7 Deadly Sins of Network Marketing

No matter what you call it: networking marketing, MLM, or direct sales, you get a bad rap around the internet, but I have a huge heart for you and your industry. Before I started my career as a coach, I had a successful network marketing business that I built from home, while raising babies and toddlers. I’m grateful for my time with the company and the lessons I learned there.

Yes – I love you – BUT. You’ve got to shift your mindset to be successful. Right now, many of you are in a desperate place mindset-wise, learning aggressive sales techniques from your uplines, and it’s hurting your business instead of helping it.

Know this: there are a lot of ways to build a successful online business, but if you’re doing the right technique with the wrong mindset OR a technique that feels inauthentic to you, you’re going to fall flat on your face.

Let’s get into the 7 Deadly Sins of Network Marketing…

The friend request with ulterior motives

You join a Facebook group to meet other women with similar goals and interests, you get active and start connecting with people in posts, then *BAM*, the friend requests from strangers start rolling in. As time goes by, these “friends” start messaging you about their sales, their products, and their side projects that they are SO EXCITED ABOUT. Please, stop doing this. As one mama put it, “at least get to know me first!”

We get it! You have something you are so jazzed about, you think the whole world needs to know about it and try it for themselves. We’re happy for you. Right now, we aren’t interested. We need to warm up to it first – and tbh, 145 of our actual friends are already selling it, so we’re probably going to buy it from them anyway.

The instagram DM backhanded compliment

“Hey there! You have such a beautiful face! You would absolutely love this makeup line I use!” This, my friends, is an actual Instagram DM I received, with a link to her makeup line. This tactic can also be delivered in a straight up insult like “you look really tired, you need my weight loss coffee,” or “I’ve noticed you have some weight to lose.” Yes, I get that you’re offering a solution, but please know that messages like this come off as “you look like shit!” and “you’re fat!” and those types of messages aren’t the kind that inspire us to buy.

The nonconsensual group add


Here’s how I invite people to my group: “hey mama! I’ve loved chatting with you [because we were already chatting, this didn’t come out of the blue], I actually have a group for women who are building online businesses and I’d love to see you in there. I do a lot of free trainings and it’s a fabulous place to network. Here’s the link to join if you’re interested: LINK.” I have never added someone into my group without their consent, let alone a complete stranger I just friended. (see above: The friend request with ulterior motives)

The “hey girl…” message

You know that girl you went to high school with and haven’t talked to in 15 years? When she messages you out of the blue on FB, you might be excited to rekindle that friendship but no, as soon as you ask her how she’s doing, she goes on and on about this “amazing opportunity” and “products I fell in love with” and it starts to dawn on you that this is a veiled attempt at a sale.

Rekindling a friendship is *amazing*, don’t get me wrong. Sharing your business or products with people isn’t wrong (although yeah, it’s irritating to a lot of people). BUT- there’s nothing that turns you off quite like one disguised as the other. Be honest about why you’re reaching out.

The “meet for coffee” bait and switch

This one really bums me out because quality time is my love language. Spending time with someone one-on-one makes my heart sing. But when the meet for coffee turns into a sales pitch – or worse, pressure and judgement when you aren’t interested – I get angry.

This one’s a colossal waste of time. Once again, be honest about why you want to meet. If you’re worried they’ll say no if they know it’s a sales presentation, you need to do more warming up.

The over-the-top claims

Psst- going from $0 to $10,000 in a week from a new business opportunity isn’t relatable. If that actually *is* your business story, share one that is more typical. I was most effective in my business at sharing the opportunity when I was making $200-$500 a month. That is a number that feels real and tangible to your prospects.

And as far as your product results go, be real about those too. You don’t need to change your post, filter the photo, or wear a different pair of pants in your photo. Share the *real* results. The most effective post I ever shared about my products was that I no longer had to adjust my pants to cover my muffin top all the time. This spoke to my ideal clients on a deep level.

The social media billboard

Ok mama, last one. Your social media presence can be a billboard, but people will unfollow. And then it will only be other reps with your company still following and interacting. I know you’re thrilled about the new product. I know you can’t wait for the surprise announcement. But we really don’t care. We aren’t impressed or enticed by the slick graphics of your corporate office. We want *real* not corporate.


At this point, you might be feeling a little defeated, but I am not going to let you go empty-handed. I want to share some tips to focus on as you build this business in a better way.

We’re all humans

In the words of another business minded mama, many multi level marketers “make me feel like a prospect instead of a person.” Remember, we’re all humans here. We don’t have to be sales robots or living, breathing infomercials. People buy when they know, like, and trust you. Be a real human, and remember that we all are too.

Authenticity rules

You absolutely should not do any sales or marketing activity that isn’t you. Copy and pasting messages, cold calling, etc – if it feels like it goes against who you are, steer clear. We can tell when it isn’t authentic to you, and it repels us. Yes, the same exact tactic can work for someone else, but if it isn’t YOU, we don’t want it.

Attract, not hunt

Build mystery and interest in your business and product. Show a lifestyle that is desirable. Basically, show, don’t tell, us what is so amazing about this business opportunity and product.

Ready to create your simple, doable marketing plan?

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I am Samantha Siffring.

Through my coaching business and done-for-you agency, I help online business owners build profitable businesses without burning out.