Date: April 23, 2006 11:59PM
[b:c3654753bb]A good question Carioca,and you are so right to be trying to find out more about a company that is so mega rich that nobody dares criticise it.[/b:c3654753bb]This company also seems to have the world Aloe Vera market pretty much all sewn up in their own mega monopoly...or that's how it seems to me.
When you try to find out about the basic constituent of over half their products ( Aloe Vera Barbedensis Miller) ,you discover that the books,articles and internet information (which at first glance may seem to be from an independent source) are written by very well paid employees of Forever Living Products.
I fell hook line and sinker for the typical salesman "Bait and Switch" method of marketing when I replied to an advert looking for "Business Partners"....of course it turned out to be a recruitment campaign by an FLP
distributor looking for fresh,innocent blood.I was the perfect candidate (no surprise there) and got the job. My interviewer (who I'm now stuck with"forever" as my "upline" manager! ) turned out to be an ex-car salesman,so you see I didn't really stand a chance! I didn't know much about aloe vera ,or multi-level marketing and I was new to the internet and green about all the scams out there. I believed him as he was clean,polite,respectable and professional and I bought into the "dream" (around $400 or £199) on my second visit (he gave me 24 hours to think about it) and I left his lovely (but now I think well mortgaged) home with my box of products to sell.
Of course people [b:c3654753bb]didn't[/b:c3654753bb] clamour to buy the products as they are above normal retail price and anyway first you had to convince them about the necessity of Aloe Vera in their life (and give them informative leaflets or samples, which you've paid for!).
It becomes embarrassing taking money off your family and friends and nobody wants to spend all that money to become a distributor for such expensive products.Minimum wholesale order is £50 or a little less than $100 and delivery is another £6 or thereabouts.
The nearest distribution centre is a long way away, as is the training centre so I can't collect the products or get to the training( you have to pay,but not too much) easily.
I've spent a fortune so far and managed to sell a few products and some customers do regularly come back for more BUT they don't want to become distributors,even though they can then buy at wholesale prices (still expensive!) as they would have to order at least £50 and anyway they don't want the whole weight of Forever Living round their necks.
From endlessly hassling me at the beginning, my manager soon dropped me when I didn't recruit.He doesn't care how many products I sell, in fact he doesn't much care about the products at all, he wants me to RECRUIT my sisters and friends into this mugs game because THAT is what will really push him up the bonus heirarchy and line his pockets ( and pay the mortgage on the house he bought that he couldn't really afford, and the finance on his brand new jaguar he told me he has just purchased).
The house and now the jag. will impress the next victims who answer his Newspaper Ad.His wife,of course is still working full time as a nurse.( Why? If he is doing so well.)I now remember that his house was awash with boxes of products....now i think it was stuff he bought in without any customers to sell to in order to push himself up the ladder and increase commissions( but the commissions structure is so complicated I must admit I haven't understood it yet).
At my interview I didn't ask any of the right questions...I should have asked him how many of all the people that fell for his fairly hard sell and bought the first box of products ,were now successfully recruiting.
The products are generally nice. The skin products are creamy and do seem to condition and protect the skin and the Aloe Vera Gelly in a tube is good for cuts ,bruises and burns.The size of the packaging is generous (ie.big American size dollops of Aloe Vera cream ).
I drink the famous gel and I do believe it is probably better than other brands as they grow the stuff organically themselves on vast plantations in the West Indies and process it right through to the product. I cross my fingers and hope it really is good for me as no convincing medical studies have been carried out (although surely a company as rich as FLP could afford to pay for independent studies to be done??)
Many of my customers do really appreciate the products and find them efficacious (often in new and surprising ways).My sisters use certain of the products on their horses and find that they work better than other things they've tried (for skin conditions etc).However they daren't follow the FLP Vet's recommendation and give the drinking gel to the horses as they need such a large dose and it is so expensive!!
It's slightly disconcerting when a top level Manager dies of cancer while still very young, as happened recently to FLPs long serving American top man in Britain 'though there was no secrecy about this.I haven't heard of any Herbalife, Mark Hughes style scandals 'though in some ways the company is quite secretive so there may be skeletons in cupboards.
I've examined my inner being as regards my inefficiency at recruitment....the thing is...I used to belong to a religious cult,only exiting a couple of years ago after 30 years, and anything that smacks of blind faith or evangelism makes me squirm....I JUST WON'T DO IT. There is definitely hype ,evangelism and faith rampant in the organisation (we are constantly exhorted to attend official fuctions and training sessions (it all costs $$$$$££££) and read all these self help,brainwash books ( " Feel the Fear but do it Anyway"-type stuff).
Greed is everywhere ,even though officially FLP distributors are"nice". Luxury holidays in the resorts owned by Forever Living are offered as incentives to push us to meet what would be impossible targets if you only used a soft sell approach.The only way of realising the FLP dream,it seems to me,is by being a wolf in sheeps clothing,like my upline manager, and doing it by deception and stealth( although I'm prepared to concede that even he doesn't understand the negative implications of this style of marketing).
I've decided to carry on for a bit as I've learnt quite a lot about the company and the products and paid about £800 into my effort (earning about £400 back...the rest I've used myself ,given away as presents or are still sitting in my cupboard!). I've already received about £35 from FLP as a bonus incentive for buying all those products. I have learnt a lot,though not necessarily what I expected to learn! I quite enjoy telling potential customers about my own experience of the products and making a sale and I do get positive feedback even though I don't ask for it ! It's nice when a product seems to help someone. However I guess there may come a time when I decide to cut my losses and bail out.I've been a distributor for just over a year and have been held back by a family bereavement.
Now I've got all this off my chest maybe I'll do better ( but I won't hold my breath).Thanks,Carioca for giving me the opportunity to clarify my feelings!
I refuse to do hard sell or tell lies either about the products or the "business opportunity". I've still got to learn all about the Bee Products ( again,they keep their own hives in Arizona)......I've got some as they come in the "combi-pack" which is a bit cheaper than buying the products separately...but I dunno exactly what they do.As the company is not allowed,by law, to make specific health claims about their product's ,its all a bit nudge nudge wink wink...and pretty impossible to get hard facts about health benefits. sigh.You are fed the information in dribs and drabs which you have to pay for at training sessions....this is the info which will help you become a better informed ,more professional recruiter and move up the ladder ...but ,of course ,as a lot of money is generated by the beginners stumbling around ignorantly ,making mistakes but nevertheles still enthusiastically selling products , desperately buying leaflets and samples and DVDs ( there are only 3...to give to potential prospects) and bags to put their products in when they go to a sales "launch" etc etc...To give myself the best chance and full of optimism,I spent a fortune on surplus stuff.
One things for sure....barring a miracle,[b:c3654753bb]I [/b:c3654753bb] won't be giving up my Day Job!!
It's truly NOT NICE and in fact rather mean of me....but as my polite and charming manager told me when we last spoke on the phone that
he[b:c3654753bb]"couldn't waste time helping people who didn't help themselves"[/b:c3654753bb] ( a switch from"good cop" to "bad cop") I rather hope he defaults on his mortgage payments and his Jaguar Car goes back to the Garage....and that's the annoying thing...every time I sell a product I'm paying for his jag. GRRRR!