Soliciting Your Team for Another Business is Unethical

Recently a direct seller mentioned to me that she’d been approached by someone in her downline about joining that person’s “secondary” business. In other words, the direct seller in question was working two businesses, and was soliciting people in one business to join the other. The leader who had been approached was annoyed. She was very dedicated to her business. She also didn’t want to lose the effort and attention of her existing team by having them pulled in another direction.

And I completely agree with her. After all, this leader has put a lot of time and effort into building and training her team. And now she has someone who is effectively acting like a cancer within her organization, siphoning the efforts of people off and into another direction. It’s unfair and completely unethical, in my opinion.

There are a couple of issues here:

  1. Most direct sellers find that they make more money when focusing on one business. When you split your time between multiple businesses, it’s harder to have the focus necessary to really build strong. It also sends the message to anyone you recruit that you’re not completely dedicated to the company, and so why should they be?
  2. If you want to grow a second business, your first business is not the place to do it. Grow it the way it’s intended to be grown…doing parties, networking, etc. But tapping into another downline is lame and downright unethical. How do you think your company would feel about it if they find out? How do you think your upline would feel? (probably betrayed). This is not just about what you technically can and cannot do. It’s about people’s level of trust in you. It’s about ethics. It’s about doing the right thing always. Because relationships are on the line in this business.

It’s up to you whether or not you want to run more than one business (although I never recommend it.) But if you do run another business, the team in your first business should be off limits. At the very least, you should never approach them about your 2nd business. It sends the wrong message. It de-motivates your team and affects their productivity. And it can make a lot of people really mad at you.

Your thoughts?

13 Responses to Soliciting Your Team for Another Business is Unethical
  1. Lisa Young
    April 10, 2012 | 2:56 pm

    Not only is it unethical, it’s often a violation of the terms and conditions of your consultant agreement – especially if you’re a leader. I’ve personally experienced what happens when an upline leader decides to lure their team to a new opportunity. I watched as an entire company dissolved in a matter of months as lawsuits went flying from both sides of the fence. The company refused to pay commissions and filed breach of contract suits against multiple leaders, and the consultants, of course, sued for their commissions. It was a mess that ultimately shut down the company.

    Frankly, soliciting is an insult to your team, whether you’re soliciting up, down or sideways. It essentially says that they’re not doing well enough as they are. Further, it comes from a place of fear when you’re soliciting your team. You’re afraid that you’re not doing what you need to do in one company, and that there aren’t enough leads out there to earn them the old fashioned way.

    This post never gets old for me, Jen!
    Lisa Young recently posted..Recommit Every Day

  2. April
    October 26, 2011 | 12:16 pm

    I whole-heartedly agree this is unethical. This is why I no longer affiliate with what was supposed to be a professional networking organization for all sorts of businesses. It started as a meet-up group for professionals offering services in a similar business. Then, one set of very aggressive multi-level marketing consultants (one of whom was an organizer of the meet-up group) started recruiting all the members to be part of that MLM business & pushing their services. Within a few months, the meetings just felt like one giant feeding frenzy of the same MLM people trying to recruit out from underneath one another – despite the fact that every member is a business owner of our own businesses- some owned outright & others as consultants of other MLM businesses! One “big-gun” director even encouraged the people under him to use that professional meet-up organization to build their teams and to post their recruiting events on the meet-up calendar. It just feels so wrong. I didn’t want to have any part in it after that.

    • Jennifer Fong
      October 26, 2011 | 12:19 pm

      That’s awful April! That’s why any group that is intended for distributors from multiple companies needs to have a STRICTLY ENFORCED no cross-recruiting policy.

  3. Leea Nutson
    October 5, 2011 | 4:21 pm

    This is so true and so timely. I just had this discussion with one of my Leaders yesterday. Simply put, you cannot ride two horses at the same time. Something always suffers and you cannot build a successful business by raiding another company. Eventually, push will come to shove and the house of cards that was created will come tumbling down.

  4. carol
    October 5, 2011 | 10:25 am

    Could not agree more. I am putting 100% into my business and its a bit irritating to be asked to take on another thin. But then it’s flattering to be asked.

  5. Ashley Montgomery
    October 5, 2011 | 8:26 am

    So unethical!

    @Dede I can’t believe your director did that. Not only is it unethical, it is very unprofessional.

    As for more than one business, I couldn’t do it. It would be too much to keep up with and would be very confusing.

  6. Amy Celona
    October 5, 2011 | 7:31 am

    More than unethical, many companies have a clause in their representative contract that forbids using representative lists to solicit or recruit for any other reason than the company business. The direct sales company that I represent has exactly that.

    The rule is in place to protect the company (and us as representatives) for being contacted regarding anything other than business that we are associated with them.

  7. Pat Zahn
    October 4, 2011 | 2:11 pm

    This just makes me wince…and…sigh… Something I’ve become sensitive to in the last 12 months is how other business people and potential clients view our industry. You can become indignant and cry unfair, but the fact of the matter a perception exists, so we must endeavor to change it. So unethical and tacky to poach from one business to the other and just reinforces the negative perceptions. It’s disheartening.
    Pat Zahn recently posted..Direct Sellers – Is it Ever ok to Brawl Online?

  8. Betsy
    October 4, 2011 | 12:44 pm

    This practice has always bothered me on so many levels. My thoughts are with the customers who encounter this as well–I have to think that they never know “which hat” their consultant is wearing when they see her/hear from her/him. That could get extremely confusing.

  9. Carl Webb
    October 4, 2011 | 12:18 pm

    HIGHLY IRREGULAR!! NOT to mention UNethical. Thanks for sharing and educating others.
    I’ve seen too much of this sort of behavior…it causes loss of credibility and reputation as well.
    Most of this behavior comes from networking ‘junkies’, and I would hope, just out of plain ignorance? There’s a saying about the grass being greener on the other side…it could be someones sewer lines!

  10. suzanne
    October 4, 2011 | 12:00 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly!! That is just not right, and you’re right……unless you are putting your focus into one business, the others are not getting your full attention and are just watered down, and you look money hungry! One can never have a conversation with these people w/o them talking about ONE or more of the businesses. Not for me….and that is unethical to try to pull others into their other offer especially if they are meeting with YOU to try to build their business!!

  11. Dede Scheel
    October 4, 2011 | 11:27 am

    I just recently experienced this and was not very happy about it. Mainly because it was my director! Who by the way hasn’t reached out to me in like 6 months to see how I’m doing. Calls me out of the blue to “talk about an opportunity”….AND she came to a team function the next week, without an rsvp and got numbers from multiple consultants and called THEM as well. REALLY? Go to a company event to solicit another business? Talk about LOW!

    • Jennifer Fong
      October 4, 2011 | 11:28 am

      Very unethical. Particularly the part about coming to a company event simply to recruit for another opportunity. So sad.

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