Amway is reportedly now allowing BSM in Russia, but under extremely strict guidelines. Put simply, IBO organizations can submit only 6 items per year for review, and that once approved those items will be sold via Amway. Seminars, which were previously allowed with approval, now have a 25€/day, 6€ max price limit.
This was apparently announced with virtually no input from IBO leaders.
I actually don't have a major concern with Amway handling the shipping and returns/refunds etc of BSM, it would certainly allow IBOs to have a better idea of refund and return policy on BSM – an area which I think various IBO organizations have handled badly. I for one am still confused about the official refund/return policy of the organization I work with. This undoubtedlyhappens to others as well, and would contribute to minimal returns and folk feeling like they can't get refunds. Not good!
Amway's "6 items per year" idea though? Hmm … well, it depends what this refers to. Does every CD that comes through some kind of subscription program have to be approved? Or just items to be used with prospects and/or explain the plan? What about books?
And what determines an "IBO Organization"? On an "editors note" on the Quixtar Adatudes Corporate Blog it was stated –
We are happy to work with IBO Network or other third party vendors at the request of an IBO. However, there are some restrictions. In order to ensure that the IBOs who are creating tools are leaders in the business and have some experience to bring to the table, Quixtar Rules require that an IBO be EDC or a corporate designee. Also, the IBO is obligated to ensure that the tools created through the third party vendor are in compliance with the Rules of Conduct.
Editor — Opportunity Zone
So, "Independent" Business Owners – if you find a great new business book and want to promote it to your downline or a prospect within the context of the business, you need to be EDC (Executive Diamond) or above. If you think of a clever new way to show the plan – EDC or above. And I'm told even then they can take more than a year to get approved!
Now, I can perfectly understand the corp. wanting better control of the "message" being sent to prospects by IBOs. It's an important part of maintaining and improving the brand image, but there comes a point where the "independent" part becomes a bit meaningless. Critics have claimed that Amway rules already mean we have little independence. I've defended the corp. on that issue, but the BSM ban for Amway IBOs in the UK , and these strict guidelines in Russia make me wonder where the line is. A European IBO tells me that Robert Kioysaki's book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" is "banned" for use in that market – it "may not be used in any connection with building an Independent Business." You can't talk about it to prospects, you can't talk about it to IBOs.
Yes, you read that correctly – Amway IBOs in Europe cannot talk about the most famous book by the author who has, in recent years, probably done the most to legitimise Network Marketing in the eyes of the public at large. This is quite probably the same in other countries as well. Ask your local Amway office and let me know!
Quite obviously, this is absurd. When rules become so absurd that larges numbers of people are likely to ignore them – well, it's probably the rules that need looking at, not the people.
In my opinion, Amway and Quixtar need to come up with a set of clear, straightfoward guidelines that IBOs *must* follow. Some rules about what *must* be said or given to a prospect, and some rules about what must absolutely not be said. The simplest way would be to have a website with these guidelines, and IBOs must refer people to this website. On that website, make it easy for visitors to leave feedback about whether the guidelines were followed or not. Have the site linked to the IBO – eg http://rules.amway.com/<ibonumber> or <loa>. If an IBO or LOA has new applications coming through, but without folk visiting the site – instant red flag! Sure, they could rig it, but if new IBOs have to go to a compulsory training program before they can sponsor or earn bonuses on downline volume, as I've already suggested, then how long until their credibility is shot?
Put something like this in place, then get out of our way and let us innovate and build our businesses. If we want to show the plan a particular way – let us. If we want to promote a particular book – let us. If we want to do a powerpoint presentation to promote the products or business – let us. If we want to lend a CD with a speech by someone we think they'd enjoy and find relevant – let us.
I fully understand Amway's concerns about controlling what IBOs do, particularly given events in the UK, and as someone who has spent a deal of effort trying to mitigate the internet echo chamber effects of folk who do the wrong thing, no one is happier about that than me – but I'm getting a real sense the corp is "reacting" rather than "responding". That's rarely a good thing. Amway, Quixtar, Alticor – calm down, take a few deep breaths, and work together with your IBOs and their associated organizations and leaders. We all want the same thing – as big and successful a company as possible, with a spotless, reputation around the world.
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