“My Career as an Enthusiastic, Naive Ambot” – Part 1

My first introduction to the adult world of sales was when, at the green age of 21, I was recruited into the MLM universe by my friends Will and Lauren.

This was a massive, hugely uncomfortable stretch for me. The phone calls I had to make nearly made me sick to my stomach.   For months, until I developed some thick skin, the thought of approaching my friends with a business opportunity filled me with dread.

But I “saw the circles” and grasped the potential. My little world was greatly expanded as we traveled from our apartment in Lincoln, Nebraska to such exotic meeting locations as Topeka and Salina Kansas, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Saint Louis, and even Charlotte, North Carolina.

Instead of hanging out with other engineering students, I was hanging out with butchers, bakers and candlestick makers – and doctors, plumbers and accountants who believed that the future of the world lay in this powerful new concept of Network Marketing.

Can you say Rah Rah?  Anybody for a round of God Bless America?

The short version of that story is that I completely ‘sold out’, did whatever they told me to do, I bought whatever they told me to buy, and dug in deep.

I had the persistence of Saddam Hussein.  In a span of five or six years I drove a couple hundred thousand miles and did many hundreds of presentations.

In fact I even went through a dry spell where I got 118 NO’s in a row.

No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No No.

I know.  118 no’s doesn’t sound like much.  But it felt like NO raised to the power of 118.

All I wanted was to wake up every morning and just do whatever I thought was important that day, not drag myself out of a warm bed at 6am and slog my way to some Dilbert Cube over a frigid expressway.

That’s what drove me.  I was profoundly determined to make it work.

The insanity that Laura put up with during that phase of our life was inestimable.  She figured out much, much sooner than I did that the whole operation really didn’t work the way they said it did.

She became distant with regards to our business pursuits but remained supportive, while I chewed through concrete and nails, trying to make sure I had a meeting booked at 8pm every night.

I devised all kinds of clever ways to contact people that most network marketers would never think of, let alone try.  And slowly, relentlessly, I proved to myself that no matter how I attempted to do this, it wasn’t going to work.

Every year of mileage in that business became a bigger ball and chain of failure, mounting evidence of my ineffectiveness that eventually became impossible to ignore.

Agony – Desperation – Extreme Broke-ness

I labored under a burden of inner agony, maddening frustration and self condemnation.  I wondered to myself how anybody could possibly explain or justify such a long, uninterrupted string of failure.

My greatest fear was that the prospect at my next meeting would ask me how much money I was making.

I developed elaborate mechanisms in my presentations, just to prevent this question from ever getting asked.

There were many, many things that caused the exquisitely crafted illusion to eventually shatter. But the one that finally did the trick came from an odd place.

Tomorrow. . . I’ll tell you what it was.

Perry Marshall

P.S. Your comments and stories are most welcome below.

2 Comments on ““My Career as an Enthusiastic, Naive Ambot” – Part 1”

  1. Perry,
    I will wait for your email tomorrow but quickly would like to know if you had a mentor who could correct what you were doing wrong. I was in Amway for six years about 10 years ago. I related to your initial post – which is why I signed up.
    Russell

  2. Lol so painful those meetings. Dexter Yager and company. After leaving there and getting de programmed I actually met someone. Probably the only person who was actually making money selling Amway. They even were invited to eat with Rich devoss anf Jay Von as the highest retail seller of Amway in Canada. They did not recruit. They just sold the stuff out of their basement in Etobicoke Ontario. Their sales were in the level of a direct distributor around 7500 per month. The way they sold it was an ad “Amway without the hype. Just the product. No recruiting! ” They were not rolling in the money. And seemed surprised that they were honored for their business volume. Anyhow if an MLM zombie ever approaches me now, I do the sign of the cross and I’m not even Catholic.

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