You may well be familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: “A theory of Human Motivation” proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943 which has helped us to understand how fulfillment (or deprivation) of our basic human needs underpin motivation and our ability to function. The premise being that those human needs at the bottom of the triangle form the foundations of being human and without which those needs being met, our needs higher up can never truly or sustainably be attained.
Many people who join Network Marketing become disillusioned and often feel very stressed or under pressure when attempting to build their business.
This is understandable because very often the fundamental truth of human needs is often overlooked, underestimated and ignored.
If you think back to the reasons why people join Network Marketing in the first place, especially in the traditional approach to recruitment, the vast majority of those reasons fit into the bottom two sections.
Survival and Security: Additional income to pay bills; pay the rent; mortgage; clothes; support the family; stop working so hard in a dead-end or stressful job and so on.
This is often followed by
Belonging: More time with family and friends; being able to attend your children’s school events as they grow up; holidays with family or friends for example.
Two things then happen
- Network Marketing is proposed as the solution to fulfilling those needs.
- Time is spent expanding your ‘why’ to include idealistic goals and dreams that, AT THAT POINT IN TIME had been buried or not even thought about before.
Now, the ability to achieve huge success in multi-level marketing is proven. The marketing plans, for the most part, are sound, effective and generous. This is not in question.
However the emphasis on point 2) above becomes the focal point to ‘motivate’ the new business owners. Encouraged by their uplines (those who recruited them) and their upline’s upline and also the company itself in order to fire them up to achieve success.
In some instances it does motivate, and for a few people they quickly find that they have moved themselves up the hierarchy of needs. And when this is built on a strong foundation with the Survival and Security needs being met followed by Belonging, then it is not long before Importance and Self-actualisation can be attained.
When you look under the applause, many of those who reach success quickly in MLM did so because they already had Survival and Security nailed – another income, a partner in a well paid job, wealth from other means, redundancy, substantial loans / financial backing from family, a supportive family to look after childcare.
For the vast majority of people, life is a real struggle working hard, juggling childcare, balancing family needs with one or multiple jobs, slipping into debt or not quite bringing in enough money to cover bills and have any sort of life, dealing with health issues, redundancy… you get the picture.
And the challenge here is that, whilst Network Marketing could absolutely change all that, Survival and Security MUST be dealt with FIRST.
Yet, the environment people often find themselves in is geared almost wholly towards Importance and Self-Actualisation. The ‘support’ from your upline is based on Importance and Self-Actualisation tied in with a little BELONGING (the team). The company trainings are focused on and designed to get you to Importance and Self-Actualisation as quickly as possible.
Yet, you need to Survive and you need Security before you can benefit from those higher needs. When you talk to your upline, the answers comes back:
“…work harder” (you are already juggling 2 jobs, around family commitments)
“…work on yourself” (no matter how much personal development you do Importance and self-actualisation is not helping, in fact it is making you feel a failure, guilty, unhappy, frustrated and stressed)
“…follow the system” (you are doing everything you can but you are spending so much time on developing your mindset to overcome your self-limiting beliefs, attending trainings to help you stay motivated to take action, spending more and more money you don’t have on developing yourself and trying to make it all work, and not earning anything)
“…give it time” (your landlord doesn’t have any more time)
“…stop finding excuses” (More guilt and feeling like a failure)
The stress is building, you aren’t getting the support from your family because they are wondering when you are ever going to make enough money, and who’s going to look after little Gemma tonight when you are both out working and can’t afford a babysitter. You’re also spending money on all this training and personal development when the Council Tax bill is still outstanding.
Not only are you not becoming the success you understood you would be in the time you understood it would take and both your security and survival are becoming more tenuous, your Upline is starting to say they won’t work with you because you aren’t fulfilling the minimum criteria, and your family and friends are not supporting you in your venture and even becoming a little hostile when you mention your product or service, even your children don’t seem to remember who you – so there goes ‘Belonging’ too…
How about if we really appreciate people’s needs and where they are RIGHT NOW. If, rather than brushing them aside and keeping our heads facing upwards, we looked straight into the eyes of that person who is floundering, and we worked out how to help them meet their current needs. We identify ways that help them to move forward at a pace that reflects their circumstances and finances and need to survive and build security.
What if we acknowledge and accept that many many people who join network marketing are in this position.
If we do that and work with it rather than ignore it, may be more people would stick with Network Marketing. Maybe more people would achieve all those lifestyle promises they were given. Maybe, with strong solid foundations more people would see their lives not only turn around but thrive.
Michelle Turner-Davidson is a speaker, trainer, mentor and founder of the NMA (Network Marketing Academy), a fresh, down to earth and open approach to Network Marketing based on real people living real lives.
If you are interested in MLM / Network Marketing or building a business, why not join The NMA (Network Marketing Academy) Facebook Group. You’ll find a like-minded community which focuses on collaboration, resources and where your skills, experience, strengths, personality traits and personal values – and working in a realistic way that works for you – is the platform for success.