It seems that in the last two or three months dozens of leaders and organizations have been doing what I call the MLM Springtime Shuffle. Now don’t get me wrong, in network marketing there is always someone shifting from one company to another. But in the springtime, it seems that independent professionals just get the itch for some new adventures.
The definition I am using when it comes to cross-recruiting as it pertains to this article is as follows:
Cross-Recruiting – soliciting anyone from your former network marketing company, who is not personally enrolled/sponsored by you! This includes answering any questions about your new company from anyone who might call, email, text, private message, or ask a public question about your new network marketing company, which was also not your personal enrolled/sponsored.
It also includes doing 3-way calls for your personally enrolled/sponsored who came with you from your former company. If they put you on a call with their personals and you present the new business opportunity, products or talk about he company in anyway this can be seen as cross-recruiting.
The one exception to this definition is if the person you are talking with has been separated from the former company the amount of time published in the policies and procedures; this is usually six months.
1. Disconnect from anyone who you specifically know were in your former company. Without a doubt this is not easy, but you know who the top leaders are, and who were in your downline who you did not personally sponsor/enroll in the company.
2. Deactivate any former private or public groups you administer where the majority of the membership is from your former company. DO NOT, send a group message telling everyone in the former group, you have started a new group.
3. Remove all SEO, tags, pictures, hashtags, videos or anything else on your social profile which can be construed as a potential cross-recruiting violation. If you don’t want to remove your pictures, then change the setting to just allow you and your remaining friends to see them.
These three action steps will be a good start at protecting yourself from cross-recruiting alligations/violations. And based on your individual situation I am sure you will think of some others.
Below is a small part from a great article written by MLM Attorney, Kevin Thompson over at Thompson & Burton…
Nonsolicitation. This provision is usually the most difficult to navigate. This provision limits a leader’s ability to do what he or she does best: communicate. I’ve prepared a list of suggestions to help leaders stay in compliance with this provision:
- Stay away from email blasts. Without a doubt, there are members on your email list that were NOT personally enrolled by you. If there’s a single email from you to someone that was not personally enrolled, it’s smoking gun evidence of a violation.
- Stay away from facebook updates. There’s a growing argument in the law that facebook updates can be considered solicitations. And without a doubt, there will be people connected with you on facebook that were not personally enrolled. Why create room for the argument?
- Delete your facebook profile and create a new fan page. After leaving a company, it’s wise to delete the old profile and create a new facebook fan page. First, deleting your profile publicly communicates your intentions of honoring the agreement, which will be important in the event of a dispute. Second, it eliminates the likelihood of error. Again, one update on your facebook profile can be hazardous. In the future, segment your “friends” in your personal profile, separating friends and family from your MLM promotional efforts. Regarding the fan page, fan pages are one directional….people “Like” the fan page if they desire to receive information from the individual (or brand). They’re “opting-in” to receive information, which undermines any argument that the leader is specifically targeting members from the downline.
- No Solicit Certification Forms. If a leader really wants to go the “extra mile,” I’ve seen it done whereby an extra form is signed during enrollment. This form is a one page document where the new distributor certifies, via their signature, that they were not solicited by the enroller. Is it bulletproof? It has yet to be determined. However, it demonstrates some extra effort by the leader to honor the contract, which can never hurt.
- Website. If the leader was using a website to promote their old company, it’s not advisable to continue using that website to promote the new business. The argument can be made that the leader, using a platform built while building the old MLM, was using that platform to reach non-personal recruits. However, if the content on the site is not specific to any one particular company, there’s not an issue in posting an update there.
Nondisparagement. Leaders, in their effort to explain why they’re joining the new company, oftentimes talk trash about the old company. I’ve spoken with leaders in the past that have expressed frustration about this provision. In their minds, their only leverage against a powerful company is “the truth.” The problem with “the truth” is that it’s oftentimes a negative impression of the business and it gives the company additional strength in litigation. In most agreements, there’s a confidential dispute resolution process. Airing out the grievances in public only bolsters the company’s position, it does not weaken it. With the larger MLMs that have weathered several storms, they’re not going to budge at the threat of “going public” never works.
- Avoid saying anything negative about the former company with ANYONE, including your most trusted leaders.
- No anonymous smear campaign. It just doesn’t work.
- If you insist on talking about your old company, stick to the facts, avoid opinions.