I went visiting a downline yesterday and I met her in the company of a fast-talking network marketing "prostitute". Like her kind,she cleverly tried to prospect me by weaving fantastic tales of her achievement in her current company; told me of the cars she's won, oversea trips and the house incentive she's working towards, etc. If only she knew that my understanding of network marketing has made me so immune to MLM slick-talk.
I just let her rattle on till I felt it was the right moment to cut in. So I asked her,"if a new mlm company comes into Nigeria today and you think you can make some more money from it would you leave your current company?" She quickly fired back an answer," Sure!...afterall is it not money I am looking for?" Immediately the alarms went off on the inside screaming, "RED FLAG! RED FLAG!".Just as I suspected, she was just another opportunist looking for ways to make money without a care for the bad reputation she leaves behind or the helpless downlines she will abandon .
This lady went on revealing her crookedness when she mentioned getting people to register and invest hundreds of thousands to millions in purchasing products so that she could qualify for the car incentives. I was thrown aback. "What!" I exclaimed, "how will your recruits sell all those products?". She laughed and said to me, "that wan nor be problem, we know as we dey take do am". So I asked how out of curiosity. Then she revealed her evil strategy."We have this our diagnostic machine", she began, "infact ehn..hmm..you should see me wit my white coat testing people...I look like a reeeeal doctor". "I can recommend like to 10 to 15 drugs for only wan persin and they will buy". Did she just say 10 to 15 supplements per person? Was I hearing this lady correctly or was I imagining things? Won't that kill the patient! So that's what is responsible for the sudden craze for diagnostic equipment, I mused.My goodness!
I thought I had heard the worst from this butcher only for her to drop her final bombshell. "In fact there was this man from the Government house in Abia State, he invested 52 million Naira casshhhh and won two cars plus some millions and oversea trip. De man himself confesse dat eh dis eh bizness is a workin". I couldn't take it any more. I had heard enough corruption for one day. What psychiatric ward did this woman escape from! She must be raving mad! At this point I no longer actively engaged her in the conversation. I just sat mute in shock.
It's so disheartening to know that our industry is saturated with these sorts of robbers. I wish we could get rid of all the fraudsters so they wouldn't go around deceiving people and creating resistance in the minds of prospective recruits. But ironically I feel very little for most Nigerians who lose money to these pyramid schemes. "Why" you might ask. Well for one, they are victims of their own greed. Most of them were looking for ways to get rich quick without paying any price and their lust led them to seek the easy pathways a.k.a pyramid schemes. I see them everyday and some are so dumb that they never learn after getting burned. I tell them of a legitimate network marketing opportunity that they can start with just N15,000 max but oh no, they wouldn't hear of it; it didn't sound impressive. They would believe me more if I lied to them and asked them to invest a million Naira.
The human greed will always create a market potential for pyramid schemes, but whether you are a network-marketing predator or a gullible prey one thing is for sure, some day you'll meet your Waterloo. You can't escape it!
By Dan Abia
27th July 2013