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The World of Direct Selling: Interview: Alexander Plath

Aug 23rd 2010 at 7:53 AM

I found this great article this morning, compliments of Ted Nuyten, publisher of an impartial MLM review site:


The direct link to the article is here:


The World of Direct Selling

This place is for those who have interests in this industry. Here you will find information, ideas and thoughts on direct selling, network marketing and home party sales. Welcome!

August 23, 2010

Interview: Alexander Plath

Alexander Plath has been active in sales for more than 20 years and went from being a network marketing distributor when he was a student to the position of director of international sales and media spokesperson of a multinational network marketing company. For over 10 years, he has been training and coaching leaders and sales people all over the world in German, English, and in French. Alexander Plath is a well renowned trainer and speaker with a hands-on approach, a lot of humor and excitement. He is a certified trainer by BDV, AUI and Persolog. His core competencies are first impression, art of public speaking and presentation, body language, small talk and networking, and business etiquette. He is the founder and managing partner of the Plath & Partner AG and a member of the advisory board of a large Swiss corporation.

You spent quite a long time with PM-International. What did you personally take from your years there?

At PM-International, I had the opportunity to start as a distributor and work my way up to the Director of International Sales. Looking back, I can say that this was the best school I could ever get in my life. Network marketing gets you in contact with all kinds of people from a very low economical and social environment up to successful entrepreneurs looking for a new opportunity. And I have learned that the most important thing in a company is the inner strength and the loyalty of the people that run the company plus having a great vision.

At your company right now, you focus on the importance of giving a strong first impression. What major reasons made you focus on this topic?

I love training and coaching people and I discovered over 15 years ago that this is my purpose in life. In all these years, I have seen so many people with great knowledge, great skills, and great character but not with the ability to bring those through because their first appearance/first impression did not make the people around them curious to get to know more about them. This is why I specialized in this topic. Let me give you an example: If you go to a book store and there's a book on the shelf that has a grey, torn cover, even a little sticky, then the last book in that store you will going take in your hands will probably be this one. In the inside, it could be the greatest novel or the most important book ever written. But the book will never have a chance to get read. This is what happens when your first impression does not match your inner values.

In your experiences, where do you think direct sellers in general, stumble the most?

I believe that the main challenge for direct sellers is unfortunately the poor reputation that the direct selling has. I believe that this a lack of knowledge of the public, combined with a sometimes poor and unthoughtful first impression that direct sellers leave.

What I have been observing is that most distributors in direct sales forget to see the world through the eyes of their potential customers and their prospects. If I show up in an expensive sports car wearing a golden watch when I present the business to a person that barely makes enough to survive, I should not be surprised if that creates negative emotions. A smarter approach would be much more helpful here. No question, we have to show the fruits of success but it has to be in a moderate way. I learned a rule very early in my network marketing career and I believe it still valid: People can only picture double the income that they have today.

I understand you place a special emphasis on small talk. Why do you think this is important for a network marketer?

I believe that small talk is especially important for this business. Small talk is what breaks the ice between two people and before we can start talking about our products and our business, this is what we have to do. Some people love small talk, some people don't. But it is important for everyone to understand the importance of it and use it as a business tool.

Are these topics relevant to direct selling company managers as well?

Yes, these topics are relevant to direct selling company managers as well, as they need to understand how the distributors of their company think, feel and work. Moreover, all of these topics are important for the interpersonal communications of human beings in general. So, yes, it is of high importance to train their communication skills.

Are there examples to direct selling companies incorporating these topics to their training programs on a regular basis or are we still not there yet?

There are already direct selling companies that have the implemented some of these topics in their training programs, but it's by far not enough and not yet done to the full extent.

Would you like to add anything before we close?

I believe training distributors on proper communications skills and leaving a good first impression and personal appearance would be very helpful in creating a better reputation of direct selling and make the business easier for all of us. After all, the distributor is “the business card” of the company. If there would be one recommendation that I could make, it would be: Always show the excitement that you have about your product or your business opportunity. Keep in mind what Augustinus said: "What you wish to kindle in others must burn within yourself first."

Alexander, thank you very much for this interview.

Thank you very much !

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