Pyramid Selling Lessons

Someone I fleetingly know walked up to me the other day and asked that wince-inducing question, “what do you think of network marketing?”  I duly squirmed through the next five minutes of chat, trying to politely put him off the idea.

Later, I dug through my old files to find some notes I’d made back in 1999, after being similarly ambushed by newly recruited Amway evangelists that I worked with at the time.

I remember my anger at being dragged one evening from central London to a Heathrow hotel under what I felt were plainly false pretences.  So I recall that to rescue something from this stolen time, I was keen to capture any useful elements of their sales pitch that the salesteam I managed back then could build on themselves, without in any way adopting or endorsing the nightmare that is pyramid selling.  This is what I wrote on the tube journey back home to catch last orders, that decade ago:

Know Your Stuff
They were so well-versed that every point naturally flowed from their tongue.  Fluency exudes confidence. Practice until it is natural. Then practice some more. Amway provide a book for its missionaries that sets out every play. People that read from it when pitching fail.

Pretty Pictures
Rather than take 30 seconds to deliver a stodgy, difficult to comprehend explanation, think of ways to grab a pen and paper and draw lines and images that gets your message across to stick. The Amway troops are careful to avoid scribbling triangles (!) but do show off houses, with organisational chart style boxes and links, and lots of circles.

Show Them The Money
The number of times they write down and underline financial amounts is staggering. Whether it be the billions of dollars the founder is worth, or the money you can put in your pocket each month, you are constantly bombarded with bottom-lines.

Make It Relevant
Always a neat trick, every time you need to demonstrate a point, talk in terms the prospect can relate to. Rather than the average mortgage, Amway talk about your exact value of monthly repayment. So logically, rather than a mythical type of reference for example, get the name of a real person they deal with and discuss their characteristics.

Agreement Questions
The most common type of question the Amway tutors must promote is along the lines of “don’t you agree?”.

“Sitting On A Beach, Earning 20%”
You are encouraged to think of something good. A dream in actual fact. An ambition with wings, I think they said. Amway, understanding their customer heartland as they do, give you a business card with several descriptions of joy on the back. They range from spending more time with the family, to being your own boss, to not worrying about the mortgage. The idea is, that you constantly relate what you outline to achieving whichever of these goals is the number one in the prospect’s life. I like the idea of asking a prospect to choose the best benefit to them from a list at the top of the show, and constantly referring to it throughout.

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