In the 1980s, Malaysia is the first country among South East Asia to be introduced the concept of network marketing, also commonly known as direct selling. Due to the long history of this industry in Malaysia, I observed that in Malaysia when I approached people different generations, they have different perceptions on network marketing.
The Baby Boomers & Generation X (Typically born in 40s – 70s)
This is the earliest generation in Malaysia that exposed to the concept of network marketing. During this time, the concept of network marketing created hype and excitement especially the attractive income potential, bonus car and incentive trips.
Most distributors who started business from the 80s and 90s and continue to build the business until today. They are extremely successful. However, during this time, the industry was largely built on the hype and excitement. When the hype died off, many distributors came out from it.
Therefore, typically many from this generation will respond to you, something like “I have tried, it will not work.” or “it is nice in the beginning but after that will slowly quiet down and died off.”
Challenge: lack of understanding of the network marketing industry
Generation Y (Typically born in 80s – 90s)
With the aggressive pushing and selling of products and opportunity, as well as Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and illegal investment schemes were widespread in the market, I observed many people from this generation tend to run away from network marketing.
Good news is Generation Y realised the potential of network marketing because they have more testimonials to observe.
Typically, they are worried on the following:
- being cheated to attend a MLM event
- is it some kind of illegal investment schemes?
- Pushy and aggressive sales process
- Force to join
Generation Z (Typically born after 2000s)
I personally find that, Generation Z is more open to the idea of network marketing. One of the reason is due to the booming of social media and social marketing. The beginning of the Information Age economy helps a lot.
Look at how social media (e.g. facebook, instagram, and blogs) works, how the online business works, and how the economy trend changed. I also observed that Generation Y is looking for a platform of work-life balance. Network marketing is one of the way to achieve this.
As the generations evolved, the way we do business also followed to change. Many businesses have started to adopt the consultation and education method to help their customers to make choice.
It’s much easier to share your business or products with the Generation Y. However, bare in mind that, they can get information anytime from Google. In order to inspire them to make buying decision, we have to:
- Consult their needs
- Educate them about the choices they are going to make
- Guide them to the right resources and information
By looking at the economy trend development, there is a huge future potential for network marketing industry. Through the historical development of network marketing industry in Malaysia, it can conclude that hype, excitement and aggressive selling may not able to help sustain the business for long term.
To guarantee your success and sustain your network marketing business, focus to do these 3 things right: consult, educate and guide.