to see one day within network marketing the inclusion of art, literature, philosophy and other subjects. Social media and technology is an integral part of our business. So is public speaking, leadership, personal development. What gets Gen Y excited about going to college and university is the ability to grow and learn in different areas of life. Our Business is a university where at this point programs like poetry, philosophy, literature, spirituality, art, and music are missing. For Millennials 100 percent committed to the profession, we feel a lack of those things in our lives when we eat, sleep and breathe MLM.
Seeing poetry in this issue of Networking Times (p. 38) is inspiring and delightful. That is the rise of a new future for network marketing.
Born in Iran, MARIA GHADERI has been a network marketing professional for 13 years. Based in Toronto, Canada, she is building a global business with her team of mostly Millennials.