Network Marketing, it's a global industry generating $180bn of revenues every year and engaging 130 million people, yet most don't even understand what it is, including many of those who are involved in it. Perhaps it's because Network Marketing was ahead of its time, and perhaps because it's now playing catch up!
All across the world, every day, millions of Network Marketers are talking to people they know about wealth creation. Like over excited puppies they are sharing with their friends and acquaintances how they have found a vehicle that enables them to make money – but something doesn’t add up. Why are they so excited? You don’t see ‘normal people’ jumping up and down with the same enthusiasm when their employer announces a new vacant position at their firm.
No, this excitement is because Network Marketing is not about wealth creation, it is about social mobility and understanding this important shift changes they way we all perceive and consequently grow successful Network Marketing businesses.
What is Social Mobility?
It is the buzz word on every HR Directors lips and fast becoming one of the most important agendas in the recruitment sector. Social mobility is about making the work place accessible for all, about giving every person from every background the opportunity to shift their social status, predominantly through their employment.
In the corporate world this manifests itself as outreach recruitment drives where companies make a concerted effort to identify those from less privileged backgrounds. It gives them the OPPORTUNITY AND SUPPORT to progress through fruitful employment that enables them to raise themselves and their families up social strata.
Why is Social Mobility a hot topic now?
The rise of technology has shifted our economy from being a local to global – every company and organisation is now competing for an audience beyond just their door step – customers and stakeholders are now coming from all different locations, cultures and backgrounds. This has driven a need for real DIVERSITY in the work place which of course requires social mobility.
Opportunity AND Support
For social mobility to work it requires two things – Opportunity and Support. Changing your social status is not just about getting more money, if it was then an increase in benefit payments would solve our social injustices. The sustainable solutions for our status and diversity challenges lie in how we create a continued stream of equal opportunities. This not just about achieving improved employment, but also about create an environment of overall betterment – where people have the skills and support to invest in a better life for themselves and their families.
Step up Network Marketing
This, of course, is what Network Marketing has been doing for decades. It doesn’t just give people a wealth creation vehicle, it invests in raising them up and provides a blueprint for a better life through meaningful personal development.
When Network Marketers get all over excited it is not because of the bucks in their bank account, its because of the changes they are feeling in themselves and seeing in those around them. They are part of a genuine social mobility vehicle.
Ahead of the Times – From Milk Carts to Teslas
Think of the first electric vehicles… no, I am not talking about the flash Teslas, I am talking about milk carts! Yes, the electric cars that first hit our roads were clunky and unimpressive – but they were ahead of their time. Suddenly business leaders began to pick up on what the milk men had know for years. Elon Musk developed the EV concept and made electric cool. Now everyone wants to get a piece of the action. Soon electric will be the norm and everyone will look back on the old petrol and diesel days with pity over how prehistoric we behaved!
This is like Network Marketing. In terms of social mobility, we were the milk man, we were ahead of time. Whilst the greedy bankers of the 80’s and 90’s were flashing the cash, Network Marketers were raising people up and impacting lives – they offered everyone from every background the opportunity and support to change their social status.
However, time has moved on and we are now in the Tesla phase of Social Mobility. Large corporates have made this agenda cool and poignantly relevant. Speak to any HR department of any respectable large company around the world and they will have a social mobility agenda. They will have strategies, programmes and internal champions.
Whilst corporate firms are racing ahead in their new Model X, many Network Marketers are still in their milk carts. They are still conforming to the old world they have been trying to win over for decades; a world where money talked (often over good ethics). We have spent decades adapting our model to sound like it is actually wealth creation and now we need to break that habit.
What to do if you are a Network Marketer
The Network Marketing business model is already set up to do the right thing, however, to jump aboard the Social Mobility band waggon the industry needs to ensure it is talking in the right language and decisions are made from the right side of the social mobility agenda.
We need to share stories of lives transformed over luxuries enjoyed and talk of all-round betterment over bank balances. We need to understand (and sometimes contain) our cult like excitement over this mysterious vehicle that is changing lives. When talking to those who can not yet see a clear path of how they can navigate better social status we need to take their hand and lead them one step at a time down that path with us, explaining that with an open mind this business goes beyond extra cash. We must make sure our decision making is driven by people over profit. And, of course, we must join in with the lingo and talk “Social Mobility”.
About the Author
Fran is an award-winning entrepreneur, regular contributor on BBC Radio and internationally recognised as one of the most important UK based influencers. She specialises in businesses that make a social impact and empowering women. Over a decade she built one of the fastest growing network marketing businesses within her sector around her two young children and is an advocate of the industry. She authored the best-selling book Connection Marketing that deliverers a new blueprint for the network marketing industry to follow.
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