“Psst.. Hey… I have an amazing business proposition for you. How would you like to multiply your current income by a large factor with little to no effort?” Sounds too good to be true? It probably is. Most multi level marketing sales pitches start like this, often accompanied by talking extensively about a God-like figure that started the business in the first place and how he (Oh sorry, I mean He) made millionaires out of beggars by this seemingly infallible strategic marketing.
My first (and thankfully only as of this writing) experience with such a scheme was back in August 2013. I was new in college then, but I was still as lazy as I am today. As such, I was just chilling in my room, wasting some time on WhatsApp when my roommate asked me to accompany him to a business meeting that will “change my life”. I politely declined since going there meant climbing two floors by stairs, but I was prodded enough to irritatably say yes.
Once we were there, a short fellow of the same class but different section started explaining the strategy to the both of us like he had memorized it. The scheme was something like this:
Giving his reference, we needed to buy a product for an investment of Rs. 10,000. Afterwards, we had to convince other people to buy the product giving our individual references and upon every referral, we’d get one third the initial amount i.e. Rs. 3,333.33. Besides, for everyone of our junior’s referrals we’d get a further one third i.e. Rs. 1,111.11. Theoretically, we could make a lot.
After this he went on to explain about a God like man who has transformed many lives and blah blah. How a few associates could afford going to Singapore on a cruise liner etc. They even had a joke book praising the people who bought into the scheme and ridiculing the naysayers. At the end of the entire presentation, I had to ask, what is it exactly that you’re selling?
The guy told me it was some CD based computer education course aimed at rural folk. I was like, “Who seriously uses CDs in 2013? Also, I have enough knowledge of computers, we are in an engineering college for God’s sake, why should I buy this?” “Well it is not really about the product but about the sales and the premiums to be earned.” Came the reply. Since I am not a complete moron, that was the exact moment I realized what was up and decided to bail out. My roommate also knew better and reached the same decision.
This brings me to the exact point of my post. Such schemes focus on the revenues to be earned by sales part too much and to satiate this, push severely inferior products into the market which no honourable retailer would touch with a twenty foot pole. In India, the general awareness of the common man is extremely below average and high level of greed makes him see things with a myopic eye. As such, schemes like these thrive on the ignorance of such sheeple. Perhaps Mr Sharma would fall for such a trick but thankfully he doesn’t have the mode of conveyance to get to the meeting.
BUT HEY! IT COULDN’T BE ALL THAT BAD!
Yes. To be fair, this scheme isn’t illegal and if the product pushed is of real tangible use, a scheme like this could really help a brand gain a foothold in a market flooded with big players. But then again, if you so wish to be a distributor of such things, you risk a lot of non financial things, dear reader.
For example, my cousin went to the house of one such dealer for one of these “business meetings that could potentially change his life”. (I mean seriously, he could have gone bowling with me instead.) The guy offered him a cup of tea. All the while from brewing the tea to putting it in front of the guest to him finishing it, the dealer kept praising yet another God like man for blessing the earth with such divine tea (and many other products) and kept asking my cousin to buy the tea and some other products at a discount and sell them at MRP.
Now, if I visit your house to meet you and socialize with you and you keep selling me products like a salesman, I probably am not going to visit you again. These things are best suited to retailers and that too at their shops. Come on man, keep a difference between work and home.
As such, I feel these things make you lose a lot of respect in your social circles and distract you from your primary goals, and you WILL not even gain substantial monetary gains to make it worth it. The guy that tried to sell me the CD package is still in college, repeating a year. Chances are that he won’t graduate this year either. While he and thousands others would keep selling trivial products, the God like men they always praise would be swimming in these mindless folks’ monies like Scrooge McDuck.
Do you have an experiences with any such scheme? Tell me about it in the comments section. Let’s share and spread awareness.