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MLMs, why are people so gullible?

Updated on August 6, 2014

What am I on about?.

'What am I on about' you may ask yourself.

Well, I'm on about those multi-level marketing schemes aimed at improving your health whilst earning a fortune. You know, schemes like 'Herbal Life', 'Forever Living', 'Juice+' and many, many others.

Each scheme promises that if you 'sign up now, at the beginning' you will 'be able to quit your job in under a year'. The schemes all have one thing in common. They come complete with 'testimonies' from 'medically qualified' people all proposing that this scheme will not only help you lose those excess Lbs, but by selling the product to your friends, you can earn a good living from the product.

The websites usually show pictures of bronzed and beautiful young women and men with 6-packs leaning against expensive cars or standing outside large expensive houses. They feature 'stories' from distributors boasting about how they have 'had 3 holidays abroad this year so far' or 'I was able to quit my job after 6 months'.

The whole scheme is designed to appeal to people's greed and drag them in without telling them the whole truth.

Are people really that gullible?.

It appears so. If you take 100 people at random and invite them to an exiting new product launch in which you deliver a slick, highly-polished, high octane sales pitch about your latest dieting product and how much money they would make selling-on this product as a distributor (and don't forget the bonus for signing-up new 'team members' to do the selling for you), I wouldn't mind betting that at least 40 of them would fall for the sales pitch and sign on the dotted line without even raising a single question about the product.

There have been eyewitness reports on one site stating that at a recent 'Forever Living' event at the 'O2' in London, people waiting to get in were waving banners and flags and enthusing about the product in a cult-like fashion. At first glance, anyone would have been mistaken for believing that the queuing mass were waiting to see some great religious leader instead of attending a conference for a slimming product.

When it comes to selling the dream, it is all about the marketing pitch and the people behind these schemes have invested heavily in the presentation and marketing to the point at which those being sucked-in would happily buy it without a second thought.

Are the schemes really a con ?.

If I wished to purchase a natural weight-loss product who would I trust more?, a major health food shop such as Holland & Barrett, or someone trying to earn commission ?.

I'll give you a clue, it won't be the individual after a commission sale.

When you start looking closely at the products being pushed, and start to check out the ingredients, you begin to realise that you can get the same benefits from cheaper every-day products from the supermarket.

To give you a real-life example :-

I have 2 friends who are both overweight. One decided he needed to slim down from 19St. in order to help with a few issues with he health, whilst the other weighed-in at 16St and wished to lose weight for the same reasons.

The first and heaviest friend attended a presentation from a 'Herbal Life' rep. 18 months ago and was sucked-in to the point at which he signed-up. He runs a shop and so for the last 16 months advertising the 'Herbal Life' product range. Over the 18 months he has lost around 2St.

The second friend decided to lose weight 6 months ago and instead of using a weight-loss product such as those already mentioned, but instead signed-up to an NHS weight-loss program aimed at teaching people how to manage their weight by food management and exercise. By changing chocolate bars for yoghurt bars and eating a more balanced diet, he has lost 8Lb in just 3 months and so is losing weight at a faster rate than friend no. 1.

Most of the schemes rely on people being willing to pay top-price for ordinary, bog-standard products. As long as people continue to believe that their £20 bottle of 'super vitamin supplement' is better than a shop's own-brand version, then the product will continue to sell.

The products themselves probably cost pennies to make. So yes, it is a con. These schemes are designed to suck in gullible people like some kind of cult, then take them for every penny they can get.

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