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How to hack it in network marketing

It does not require a degree in business or an MBA, nor does it require three years work experience in a reputable organisation.

But it requires determination, persistence, and sometimes, the gift of gab to convince people to buy your products. Welcome to the world of network marketing.

Believed to be the latest and most effective method of selling products, network marketing is slowly taking root in the country, with Kenyans from all walks of life adopting this new profession.

Building a network

Susan Rodrigues, is an independent sales consultant director at Oriflame East Africa Ltd. She started network marketing in December 2008 and has never looked back since.

“I started with Sh900 registration fee, after which I got a catalogue with all the products and their prices for my clients to choose from. I first bought a hand lotion and a perfume for myself, and before I knew it, people started ordering the same products. In the first two weeks, I earned Sh17,000 from selling hand creams and perfumes,” she says.

According to Rodrigues, network or multi-level marketing is about building a network of consultants (salespeople) by having each of them introducing three or four people into their network and helping them grow their business.

She has a network of 150 salespeople and earns between Sh85,000 and Sh30,000 depending on the season.

“You have to be the leader of your own network and train them on the best business practices. Also, you have to ensure that their businesses are doing well because if they don’t make money, you won’t also make money,” she adds.

Network marketing has also become a favourite ‘side-hustle’ for the youths, particularly those in college.

Making money 

Amanda De Souza (pictured), is a 22 year old BBIT student at Strathmore University and is an independent consultant at Oriflame Ltd. She started two years ago, and is now reaping the benefits.

Says De Souza: “I earn a 30 per cent discount on every product that I sell from the catalogue, and earn a bonus from my team at the end of each month depending on the number of points that my team and I have done during that month.”

De Souza says it took only Sh900 to join the bandwagon, and her survival tactic in the business is to look for people interested in cosmetics.

“Most of the retailing is done through direct selling on a person-to-person basis, initiated by referral, recommendation or straight forward approach. It is common for many companies to deliver the ordered products straight to your home or to your customer.”