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A wise mentor told me . . .

September 16, 2012

The manufacturer recruits the advertiser, the advertiser creatively invents spin, and a small army of marketers are recruited to tiptoe around the lines of truth.  The telephone operator says, “of course it burns fat,” and the customer is inclined to buy.

This is a snapshot of nutritional supplement marketing in 21st century America.  Always?  No.  Often?  Very.

A wise mentor of mine told me, “even a mediocre product will sell well when there are marketing dollars and marketing minds driving the back end.”  Recognizing the power of advertising, and the cost-saving strategies that land manufacturers greater profit margins, allows me to extrapolate the following, “just because it sells doesn’t mean it’s good.”

Ab rollers sold well.  Electronic ab stimulators sold well.  Shake Weights sell well (yes, really).   In fact, diet programs that have failed people for over 20 years continue to sell well.  So . . . let’s understand, there’s far more to product evaluation than “what the ad says.”

I’ve been behind the scenes in the world of infomercials. I’ve met serial testimonial providers, many of them actors picking up a few extra bucks by swearing they love a blending or juicing device or that they lost weight and inches with a hot new apparatus.

That’s why, in the act of evaluating, I’ve always relied upon sound criteria.  I’m not referring only to reports of research (research seems to have proven everything), but a checklist of evaluators that can predict the validity and true value of a product.

For over 25 years I’ve been connected in some way with the nutritional supplement industry, an industry notorious for hype, fraud, and deception (no more notorious than the food industry, but notorious just the same) and I’ve gone to great lengths to separate myself from the usual suspects.

I established my criteria, and with my list I can make this promise related to any nutritional products sold in forums other than retail:

When it meets the criteria, it’s legit. 

A product’s legitimacy doesn’t mean it’s going to be around very long.  Some of the best products to hit the marketplace fell by the wayside because the costs were too high to sell it at “what the market will bear.”  There has to be something beyond a product being legit that will determine its longevity.

There is.  People have to love it.

So in summary, when it meets the criteria I’ve relied upon, it’s legit. 

When people love using it, it’s a hit. 

Isagenix is a hit.  In fact, in the world of nutritional supplements, it’s the biggest hit I’ve ever seen.

Two significant events happened in the last few months that I want to address with brevity.  First, after a chance chain of events, and extensive exploration, I opted to replace my supplement company of 20+ years with Isagenix, and a few hundred slams came in by email telling me I “sold out.”

“Phil, I trusted you for years and now you’re selling an MLM product.  What happened to your ethics?” 

I wrote a 17-page report explaining my decision, and the emails that followed were not only forgiving, they came with the question, “how can I try it?” (if you’d like to read it, you can access the full report by clicking here).

The second thing that happened is, I started a new ALIVE group and conducted two large seminars within a 10 day period, and although I didn’t “pitch” Isagenix, I answered the question, “why did you stop manufacturing EAT?” and the Isagenix orders are pouring in.  As much as the orders, the expressions of gratitude and the emails indicating thrilled people are achieving significantly enhanced results fill my Inbox daily.

I won’t turn this into a product pitch, although I will say IsaLeanPro is a superior meal replacement formula that I direct all of my clients to, but I will share my evaluator list, the criteria I’ve used to determine that, up until a few months ago, every Multi-Level Marketing pitch I’d ever faced was less than a vehicle for a legit hit.  If you can benefit from a profit center, this is the first year in a long career you’ve seen me endorse a distributor opportunity.  This is a good one.  A very good one.

Before I share the criteria I alluded to earlier, allow me to share how I developed this list of evaluating factors.  In the early 90’s, I had a personal training client who was a new millionaire.  He made his money with a popular (at the time) network marketing product line.  Not only did he throw pitches at me left and right, which I dodged and ignored, but he introduced me to people who were also making lots of money as distributors of the products.  I must admit, after awhile I was intrigued . . . but apprehensive.  I wasn’t a salesperson.  I hated the concept of pressuring people to buy anything.  I didn’t particularly like the people he introduced me to, and I couldn’t find any unbiased information on the product line.  However, with all of that, I could have used a few extra thousand dollars a month, so intrigued and uncertain, I went to my attorney and together we explored the realities of network marketing.

We learned that 88% of the people who invested as distributors in this particular product line failed to ever earn back the cost of their kits.  We learned that the big earners didn’t “only work at it a few hours a week” as they promised, but rather lived it as a near-obsession.  Most importantly, we learned that the products were overhyped and not distinctively different than similar products that could be purchased more economically via retail.

The kicker was, as more and more MLM marketers targeted me, I repeatedly heard, “but you’re a personal trainer.  It’ll be easy for you to make money.”  I started responding with “show me one.”  I wanted to meet one personal trainer, like me, who supplemented his or her income with significant returns via the ethical sale of network marketing products.  You can guess how many I met.  I’ll give you a clue.  It’s less than one.

So, my attorney and I, together with a few advisors, developed the following filtering list that would extend outside of my personal use, but would help every personal trainer adequately evaluate something presented as an “opportunity” (this was designed solely with the personal trainer in mind):

  1. The products must have a distinctive edge over those sold in the retail marketplace.  The concept of person-to-person marketing is not only valid, it’s appealing, but in order for a product to merit referral selling via anything other than the mainstream, it has to have qualities that are difficult to find in its segment of the retail marketplace.
  2. The sourcing must be unique or proprietary . . . and verifiably so.  In order for it to be “different,” and maintain its edge, the product line must have some truly proprietary source as any strong seller will quickly be replicated in the mainstream.  The claim of it having some secret source isn’t sufficient.  The source must somehow be verifiable either by visit or by scientifically validated evidence.
  3. Personal Trainers are making over $50,000 annually from sales of the product.  If anyone claims there’s an advantage to being a personal trainer, one that should enhance product sales, they’d have to be able to produce at least half a dozen personal trainers who are living proof.  Without that proof, the “personal trainer advantage” is simply hype.
  4. The trainers not only “sell” the product, but they use the product and experience its virtues first hand.  If the motivation is “making money,” it’s easy for those who are less educated or less moral to jump on a profit bandwagon.  If we’re looking at the potential of the product for personal trainers with a track record, advanced knowledge, and true expertise, they should be living breathing testimony for the product or product line.
  5. People have to love it.  If those who are big earners generated money only by recruiting new distributors, something’s lacking.  Personal trainers affect physical change, and if  product is sound and valuable, many if not most of their clients should become repeat customers because they love the product, regardless of whether or not their connected to the financial potential.
  6. The earning opportunity is the same “now” as it was early on.  This is an important one.  If 88% of distributors simply toss their investment into the pockets of the higher ups, there’s an unmatchable advantage to being “early.”  When you look at a compensation structure, it can support distributors for the long haul only if the distributors they recruit have the same opportunity to earn as the distributors who recruited them.
  7. The products are science-based and the science is verifiable.  All MLM products are sold with slick brochures that make claims of “amazing science.”  Often the science is no more amazing than the paper it’s printed on.  There have been scientific discoveries, especially related to human genetics, but the translation of the learnings of the science into enhancements in nutritional product development is often rushed and premature.  Often “science boards” are established with a token M.D. and a token nutritionist, but science evaluation is delicate.  The science claimed to be incorporated into the product development should be verified by sound and credible biochemists combined with medical professionals trained in human genetics.
  8. The owners of the company must be available to discuss the product.  If a company was founded in ethics and the pursuit of the optimization of health through science, the owners will have the greatest insights into the driving motivation of the company.  I understand this is one many trainers would be quick to dismiss, but having been a radio show host and consumer advocate, I’ve found huge differences between those who are willing to speak openly and those who are shielded by layers of gatekeepers and spokespeople. I will add that some of the owners and founders of some of the largest and revered nutritional manufacturers have become associates, colleagues, and friends . . . simply because I reached out and they were willing to talk.

Isagenix, and the other company I’ve connected with, Beyond Organic, both meet the criteria.  They are the first and only companies I’ve found to provide what I’d consider a perfect score.  If you are a personal trainer, I now know over a dozen personal trainers who are earning upwards of $5,000 per month only through Isagenix sales.  The personal trainers I’ve personally connected with it bought in only because of the criteria I offered, and while it’s too early to say they’re yet big earners, the compensation plan and the electric buzz use of the product creates makes the revenue picture more than promising.  The compensation plan is exceptional, and the customer service has been impeccable.  I’m going to stop here, as I don’t want to drift into what might sound like “pitch,” but I do want to leave you with the thought, this is a real opportunity, one that I’ve not only taken advantage of, but one that I’ve replaced my own profitable nutritional supplement company with knowing in the long run it’ll be a win-win both for me and for my clients.  If you have interest in exploring the product line, find the link at my website.

If you have interest in discussing it with me, send me an email sharing your interest and give me a contact number and two options for best time to call.  I promise you.  No pitch.  I’ll answer your questions and share my experience.  That’s it.

And I urge you, before you make any choice to connect with a network marketing opportunity, especially one relying upon the sale of nutritional products, use my 8 evaluators.  They’ll help you separate the few good ones from the others.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I was introduced to Phil Kaplan’s concepts about ten years ago when I first started Training and haven’t regretted it since. His concepts on how to build a successful training business are second to none. From the “Trainer Vault” to “The Power of champions” all of Phil’s stuff is gold. That is why I joined Be Better 3 a little over 4 years ago. I can honestly say that there has not been a day that has gone by that I haven’t used something from the program.

The response-ability concept I have used over and over again for all my clients, trainers, and in my own life every all the time. The information has brought me to the thrilling outcome of opening my own studio in July. To be in this position of growth I am completely thankful and owe a lot of it to Phil and his philosophies on Personal Training.

Jason Baron, Every-1-Fitness LLC

Join Jason and other like-minded fitness professionals capitalizing on the most timely opportunities for personal training excellence.  Join Career Conquest.

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