Seth Godin’s view on facts vs stories:

A statement of fact is insufficient and often not even necessary to persuade someone of your point of view.

I was going to end the post just like that, but then I realized that I was merely telling you a fact, one that might not resonate. Here’s the riff:

Politicians, non-profits and most of all, amateur marketers believe that all they need to do to win the day is to recite a fact. You’re playing Monopoly and you say, “I’ll trade you Illinois for Connecticut.” The other person refuses, which is absurd. I mean, Illinois costs WAY more than Connecticut. It’s a fact. There’s no room for discussion here. You are right and they are wrong.

But they still have the property you want, and you lose. Because all you had was a fact.

On the other hand, the story wins the day every time. When the youngest son, losing the game, offers to trade his mom Baltic for Boardwalk, she says yes in a heartbeat. Because it feels right, not because it is right.

Your position on just about everything, including, yes, your salary, your stock options, your credit card debt and your mortgage are almost certainly based on the story you tell yourself, not some universal fact from the universal fact database.

Not just you, everyone.

Work with that.

We’ve told ourselves many stories over the years to avoid facing the facts in our MLM business, and we work with dozens of people who rationalize their lack of success with a story rather than accept the facts, even when presented clearly.

People wonder why, but they won’t look at why. Anna Bassett

Here are some facts and some stories to help us ignore them. Some are ours, and some we’ve collected from you …

Fact: Your CEO has a criminal record.
Story: Oh, that was in his youth and it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. The drugs were probably just a bit of grass and everyone carries a knife in that neighborhood. It was probably just a pocket knife, and he’s changed now that he’s grown up. Sure, he drinks a lot and drives fast, but he’s a visionary and a genius.

Fact: Your company is a startup with a 1% chance of seeing its second birthday.
Story: I know, but this one’s different! I know the owner personally and three billionaires and a football player have come out of retirement to join us!

Fact: Your company is being investigated by the Attorney General in three states, and has been forced to close in the UK as an illegal pyramid.
Story: Oh, those states are anti-MLM and England hates to see anyone succeed and you can find jealous haters everywhere.

Fact: Your company is paying you 1% commission on your personal customers and 1/4% on the first five levels.
Story: No, it’s up to 10% and the real money is not in the residual in the beginning. You can make a lot of money in recruiting bonuses until the residual kicks in.

Fact: You will need about 10000 people in your business to generate $10000 per month.
Story: That can’t be right. I saw this guy at convention who made $30000 in his first two months and my sponsor drives a Mercedes.

Fact: Your policies and procedures state clearly that you can be terminated at any time for no reason.
Story: Nobody reads those and they would never use that clause on me and anyway I had lunch with the CEO and he’s a really good guy and he had a really nice suit too!

Fact: Your contract makes you responsible for contacting, supporting, motivating and supervising your entire downline. You must continue to sell products and sponsor people ‘on an ongoing basis.’ That means you can’t take a vacation or retire, and you can’t will your business to your kids.
Story: I’m going to take this to the CEO next time he takes me to lunch and I’ll get him to change this. He probably doesn’t even know these clauses are in the contract. He’ll change this for sure. I’m going to talk to him and bring it to his attention. I’m sure he won’t want this in the contract. Really, this is no good but he’ll fix it right away. I’m sure he will.

Fact: You’ve been in your company two years. You have no customers and no downline.
Story: Sure, but we have a new owner and he’s introducing new lines of nutritionals and jewelry and maybe travel.

Fact: You’ve spent $20000 on leads and have not sponsored one person who has done anything and that credit card is maxed out. Realistically you should be looking at a company like CreditAssociates in case you end up in debt from your credit card, but what’s the story you’ll tell yourself?
Story: Those were bad leads. I’m getting the next batch from a different company. They’re double opt-in, prequalified over the phone and ready to join and I’m applying for a different credit card and I’m going to find a heavy hitter as soon as I set up the new autoresponder.

Fact: There is no list of owners or company address on the website.
Story: There’s a picture of him right there, standing in front of that mansion with the car and the boat. That’s him. He looks trustworthy, doesn’t he?

If you’d rather deal with the facts, you’ll want to know how to find them. Start with this free MLM Report, Big MLM Lies.

You can also write to

Bob and Anna Bassett
Tom ‘Big Al’ Schreiter’s 25 Skills
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