Is it ethical to sell leads to your own MLM members?
One of the more lucrative but often not talked about too much aspects of running a MLM business opportunity is the inhouse generation of leads.
Typically the MLM company itself, or a member of management who perhaps already owns an MLM lead generating business, will begin to cross market these leads to the wider member base of the company.
What usually isn’t revealed to members is the full extent of the nature of these partnerships, or the exact commissions being paid out so to leverage against the company’s member base.
This of course makes it hard to judge whether or not the leads being provided are of actual benefit to company members, or rather if they’re nothing more then an additional money spinner for those selling the leads.
From a MLM company owner’s perspective, the opportunity to market leads is a hard one to pass up. Should the opportunity present itself, you’re basically looking at a means to supply your company members with leads. Leads which of course are the lifeblood of any MLM business.
In a nutshell you financially come out on top on both fronts; the profit made from selling the leads and then the greater success of your company members utilising them if they turn out to be qualified and appropriately targeted.
If your company members are going to be purchasing leads anyway, why not from you? I mean you know the business inside out right, you know what they should be looking for in a lead. Why not convert the existing demand for leads into a nice little money spinner for yourself?
The answer lies in the perception of inhouse lead generation by the members of your company.
From a company member point of view it’s hard to ignore the fact that, however small, a percentage of energy, focus and money that I’m generating for the company with my success is now being diverted to an operation that, unless I purchase from, is of no benefit to me.
Arguably the cost per lead to the company isn’t worth worrying about due to the fact that these processes are mostly automated utilising capture pages. But then there’s also the dilemma of increased competition.
By utilising capture pages to generate leads to then resell to their own company members, MLM business opportunities begin to compete directly with their own members in the lead marketplace for that particular business.
Why buy leads from my company if I’m able to generate them at a lower cost myself?
Well, if enough people start buying leads and your MLM company has enough resources and energy to expand the lead generation side of the company, as an independent business operator you could soon find yourself being muscled out of the lead generation marketplace of your company.
Each successful lead your company generates to be resold to it’s members is one less lead you didn’t make yourself. Lose enough of these leads and you might find yourself in a position where you’ve got no other choice but to purchase leads from your company.
Ideal for the company selling you leads but not necessarily in your own best financial interests.
There’s also the illusion of levelling the marketing playing field. Traditionally, those that are able to best market themselves and the MLM business opportunity they represent wind up at the top of their respective company.
With lead purchasing however this almost takes out one’s marketing ability out of the equation. Anyone can now purchase targeted leads for their respective company and have an opportunity to market them. Thus one of the core components of success in a MLM business opportunity is reduced to nothing more then a ‘who can afford to purchase the most leads?’ game.
Unfortunately one still has to have marketing skills to convert these paid leads. Otherwise if you don’t have the marketing know how to begin with, you’ll soon find yourself in the vicious cycle of purchasing leads to replace the ones that you fail to convert.
All of which mind you is great for the company supplying the leads to you but is it really in the best interests of your own business?
Additionally nearly all MLM business opportunities contain a clause in their member/associate agreements stating that cross promoting is generally frowned upon. Cross promoting of course being the promotion of secondary businesses to your MLM company’s memberbase.
Yet when it comes to lead generation, if there’s money to be made by management, then this is one rule that is often overlooked. Unfortunately by doing so a divide is usually created and member’s start to question why some rules apply to them and not to others. Furthermore these divides can tear a company apart if the marketing gets too intense.
‘Join my team for access to massively discounted leads!’ is one surefire way to raise the irk of your fellow company distributors.
Obviously it goes without saying that these divisions are certainly not healthy for the distributors involved or the greater company as a whole.
Ethically speaking the selling of leads by a third party is another matter altogether but when we focus specifically on the generation of inhouse leads, I believe the matter becomes a lot clearer. Not only is it disingenuous if company’s and/or members are not completely transparent about it, but also if it becomes too successful it has the ability to penalise those with genuine marketing ability.
For each lead sold, someone out there makes money and if it’s coming from within the company you promote itself, that’s money and energy that could be going into other more wholly beneficial to you areas of the business.