We were recently featured in the family of North Fulton newspapers that focus on Atlanta’s northern suburbs.
Many people think of Atlanta as warm, and despite my t-shirt in this picture, Atlanta winters can have very cold days.
Notice that I’m standing alone.
Man Cave MEATings are fun regardless of weather. At this MEATing in Johns Creek, GA we gathered in Jeff Borgognoni’s basement before the SEC Championship game.
When the guests arrived I had an assortment of brats and steak for them to eat as Jeff handed them a beer.
Man Cave MEATings were started in Minnesota where winter is about as tough as it gets in the continental U.S. Man Cave MEATings go on there daily as guys gather in basements, garages, and sheds. Many guests are as passionate about grilling. It’s not uncommon for guys to join the guy at the grill in the snow, with jackets on and beer in hand, of course.
Fortunately, we rarely have to face snow and wind in the South. Man Cave MEATings are fun regardless of the season or where you live.
We’ve all heard MLM & pyramid scheme horror stories. We’ve seen the late night TV ads flashing piles of gold coins and money. All the visuals seem to have Palm Beach mansions, yachts, expensive cars, and pretty girls. Somehow, with all the wealth, they forget to mention the product! Sleazeballs like that (you know who you are, Bernie Madoff) ruin it for the rest of us.
On the other hand, reputable businesses like Avon (NYSE:AVP), Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple, and The Pampered Chef, Usborne Books & More, and nearly 3,000 others have operated honestly and successfully since the end of World War II. Women went to work when most men were away fighting. When the boys came home, the direct sales model was created by women who wanted to continue to work despite the need (desired or imposed) to return to mid-twentieth century traditional gender roles.
All these reputable companies make unique, high-quality products consumers want and need to buy. Their distribution model is the only aspect that structurally sets them apart from other consumer product companies. Instead of selling to wholesalers who sell to retailers; or instead of hiring tens of thousands of employees to sell directly to consumers; these companies encourage small business people to sell their products.
Network Marketing has proven itself tremendously efficient at structuring a large direct sales team. There’s a key difference between Network Marketing/Direct Sales & MLM:
- MLM – Distributors buy from the company and sell to other Distributors
- Network Marketing – Sales people get paid commission for consumers buying products directly from the company.
As you can see, Network Marketing is really no different than a traditional outside sales organization except that the network marketing sales force typically is composed of independent contractors.
Network marketing teams usually have no more layers than a traditional employee sales force. In fact, network marketing teams are more efficient because their incentive structure encourages the sales team to build, train, and maintain themselves. Contractors earn additional commission for recruiting and training other contractors. If the recruits are successful, the contractor makes more money. If not, he or she doesn’t.
I’ve seen a lot of traditional sales organizations in my career in the software industry. The layers and numbers of people are about the same. The biggest difference is that with employee sales people, it can take six months to a year to figure out whether they’re going to be any good or whether they’re “dead wood.” (Sales folks B.S. for a living and are notoriously hard to hire successfully).
With network marketing, there’s little cost in bringing a new sales person. They get paid only when they or their team are producing. When it stops, the company stops paying them. The downside to a network marketing company for a product company, is that the company has less control over how the sales people work and there can be high turnover, especially if the product is complicated. On the other hand, a independent, direct sales force can produce tremendous growth at a relatively low cost.
So, finally, to answer the question in this article’s title: It’s not a scam, if there’s real high-quality products sold that customers love. MLM advisors make good money when they help move lots of product through the efforts of their team and their own efforts.
If I ever had any doubts about the manliness of grilling, it was dispelled in my first encounter with attendees Panama City’s venerable Friday Fest.
I was setting up next to the American Legion’s biker group. There were dozens of gleaming bikes, mostly Harley’s and even more beefy, leather-clad bikers swilling beer and trading verbal jabs around their booth.
“What are you selling?” a gravelly-voiced biker asked while stomping out a cigarette.
“Meat.” I replied.
“Meat? Just meat? That’s your answer?”
“Yup.” I replied, “High-end meat and grilling supplies. I’m a portable Man Cave.”
The biker looked stunned.
“What could be better than guys getting together eating meat and drinking beer?”
“Hell yeah!” The biker yelled. “I’ll have a meat and beer party. Oh, Hell YEAH! Hey everybody, we need to eat some meat and drink some beer in a MAN CAVE. Woohoo! Do you have a card?”
I set up my booth down the street from the bikers. I fired up my charcoal grill and started setting out my supplies. Almost immediately people came over to see what all the smoke was about. I was there by myself. All kinds of friendly people helped watch my stuff as I needed to go get things from my car.
Everyone was interested in all the great grilling supplies I had displayed. When the first batch of Buffalo Bleu Cheese brats were ready, things really got exciting. One couple like the brats so much they hung around to talk and eventually took over grilling duty for me so I could talk to the lines of people trying the brats outside my booth.
Word spread quickly through the crowd of over 12,000 people. In particular people started filing out of the bar selling $2 bottles. It seems everyone was talking about the brats we were sharing with the crowd.
A ton of people filled out information forms to find out more.
This will soon be David Eads’ official guy-stuff site.