How to Spot a Multi-Level Marketing Scam – Why Team Beachbody is TOPS in MLM Companies
Recently I came across an article on the blog thebalance.com, by Mindy Lilyquist on how to spot a Multi-level Marketing Scam. It’s a very interesting read, and since I’m in an MLM, I decided to take each point in the article and compare and contrast why in my opinion Team Beachbody is one of the top MLMs out there if you’re thinking of starting a business of your own from home. Let’s dive into the article and see how Team Beachbody differs from the scam MLMs, and how it far surpasses the other ethically run MLM businesses out there.
According to Mindy, “The reality is direct sales and MLM is a viable way to start a home business quickly and affordably, but just like in all other facets of life, there are shysters and it’s up to you to research and do your due diligence when investigating an opportunity. Here are 10 signs that the company may be an MLM scam.”
According to Mindy, Here are the Signs It Could Be An MLM Scam, and here is how Team Beachbody sets itself apart:
1) No or low-quality product or service. Lack of a product should be a major red flag warning you away from a business or financial opportunity. Programs pushing recruiting over the sales of a product or service might be a pyramid scheme. It is basic business theory – a business must sell products in order to be successful. If a company isn’t focused on acquiring more customers to buy its products, but rather, interested in “building your team” of sales reps, consider this a warning sign.
The foundation of any good MLM business is about getting products and service to end consumers. While building a team can be a part of that, income is based on goods sold by the team, not in the recruiting itself.
Beachbody has been the leader in offering top-selling fitness programs that incorporate common sense meal planning, and have given customers the tools to achieve astounding results on their own. Beachbody gives away millions in prizes annually to reward those achieving amazing results. Their number one selling product is Shakeology, a nutrient-dense meal replacement/supplement that is all natural and tastes great. (read more about Shakeology here). Team Beachbody Coaches are customers first who think so highly of the products that they want to share the news with others.
2) Outrageous & Unfounded Product Claims: This is seen most in health and wellness companies in which reps boast that their products cure ailments or work miracles.
Any successful business is founded on successful products, but if the company you are considering representing makes unfounded claims, and has bizarre products or products which seem a little too good to be true, use caution. Would you really want your name tied faulty products or worse, a product which is the focus a lawsuit. There are no miracle cures.
Beachbody has some amazing products, but none of them work if the customer doesn’t put in the effort to reach their own personal fitness goals. Good nutrition and exercise will do wonders to improve a large list of medical and even psychological problems people suffer from, that may seem miraculous, but nothing Beachbody offers on it’s own will cure any disease or make the pounds fall off magically. You have to bring it to see results.
3) High-Pressure Sales Tactics: The most common high-pressure tactic is the lure of getting in on the ground floor. But in direct sales, it’s a good opportunity no matter when you get in. In fact, you’re safer to go with a company that has been around for a while than at the time of startup. Any time someone gives you a time-sensitive response or makes an effort to prevent you from studying the company and “sleep on it” isn’t someone you want to work with.
Team Beachbody was founded in 1998 by Carl Daikeler Jon Congdon, and is made up of coaches who have used the products, seen results, and love the products so much they want to share them with the world. The results these coaches achieved took time, time enough for customers to learn all there is to know about the company and appreciate the opportunity being offered. Team Beachbody Coaches want to recruit other coaches on their teams who are just as enthusiastic about the products as they are, and that takes time, time for a coach to build the relationships necessary for both parties to be sure that becoming a Team Beachbody Coach is a good fit for the sponsor and the potential coach. It took me an entire year to finally commit to becoming a coach, and I was never pressured or rushed into my decision.
4) Pressure To “Buy-In” and stock inventory: All MLM businesses will have some start-up costs, every business does. Because you are an independent representative, you will need to pay for all your office expenses, product kits and so forth. What you want to watch out for are “fast track” programs or pressure to have inventory that requires additional investment. While today, MLM companies are required to buy back inventory, you don’t want to be saddled with debt before you start and truly understand the business.
Having a few popular products on hand can be nice, but don’t fill your garage with products unless you know for sure, based on your experience in the business, that you can sell them.
Beachbody customers who wish to become a Team Beachbody Coach have start-up options. Normally a new coach who starts at the time they purchase a fitness program only or Shakeology only will have to pay a $39.95 fee for a start up pack and $15.95/month fee to maintain several websites, including their online office to track orders and commission, and to access company news, personal developments and training resources, and well as marketing resources. However, customers can have the start-up fee waived if they purchase a Challenge Pack which includes a fitness program and Shakeology bundled together at a special discounted price. Beachbody also honors the sacrifices made by active and reserve military personnel, veterans or their spouses by waiving all business fees including the monthly website fees. Team Beachbody coaches are NEVER REQUIRED TO KEEP INVENTORY ON HAND. All orders are made by customers through the Coach’s personal website, and are shipped directly to the customer from the company.
5) Poor Company Communication: Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. If you don’t get solid answers back, or are chastised for not being a positive thinker, or have your loyalty to the company questioned just for asking for more information, consider this a red flag. In order to be successful at any business, you need strong support and solid training. The law requires MLM companies give you a slew of information, including financial details about average income. Study this and ask questions.
Beachbody provides access to their compensation plan and other earnings information to all customers and Coaches. There is also a discussion board, a Coach Relations hotline staffed by representatives 24/7. The company provides Coaches with a weekly National Wake-up Team Call (Beachbody also records these for later listening), hosts quarterly Super Saturday events, and an annual Coach Summit where Coaches are constantly kept up to date on the status of the company, any new products, and new ways to get the most out of their business by helping to end the trend of obesity.
6) Pay For Training or Other Business Items: Amway got into a bit of hot water for the sales of tapes many of its reps created and sold. Downline reps were constantly urged to buy these tapes from their uplines. Most representative teams and the company have free training either locally or online. While they may also have additional training (i.e. audiotapes), you can buy, there shouldn’t be pressure to do so. If a company routinely pressures you to pay for training (outside of a typical annual convention) this is another red flag.
Beachbody offers training resources through the Online Office as well as through upline coaches at no additional cost. There are tons of resources offered by Coaches available on Facebook and YouTube who want to share their success with other coaches.
7) Poor Better Business Bureau Rating: This is a difficult marker because the BBB routinely marks home business opportunities low simply because they’re involved in working at home, not based on any investigation. However, you can see if there are complaints and how the company dealt with them. If a company is responding to and fixing problems (all companies in every industry will have customer service issues), that’s a good sign. However, if they fail to respond or offer help, that is a red flag.
Beachbody has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2002, and has been awarded an A+ rating. As with every business there will be complaints, but Beachbody has addressed these issues and rectified the problems such that they were awarded this outstanding rating.
8) Deceptive advertising practices: Some MLM reps will promote their business as a “job” or use other descriptions to lure prospects. MLM isn’t a job, it’s a business. Any MLM rep promoting “employment” is using deception and isn’t someone you want to work with. Other deceptive (and often illegal) practices include making income guarantees or suggesting you’ll make money doing very little.
Beachbody provides coaches and prospective coaches with a range of potential earnings (Statement of Independent Coach Earnings) of Coaches at different levels, but offers no guarantees for success. Your success depends on YOU. Team Beachbody provides the tools,and the opportunity, but as a coach as with any business owner, self determination and effort are the keys to building any successful business.
9) Cryptic “Job” Interview: Another issue that Amway and other companies were dinged for was how reps would lure people into coming to a “meeting” to hear how they could “leverage time and money.” There are two problems related to this. The first is that many companies, in safeguarding their brand, don’t allow reps to advertise their name. This practice means reps have to entice people to learn about them, but because they can’t say the name, it seems suspicious. Second, many reps and companies know people are leery of and have many misconceived notions about MLM, so they use deception to get prospects to hear their spiel. The important part of this is to follow your gut feeling. Good reps from legitimate companies that are prevented from using a company name in promotions are usually able to provide some idea about the business (including the name when talking to you) and are clear that it is a business. Anything else should be suspect.
Beachbody is proud of their name, and makes every effort to let people know that they are an MLM because that’s the business model that works for the company, and for the many Team Beachbody Coaches. The company is making great strides in changing the perceptions people have about MLM businesses that are based upon how such companies were run in the past. They go to great efforts to show customers and coaches that the sins of the past only hurt the entire industry as a whole, and that Beachbody has set itself apart from such practices.
10) Unsettling feeling: From day one, I failed to acknowledge the biggest sign that something wasn’t right – my gut. I felt unsettled from the moment I walked into my so-called interview to the moment I no longer had ties with the company. In further hindsight, the other representatives also displayed unease. If it doesn’t feel right, scam or not, it’s not for you. If you feel coerced or conned, then it’s definitely not for you.
Beachbody for many is something new than what they were used to in a business opportunity. Any personal growth can only be achieved by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. However, if you have the feeling that something “fishy” is going on, or something you are required to do is unethical, then by no means should you partner with that company. I have never been more proud of the philosophies and business practices of any company as I have of Beachbody. They are committed to ending the trend of obesity and making sure that people lead happy and healthy lives.
Need More Info?
Still have questions, or are you considering becoming a Team Beachbody Coach? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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Be Fit and God Bless!
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