The pyramid of information, or the telephone game?

This article may upset you if you’re in a multilevel marketing company (MLM) like DoTerra, Young Living, Plexus, etc.. but hear me out and you may learn something that we can all benefit from.

I’m a fan of MLM businesses. My wife and I have been members of a few of them in the past and still are members of some. The problem I have is with MLM companies selling health related products and how they market those products.
Recently, there have been a ton of people selling shakes, oils, sticks, powders and pills through MLM companies. The problem is that most of the “health hype” about all of this comes directly from independent representatives. If you look at the official word from most of these companies it’ll say that “..this product is not designed to treat, cure, or prevent any disease…”, but that’s hardly the story you hear from an MLM rep. An MLM rep is free to say whatever they want, not even aware of FDA guidelines and honestly not having access to anything but anecdotal stories dispensed to them in “the telephone game” fashion.
Do you remember “the telephone” game? It’s the one where someone whispers a story into a persons ear, and they relate it to another person and that person relates it to another.. 10-20 people later, you have the last person retell the story out loud to the group, and it’s never even close to how it started. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to get my health information that way.
Not every MLM health rep does this, but I’m asking you not to. Don’t go around telling stories you’ve “heard about” or repeating stuff second hand– you’ll likely find that many “second hand” stories are often the stuff of urban legends.
Be careful of “sharing” stories on Facebook, as people get the wrong idea– sometimes they think the story is about you. Gabby shared a story the other day about a kid with ADD, and she had several people asking her about it as if it was one of our kids.
There’s a reason the FDA requires all the disclaimers on all the health products. Some people may have had results and some may not ever have any results. The results may or may not be related to your product you’re selling, and more importantly, they may not have the same results on the next person who takes them. I’m not a huge fan of the FDA in all circumstances, but I don’t think that one persons experience (or relay of a story they have no direct knowledge of) is scientific evidence of a cure or treatment.
I think that it’s possible that some of these MLM companies KNOW that people do this and don’t
put any real consequences in place to prevent these types of illegal advertisements from going out. They know that if they represented the products the way that many of their independent reps do, they’d be sued out of business by both consumers and the FDA itself. I really think these companies should set guidelines and do more than just half-heartedly ask their reps to abide by the rules. The companies should do something to enforce the legal representation of their product. I don’t say this because I think the reps are doing something intentionally wrong, but because I think the companies can play on the reps naivety and lack of knowledge to indirectly trick them into advertising in a way that the company couldn’t legally advertise directly.
My suggestions:

1. Don’t play the telephone game. If you didn’t experience something directly, invite the person who did to your meeting and let them say it.

2. Be sure to tell your customers that your product hasn’t been proven to work on everyone, and that it may or may not work for them.

3. Don’t be tricked by your uplines into advertising in an illegal way– the laws were designed for everyone’s protection (in theory), and if your company is noble, they should play by the rules.

4. Before and after photos can be compelling, but I’d like names and dates on them before they’ll convince me of anything.

I love and take a lot of MLM products, but I still don’t believe 90% of the information relayed to me. I’m one of those “try and see” type of people. I believe most of the products are safe enough to try– and I try some of them out and see if I like them. When people relay incredible stories that I can tell are “telephone game” type testimonials, it does nothing but make me have less trust in the brand– and it makes me think that the sales person is pretty naive . Present it to me honestly and entice my curiosity and you might get a repeat customer.

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