Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An open letter to anyone throwing a sales-pitch party

Originally posted at Taste the World as part of the Blog Exchange.

Do you want to know how many of these parties I’ve been invited to in the last month? Do you? Too bad, because I’m going to tell you anyway: More than 10. That’s five toy parties, one jewelry party, one “home décor” party, one paint-your-own pottery party, one handbag party, one clothing party, and one skin care/makeup party.

Give me a break!

Even if I wanted any of this stuff, who actually has the time and money to attend all these events? Not me. Look, I want to support my friends, and if this is the career you choose to pursue, then I’ll try to help out. IF you’re selling a product I might consider buying, and IF you actually know me. Please don’t send me an invitation because I’m a friend of a friend of your cousin’s neighbor’s co-worker.

I can easily see how if you’re a stay-at-home mom, or a retiree, or someone who can’t work due to a disability, this all sounds like an ideal way to pick up some extra cash. But think about who you’re picking up that cash from. It’s usually people just like you.

I think that’s what bothers me most about this kind of business. It’s built on the idea of recruiting you to go out and recruit more people to buy from you, or better yet to sell for you. So you’ve got to constantly be on the prowl for new victims. As one promotional website puts it, “go out with the idea of making a million friends instead of a million dollars.” Yeah, right. Trust me, those million people are not your friends. They are probably dreading your next invitation.

It’s a sweet deal for the people at the top of the pyramid, huh? They have no overhead, because their salespeople (and their friends) are offering up their own living rooms as the selling floor. They don’t have to recruit new reps, because their salespeople do that for them too. That same promotional site also says, “Do you enjoy sales? If not, that's great, because you don't have to be a salesperson in order to succeed. This is a business of sharing information, and there are great tools that'll help you present the products/services and business to your candidates. All you do is work with those who are interested.” What a load of crap! You’re not working with “those who are interested”—you’re working with those who are too nice to say no.

As for me: No more Ms. Nice Girl. Instead of shopping in your home, I’ll shop in my own—online.

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