Category Archives: Commentary

Amway? A friend of mine tried that, it doesn’t work!

A friend of mine has been an Amway IBO for about 4 years.  She’s recently decided to stop with her goal to be Diamond, instead pursuing goals related to environmental change. That’s fine, people’s lives and ambitions change. The thing is, in that four years she was regularly attending major and minor seminars, weekly “open plans”, training sessions, team phone sessions, buying CDs and books. She was “plugged in”. Thousands of dollars spent, hundreds or thousands of hours. She never got past the 6% level. I’ve no doubt a large number of her friends and family have now formed the opinion, based on what they believe to be “evidence” that the Amway business doesn’t work. This friend spent so much time on it! And never made any money! It cost her thousands!

But is that really the truth? Continue reading Amway? A friend of mine tried that, it doesn’t work!

Amway North America – a stunning new statistic!

We’re still awaiting Amway’s official sales data from 2010 but already some info has leaked out in various press interviews and elsewere. In the recent USA Today article on Amway, Amway North American managing director Steve Lieberman was quoted as saying North American sales were up about 5% – the most significant growth in that market for many years. Over on Amway Talk it was reported that Sandy Spielmaker, Vice-President of Sales, announced at a conference that global sales were over $9 billion – putting global growth at over 6%, excellent in the current economic climate!

Tonight though I came across a figure that is in my opinion far, far, far more impressive. A few years ago when Team and Quixtar were busy suing each other, some internal Quixtar statistics (Amway North America was then operating as Quixtar) revealed that the overall renewal rate for North American IBOs was 56.9% – ie well over half of all IBOs renewed every year. This compared favourably with DSA (Direct Selling Association) statistics of an industry average of 56%.

What was not so good was the Quixtar statistic that only 30.5% of first year IBOs renewed. Seven out of ten IBOs that were sponsored did not renew. That figure isn’t at all surprising when taken with the statistic that half of them never even ordered a product after joining! Clearly there was a lot of energy going in to sponsoring people that was not actually leading to any results, apart from perhaps a bunch of people who felt overly pressured to join something they didn’t really want to join in the first place, or whom were never properly trained and helped to get their business started.

I’ve always thought that was a terrible inefficiency in this business model, and a great place where improvements could be made.

Well, tonight I was surfing around and I discovered a press release from Bersin & Associates, a research firm focused on enterprise learning and talent management and acquistion. A few days ago they announced the 2011 Learning Leaders Winners, recognizing organizations that “drove significant business improvement with innovative and effective approaches to employee learning and talent management”.

Amway was one of the winners, for –

… its blended sales training program designed to improve early success of newly hired independent business owners. The program resulted in a 76% retention rate in its first year – 46% higher than previous rates.

A 76% first year retention rate! That’s a better than 150% improvement and an absolutely stunning statistic.

Well done Amway! This bodes extremely well for the future, and I look forward to seeing the lessons learned implemented in other markets!

A response to USA Today and their sins of omission

The media rarely fails to surprise me in their ignorance and sheer laziness when reporting on the topic of multilevel marketing, and alas,  USA Today is no exception. Today they published an article Many in multilevel marketing sales find it hard to earn much that was somewhat critical of MLM, and attacked two companies in particular – Amway and Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. It’s so full of poor journalism, errors, misconceptions, and downright deceit I don’t quite know where to start in response.

(note: I’ve focused only on Amway here and not covered the article’s discussion of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing as I know little of how they operate)

A good place is probably the various sins of omission, perhaps most obvious with a glance at a calendar. Why do I say this? Well, the journalist, Jayne O’Donnell, cites three former Amway distributors in the piece – husband and wife Jim & Lori Wittlich and Jack Tucker. The Wittlich’s report they were with Amway for two years, ending in 2000. Tucker says he was a distributor until “the late 90’s“.

USA Today has clearly has missed the fact that it’s currently the year 2011! More than a decade has passed since these folk were involved with Amway. Can you imagine someone writing a story on say, General Motors, and talking to customers and employees from more than a decade ago to get a picture of the company? Why wouldn’t you interview current or recent distributors? Are they that hard to find? The only reasons I can think of do not reflect well on either Ms O’Donnell nor USA Today.

Yet that’s one of the lesser sins of omission. Continue reading A response to USA Today and their sins of omission

Coming up on TTAA ….

I’ve been unable to post much recently due to some other priorities, but I thought I’d give TTAA readers an idea of the posts I have in draft for the near future, as well as some additional Amway related projects in the works. If you happen to have something you’d like me to address or find out – let me know!

Ok, on the coming soon list –

  • Amway Andhra Pradesh – what’s the real story?
  • Do Diamonds really make all their money from “tools”?
  • The Perils of Amway? A response to Russell Glasser
  • Amway @ The movies! Is that a bottle of dish drops or are you just glad to see me?

In addition I’ve plans to renew and start updating AmwayWatch again (any joomla gurus want to help?) as well as some software updates to AmwayWiki (any mediawiki gurus out there?), and a new project in the works – Amway Price Comparisons (joomla again!).

The latter is intended to be a real community project, where people from around the world can post (retail) price comparisons between Amway products and their local competitors. I have two aims for that – the first is to show that the vast majority of Amway products are great value for money. The second aim is to help Amway know which products are not competitive – and hopefully incentivise them to do something about it!

What a great testimonial

Ryan Flaherty, an intern at Amway Corporation headquarters in Michigan, has written a beautiful post about his experiences with the company – The Icing on the Cake.

The post is a testimonial to the great people at Amway who make the Amway business opportunity possible. It gets at the heart of what Amway Corporation is about and, hopefully, what Amway independent business owners are about. Just this week an old friend asked a question about recommended nutritional products on Facebook. Naturally I pm’d her and promoted the unsurpassed Nutrilite products. Alas, somewhere along the line she’d gotten a view of Amway that was the diametric opposite to Ryan, explaining that she won’t buy Amway products because of the companies poor ethical standards. Unfortunately she’s not alone in that view, a view likely created not by Amway, but by the poor behaviour of  some of Amway’s independent reps.

My experience is more like Ryan’s –

The way they operate is the way that I would expect businesses to operate in an ideal society.

The more I’ve researched Amway over the years, the better and better they have looked. Thankfully in recent years Amway has finally become more proactive in monitoring and controlling field behaviour. It needed to be done and they’ve been guilty of a lack of action in this area in the past. As we move forward one can hope, and expect, that there will be far more people with opinions like Ryan, and fewer like my old friend.

Thanks for the post, Ryan, and thanks for your time contributing to the world of Amway. May your future be all you hope it to be!

The Icing on the Cake

Amway Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – opening for business … kind of

Despite being bordered by the likes of Amway Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and Scandinavia, the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have until this week been officially excluded from the Amway family. I say officially because it’s clearly not been the case unofficially! Many times in the past decade in Scandinavia I’ve encountered citizens of those countries who had been buying and using Amway products for many years – some were even ABOs. When looking at google search trend data, Lithuania has also been, per capita, the number one country in the world for people looking for information about Amway.

Well, as of May 4, 2010. Citizens of those countries may no register with Amway Poland as “member plus“. Member plus is an option in some European markets where you can purchase Amway products at ABO price, and you can build a downline organization – but you’re not allowed to resell the products, and you can’t receive a bonus on downline volume. You can still receive a rebate on your own purchases though, which means they become cheaper and cheaper as your downline volume grows. This option is essentially available so people can get started without needing to be concerned with acquiring official business licences. They can try out the products and business, and later convert to full “Amway Business Owner” status and acquire the necessary licences. Continue reading Amway Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – opening for business … kind of

Forbes Magazine promotes Amway’s anti-aging products! has just posted their most recent listing of the world’s billionaires, and Amway Founder Rich DeVos is listed at #176 with an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion. What’s truly incredible though is the amazing youthful looks of the 84 year old Rich DeVos. Now, I know that Amway’s Artistry brand includes some superb anti-aging products, and combined with Nutrilite they’re unparalled – but I never realised they were this good!

For those missing the point, that’s Dick DeVos (Richard DeVos Jnr), son of Amway founder Richard DeVos. Forbes made the same mistake last year, before later correcting it. Still, at least this year they didn’t call us peddlers of a  “pyramid selling scheme”.