Friday, March 4, 2011

An Amway Network Marketing Fiasco

Have you ever heard of Amway? I imagine each one of you answered a resounding "YES" to that question.  Amway is a direct selling company and manufacturer that uses network marketing to sell a variety of products, primarily in the health, beauty, and home care markets. It was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVoss.
I recently read My Father's Dream (Kindle Single) by Erik German. This is a poignant story about how Erik's father quit his job as a journalist and went to work selling Amway products as an independant network marketer in the early 1980s. Roger German's family had fallen on hard times and a close family member introduced them to the Amway "opportunity" at a time when the family was in desparate need of extra income. This business promises to make you $150,000, in your spare time, in just a couple of years. All it costs to get started is $250—and a dream. Roger worked hard and recruited over 100 people to sell under him, but instead of making a profit he amassed a crushing Amway-related debt. 
The author tells about the night when his tearful and incoherent father was standing in the kitchen of their home. The family had an empty gas tank out in the yard, an empty gas tank in the car, empty cupboards and an empty band account. It was a final culmination of bills due and no money to pay them. The family went to live in the basement of Erik's paternal grandparents home for eighteen months. His parents both worked constantly to pay off the debts. After they moved out of his grandparent's home, his father found work as a remodeling contractor and gave up journalism for good.
Two decades later, Erik German is an investigative journalist and sets out to learn how Amway works and how it failed his family. Mr. German reveals Amway's formula for recruiting and motivating sales people. The author found that the secret to making big bucks with Amway is not selling the products but by selling motivational books and tapes to your recruits.
This book brought back memories of my personal experience with Amway.

The Amway Opportunity Knocks On My Door
In the mid-1990s, a couple from our church approached my husband and I about an opportunity to improve our standard of living. They asked if they could come to our home and share this valuable information. We had a feeling that this was about selling and we are NOT salespeople.  Honestly, my husband and I could not sell a fur coat to a naked Eskimo in Alaska.  We are really that bad. The couple was very persistent and we didn't want to hurt their feelings so we agreed to a meeting with them.
On the appointed evening, the couple showed up at our door. They made some small talk and then started sharing the fabulous opportunity that Amway offered. The husband was a very smooth talker and said that it looked like we were doing pretty good but it was now time for us to go to the next level...a nicer house, new cars, vacations, FINANCIAL FREEDOM! 
Well, I told him that I was really satisfied with my life and that I would rather down-size instead of taking on the responsibility of more material possessions!  I wish you could have seen the look on Mr. Smooth Talker's face.  He was speechless.  I just shot down his entire sales presentation.  The couple left soon after and I am so glad that we did not take advantage of this "opportunity". 

The Book
I highly recommend My Father's Dream (Kindle Single).  This book contains 30 pages and can be read in an hour or less.  It should be required reading for anyone considering a network marketing opportunity. Read it and weep.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.


Martha Giffen said...

I am an avid reader and every single book you review, I want to go download. You have a great way of leaving the reader wanting more. Your love of books is evident. Thanks so much for sharing the Amway "rest of the story" story!

Michelle said...

I didn't know that's how Amway worked. How very sad that families have been put through that kind of stress to pursue the "opportunity" for success.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I have crossed paths with Amway several times throughout my life. It always seemed as if those who were trying to make money selling had to work extremely hard trying to convince someone to change their spending habits.

Becky said...

I find network marketing fascinating. Many people make great money and help a lot of people. But many many more lose money...

I especially loved the point in your story where the presenters automatically assumed that you wanted MORE STUFF.

If they had taken the time to get to know you better, to really connect with you they might have discovered that your true passion was feeding orphans (just made that up for point purposes :-)).

And then they could have related the Amway opportunity to that dream..

Anyhow...loved reading your post. Thank you.

Hajra said...

One of my uncle got in the "Amway Trap" (yes, that's what we call it) a few years back..just for that extra income he so desperately needed. It lead to increasing his debts and we being "gifted" Amway products. But all in all, it really proved a big disaster and my uncle is living proof of it.

network marketing said...

That's why it is so important for people to spend the time selecting the network marketing company--the same as if they had their choice for companies to work for in traditional business. Great partners and a solid company make all the difference.

network marketing

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