In the previous QNETPRO Talks article, QNET Director of Legal Affairs Zaheer Merchant helped us understand how legal Network Marketing is and how distributors can help the industry receive the proper amount of trust and respect that it deserves. Here, V Partner TG Kintanar will share with us the importance of personally practising professional network marketing and how it will ultimately affect our business.

QNETPRO Talks: QNET Director Of Legal Affairs On The Legalities of Network Marketing

How do you define network marketing?

Network marketing to me is the distribution of products, commodities, or even services through referral selling or word of mouth marketing. It is different from the typical distributor and retail system that most people are accustomed to. While other businesses rely on advertisements and other media to sell their products, network marketing relies on the strength of personal relationships to sell its products. Instead of spending on advertising, we give that money back to the people who help us distribute our goods in the form of commissions. Over the years, I have found out that this is a very effective way of distributing goods and services. In fact, I will not be surprised if in the coming years, there will be a lot more products and services being distributed through network marketing. There is more trust in the word of mouth. I surely would trust a friend or a relative more than I would trust someone speaking on television or on the radio but I do not personally know. If a good friend tells me, “TG, this is a very good product. Use it,” chances are I will use it. I think that is something that the network marketing industry leverages on very effectively.

At QNET, we believe in the phrase ‘Good Business Ethics Starts with Me’. How do you help promote or pledge to follow this statement?

I believe in leadership by example. I do not expect any of our downlines to do anything different from what their uplines would do. Inversely, if I were to do something crazy, something very unethical, I should not be surprised if my downlines do the same. I believe that by conducting this business professionally; by only making commitments that I can keep; by being direct, by being transparent, I am building a network that does ethical marketing. One of the biggest problems that I see is that many people make empty promises, not realising that this is something that their downlines will do as well. This act will surely lead to failure; not just yours, but also of your entire network. I think that as uplines, we should be very careful about the way we speak, and of the way we act because everybody is looking up to you and making sure they imitate your example.

When I speak with the network, I feel like I’m actually speaking with my children. My little boy Gabriel, for example, dreams of becoming a V Partner someday and he watches me 24/7. He watches me all the time because one day ‘I will be like my father’, as he says. When I think of that, I feel a great sense of responsibility inside me, and I feel the same way when I speak with the network because the network is my extended family. I cannot be one thing to my children and a different thing to the network, making it easier for me because I am naturally very close to my children, and I try to be the best example all the time.

The network marketing industry, currently, is not perceived with the same prestige as banks and insurance companies. One of the problems we face, while trying to be recognised as a legitimate business, is a misrepresentation of products and the compensation plan. How do you think we can avoid this? And what can you say to those IRs?

First and foremost, I think the reason that network marketing is not seen in the same light as other types of businesses or organisations is really because network marketing is relatively new. It’s actually a baby compared to other types of businesses. Let’s look at franchising. It has been there a little bit longer than network marketing, but in the beginning, franchising was seen as a shady kind of business. People thought, why should I spend so much for a franchise when I can do exactly the same thing for much less? Now, it is totally accepted. Network marketing, on the other hand, is relatively new. I think it is just a matter of time before network marketing will be accepted as a mainstream business.

We have to make sure however that we police the industry. There are a lot of companies out there that take advantage of the fact that many people have difficulty distinguishing between a legitimate network marketing business and a scam. Misrepresentation is also a big problem. Some people say that network marketing is easy. Well, I’ll tell you it’s not. Some people say, “Just sign up and you’ll make money.” Well, I’ll tell you, it’s not going to happen that way. There’s a lot of work and effort required for you to be able to be successful in this business. The successful people that I know in this business have worked really hard, not just for a short period of time, but over a long period of time to be able to ensure their success in maybe five or ten years. I have some very close friends in the business who may have signed up over 15 years ago, yet today, they act as if they signed up only yesterday. Their passion, their eagerness about this business is just the same as what it was many years ago. That’s the kind of attitude that we should have in this business.

We should be able to tell the truth, that this is a difficult business, but if you take it seriously, you can be successful. Let us not make empty promises, because making empty promises will get you nowhere. In fact, it’ll get you in trouble. Being transparent, being open about expectations in this business is, I believe, something very important for anyone who wishes to be successful in network marketing.

How important is transparency in this business?

Very, very important. To me, it is extremely important that you are transparent and that your intentions are clear, okay? I’ve realised that the ones who have become really successful no longer think of just themselves. They actually think of their prospects’ future. When I approach someone, it’s not with the intention of earning a commission. I approach people whom I would like to be able to help. I actually want to be able to help them change their lives somehow in the future. People will be able to tell what your true intentions are, and if they see that your intention is not just simply to make money out of them, the chances of you being able to sign them up would be very high. You should not try to hide something about this business simply because you need that sign-up. If somebody asks you questions, by all means, answer the questions as honestly as you can. If he decides to turn you down, then move on and find somebody else. I would rather have somebody sign up because he knew what he was getting himself into.

What is your advice to IRs on how to handle rejections?

That question reminds me of a personal experience that I had. When I first got into network marketing over 18 years ago, there were only two people that I had expected to sign up, and they were both very good businessmen. I knew that if I got one of them on my left and the other on my right, I was made. I was so confident about becoming successful by just signing up these two people.  I approached them, very confidently, and talked to them about the business. To my disappointment, both of them immediately turned me down. That was something that I did not expect. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we should actually expect rejection from everyone, even from the very people who are closest to us, because many of them will not understand this business or see the business in the same light that we see it. Our parents may reject us. Our siblings may reject us, even our children may not agree with us, but we should not take it personally. Instead, be able to move on and find somebody else who will see the opportunity in the same way that we do.

What is the fun side of network marketing?

The craziest people, the most exciting people are network marketers. I really mean that. I cannot imagine sitting in an office all my life, looking at the same walls, doing the same thing every single day. Network marketing’s a very exciting business and industry. Waking up in the morning, knowing that you’re going to meet somebody new, is exciting enough. It motivates me in a way like no other business could probably motivate me. The one thing about network marketing that is not present in any other kind of business is that you get to share your trade secrets, your knowledge and your expertise with all of your downlines. They get to learn everything that you know. In any other business, this is will surely lead to your downfall. In network marketing, this is your key to success.

Watch out for the next QNETPRO Talks article!

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