As Herbalife comes under more and more attack and scrutiny for allegations that say it is an illegal pyramid scheme, I can’t help but see so many similarities to my time at R&F. As soon as people join R&F as consultants, it was my experience that the focus was on recruiting other members. Most of the R&F “trainings” available were about recruiting techniques, language to use on “prospects”, how to use Facebook posts to get prospects, etc. rather than knowledge of the products and how to sell the products. As this local government website states:
“Promoters of pyramid schemes stress the selling of additional franchises for a quicker return on your investment. Investors, therefore, expend their energies selling franchises rather than the product. At some point, the supply of potential investors is exhausted, leading to the inevitable collapse of the pyramid. The sale of the actual product often fails because it is overpriced or no real market exists for it.”
Now, I’m not saying that R&F is illegal or is a pyramid scheme, but the fact that it pays consultants up to seven generations of recruited consultants under them gives rise to consultants focusing on recruiting, recruiting, recruiting, over selling the products–and they recruit in sleazy ways to get to this point. The consultants that are very successful in the company, as with all MLMs, are the ones that have recruited the most consultants and taught them to recruit the most consultants. You cannot make that type of money if your primary focus was on selling the products.
Another line from this website is: “This lack of actual retail sales may be hard to determine as many pyramid schemes will claim that their product is selling like hot cakes. However, on closer examination, the sales occur only between people inside the pyramid structure or to new recruits joining the structure, not to consumers out in the general public. “
R&F requires that consultants maintain at least $100 in retail sales to be commissionable and suggests consultants do a monthly $100 auto replenishment program. I’m sure many consultants buy more than $100 since it is hard to get exactly $100 worth of products. It is my opinion that many of R&F’s sales (just like other MLMs like Herbalife) are to consultants themselves and new consultants that buy expensive business kits. I’d be curious to see how much of their sales are actually to non-consultants (and also not to consultants who add other accounts to maintain the $600 minimum to keep their recruits under them) as well as to new consultants who buy the business kits. I have never seen this number disclosed—only the overall figures about their annual revenue.
Anyway, read this link as it is a pretty interesting read about MLMs and the many gray areas within them: http://www.buttecounty.net/da/pyramidfraud.htm
Over 10,000 views of this blog: Thoughts after feedback from others that quit being consultants for R&F
I’m not the type to ever create a “blog”, and I am typically too busy to do things like this. But even though I quit being an R&F consultant a long time ago, I grew increasingly disgusted and outraged by the Facebook “spam” of others pushing the business. I was outraged by the lies and exaggerations they made about our products (e.g., the newest “lie” is people telling everyone that “Ellen loves our products” even though Ellen had an R&F micro needle product out on a segment about outrageous beauty projects and mentioned something along the lines of “I’ve had that done to me…”—presumably at a spa by another manufacturer’s device; among the other devices was a weird contraption that gives you a “nose lift” and the audience was cracking up laughing). Again, consultants have been selling this as “Ellen” loves our products and uses it!
I grew more and more disgusted with myself for doing this as I realized many friendships I had grew awkward or weird after I tried to sell friends products or “prospect” them, and I realized how moronic consultants . The aftermath feeling of awkwardness–that may never go away—and a strained relationship is so much worse than the sleazy feeling I felt when I worked as a consultant and actively tried to sell the business and products. I was so disgusted by all of this that I had to get this feeling “out” and share it with others in a proactive way so that potential consultants or even current consultants could really understand what goes into doing Rodan & Fields or similar MLMs. Thus, I created this blog.
Since it launched in March, I’ve had over 10,000 views, dozens of comments, and dozens of personal emails from people who were “prospects” or people who are current or former consultants who have had the same disastrous experiences as me and with their personal relationships. Many of the emails were of people trying to get out of being a consultant within the 60 day money-back timeframe but were unclear about how they could do everything because the instructions were not that clear to them. I think R&F needs to make it very clear and easy for consultants to return their business kits and receive their full refund.
Another woman emailed me to tell me that a “friend’ from church was a consultant for R&F and was hounding her to join. This woman was concerned because she is new to our country, did not speak English well, and did not know anyone in the US. She said the R&F consultant told her that it wouldn’t matter and kept bothering her about it. This sweet lady emailed me for advice on how to politely tell her “no” without losing the R&F consultant’s “friendship”.
As you can also read the many comments posted on this blog from former consultants or prospects, they also feel the same as me. Some of the comments have said that they are sick of the spam on their FB from R&F consultants that always advertise the business–they rarely talk about the products as it’s all about selling the business (sounds like a pyramid scheme, right?). The former consultants that realized how fake this is also commented that they could not handle it any more and resigned from being consultants. Other comments are from consultants who lose money, month over month, just to maintain their status as a consultant or executive consultant. The feedback this blog has received has confirmed my own observations, and I am glad that this blog can help prospects be educated about R&F before they join and start to hurt relationships by selling the business.
What are your own experiences? Please comment and email me. Also, I am also curious–how did you find this blog? What prompted you to do research about R&F and go to this webpage? Were you being “prospected”? Are you a consultant and are unhappy so you wanted to see what other former consultants thought? Please let me know!
Please read this website which is very informative and sums up my experience with Rodan & Fields perfectively. I particularly want to highlight the section at the bottom of the website titled “Relationship Issues: An Experiential Problem” which talks about how anyone successful at MLMs will exploit personal relationships–and this is a line I have personally decided not to cross. But that’s the nature of MLMs and “network” marketing. Click HERE for the website.
Some particular points from the website:
“It should be noted that when selling product, the only distinction from a real-world business is the possibility for deception due to the “looseness” of the MLM and the incentive to exaggerate claims without any accountability.”
“Remember, an MLM is defined by its rewarding people to recruit others in multiple levels.”
“The first marks for recruitment are the gullible, or the “expendable” friends.”
“Many readers will share the experience of observing MLMs divide families, friends, churches, and civic groups. Lifelong friends are now “prospects.” The neighborhood is now “a market.” Motives change, suspicions rise, divisions form. The question is begged: “Is it worth it?””
“They will claim to have made “new friends,” most of which are MLMers or new acquaintances who could be considered “future prospects.” The shallowness of these “new friends,” the stilted conversations among the “old friends,” and the embarrassment, in general, for what seems clear to everyone but the MLMer go unnoticed. Callousness sets in; standards are lowered.”
“And so the MLM relationship “bull” tramples through the relationship “china closet,” blindly ruining fragile and valuable things. Some never pull out of this, figuring the coldness they experience in their emotional lives is due to some other cause than their MLM participation.”
Rodan & Fields products themselves and my personal thoughts on their ingredients, effectiveness, etc.
First, I strongly recommend you watch this video about some of the chemicals in the products: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-_Qe_AaUz4 . I did not make this video nor do not know enough about the ingredients, but I think it is good to educate yourself about other opinions on the ingredients.
Rodan & Fields Background-generally
To understand the products, you should understand the history (as I understand it) on Rodan & Fields. As all of you know, these same two doctors were behind the ProActiv products which invaded your home televisions as infomercials in the 90s. Many R&F consultants will always bring up the “Same two doctors that started ProActiv” as a selling point for the company and the products. I used the products as a teenager, and immediately discarded them as it made my acne worse and dried out my skin. Also, as you may know, ProActiv is sold through Guthy-Renker, and many people have complained that is is indeed a scam as once you buy it online, they automatically bill your credit card every 30 days and ship a supply to you, and apparently, it is very hard to unsubscribe from this. Please have also called it a “scam.” See some consumer complaints HERE.
Also, as much as a hate to cite to Wikipedia, it is a good source for other studies on the effectiveness of proactive. It states: “A physician writing in Salon noted that Proactiv uses the same active ingredient as cheaper generic store drugs, but that its three-step system made it easier for teens to be diligent. A test by Consumer Reports with 80 volunteers found that the Proactiv system and less expensive drugstore products were equally effective. According to a 2011 review in Consumer Reports, the three-part Proactiv system costs about $20 per month, while individual drugstore products cost about $5. Consumer reviews of Proactiv in online forums are mixed.” See WIKIPEDIA.
OK, so clearly the Doctors did well with Proactiv’s aggressive informercial marketing, the automatic shipment method, and the key to all this is the simple “three step” method. Their products themselves were not superior to other acne products and are clearly more expensive. They are just good marketers.
Fast forward to the early 2000′s. Although I cannot find all the details, somehow they entered into a partnership with Estee Lauder to sell the same type of “three-step” kits to adults to address their adult skin concerns and Estee Lauder acquired the company in 2003. View the press release about that HERE.
The products were sold in department stores and home shopping channels. Based on this, many consultants will say something along the lines of “Rodan & Fields was the number one selling clinical line in Nordstrom’s when they were under Estee Lauder.” LET ME EMPHASIZE, that to this date, I HAVE FOUND NOTHING THAT CONFIRMS THIS!!!! I don’t know where consultants got this, but I guarantee, it is part of the misinformation they are vomiting out on prospects to get them to sell the products. If they were so profitable, why are they not part of Estee Lauder anymore?
Speaking of which…so, Estee Lauder acquired them in 2003…just a few years later, in 2007, Estee Lauder sold the company back to the doctors. Since Estee Lauder is a publicly traded company, it is motivated by profit. If Rodan & Fields was profitable for them, then why would they sell it just a few years later? In fact, since then, Estee Lauder has been involved in some LITIGATION with Rodan and FIelds about the way the products are packaged.
DIRECT SALES/RODAN & FIELDS
Regardless, the doctors decided to enter direct sales in a multi-level networking arena. Again, I must admit, this is genius as now, many people are connected through social media and the people you get to sell the products do all of the marketing for the company and can reach more people than old-fashioned advertising. Despite how sleazy other MLMs are like Herbalife, Nu-Skin, etc., the companies themselves (not necessarily the consultants) all make good money because of the potential “make residual income” claim, and the thousands of people desperate to make it work. Plus they all (including Rodan & Fields) have minimum amounts of products that consultants must purchase. This is how they make tons of money.
Since 2007/2008, the company has been growing, especially since many of these 20/30/40-somethings have embraced the manipulative and fake tactics that I discussed previously by using Facebook to make their friends jealous and want to join the company as well.
Like Proactiv, the products are centered on three or four step systems that you are supposed to buy in a “package.” They all contain active ingredients that you can literally find at any drugstore for significantly less–there is nothing special about the products themselves. The anti-aging products contain peptides and retinol–which you can find in cheaper products like Roc and Olay. The sun damage products previously contained hydroquinone and now contain vitamin c and retinol–again, just like many products available at drugstores and sephora. The unblemish line is substantially more expensive than proactiv with similar ingredients, all of which are available at drugstores. Again, there is no reason for buying specifically Rodan & Fields products unless you like to pay for overpriced skincare and potentially hazardous chemicals.
WHY I WILL NEVER USE THE PRODUCTS AGAIN!!!
If the products were superior to all other products I have tried, I would use them, even if I didn’t sell them. I care about my skin and want the best products that make my skin look better. The truth is, they are not superior. They made my skin look shiny and greatly irritated my skin. I even broke out in terrible cystic acne.
Consultants tell each other to tell their customers when customers complain about irritation that “it means the product is working–your body is just purging the junk that was in your skin before Rodan and Fields products.” What do they know? They are making up excuses. Most of them are not doctors, nurses, or in the skin-care industry. They are uneducated regarding skincare yet they automatically think they can tell you what is going on with your skin when they have a financial interest? It should be a dermatologist that explains why your skin is acting a certain way! Anyway, whenever I have used products on my skin that have been effective, there was never a period where I broke out in terrible acne and rashes before it started working.
Unfortunately, some of the people I sold the products to also had some reactions. One of my relatives tried the sun damage line and it immediately gave her hives all over her face and a terrible allergic reaction. She had to go see her doctor that week and her doctor told her to stop the products immediately, even though she diligently followed the directions for the products. This embarrassed me terribly, and I did not want the products I sold to hurt people that I cared about. This was another reason why I stopped selling Rodan & Fields.
THE SCARY INGREDIENTS IN THE PRODUCTS
I don’t purport to be a skin expert either. But I have spent hours and hours researching skincare and the ingredients on many products because I am invested in my skin and more importantly, my health. We only have one life and one body to use for our life, and I want to make sure that everything I do to my body does not potentially hurt it and shorten its life span.
Skin is the largest organ in our body. If we put something on top of our skin, we might as well be eating those products because skin does absorb the products and eventually go into our bloodstream. My motto is: “if I won’t eat it, I won’t put it on my skin.” Rodan & Fields products contain many preservatives and other chemicals along with their active ingredients that may have potential links so cancer and other diseases. Most alarming is that some of the products contain parabens, which I will absolutely not go near at all. Parabens are preservatives that have been found in a majority of breast cancer tumors. Although the FDA has not banned it yet, it does not mean they are safe. Even if there COULD be a link, would you even want to use something that MIGHT give you cancer? Wouldn’t you use paraben-free products to sleep better at night? And would you want to sell these potentially harmful products to friends and family?
For more information, please see this YouTube video with more links about harmful ingredients and insight here:
PRODUCTS THAT I USE:
I am in love with a few different product lines. First, if you have not tried SANITAS skincare products, I recommend you do. They are a natural line found at professional skincare places and also on some websites. I love them because they are natural, do not contain scary chemicals, and THEY ACTUALLY WORK! They do what they claim to do! I love the products and suggest you look into them. They are also much cheaper than Rodan & Fields and a little bit goes a long way because they are so concentrated. Check out Sanitas and their philosophy HERE. They are paraben and preservative free!
I also use EltaMD, which is also available online if you do a google search. I especially love her parben-free SPF moisturizers. She’s a little pricy, but it’s worth it.
Also, I get a prescription for generic retin-A. I use it a few nights a week. Retin-A is a stronger version of retinol, which is found in R&F and other products for anti-wrinkles, anti-acne, and skin lightening. The Retin-A is superior to the retinol found in Rodan & Fields because it is stronger. It costs $20 for about a 3 month supply and contains no parabens (at least in the generic version).
As always, please feel free to ask me any questions or submit any comments below!
Another great link and the real story about “Harvard’s research” of MLMs and R&F; also, some clarifications by the company
A great resource to hear about people’s experience with another famous and older MLM, Mary Kay, is The Pink Truth blog at http://www.pinktruth.com. This is a blog with forums and various interesting insight from the perspective of former Mary Kay consultants. Many of their perspectives can apply to former or current R&F consultants since they are both MLMs and share similar features.
One thing that the blog discusses is how Mary Kay people also say that MLMs were studied by Harvard and Harvard has various criteria for MLMs being a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” As I mentioned previously, if this is true, I have not found anything on the internet that evidences this. On the contrary, I have found numerous website that claim that this is not true, including the Pink Truth. Here is the link: http://www.pinktruth.com/mary-kay-facts/not-taught-at-harvard/
Some R&F consultants like to say that Harvard actually studied R&F itself, however, most of the people that make this claim don’t really understand why they were studied, or if they do, they don’t elaborate. Ironically, Harvard studied the “inconsistent and highly variable recruiting behavior” of consultants in the company! They studied the very concepts I directly raise in this blog! Of course, if consultants tell you that “Harvard studied” the company as a way to recruit people, they are not going to tell you this reason (mostly because they don’t even know the reason since they are just following others on what to say).
Here’s a link to the abstract of the study–to get the whole thing, you need to purchase it. http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=43807
I want this blog to be as informative as possible and as transparent as possible. I would be remiss if I didn’t add that someone from the actual R&F reached out to me via email and told me they wanted to understand my concerns better. They also mentioned the following:
“I did want to let you know that the majority of our revenues comes from sales to Preferred Customers and that, depending on the month in question, for each Consultant enrolled, we have 5 to 7 Preferred Customers who enroll. We have a strong and growing customer base in addition to the expanding network of Consultants who sell our products. It is a business that relies heavily on networking with personal contacts, which is a model that works well for some and not for others, of course. Again, we would be interested in learning more about your experience as part of our effort to continuously improve and grow our business.”
The email did not mention how long the preferred customers stay when they enroll. I will add that when I started, the better business launch is a great way to get preferred customers enrolled (the ones that sign up for auto shipments every two months), so it makes sense that each new consultant may have 5 to 7 of these customers in the month they enroll since that’s when they have their launch. However, the hardship comes with keeping them enrolled for over 6 months to a year. People are naturally fickle, and even if a product works, they want something new and different. Also, many of my former preferred customers told me that the product simply was more expensive than other products that worked just as well–so I would be interesting in finding out how long the average preferred customer really sticks around.
Rodan & Fields Business Review–My Personal Story; The Inside Scoop on How Some Consultants Recruit on Facebook; and More. This blog does not apply to R&F as a company and only applies to my experience with other consultants. Many of my experiences probably universally apply to many MLMs.
My Background –I left R&F because of the pressure that some upline leaders put on you to stretch the truth about the business on FB and how ridiculous they want us to look on FB by spamming our friends and messaging them to randomly mention our business and see if they want to join. This is my personal story based on my own experience and my unique personal opinions about the practices that consultants use. Other people’s experiences may vary.
I joined Rodan & Fields as a consultant and also relinquished my consultantship for various reasons including: I don’t “believe” in the product–I use products I personally feel are superior and less expensive than R&F; I care about what people think of me–no matter what MLM company you join, you may lose some of your credibility with your friends–even if you are successful with the MLM; and most important, consultants receive the most incentives by getting more business partners and because of this, consultants use what I think to be sleazy, manipulative ways to get consultants. Many also lie or at least stretch the truth with their claims. This is my story and I will provide a former insider’s glimpse on their recruiting methods many consultants use, mostly via Facebook, on how to get more consultants and have them buy a starter pack.
I’m the kind of person who does not take things lightly, and I fully commit to any undertaking I choose. I am a very successful professional. I am smart and have a great network of affluent friends. My background and network is the perfect network for R&F and I would have stuck with it if I truly believed that the products were superior (which I don’t), and if I felt I could do well with the company while maintaining my integrity. I realized I could not meet this criteria because I did not want to focus on recruiting people.
I am very close with my former R&F sponsor and think the world of her. The opinions I express here do not apply to her at all, but rather, other upline leaders and the general training that consultants undergo from the top leaders in the company. I admit, my sponsor is now a very high earner in the company. You can make money with Rodan & Fields or any other multi-level marketing company (MLM). But, I ask you, at what cost to your self-respect? Your friendships? Your integrity? Additionally, if you look at the “average salary” for R&F in their income disclosure, about 43% of consultants make an “average” salary of $695. This does not include the fact that consultants must have $100 in personal volume each month (usually accomplished through the “consultant replenishment program” where consultants are advised to sign up for a monthly shipment of over $100 for themselves in order to be commissionable). Of course, it is nearly impossible to get products that meet exactly $100, so it is usually more, plus taxes and expensive shipping costs per month. To be conservative, let’s say $110 or $1320 a year that consultants need to pay, ON TOP OF THE BUSINESS KIT (usually $695 or $995). Therefore, the average “salary” of $695 for these consultants is more like losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This does not even include money people pay to throw parties/business launches/etc. as well as other costs like business cards. That’s a lot of money that nearly half of all consultants LOSE after spending dozens or even hundreds of hours working the business during their first year. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather deliver newspapers for $15/hour and invest that money in a mutual fund. I think the chances of making money would be better–not to mention, you can still maintain your non-Rodan & Fields friendships and people will not look down on you.
Recruiting methods & Cultish Behavior:
Soon after you join, other “upline” leaders friend you on Facebook, invite you to their group pages where only consultants are allowed to discuss R&F (which mostly consists of each other talking about their ways to use FB to get recruits), and they strongly encourage you to call-in to various training calls that focus on finding “prospects” and aggressively following up on “prospects” to “close” the deal. I soon realized that most of the training and the efforts are on recruiting other “business partners” rather than selling the products. Of course, you need to sell a minimum amount of product to be eligible to make commissions off of the people you recruit, but the minimum is fairly small.
After you meet the minimum by selling to friends and family who feel obligated to purchase items from you, your focus will be forever on finding “prospects” and finding people to sign to join your “team.” Each promotion you get after meeting this minimum is based on how many business partners you have and their small amount of sales to their own friends and family who pay for what I believe to be overpriced skin products, out of obligation. I personally believe that the fact that the upline leaders in this company make you focus on aquiring business partners rather than selling the product is more typical of a pyramid scheme rather than a legitimate direct sales company. Additionally, since you may get commissions based on five or more generations below also looks more like a pyramid scheme than direct sales, since this gives a large incentive to focus on recruiting others. Other highly regarded direct sales companies only give commissions for one or two generations, which makes the focus on selling the product rather than focusing your energy and time on engaging in sleazy “prospecting” tactics.
Further, if a consultant successfully gets a prospect to join, the prospect can choose between four business packages that can be either $45, $395, $695, or $995. Unfortunately, consultants get paid very well if someone joins with $995 or $695 (plus taxes and crazy shipping charges–so it adds up), and they really push for you to get these packages “if you are serious.” Even though you will only use the products for display once or twice at your “business launch” which will be attended by anywhere between 2 to 10 people (based on my own experience and hearing about others). They give you language about “this is a small investment” for your own business or that people do better with the larger kits, but in reality, many are motivated by the immediate profit they receive for the kit. Again, I feel like this is more in line with a pyramid scheme–getting a new business consultant to buy hundreds of dollars worth of product–rather than a direct sales company.
OK, so back to how they wanted us to “prospect.” Warning: if you are reading this, you might have been “prospected” by someone by one of these methods and are interested in the company so you are doing your research.
A majority of the upline leaders use Facebook and email to “prospect.” They look at friends of friends, and “friend” old school friends and eventually message them. First, they tell us to message our old friends, especially ones that are pregnant or with young kids, to ask how they are and what they are doing. Then, based on the response, they will craft another message about how they are doing R&F, they love it, and that some of their most successful business partners are just like them and they should talk more. I hated this tactic because I did not want to message people with the intention of having them as a “prospect.” If I wanted to message people, I would do it because I genuinely care about their life, not because I want to make a profit off of them.
To prove that this is so unauthentic, many of the R&F group pages have posted various types of “template FB message language” for how to reconnect with an old friend and pitch the Rodan & Fields business to different types of people. You just copy and paste and insert your friend’s name and send it off into a FB message! Admittedly, I tried this when I still had the initial excitement about the company. As tactfully as I did this, I always felt guilty about stirring up a conservation on Facebook with an old friend in order to eventually “go for the kill.” Although the interactions were all digital, the organic and genuine dialogue I first had to catch up with these friends got awkward after I mentioned Rodan & Fields, and I am sad to say, I know some people defended me or at least tend to avoid me. I know I was very non-aggressive compared to other R&F people, so I can’t even imagine what happens to other people. Nobody wants to be messaged or friended just for someone else’s monetary gain! I value my relationships, so this deeply disturbed me.
Unfortunately, once you get sucked into the FB groups by upline leaders, because you are messaging with people who share this crazy mentality for prospecting, it is very easy to lose perspective and realize how obnoxious this whole recruiting on FB thing is.
Facebook “likes” on your page:
Many of the R&F trainings discuss that we need to start “liking” and commenting on posts of potential prospects, as this will make Facebook put our posts on their news stream more often and they can see how great our lives are going (they also encourage us to always post great posts about our lives thanks to R&F, etc.-more below). If you suddenly get tons of posts and likes from an R&F consultant that you weren’t very close to begin with, you might be their “prospect.”
The R&F Consultant’s own public FB posts:
Additionally, through the leaders’ trainings and on the team pages, they tell us to always post Facebook posts with a link or a picture, as Facebook will more prominently feature these posts. About 2 or 3 posts out of 10 should be about how much we love Rodan & Fields, how we work it around our busy lifestyles, etc. They also tell us that even if we are not doing well with the company, to “fake it until you make it.” Again, as a person with integrity, I found this to be deceitful and I could not bring myself to downright lie about my business and [lack of] success. Also, i found that I was losing Facebook friends due to my posts, as many people do not want spam.
Additionally, they teach us to make Facebook posts (always with a picture or link to get more readers) asking a question, such as “Ladies, what is your favorite mascara? I’m on the market for a new mascara.” They found that people love being helpful and responding to these questions. After people respond, the upline leaders tell you to follow up with a message starting with “Thanks for that response…I’ve been meaning to talk to you about Rodan & Fields…” Again, lies and deception.
Also, along the lines of posting, when many consultants make a FB post about their Rodan & Fields business and how much they love it, they go to the R&F Group pages and ask other consultants to post comments about Rodan and Fields on their FB post so there is “more buzz” and therefore more people see the post (as FB will display posts with more “buzz” more prominently than others).
The leaders also train you that “prospects” are everywhere, and to really go out of your way and meet people and learn about them. When you ask them “where are you from” and they answer, you are then supposed to tell them that you are “expanding your business” in that area and you’d love to talk to them about it. Again, while I love the thought of being outgoing (which I am) and taking an interest in people, the motivation is all wrong and driven on sucking people in.
As an example, I remember one of our telephone trainers had a very regarding upline leader talk about her “lifestyle” marketing. She gave a real-life example about how she was in a department store, and saw a really cute, attractive women that she thought would be perfect for the business. She then pretended she was buying shoes and happened to sit next to the women and started talking to her and asked her where she was from and then said “wow! My business is expanding there! Can I have your number so I can see who you know?” And then we get more instructions on how to take it there. Again, the fact that she basically pretended to look for shoes just to find a way to talk to this person did not sit well with me.
Your “Warm Market”:
This is my least favorite of all “prospecting” types, but the most successful for many because it is about pressuring your friends and other people you know well. We were encouraged to reach out to our “warm market”, which means friends and family, and basically read from a template script. First, we are supposed to call and say “do you have a few minutes? I’m in between appointments (to sound busy) but I wanted to pick your brain? you’ve been on my mind lately”. Then you were supposed to schedule a 10-15 minute call after this initial contact to talk about why they would be perfect for R&F with the typically MLM prospecting language (which I will post about in my next post). Needless to say, this can be awkward and can also cause awkward interactions if you see this person in social circles in the future.
They make it clear to us that each follow-up call should be 24 hours or less because if people have more time to think about it, then they are less likely to join. We were instructed to “create a sense of urgency” for people to join. Other reasons we were given for this urgency was so people were less likely to research the company and find negative reviews about the company or MLMs in general since they would have less time to do that! Again, this is deceptive! People need to spend a lot of time researching anything, including something like this. This tactic is shady.
Overall, I’m not blaming the executives at Rodan & Fields. But the highest consultants at R&F are more incentivized to get more partners than to sell products, and this mentality trickles down to all consultants which I believe makes it more of a pyramid than a direct sales company (which, as I said, Rodan & fields is a direct sales company but uncomfortably focuses on getting business parters at all costs more than selling their products). The upline leaders also have cultivated this culture of exploiting FB and other social media in this way.
In my next blog posts, I will talk about the deceptive things they tell prospects and debunk them. Warning, I have not found any evidence that ANY of these statements are true and have found evidence that they are untrue..more to come in the next post:
“Network marketing has made the most self-made millionaires”
“MLM’s and R&F has been studied by Harvard.”
“Just a few hours a week”
“We were the #1 clinical brand in Nordstrom’s”
“The Doctors bought us back from Estee Lauder so people like you and me can make money off of them instead of have their product stuck behind department store glass”
“Be partners with the Doctors that created Proactiv”
“This isn’t a sales job–you just tell everyone about how much you love the products.”
And so on.
In another post, I will also talk about the products themselves and the honest opinions of my good friends and family regarding the products and business. Bottom line: They are not worth the price and are not unique. In fact, I’ve had some people (myself included) get worse skin from them.
The bottom line is that I am now embarrassed and ashamed to have asked my friends and family to buy over priced skincare from me, and I am also embarrassed for “prospecting” my friends on Facebook and in other areas. I am not that kind of person and value my relationships above and beyond the potential to generate an income at the cost of degenerating my reputation.
As I mentioned, I’d love this blog to be a productive dialogue about MLM experiences. Please feel free to IM me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.