Deceptive Practices

I learned from the coach that a great way to find prospects for the business was by going to events in the community, such as my children’s little league games or any place there is a gathering. We were taught to get a conversation started with someone who looks like a good potential recruit. The more questions we asked about them, the more they would enjoy talking about themselves. But the trick we learned was to keep asking them about themselves, their jobs, their families, etc. Sooner or later, they would ask us, “What do you do for a living?” That would be what we were waiting for, the opening for us to recruit them into our business!

I also used and taught the technique of asking people “who do you know?” Let’s face it. No one wants to be sold anything. So the best way to approach people is to ask them a question. I’d say something like this. “I know you’re a busy person, and probably wouldn’t even be interested, but who do you know who might be interested in making an extra $500 to $1,000 a month, part time?”

Now, 50% of the time, the person is going to say, “Hey, what about me? I wouldn’t mind earning that much extra money!” But if you had approached them with, “I’d like to show you a way to make some extra money,” you would probably have scared them off.

Then the one that I fell for and taught others to use was asking for a person’s opinion. If you let someone know that you value his opinion, he is going to be a lot easier to talk to and he will probably want to help you out. I’d teach others to go to the most aggressive, positive, successful people on their list and say this, “John, you know I really value your opinion and would like to ask for a favor. I’m thinking about getting involved in a new business and would like you to take a look at it and let me know what you think. I sure appreciate the input and it would help me evaluate the opportunity for myself.” Of course, what you really want to do is get John on to your team, at the very least, he may refer others to you.

We really never wanted any one’s opinion unless it was positive. We weren’t really interested in evaluating the business because we were already involved! We just knew that flattery worked. Asking for someone’s opinion was an easy way to get someone to a meeting.

The most abused technique is to invite people over to your house for dinner or dessert and fellowship, only to have one of your business associates or up line conveniently drop by towards the end of the meal to help you recruit your guests. I was once convinced that these practices were okay. I felt my business opportunity and products were so good, that whatever it took to get them an objective hearing was worth it. After all, I was doing them a favor by sharing it with them. They just didn’t know it yet!

The Dangling Carrot

A friend of mine was recently sharing how his daughter and her husband had been recruited into a high-powered business after graduating from a Christian College. The parents wanted them to be successful and loaned the young couple thousands to help build their business. They later learned that the money was spent for an expensive car, $300 shoes and the like. The daughter convinced her folks that she was building on a firm foundation.

The company she was part of was dangling a pretty irresistible carrot. The top 24 people in the company would receive lifetime income. If they worked hard for the next two or three years, they would be set for life! It wasn’t long before the young couple had racked up over $100,000 in bills flying all over the country building their business. Today they are divorced and have filed for bankruptcy.

Part of selling the dream would be getting people to make emotional decisions to get involved. “If you don’t get started now just think of all the people you know that someone else might recruit! Why just last week we had a guy in the meeting who came with someone he had just met at church. He was so excited about this opportunity he signed up on the spot! His sister had been at a meeting the week before and was still trying to decide whether to do the business or not. Boy was she regretting that she didn’t sign up and get to him first!

We certainly never suggested that anyone pray and ask the Lord if this was something he or she was supposed to be involved with. We never admitted that, while the program might be OK for one person, it might not be for another. The frenzy to build, build, build, and block out all negatives, kept us channeling our energies into signing everyone up in our program with whom we came in contact.

In all sales programs you’re taught to “get ‘em while they’re hot!” God’s will never seems to come up as a consideration! I now regret every time I got someone to do the business because I talked them into it. I can’t remember an instance when anyone took the time to find out if it was God’s will for their life. I was so convinced that what I was doing was right, and so consumed by being successful, that I didn’t even consider that my way wasn’t necessarily right for everyone. My motto was, “Do it now! Get on this team, cuz we’re going somewhere. They say opportunity only knocks twice. Is this your first chance, or your last?”

What presumption and pride! Proverbs 19:1-2 says:

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool. Also, it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet errs.

The Living Bible reads, Better be poor and honest than rich and dishonest. It is dangerous and sinful to rush into the unknown.

Today I get at least five calls a week from fellow believers trying to recruit us into a new program. “Hey Athena, I was just thinking about you the other day. I know how successful you’ve been in the past and I just checked out the most awesome new company that you just have to take a look at! They’re in their first year with over 5 million in sales and are completely debt free. My up line made over $40,000 last month already!”

I know from experience that these people are just doing what they’ve been trained to do, to push all the right buttons, and if possible, get the expert up line on the phone with their prospects so they can catch that big fish. That, by the way, is one of the big dreams, to recruit someone who is a heavy hitter with a large following. If you can get someone like that involved, you can kick back, put your feet up, and watch those checks roll in.

When I get those calls almost every day, I practically feel like an ex-hooker. “Hi Athena, can I use you for a while so that I can get what I want?” How can we as Christians ignore the words of Proverbs 28:19-20:

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

We sold the dream, and we sold it hard. We sold financial independence, lifetime residual income. We sold the things of the world and justified that if we had unlimited income that we could fund missions and ministries.

I have been greatly convicted by the words of Jesus in Luke 16:13-15:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”

Making big money and becoming financially independent may be highly esteemed before men, but having our hearts consumed by that pursuit is an abomination in God’s sight.


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