An experienced salesman advises readers about the pitfalls of network marketing companies.
In this debut business book, Davenport draws on decades of experience with multilevel marketing (representatives sell and also profit from sales made by their recruits) and network marketing (representatives go from using a product to selling it to family, friends, and other contacts) companies. He explains the exaggerations and falsehoods these businesses often use to sell their products and draw new representatives into their sales networks. Although the author presents a cleareyed view of network marketing’s shortcomings—the “Lies” of the volume’s subtitle—he does not take an entirely negative view of the industry. Much of the work is designed to help readers get a more nuanced glimpse of their chances of success and to provide a template for being an honest and ethical participant in the sector. Each chapter examines a different falsehood (“Network marketing is like getting paid to recommend a movie”; “It’s so simple, anyone can do it”) in detail. It explains how to evaluate the accuracy of a recruiter or salesperson’s statement, where to find enough information to make an informed decision, and strategies for successfully selling a product or service without repeating those lies to customers—for instance, “verify your own pitch to avoid making false claims.” Anecdotes from Davenport’s own career and the broader industry appear throughout, adding color and illustrating the argument that network marketing can be useful if the bad actors are removed. (Many of the anecdotes end with companies fined and unscrupulous executives facing indictments.) The author’s tone is straightforward, often bordering on brusque (“Any promise of ‘passive income’ in this industry is a lie from start to finish”), which makes the book a quick and easy read. The volume is aware of its audience throughout, and is clearly written for those who belong to or are considering joining the network marketing industry. While the work is not for general audiences, it does an excellent job of serving its target market.
A thorough and honest look at the shortcomings of network marketing and the possibilities for success.