How to Deal With Negative Information About Direct Sales or Network Marketing Companies Online

Bad stuff sometimes happens with all direct selling and network marketing companies, no matter how hard they try to be perfect.  While I know the goal for all these companies is to keep the sales force and customers as happy as possible, that old adage of “you can’t please all the people all the time” is, in fact, true.  Company executives don’t have crystal balls that tell the future, and sometimes the decisions they make don’t turn out the way they hope they will.  While a certain amount of risk-taking is what helps businesses succeed, risks are just that…risks.  They don’t ALWAYS turn out well, although sometimes they can bring tremendous benefits to the company.  And that can cause you stress as an independent direct seller (and as a company executive!)

So what do you do when either YOU are upset with your company, or others think you SHOULD be upset with your company, and the vultures appear? (You know the ones I mean…those people that sit out there on the internet and wait for the company to make a big enough mistake that they can recruit you out of your current opportunity, and into their company, so they can profit from you.)

Today I want to talk about how we deal with all of this specifically on the Internet, through the social web, and how you can be part of the solution, rather than making a bad situation worse.

No Company is Perfect

First, understand that nobody is perfect, even though we would like them to be.  ALL businesses have times when things aren’t going as well as we would like them to.  We underestimate demand for a product, and backorders/shipping delays occur.  Somebody shares something during a company training that goes against our belief system.  A company executive makes a decision that causes the company to be put into a difficult financial or political situation.  So what do you do about it?

If it’s your company, go back to why you joined the company in the first place.  What has it done for you since then? If that passion still burns within you, and you’ve gained benefits from the company, then cut them some slack.  At the end of the day understand that these are people who are doing the best that they can, and support them in finding the solution.

Don’t Be a Vulture

If it’s another consultant’s company, don’t forecast doom and gloom, and try to poach those consultants.  Trust me, they’re dealing with enough without you trying to pick them off to join your team.  I recently saw someone that I respect post a Facebook status update in response to one company’s difficult announcement, saying that a lot of consultants were obviously going to be looking for a new home.  If that person had looked into the issue at all they would have seen that the announcement was actually GOOD news for those consultants, and the opportunity wasn’t going anywhere.  But by making an assumption, this person was actually contributing to the problem, and causing unnecessary heartache for those consultants who DID understand the situation, and were tired of people bashing their company.

I need you to understand this: There are people who make their living off bashing direct sales and network marketing companies.  Their whole intention is to make you doubt your opportunity, so you pay them instead. When you search for company names, they have done their search engine optimization work very well, and their garbage comes up pretty high in the search engine rankings.  It is a disgusting tactic that preys on the good name and the good work that a lot of very legitimate direct selling companies have done.  Don’t join their ranks by becoming a vulture yourself in a company’s time of need.

Don’t Help the Search Enging Optimization (SEO) of the Naysayers

When you’re a consultant with a company you feel is being unfairly attacked in blog posts and other online places, it is tempting to want to defend the company staunchly in these online forums.  But keep in mind that every response to a negative post boosts the search engine rankings of that post.  So when somebody Googles your company, they may come upon that post first, instead of all the good posts about your company.  When in doubt, check with your company before responding to negative posts, but a better strategy is usually to counteract a negative post with a positive one on your own blog (that doesn’t reference the negative one in any way.)  Fill the social web with the good news about your company, often, and that will help the good stuff bubble up to the top.  And if a negative post appears on a very influential blog, let your company know, so they can work with their search engine optimization experts to determine the response that will best represent the company.

It is a fact of life that bad stuff happens from time to time.  But the good news is that there are an incredible amount of direct sales and network marketing companies that provide very real opportunities that are providing people with additional income, as well as recognition for their efforts.  In an economy such as this one, with the unemployment rate we’re looking at, your opportunity could be someone’s ONLY option.  Don’t let the vultures prevent you from extending that lifeline to someone in need.

By using social media strategically, you can make sure that even when something has gone wrong, the good news about your company is still getting out there, so it can change people’s lives.

Folks, be part of the solution.  Not the problem.

Your thoughts?

7 Responses to How to Deal With Negative Information About Direct Sales or Network Marketing Companies Online
  1. Brett Duncan
    February 8, 2010 | 11:35 pm

    I hadn’t even thought about the Google juice that commenting gives a negative post. And it’s so hard to temper the passion of your sales reps, who want to immediately rush the post and dispute every nuance.

    Similarly, you have to inform your field that jumping in and helping out on the company Wikipedia entry won’t help either, as it’s so hard for most of them to add unbiased additions.

    bd
    @bdunc1

  2. Dawn Wilkerson
    February 8, 2010 | 6:52 pm

    Wow Jenn! Your timing is impeccable, as I know you are aware! Thank you…

  3. Linda Stacy
    February 8, 2010 | 2:30 pm

    It’s the most effective, and most difficult way to silence the negativity – ignore them. As you pointed out, responses help boost SEO, but replying and arguing gives the naysayers way too much of the attention they want.

    Back in the “olden days” of the Internet (you know, 4 or 5 years ago 😉 ), we used to meet in chat rooms. And it never failed that some bored teenager or Internet stalker would come in with the solution to all our woes or to stir things up with insults and nasty comments. The longer people responded, the longer they stayed. If we could manage to completely ignore them, they’d move on in seconds. Just the venue is different now.

    When the temptation to respond is overwhelming, sit on your hands so you can’t type.

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