Selling the Dream

We used to hold opportunity meetings once a week. These were high powered gatherings where designated leaders would present the business opportunity in a way that would work the people into a selling frenzy. The idea was to get them signed up that night and motivated to really do it! When things were really hot, we’d have meetings sometimes two and three times a week to capitalize on the momentum.

There are many books out there on how to be successful in network marketing. I even co-authored a few. The experts all teach that the best way to get people excited about the opportunity is to show them graphically how bad their current situation is. Then you offer to rescue them from the terrible financial trap they’re in with your product or business opportunity.

To raise dissatisfaction with the status quo, you must knock down the credibility of corporate America, traditional small business, and franchises. If you can make these look as bad as possible, your solution will look good in contrast. While we were believers in the free enterprise system, we were convinced that a regular job where you have to punch a time clock and be submitted to a boss was the worst kind of life. It had no freedom, no independence, no joy, no future. In our presentation we’d raise fear that with an ordinary job, a person would never have enough money at the end of each month to get ahead. Of course we reminded them of the important things in life. A big house, a nice car, private Christian schools, and nice vacations.

At one point we created a  slideshow (now I’m really dating myself!) for our opportunity meetings. It started out asking the question, “Whatever happened to the American dream?” It went on to paint the following picture of discontent and frustration. “Back in the early 1900’s only 10% of the population had to work for an employer. Since then, almost all of us have been sold on the idea that a steady job in a large company is the way to achieve our dreams. We call that the corporate dream, and it’s a lie! It is a deception designed to benefit those organizations for which we work.”

With rhythmic precision, the slideshow went on to talk about the corporate ladder and how few positions there really are at the top. If anyone is going to get these positions it will be a relative of the owner. “What about all the politics you have to play to move up? The big corporations make you promises and then never keep them. You can’t put your trust in them.”

When insecurity about the future had been raised, we’d let them know that they could trust network marketing. It wasn’t just a way. It was held up as the only way.

We’d ask, “Who dictates the kind of car you drive? The kind of home you live in? The kind of education you give your children? The amount you’re able to give to the ministries or charities of your choice? The kind of vacations you take? Or how about retirement?”

The answer to those questions was designed to cause discontent and insecurity in the audience, “Your boss does, by what he pays you!”

By this time people would feel dissatisfied and angry about their bosses, their present jobs and their lack of financial freedom. Then we would zero in by asking questions like, “Are you keeping your head above debt level? Are you living from paycheck to paycheck? Is it ever going to get any better?” We’d raise the possibility of mergers, takeovers, cutbacks, layoffs, transfers, demotions, and unfair evaluations. “Would a cold, calculated decision to eliminate your job is devastating to you?”

We really rubbed it in by suggesting that most people in the audience have handled all these problems by sending mom back to work. When the mom’s away from the house 8 to 10 hours a day, the children no longer have the advantage of a full time mom at home. She misses the experiences of helping the children develop, and by the time she does get home from work, she’s tired and busy playing catch up.

“Once you calculate all the taxes, babysitters, second car payment and maintenance, lunches and additional wardrobe,” we’d point out, “mom is only making about $1 an hour to help pay the bills.” Then, just before we made our case for network marketing, we would really throw some salt in the wounds. The next slide would read:

“The sad fact is that the majority of Americans:

  • Never establish an emergency savings fund,
  • Never get out of debt,
  • Can’t afford to buy a house,
  • Can’t afford to start their own business,
  • Can’t afford to send their children to private school or college,
  • Can’t find the ministries or charities of their choice,
  • End up in poverty in their old age,
  • And die never having enough money to make their dreams come true!

The next slide confirmed with statistics that out of every 100 people at age 65:

  • 54% have to live off others,
  • 34% are dead,
  • 5% are still working,
  • 4% are well off,
  • 1% are wealthy.

And then the kicker. “How are you doing so far?”

By this time every person in the room would be dissatisfied and discontented. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the statistics aren’t true. I know that there are many, many people who are unhappy with their current employment. But what if our job situation is just one of the many ways the Lord purifies our motives and teaches us to be obedient and thankful in all circumstances? What if he is using our jobs to make us more like Him. Meek and humble? In Hearing God, Peter Lord says on page 123:

God is more interested in the development of your character than He is in changing your circumstances. God’s commitment to us centers around conformity to Christ. God is not interested in helping us develop a philosophy of escape from problems by more dependence on Him. He wants us to have a philosophy of triumph in overcoming problems.

Therefore you can expect God’s wisdom to you will deal more with the development of your character than with circumstances. He knows that when Christ is in charge in you, the circumstances will change you. He may or may not change the circumstance.

Are you asking God to give you a new job because of adverse conditions where you are at present? Often it is not His will to change your circumstances. He uses those circumstances to transform you!

I can no longer deny that the meetings and presentations we led were calculated to make you covet what someone else had and become discontent with what you had. We were not living by 1st Timothy 6:6 where it says “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

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