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Bewildered’s Story of Being Prospected by TEAM/LIFE

December 16, 2013

A new visitor posted his story of being prospected by TEAM/LIFE members in a recent set of comments. @Bewildered gave me permission to repost the story here:

Greetings friends. I am in the middle of composing my recent experience with Life Leadership and realized it was going to be a (too?) long entry. So first I’m posting this summary version to spare anyone from having to peruse the whole book! In short:

I was recently approached about the big opportunity. Though I knew I was not interested, I agreed to go to a meeting. I left with a box of CD’s and a book that I knew I wouldn’t read/hear and I also knew that it meant a follow up meeting. So instead of reading the textbook they gave me, I headed to google and found this blog.

I want to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to the contributors here. Because I was in the middle of dealing with this on a personal level, the information here was both illuminating and FASCINATING. I spent more hours on the site than I thought humanly possible. It motivated me to agree to a follow up meeting just for the opportunity to discuss some of my ‘concerns’ with my friends new mentor, and do it with my friend there.

If you are interested in the gory details I will post the long version soon.

And again, thank you.

Bewildered followed up his first comment with a recap of the meeting. It looks like he attended one of the weekly seminars that are generally held on Tuesday evenings by TEAM/LIFE groups:

A little over a week ago I got a call from a friend that I have not been in touch with for at least a year. He is one of the pastors at a local church my wife and daughter attended regularly for many years. I attended…occasionally…and that’s where I met and befriended Mr. P.

A couple of years ago my wife and I were invited to dinner at Mr. P’s house. When we arrived we learned that it was more than dinner and there was a pitch presentation for Pre-paid legal and some identity protection mlm. I survived it without incident but, obviously, my respect level for Mr. P was diminished.

So when I got a voice message last week simply saying ‘hey, call me back’, without any indication of the purpose for the call (after a year of no contact), my radar started beeping. But I called back. We caught up on things for a bit and then…he informed me that he had been looking for a mentor in his life for quite a while and had found one. He told me he had read ‘the best book on leadership’ he had ever encountered (launching a leadership revolution). He said he would really like me to meet this new mentor. Before I knew it I was agreeing to attend a meeting the following evening where I could hear all about a business opportunity. Even though I was already 110% sure I wasn’t interested in the ‘opportunity’ I agreed to go, mostly out of curiosity. After I said yes I asked him if it was an mlm business. He answered, ‘it has some of those elements but it is unlike anything I have ever seen’. I told him I already knew, beyond doubt, that I would not be successful in an mlm business. He said it was very difficult to get into it over the phone. I already knew what that answer meant and I was already disappointed that he was treating our relationship so carelessly. I told my wife I really didn’t want to go. She said then don’t. I said what the heck, I don’t mind spending a couple hours with Mr. P and I’m curious. So I went.

We arrived at the hotel conference room 30 minutes early (ugh). They asked me to register when I walked in. I ignored them. As I waited for the show to begin, I noticed that there was a flip chart standing at the front of the room. It was the IDS. So I studied it for about 10 minutes. I had to keep re-reading because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought, have the other people here (I estimate 70-80 people) SEEN this? Do they know what it says!? I wanted to look around to see if there were cameras. Maybe I was on some hoax show and somebody would jump out and say ‘gotcha’! I mean, right there at the front of the room was all the information a thinking person needed to know how RIDICULOUS this ‘opportunity’ was. I was bewildered.

So the presentation took place (Mr. P’s mentor was the speaker), complete with standing ovation at the introduction of the speaker. Mr. P also invited someone else and he was sitting next to me. I noticed he started to jump up with the rest of the crowd and then stopped himself. I hoped it was because he noticed the other mark (that’s me) didn’t budge. There were also a couple of occasions where the real big shots were mentioned and I noticed the remarkable level of adoration expressed. Inappropriate levels of adoration, it seemed.

I found the presentation to be borderline absurd. The explanation of why it’s not a pyramid scheme being some circles drawn on top of circles with some incoherent description of communities and teams. I literally had no idea what he was talking about. It wasn’t even a good try.

At the intermission and the end I immediately made myself scarce by walking around the hotel just to avoid being asked what I thought. I wasn’t sure I could trust myself to offer a civil reply. But, eventually, I had to come back into the room because I had agreed to ride with Mr. P to the show (yes, that tactic). I sat in the back of the room for about 10 minutes while Mr. P worked the other mark but eventually decided I needed to make my presence known as a reminder that I was owed a ride home (it was pushing 11pm by then). And wouldn’t you know it, the moment I stood up, there was the mentor. ‘So what did you think?’ Um, not much. ‘Ah’, he said, ‘so not really for or against, more neutral?’ More against, I said. He wanted to know why. I pointed him to the IDS. He made some remarkably poor attempt to address that and then handed me a box with a book and CD’s, ensuring me that would clear it up. For some reason my hand said yes I there I was, holding the box, and knowing this meant ‘follow up’.

On the way home Mr. P wanted my thoughts. I told him the truth. I told him about the IDS. I told him it was obvious to me that the entire model was built around cycling in suckers for the sole purpose of enriching a very few at the top. I told him it was clear to me that the only thing being offered to ALMOST EVERYONE else was the opportunity to waste time and money before eventually leaving discouraged and less rich. Please note that all of this up until this point was before I had ever heard of AMTHRAX or the amazing stories on this blog. It was the next morning that I discovered you fine people. And after spending MANY hours perusing this blog, I decided I was VERY interested in a follow up meeting with Mr. P and his mentor.

But I realize this is already way too long for most so I will relate my follow up experience in a future post.

Please leave a comment for Bewildered in the section below.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Lovelace permalink
    December 16, 2013 9:10 pm

    I can’t wait to hear more! Sounds very typical of what you would see. Sad so sad for my lost friend’s that are so wrapped up into this scam.

  2. Dan Harper permalink
    December 17, 2013 5:45 am

    The Income Disclosure Statement was posted here awhile back and almost everyone knew what all the numbers meant. I didn’t, so I never pressed about it.
    When he does respond…….can’t wait……..can you that are knowledgeable about it explain it as he brings it up please?

  3. December 17, 2013 6:47 am

    That’s so awesome that you were so brutally honest with him – but he still can’t see the light!
    I can’t wait to hear about the follow up! You are doing all the things I wish I had done when I was “contacted”!!!

  4. noteam permalink
    December 17, 2013 7:07 am

    Bewildered – Bring a printout of several key pages from this site and bring them to their next Tuesday Open Meeting and meet with the upline in the hallway before or after the meeting. Don’t let the upline dodge the questions. Make them answer each one and see how they try to distract and avoid.

    The reason I say to do this at the Tuesday Open is not to be rude. But because I bet there are dozens of people at that Open that are starting to have concerns, but somehow believe they are the only ones who have doubts. If you do this for all to see, you may literally save several families from bankruptcy and several kids from losing years of quality time with their parents.

    Be respectful, but you are in a position to save several other people who just need to know there are others out there who question.

  5. SpaceHamster permalink
    December 17, 2013 8:39 am

    Interesting. I don’t recall the IDS being readily on display at the meetings I went too. Looking forward to your followup.🙂

  6. switch permalink
    December 18, 2013 11:58 am

    “‘So what did you think?’ Um, not much. ‘Ah’, he said, ‘so not really for or against, more neutral?’ More against, I said. He wanted to know why. I pointed him to the IDS. He made some remarkably poor attempt to address that and then handed me a box with a book and CD’s, ensuring me that would clear it up. For some reason my hand said yes I there I was, holding the box, and knowing this meant ‘follow up’.”

    Seriously…..? Just hand him the books and cds to silence him? Without saying anything in return, he should’ve set the books and cds down and handed him the whole IDS display.

    yes LIFE,…..that’s how idiotic you look when you present your social retardation.

  7. December 19, 2013 3:21 pm

    OK, I’m back reading here because of this. Part 2?………

  8. Melanie Morgan permalink
    December 19, 2013 4:24 pm

    Bewildered~

    Hahaha, I LOVE your humor, thanks for sharing! I am with the rest…can’t wait for the “rest of the story!”🙂

  9. December 20, 2013 1:31 pm

    Where’s the rest? Or did the posture train roll full steam ahead during the follow up?

  10. Melanie Morgan permalink
    December 25, 2013 6:14 pm

    Amthrax & All~

    Cheers to a Very Merry Christmas….May 2104 be filled with more Freedom of Speech and Free and Creative Thinking! You have all made a difference!

  11. bewildered permalink
    December 28, 2013 12:02 pm

    Greetings Amthraxians,
    I apologize for the delayed response to those of you who expressed interest in the follow up. I fully intended to do it right away. Alas, life intervened.
    As I described in my first post, I went to a Tuesday revival recruitment meeting after an invite from a friend. I was bewildered that seemingly intelligent people could still be sucked into these schemes. On Wednesday I did some googling and discovered this blog. I was startled/amazed/impressed and spent (too) many hours reading the stories and checking the links. As a result I went from dreading any follow up discussions with my friend to actually looking forward to it. So when I got a text later on Wednesday from Mr. P asking if he and his mentor could stop by my house on Thursday I was eager to participate. But I wasn’t willing to do it in my home (and risk having to throw them out…) so I said I would meet them somewhere. Mr. P suggested In N Out at 11:30.
    I arrived on time and they were already seated at a table. They said they had a one o’clock meeting at another restaurant (with the other prospect) so they were planning to eat then. But I was welcome to eat if I wanted to. Maybe it’s just me but that seemed rude. If I’m invited to a meeting, at a restaurant, at lunchtime, I just assume food is part of the meeting.
    I had the starter kit they gave me on Tuesday and I set it on the table. The mentor then asked me what my favorite parts were. I told him I would have had to have opened it in order to have a favorite part. He looked at me disapprovingly and expressed disappointment that I hadn’t made any effort. I reminded them both that I never made any commitment to them to review anything, and that it had only been a day and a half since they gave me the box. Then Mr. P said his son in law had also returned the box without opening it. He was disappointed and said that really showed him something about his son in law. I asked if his son in law had made a commitment to review the materials. Mr. P hesitated, he didn’t know. But the mentor jumped in right away: “he did to me!” What a dynamic. Here is Mr. P, a pastor at a local church, being encouraged by his new ‘mentor’ to speak ill of his own son in law because of this ridiculous pyramid scheme. I don’t know if I convey it clearly enough here. It was stunning to me.
    I was eager to get into some Q&A but, in a surprise twist, the mentor was reluctant to have any dialogue. He said something like (that I heard as): I’m not going to waste my time trying to sell you if you aren’t even willing to listen to a CD that will change your life… So it actually took some work for me to get the conversation going about ‘the business’. It’s been too long now for me to remember all the details or sequence so I will just highlight a few things. Keep in mind that it isn’t possible to have an honest, straight forward conversation with people peddling this story. It’s hard to get a straight answer to even the simplest questions, much less those that threaten to expose prior untruths.
    + THE MENTORS ORGANIZATION (and who profits?)
    Me: How many people in your organization.
    Mentor: I don’t know.
    Me: You don’t know?
    Mentor: I could tell you ten or I could tell you thousands, but then you would just have another question.
    Me: Or you could just tell me the actual number.
    Mentor: Hundreds of thousands.
    Me: No, not the entire company, just your down line (even though I knew the number was a lie).
    Mentor: Thousands.
    Me: Okay, so it is some number greater than or equal to two thousand. And you’re right, I do have another question. What percentage of those people are making a profit?
    Mentor: About 20 percent.
    Me: 20 percent!?
    Mentor: What do you mean by profit?
    Me: I mean what percentage of people make more in pay than they spend, after expenses.
    Mentor: About 10 percent.
    Me: Wow, then your organization is exceptional! I mean your team seems to be FAR exceeding the overall performance of LIFE in general!

    I pointed out the IDS numbers and that, in reality, only a small fraction of people make a profit. The mentor then attempted to explain that people who do the work get the results. He asked if we can agree that we should only factor in ‘people who do the work’. I pointed out that, if you only count people who ‘do the work’ and that, by definition, the people who ‘do the work’ make money then, ipso facto, 100% of counted people make a profit.

    I then turned to my friend and asked: “Have you taken a hard look at the success ratios in this business and concluded that this is something that is going to work for you?” He said, “yes and yes”. But then he explained that it wasn’t all about the money. He regurgitated all of the stuff about influencing lives and people, etc… He reminded me that he originally got interested because of the ‘best book on leadership’ he had ever read (Launching a Leadership Revolution). Then he told me that he prayed about it and feels like God is telling him to do it. Checkmate. Who am I to argue with God?

    + THE MENTORS DEBT STORY

    At the Tuesday meeting, where the mentor spoke, he told a story about how he had accumulated massive debt (over a million dollars) due to some unspecified turn of events during his career. He vaguely made it seem as if it was because he was foolish enough to have a job. But it wasn’t clear. He explained how the LIFE business had enabled him to deal with the debt without bankruptcy.

    In our follow up meeting I inquired into this story. There was more evasion but eventually I dug enough to understand that he had NOT paid off the debt. It turns out he had ‘used the things he learned from LIFE materials to DEAL with the debt’. Obviously this could mean ANYTHING but what it does NOT mean is that he paid off a million dollar debt based on success in LIFE. I confronted him directly on this and pointed out that the story at the Tuesday meeting clearly left the impression he had made millions in LIFE and paid off the debt. Uncomfortable.

    I then asked directly how much he was making in LIFE. He actually went through several of the scripted answers. I don’t remember them exactly but along the lines of: You wouldn’t believe it, all I need…). Things that could mean anything.
    ——-

    In the end Mr. P said he his initial goals were modest. He wanted to make enough to allow his wife to leave her job. He said the mentor had shown him the plan to get there in 6 to 12 months. I said, okay, in 6 to 12 months, if you have been able to replace Mrs. P’s income with LIFE, give me a call, we can talk then.

    The following day I got a text from the mentor that read:
    “I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. I also wanted to sincerely apologize and forgive me if I offended you in any way”.

    Again, maybe it’s just me, but this really bugged me. Does he actually believe he did something to cause offense? I doubted it. To me this kind of ‘apology’ is designed to say: “Even though I did nothing wrong, I’m sorry you are so touchy,” I had a few texts back and forth with him trying to discern what he was apologizing for. I didn’t work. In the end I told him I would consider his insincere apology retracted.

    Then I sent a text to Mr. P asking him to not give my contact information to any more MLM people. He replied, “Okay. I hadn’t planned on it”.

  12. Melanie Morgan permalink
    December 28, 2013 1:32 pm

    bewildered~

    Awesome job!….They are too predicable, it is pathetic…and obviously their “business” can’t hold a candle to the truth, honesty or simple questions, it exposes them when the questions get asked! ….Love it…Touche!!…hahaha!

    Funny…at the same time not! Clearly these fraudsters (deception deliberately practiced) have not “changed” a bit! And NO it is not the (technique they call) “curiosity approach” that is some kind honest or great sales approach…. “everyone does it”….it’s a poor excuse for dishonesty, it is downright; deception…intentional evasion, diversion, lying…

    Mentor says; “What do you mean by profit?” Dude is in BUSINESS! Are you freaking kidding me?!! Their “business” foundation is built on sand!

    Sadly, the Pastor has been seduced, “been sold on his hearts desire” and has been sucked in to the “influencing others for God”, which is the #1 trick to seducing Pastors therefore, he ‘believes’ God has called him…too sad….Would God call someone to deceive and lie for money…see Mathew 21:12….Jesus did not give a ‘stamp of approval’! You can easily be convinced and deceived in their environment…But does God approve of dishonesty and making money in the name of God and dishonesty in their business practices?…far from it and hope he soon recognizes that….he has to be struggling with his mentors evasion and deliberate avoidance and deception but is clouded by his belief that God has called him to do the business. Trust me, this is easy to fall for. His conscience hopefully will scream louder than the constant brainwashing and he will see! At least I hope he it does and figures out sooner rather than later that it wasn’t for the love of God or influencing people!

    The longer I am out the more brighter the light and clearer I see; how their dishonest, deceitful, fraudulent business practices and how they (we) were taught to operate.They Teach by example; you watch your “mentor” do these dishonest techniques and they also tell you how to, they call it “posture”..in more truthful terms it is dishonest, dishonorable, disturbing, and disgusting!…

    Thank God, for this site and those who have had the guts and integrity to sincerely help others to clearly see through the smoke and mirrors!

    Here is quote from Orrin.. that makes me shake my head..it is unbelievable…. real doozy, and wow, think about this quote when you read how the “mentor” responds…the hypocrisy of this quote is even more astounding…. if you were moved up in the business!

    “Government gives us information on a need to know basis & they have determined that we don’t need to know”~ Orrin Woodward

    Are they calling themselves the “Government” now?! Holy crap…some of the things they say, seriously are just unbelievable…they need to do some brutal reality checking on their own business practices…such hypocrisy!!!

    Thank YOU, bewildered!!

  13. Melanie Morgan permalink
    December 28, 2013 1:49 pm

    How do they think they will ever “change” anything for the better… let alone the “world” when they won’t even clean up their own “bedrooms”..so to speak, I have come to the conclusion they are so entrenched in their own delusions and deep rooted cognitive dissonance, and greed they don’t even see what they do….It is said that “love is blind”….that is sometimes true…but in their case….Greed & Love of Power… blinds!

  14. December 29, 2013 7:51 am

    Nice job, Bewildered. I’ve been at those type of follow ups where you get blasted by someone who does their homework. Unfortunately, if your pastor is in deep, they will spin your skepticism as a flaw & use this or other supposed “blind spots” as reason to stick close to the Team system. It’s sickening.

  15. December 30, 2013 4:51 am

    Thanks for the follow up on this. A lot of this is much of the same as days gone by. I believe the not eating because they had another follow up was deliberate.

    – It gives you the impression they are busy and the business is growing without you, even though it’s likely not the case.

    – If you are eating then it’s easier for them to dominate the conversation and talk at you rather than to you. MLM’ers are notorious for spouting off soliloquies about how this is great and how it’s helped them, blah, blah, blah.

    – It automatically puts you off balance if you are the odd man out, which gives them more power over you. Very smart of you to choose a neutral location. It’s way more efficient to up and walk out of the situation than feel like you have to defend your home and punt the morons. There is always a mentor so that you are outnumbered and it’s more difficult to say no. If they can’t convince you this is a money maker, they can at least use passive aggressive statements and have you outnumbered. The remarks about his son in law were strategic and deliberate.

    Just goes to show you that a great deal off thought goes into the nuances of these meetings and they’ve designed them defeat your common sense. 2 against 1, belittle others who haven’t gotten on board (son in law) and controlling information. If you hadn;t done your research it would have been very stressful mentally. Even with the research you’ve done, it likely wasn’t within the norms of your comfort zone.

    Make no mistake about it, this site drives Orrin and his ilk absolutely nuts because of stories like this. When people are able to arm themselves against something they have no way of knowing anything about, it affects recruitment and the bottom line.

    The text from the mentor at the end is just a mental reinforcement to get a leg up on you and to call it a mental victory for himself. He may have even included others in the text to show how much class he has to the group. What he puts in writing and how he speaks privately about you are undoubtedly 2 very different things.

    One thing that was likely the most honest part of the meeting was that the mentor is better able to deal with debt now that he’s in TEAM/LIFE, that goes without saying.

    Thanks so much for sharing, and thank you to Amthrax for providing this venue for others.

  16. TruthSeeker permalink
    December 30, 2013 6:38 pm

    It’s likely they couldn’t even afford In-N-Out, they spent all their spare cash on worthless cds. 🙂 It’s mathematically impossible that 10% are breaking even, asking to see their back office usually silences that type of ridiculous statement.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Melanie Morgan permalink
    December 30, 2013 8:07 pm

    “It’s mathematically impossible that 10% are breaking.”

    Knowing that…How on God’s green earth can they promote, with a clear conscience they are “helping people financially” let alone offering a viable business to everyone… “it works for everyone that works it!?” How sincerely, do they sleep at night? Shameful.

  18. Melanie Morgan permalink
    December 30, 2013 8:27 pm

    “It’s mathematically impossible that 10% are breaking even,”~ And they aren’t about the money?….please forgive the error.

  19. freedomhaha permalink
    January 4, 2014 7:55 pm

    I loved that you asked them in person what percentage of their business was making a profit. I was known on here for asking TEAM defenders that question over and over again. At present count I asked AT LEAST 40 people have been asked that question without a single response.

  20. Won permalink
    January 5, 2014 12:25 pm

    I thought I’d chime in on this subject, being I’ve experienced near-constant annoyance from this MLM called “LIFE” since last August.

    It began when an acquaintance I’d nearly forgotten about showed up to my home, for no apparent reason, other than to tell me she was starting a new business and wanted me to review her plan.

    As a bit of back story, many of my friends, and some who call me their friend, often come to me for assistance regarding marketing new ideas for their businesses, reviving a storefront during an extended lull, or even launching some new idea – often bizarre and unrealistic.

    With that being said, I expected to do for her what I do for each of these friends: look over the paperwork, nod a few times, and send them on their way with advice I know they’ll probably not utilize anyway.

    She said she would return shortly with the paperwork, and I agreed to meet with her for one hour to discuss the matter.

    Within about a quarter of an hour, she returned with a car full of strangers. How peculiar is it to return with unannounced strangers to someone’s house? I did not let them in, and we sat around an outdoor table in the lovely 90 degree weather. That’s just my way of saying “Welcome!”

    Expecting to review an idea, or several, I was instead promptly given a very scripted sales pitch on some “business” called “LIFE” by her mentor and his cohorts who were starting her off on this scheme. They could tell I was highly annoyed and about to dismiss them instantly. I found it highly ironic and simply strange that this motley crew of poorly dressed “business professionals” was lecturing me on how to make money, especially being the way I was supposed to make money was from them! I was dumbfounded! I cut them off after about five minutes of berating me with nonsensical leadership attributes and strategies. Five minutes of longwinded talk about absolutely nothing!

    A bit more background: I began my career as a salesman. I’m now a regional for one of the largest retailers in the nation. I know the language of sales better than I do English. The language they spoke was a primitive version of what would be expected from a 20 something salesman just starting out, and following the corporate sales guide word for word, selling low-end electronics. The rhetorical questions, the saccharin-like compliments, the indirect slide toward profitability, and the ever-present lack of any true detail aside from heaping piles of nervous hype! Blah!

    Anyway, as I cut them off and told them how straightly bewildered I am as to why they are trying this on me, and what I do for a living, the mentor responded, bewildering me just as badly, by saying, “Well, wouldn’t you like to quit your job and have all the free time you could ever imagine? What would you do with a lifetime of weekends?” What a serious face palm!

    I found a bit of humor in the situation and dismissed them from my property. Before they left, the mentor in the group handed me a small box of CD’s and pamphlets. This, of course, as any good salesman knows, ties the salesman to the client by artificially creating a future chain of communication. I shouldn’t have taken it, but I like to have a good laugh. It’s not everyday someone has the nerve to try something like this on me.

    I’ll finish the account later on. It gets interesting, lol.

  21. January 5, 2014 11:42 pm

    @Won – thanks for sharing part one of your story. Looking forward to part 2. Do you mind if I moved your comment into its own post?

  22. Melanie Morgan permalink
    January 6, 2014 8:41 am

    Won~

    I love it! Thanks for sharing and the laughs! Looking forward to more from you!

  23. Won permalink
    January 6, 2014 11:39 am

    Amthrax,

    That’s ok.

    I’ll finish a few more thoughts.

    Later on that week, I decided I’d throw one of the CD’s in my car and have a listen while I drove to work (it was going to be a terribly boring 45 minute drive that morning.) After 30 minutes of listening straight then skipping around the disc, here’s what I found:

    -An initial relatable story about debt, poverty, and “just getting by” to prompt the listener to feel as if the speaker is talking directly to them.
    -Offering a swift reaction (MLM business proposition) to solve financial dilemma.
    -Announcing victim of said financial ruin is actually founder of LIFE.
    -Utilization of the “Bandwagon Effect,” like those sleazy infomercials on property flipping, to keep the audience captive.
    -Reassuring the likely MLM-weary audience that LIFE is just the opposite.
    -And next CD please!

    All of this while not exactly explaining what LIFE really even is.

    So, what we have is basically this:

    “Hello, I understand the financial pain you are in. That’s why you have this CD. I also understand you are probably listening it on your drive in to work this morning, which means you’ll be captive for an average of 20 minutes.

    On the subject of work, what a lousy life, right? Bills are piling up, you have to work for the man, and don’t get any time off. I had the same experience, only I used my woes to better my family and start this wonderful business.

    You can be part of it, too! All these people just like you did it!

    Since we’ve established a level of trust, and we’re speaking on the same level, let me answer the question you’re thinking. LIFE is not an pyramid scheme, in fact, it’s just the opposite. If you follow the steps (please purchase) after becoming a member (please purchase,) you’re guaranteed to make enough money to quit your job and become financially free!

    And what is it that you will be doing? Creating communities and changing lives! And what does that entitle? Please purchase your next box of CD’s and answer the persistent calls of the mentor/friend who sent us your way!”

    Pretty much, they throw a relatable problem to a selected audience to increase the closing percentage. Then, they let the audience react to said problem (common financial story.) Finally, the audience finds out the husband and wife from the narrative are the founders of this crazy program called LIFE! A surprising (to some) and emotion-filled solution! After all, this just became a little drama while you drive into a job you’ve been convinced to hate!

    Then, the trust that had been slowly built is established via a continuance of the narrative as well as the bandwagon effect. Finally, the audience trusts the speakers enough for them to nullify the elephant in the room objection!

    All this, of course, before the mentor even has time to arrange meeting after meeting after meeting.

    Hey, maybe your financial situation is bad because you’re stuck going to these meetings all the time, lol!

    Here’s what really threw me off. How does Christianity have anything to do, and I mean anything to do, with running an insidious multilevel marketing enterprise? I was sickened to hear God, Jesus, and the Christian Bible brought up into this sales pitch. Nothing I’ve ever read in the Good Book describes Jesus looking favorably toward those who dupe their friends into buying tons and tons of CD’s (or scrolls, lol), and getting other people to do the same, for no apparent reason other than to get more people to buy CD’s. And the CD’s are nothing better than the hyped-up self help dribble you can hear on YouTube, or at your company’s next performance meeting.

    Anyway, about a week later, my friend called me back and asked me how I liked the material (surprise, surprise… I thought she would want to see how I was enjoying the sunny weather!)

    Here’s my dilemma. I wanted to tell her off on the phone, just how moronic it is to join one of these sugar-coated MLM’s of the future, but, who listens to me, anyway? I don’t have any debt. I don’t drive an old car. My financial situation is golden. How would I even begin to describe an MLM, or the proper sport of salesmanship, to someone who is seemingly oblivious to these concepts?

    I did it by example.

    To her on the phone, I said “Oh, what lovely information, passionate speakers, yes, yes! When do you want it all back, so I can take another?”

    I think I caught her off guard (sorry!) and she stumbled a bit, telling me she will arrange a few meetings with her mentor and I, as well as with a few more people, then she’d invite me to a monthly meeting where I will meet everyone.

    Luckily, these people had no issue driving an hour to meet me for lunch a few times before the monthly, which surprised me quite highly. Also, the fact they’d drive all that way and not eat anything was very weird, as well, even as I’d offer to pay each time.

    Can you all guess what I was planning to do?

    She wouldn’t listen to me if I told her, but maybe she’d listen to me if I showed her how things really were in this company – right in front of her “friends,” mentors, and company idols. So, that’s what I did, lol!

    I’ll conclude this later on. I have quite a lot to say on Pyramid Schemes and MLM’s, regarding legality and so forth, as well.

  24. Former Round Table permalink
    January 6, 2014 12:34 pm

    Won, you have me on the edge of my seat! Love it!

  25. January 6, 2014 1:08 pm

    I have published a separate post with Won’s story here. Please leave your comments for Won there and keep the discussion on Bewildered’s story here.

  26. Won permalink
    January 6, 2014 1:16 pm

    Half the country is snowed in, I have some free time, lol.

    I’ll talk about the lunch meetings for a bit before I dive into the big monthly meeting.

    As I said earlier, my friend scheduled a handful of lunch meetings on my behalf with her mentor and a few other people in his downline, as well as a couple more people who also had downlines that generated enough money for them to allegedly become “financially free.”

    Now, that phrase, “financially free,” is something I heard quite often. Never was I given a full explanation as to what it meant, nor did I really care. Buzzwords are just buzzwords.

    During these meetings, I had to play the part of someone who was at least semi-interested, or they’d quickly dismiss me, and I wouldn’t be able to attend this glorious meeting they couldn’t stop jabbering about – and that’s what I wanted to do – hopefully shake a few people out of this trance they’re in, maybe even my old friend.

    Many times, I had to bite my tongue. As someone who started in sales, appreciates an honest sale, and oversees thousands of such sales nationally, I find talk of “downlines” and “uplines” disgusting. This isn’t sales. This is, “hey, let’s write down ten names of people we love and care about so that maybe one of them will do the same, and I’ll be able to make a commission!”

    When I am purchasing new suits, ties, and shirts, I know the creative saleswoman who always coordinates my colors and so on is thrilled to see me – not only because I’m charismatic, lol, but because whenever I come in, she earns enough in commission to eat steak for dinner all month. And I’m ok with that, in fact, I am very happy for her, because she is making an honest sale and actually selling something tangible. She puts in great effort to put together my outfits, takes pride in her design work, and has great skills as a saleswoman.

    This is the big difference between direct sales and pyramid selling. A pyramid selling company is not based on selling products, though products may be involved, they are not the primary concern of the company, and function more as a “mask.” A pyramid selling company is interested in limited exponential growth models, where the salesperson, and I use the term loosely, isn’t so much as selling a product as he/she is replacing him/herself with another salesperson who will do the same for them. It’s the difference between selling a product and a scheme.

    Although LIFE sells a “product,” it does so indirectly. The idea is that you sell a “membership” that will then purchase CD’s and attend conferences because they have to in order to be a member in good standing. LIFE is not in the business of selling CD’s or any material for that matter. They are in the business of increasing members exponentially who then are required to purchase the CD’s and go to the conferences to maintaing this membership and have a (very slim) chance at making money.

    Anyway, as I played interested, all while scarfing down my lunch so as to return in time to finish my daily business, I noticed this pattern playing out in each of these LIFE members’ actions.

    I would poke ever so slightly in an attempt to get one of the mentors, or whatever they liked to be called, to explain directly what it is that LIFE was all about (sounds more profound than it is, right?) I’d always receive a textbook-vague answer in return, always ending in a misplaced compliment about my intelligence or accomplishments. Oh gee, I’m flattered, where do I sign, lol.

    Seeing that they were getting nowhere with me, but confused as to why I continually gave them “yes man” answers to everything, they tried to pull a classic trick on me during the final lunch meeting before the monthly. Somehow or another, they brought in one of the “heroes” of the company, a 50-something man with poorly-groomed hair and an uncoordinating jean/sport jacket combination. As a rule of thumb, I don’t take business advice from someone who shows up to a meeting not dressed for the occasion. I wanted to ask, so badly, “So, my friend, how long have you been financially free?” Lol!

    Anyway, this fellow was luckily a little more slick in his sales presentation, and at least tried to convince me he was answering my questions as he danced around them. Good man, lol! He told me all about his downlines, how much money he was making, how great Mr. Woodward is, and much he loves spending time with Woodward and Co. I really, really wanted to ask him, “How much of your earned money goes toward chasing Mr. Woodward and his lifestyle around, and how much goes toward maintaing your own?” Lol.

    When someone can’t make a sale, but they feel as if the customer is a buyer, it’s only a natural reaction to bring someone else in to close the deal. Coffee is for closers! That’s all they did, and I am flattered they brought in one of their best, lol!

    Regardless of the fact, he spun around a while, and I continually gave him the dirt beneath his tires to spin around in, until I was ready to get back to work, which wasn’t long after I finished my lunch. I did find it peculiar how much this fellow would sweat when I’d first listen to an entire rant of his about how great an aspect of LIFE was and, second, ask him, simply, “why?” I’ve found that “No” and “Why” are two of the most powerful words to use in any situation. Hardly anyone expects either to be used, even though they are the personifications of the most natural reactions we have to new information.

    After a handful of arduous, and seemingly boastful, lunch meetings, I was a couple days shy of the big one. To be honest, I would have expected this group of “financially free” wizards of LIFE to have sussed me out as someone just taking them for a laugh to prove a point to an old friend, but they didn’t. In fact, it only proves their persistence, or desperation. And I am leaning toward the latter, lol.

  27. Won permalink
    January 6, 2014 1:18 pm

    Amthrax,

    Sorry, I did not see a new thread was created for my experience. Please feel free to move my last post there, and I will continue my posting on that new thread, thanks!

  28. January 6, 2014 4:23 pm

    I posted your third part into the other post.

  29. Beergeek permalink
    March 2, 2014 11:36 am

    I am a current life member and Business Owner. I have 34 people in my downline.
    Of those 34 people:
    11 are doing absolutely nothing, (as in no expenses and no income).
    15 are subscribers (as in subscribed to one package, but not the training system)
    4 are Business owners in Training (on the training system, but not attending meetings)
    2 are Attendees (on subscription and attending meetings, but not on the training system)

    ONLY 2 people are Professional Business Owners:
    Enrolled in LIFE as a Member (not as a customer)
    Enrolled in Total Access (attending the weekly meetings and monthly seminars)
    Enrolled in Life Training (the training system to help build the business)

    I am curious about what questions everybody has? I would be happy to have intelligent discourse about the LIFE Business, the pyramid fallacy, perception of intentions and the Income Disclosure Statement. Please be prepared to back up your arguments with facts and sources, as I will. If I don’t know an answer to your question, I will admit my ignorance, do my due diligence and return with facts to answer any and all questions. I will not engage in slander, or name calling, and I will ignore any attempt to troll this discussion into a flame war. Be prepared for me to ask questions to clarify your meaning and point if your questions are too vague or overly slanted in their wording. I will sometimes ask for background information to ascertain a persons experience. I will not divulge my name or location and I will not meet in RL, to protect my family and person from anyone with evil intent.

  30. March 2, 2014 1:30 pm

    @beergeek – I posted your comment in this post instead of the other duplicate one. We’ll have the discussion about your business here.

  31. freedomhaha permalink
    March 3, 2014 5:14 am

    Beergeek- I appreciate your willingness to lay out some numbers for us. What you presented is more than anyone else has on this forum. I look forward to having honest, open, and productive discussion on the validity of the TEAM LIFE business.

  32. Melanie Morgan permalink
    March 3, 2014 7:15 am

    Beergeek~

    1) When did you get in Team and LIFE?

    2) Have you always been a part of Woodard or are you from another group?

    3) Were you in Amway/ Quixtar-Team of Destiny, Team, 6 months no-compete (team in hiding) and then went into LIFE?

    4) Are you a registered member with a Monavie number?

    5) Have you thoroughly read the Policies & Procedures?

    6) What makes you a “Business Owner” and what do you “own?”

    7) Did someone ask, encourage, or ‘coach’ you to come here to have this “discussion?”

  33. Former Round Table permalink
    March 3, 2014 8:16 am

    Beergeek,

    Let me correct you on one major point–you are NOT a business owner in Life. You own nothing. Please carefully read your own Policies and Procedures document. Your “business” can be taken away from you for ANY reason, and you will have no recourse. If you think it won’t happen to you, then you are kidding yourself.

    For close to 20 years, Orrin Woodward has been promising that if you listen to him and follow his plan, financial freedom is guaranteed. So far there are seven, count them seven, couples who have reached that goal. In 20 years.

    Do you need any more facts?

  34. frustrated permalink
    March 3, 2014 3:01 pm

    I was wondering what percentage of income are you seeing from the products you sell?

    EXAMPLE: if a subscription is $50 do you see 5% (or $2.50 from each sale)?

    Which would you say you sell more of?
    Subscriptions?
    Individual materials?
    Meeting seats?

    Have you been to the LIFE office in Michigan? Have you ever called their office number?

  35. TruthSeeker permalink
    March 3, 2014 7:00 pm

    Beergeek (love the name), are you truly a “BEER GEEK”?

    Great post! Finally after how many years, someone with half a wit comes onto this blog, I am totally enthralled.

    One simple question from me to begin. Customers, business owners, those who aren’t serious, etc. etc….what is the average PV per month that Life is promoting to be a “serious” business owner, and if you divided your volume by 35 (the 34 in your downline, and you) what is your average PV per person, or I.D. number?

    Thank you for being willing to have a cordial discussion, I promise you the same in return.

  36. Dale Hansen permalink
    April 3, 2014 8:13 am

    Hey former round table, question for you (and I am pretty sure of your answer): once you ‘make it’ I.e. You are a turbo whatever, and you are put on the speaking circuit ( I assume you don’t have a choice if you want to keep getting paid), how much of your time do you end up building the ‘Team’ but not YOUR business? It seems once you are in the club, you become a slave to the ‘system’ but you as you said own nothing yourself. Is this accurate?

Trackbacks

  1. Won’s TEAM/LIFE Prospecting Story | AMTHRAX

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