Let me tell you something about myself. I don’t like being sold to. I’m the worst person in the world for a telesale person to get on the other end of the line.. “GOOD MORNING MR WALLACE, AS ONE OF OUR PREMIUM CUSTOMERS YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO HEAR ABOUT OUR FANTASTIC NEW ALL-IN-ONE NO COST EXCEPT R21 A MONTH VALUE ADDING TRIPLE REDUNDENT HEALTH PACKAGE CALLED EXCELSIOR”. Blah blah blah. I am uber skeptical of self-help gurus (Repeat after me “We are all individuals! Now light up your conciousness candles and turn in three small circles humming gently”). So picture my horror when I found myself sitting in a strange home last night, listening to a bunch of pyramid schemers telling me how my life can change…
How we got there is an interesting story. Barry got a call from an aquaintance from the past, telling him about this amazing international opportunity, that perhaps Gorilla may like to get involved with. Awesome, why not. So with business hat on I wolfed down what would have been a rad dinner and headed off. What greeted us what not quite what we expected. And to be honest I got that dreaded “we’re fresh meat” feeling the moment I sat down.
Everyone was super nice (In that I’m about to sell you something kind of way) and before we knew it we were parked in and about to start the presentation “that would change our lives”. And so it began. The presentation was like all the others of its type I have ever seen, but it was the way that it was presented that was so fascinating.
The first port of call was the rapidly declining global economy, how tough things are and how tough things are going to get. But “this is an opportunity to be positive, to seize the moment and triumph” says they presenter. Great I agree. But I don’t hold weekly presentation highlighting to everyone just how fucked everything is and how stressed they must be and how crap your life is. From traffic, to interest rates and school fees, nothing was off scope, and it scared the people in the room. Yes times are tough! But we have the biggest sports event in the world on our shores next year. We are largely protected from the credit crunch crisis crippling most world economies, and apart from all of that we have one of the most beautiful, climate -friendly countries in the world. But enough about that. On with the sale.
Up next, was a selection of quotes and diagrams from Robert Kiyosaki, the best-selling and world renowned author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. He speaks about active versus passive income, wealth generation etc. All good stuff, and I have no issue with any of it. It’s how its packaged and presented by these schemes that get me.
“I don’t know about any of you, but I love spending time with my children! Going to their sports events, spending time with them in the afternoon” says the lady hosting the presentation. Well of course you do. Everyone does, including the 8 to 5 mom sitting in the meeting with us, dying of guilt that she missed her sons cricket match last week.
“This is absolutely NOT a pyramid scheme”, says the the lady, whilst taking us through a diagram that looks a lot like this.
Ummm, sorry… it is. You hold meetings like this, bring more people into the scheme, and make more money. How rich you become is on a sliding scale, depending on the number of teams you put together and how effective those teams are in selling the concept on. As you get higher and higher on the scale, not only does money flow endlessly into your account, but luxury and exotic holiday’s get thrown into the mix. Business teams that have done well, are ranked as Emeralds, Diamonds, Platimums etc.. “For only R450, you can join us here on Friday, where two of our best Emeralds will be sharing their stories of success with you”, says Sales Lady
“I don’t know about you, but I like lying on the deck of a 5 Star cruise ship, patrolling the crystal waters of the Med, spending unlimited amounts on someone elses credit card” says Sales Lady, looking around the roomful of people who haven’t had a decent holiday in years. “I LIKE THAT TOO!” nods the crowd! “Gosh here I have been paying for my holidays the last 15 years, and thats been to a campsite on the South Coast”
Every slide of the presentation, was image after image of exotic locations and care-free young and beautiful people enjoying them. By dropping the right key phrases, “financially-free”, “stress-free” and “work at your own terms” they are targeting every single person who has at one time dreamed about any of those things. They grow the network through bringing people’s fear to the surface, and playing with it. And that is not great Karma. This “network scheme” might be the way to financial freedom. You may just have to sell your soul to get there though.