DO THEY KNOW? Do you think the top MLM reps know what they’re doing when they suck others into their team?

It’s the question we often ask ourselves at TVHQ and it’s been the source of some heated debates. 

Do the uplines, the top bots, the high-flyers in MLM, know what they’re doing when they pull people into their downline?  Do they know that most will fail?   Or are they brainwashed?  Trapped? Or sociopaths?


For those who are knew to MLM/this blog, some explanation.  MLM = multi-level marketing, like Younique, Forever Living, etc.

Upline = persons higher up in the pyramid, who generally appear to have lots of money, large teams, etc

Downline = the people below the upline.


As we’ve seen here, some MLM success-stories do work it out fairly quickly and leave because they can’t bear to see people they care about getting hurt.  Their moral compass, their emotional intelligence forces them to go before too much damage is done.  They realise that for most people MLM is a losing proposition.

And the others?  WATCH THIS:


Having watched the vido, do you think Emma, the top bot living in a castle, is lying?

Or is she convinced that she’s doing the right thing, using ‘attraction marketing’ to draw others into her MLM?  That she can help others get this dreamlife too?

And her brother – is he lying too, or does he truly believe that MLM is just another way of doing business?  To me, he looks sincere.

The question of Emma’s guilt or innocence, awareness or lack of, has been discussed  by those of us behind TV, along with other top bots.   Some of us believe she knows what she’s doing and is deliberately manipulating people.  Others think she is completely brainwashed and a victim.

The thing is, if Emma is doing everything she’s supposed to do: listening to ‘mindset’tapes all the time, constantly training and reaching out to others to bring them in, while balancing her family,  it’s possible that she DOES believe that what she is doing is right.  MLMs ban what they call ‘negative’ thinking.  Read this. And this.

This kind of thought-stopping tactic is also found in certain religions like Scientology.  An excellent blog to read about Scientology  is this one

Botwatch also wrote a well-researched post about MLM thinking here

Due to the high-turnover of recruits, all uplines have to spend a lot of time focussed on recruiting, which doesn’t give them a lot of time to reflect on what they are doing.   It’s an eternal sad hamster wheel of victims in, victims out.   As we discussed here, it can be very difficult to leave an MLM once a certain amount of time and money is invested.  That’s why we’ve always tried to reach out to the successes as well as those who have been used – in some cases, we think they are victims too.

Some, but not all.

There are also those who we have strong reason to believe know what they are doing and don’t care.  We will have more to come on this story, but for now, here’s an excellent blog about how to tell when people are lying.

How do you know whether you are good at spotting liars? Test yourself  here at the University of Berkeley’s EQ test website.  This test will tell you how clever you are at reading other people’s emotions, which is part of lie detection.

Many MLM uplines post videos on Facebook etc to persuade people to join, to mentor their ‘teams’, etc etc blah blah.  Next time you watch one, take note of whether their facial expressions match what they are saying, whether their smiles are truly sincere, and whether they show true emotional concern for their ‘teams’.   I’m not just talking words here – they should be showing genuine emotion/concern on their faces if they truly care.

People who lack emotion can sometimes appear very charming, smiling a lot, presenting a beautiful appearance, but will also show inappropriate facial expressions at times.   Take note of this.   It’s a red flag about how that person is truly feeling.

And finally, if you are high up in an MLM but want to get out, we ARE here for you.  No matter what you’ve done in MLM, you can make a difference right now, today, by leaving & helping others see through the deception.

PART 3: An Arbonne seller asks our informer to use her NHS position to convince women to join. She also offers to pay for it. Read on…


A few weeks ago I got to see from the other side an example of how some of these MLM people tick.

I work part time in the NHS and two days of my week are spent working in private practice.

I was approached by an Arbonne seller.

She would be classed as a success in Arbonne terms as she has the White Mercedes (no doubt paid for on a month by month basis until the day she misses her targets).  She is a friend of a friend, she know what I do but doesn’t know my opinions on what she does, in fact as far as she’s concerned I don’t know anything about her.


Her proposal was that if I could make them see the light through psychological means (I think she had the idea that I practise some sort of mind control) then we could split the difference on what we charged them for me seeing them.  She proposed we charged them £80 for the hour, I keep £60 and she have £20.


She came to me with a proposal saying that she had a training company that teaches women (ah, that demographic again) to have the confidence to take up opportunities (clearly not quite true).  She was finding that some of them ‘really need a confidence boost’ and how would I feel about her referring some of them to me?

Her proposal was that if I could make them see the light through psychological means (I think she had the idea that I practise some sort of mind control) then we could split the difference on what we charged them for me seeing them.  She proposed we charged them £80 for the hour, I keep £60 and she have £20.

This could be sold as therapy ‘because you really need to sort yourself out’ (but would be carefully modelled coercion).  ‘I can pass lots of work your way’ she told me.


She said that the emphasis was to help them to sell this opportunity on to other people as an exercise in ’empowerment’.


I asked her what she expected me to do exactly and what exactly was the goal?  Basically, she wanted me to manage away any rational questioning about joining Arbonne and to use an aggressive and didactic argument to get them to sign on the dotted line.

She wanted to give me a tight script full of persuasion and counter argument to any doubts.  She wanted me to use my position as a psychotherapist (and she was keen to flag my NHS status too) to basically bully people to join Arbonne by using her crib sheet of false promises and keep them in the system under pressure by using a particular form of victim blaming, ‘tell me, what is your particular negative self talk that means you could walk away from this really amazing chance?’.

She said that the emphasis was to help them to sell this opportunity on to other people as an exercise in ’empowerment’.  I asked her what would happen if it was clear to me that someone was not in a position to take part because they were emotionally vulnerable.

She felt that this was an ideal exploitable area in that we could demonstrate the great positive hope they would gain by joining up and any depression or anxiety could be used to our advantage.  The more vulnerable the better.


This was totally unethical, outside the ethics of the professional body the governs my work and something I would never ever entertain.  I have yet to respond to her but I will and I doubt she’ll be happy to hear my thoughts.  What it did do is confirm all of my beliefs about the real danger these schemes pose to many people but particularly women.  This isn’t empowerment, it’s deceitful fraud and whatever these schemes say about the ethical standards they insist upon, it’s very clear they encourage something something very different at ground level.

The End.

This is why we need real data about the effect multi-level marketing, network-marketing, social selling, whatever the fuck-schemes have on communities. This is why. 

Studies by Direct Sales Associations will claim these schemes create money for communities, but is that really true?  What is the true impact? No one knows.  Maybe it’s time we found out.



Is MLM training hypnotizing you? Read this.

“Mindset training” and “NLP” (neuro-linguistic programming) have been mentioned in many of our posts about MLM.  As we’ve covered previously, these are business and sales tools – ‘soft skills’ – that are not bad in and of themselves, but could be used for less than ethical purposes.  We loved Rebecca’s post about Mindset and MLM so, as she is a Mindset Coach herself, we decided to contact her and ask her a few questions about NLP & Mindset training.  Her website is here.


What is NLP/Mindset training?


Firstly, THEY are two different things.


NLP, neuro-linguistic programming, stems from studies aiming to demystify the art and science of excellence. The creators of NLP looked at a selection of very successful people who communicated, and studied what they all had in common. How do they communicate, where do they place their focus, how do they learn, how do they build relationships? From there they developed a series of surprisingly simple techniques to help us model the findings.


Mindset training or coaching looks at the beliefs you have about yourself and works on changing them until you are better able to reach your full potential. I describe it as getting your mind to work for you rather than against you, understanding that we have more choices than we are led to believe we have, that our intelligence and opportunities are not fixed. Basically I see mindset as empowering, removing limiting beliefs, and so handing back a whole lot of choice and control to my clients. The concept of mindset comes from the work of Carol Dweck, who researched what she called growth and fixed mindset.


However, I find that mindset has become a bit of a buzzword and I explain in the piece you linked to its limitations, especially in relation to MLM.  Read that piece here.


How do you learn it? 
Like anything else – you can buy books, training courses, study for qualifications if you like in NLP. And practice makes perfect.


Mindset is a little more “new”. I would advise starting by reading Carol Dweck’s book on the subject.


Can anyone learn it?


Yes, both mindset work and NLP techniques are beautifully simple.
I could confidently teach you a couple of techniques or concepts of each in a very short period of time.


How do people use it in sales?


NLP techniques can be used in many circumstances – as a coach I use it to help people communicate more confidently and also to reduce certain anxieties. I use the techniques more though as a way of helping me be a better coach – my NLP skills help me build rapport up with my clients and also help me “read” my clients more effectively – I can listen to what they say and what they don’t say in order to get a deeper understanding of where their issues lie.


NLP techniques are also used in sales, by most sales people whether they know it or not. Skilled users of NLP are able to quickly build up a rapport with almost anyone – and we buy from people we like. A sales person can also use NLP techniques to create pleasant associations with their products or services, tapping into what they pick up the client is looking for. Have you ever had a salesperson encourage you to visualise driving the car they are selling you, going into great detail? Or someone selling you a house inviting you to imagine yourself living there, painting you a picture of your new life? That’s NLP.


Skilled sales people also place themselves in a position of authority. Very subtley they will tip the balance of power in a conversation to favour them, and reduce the objections the client may have. They will pace and lead the conversation, rather than allowing the client to be in control. This sounds very sneaky, but most people who sell do this to a certain extent. But it is a skill which can be honed and perfected, making your selling irresistable. And NLP can help a salesperson get that skill.


Finally, for the purposes of this interview, the choice of language used in a sales pitch is really important. Sales “scripts” are developed by experts, paying great attention to the words used. In NLP we talk about “magic words”. There are also what we call “embedded commands”, which you probably won’t notice as being a command when you hear them, but they are designed to tap into your unconscious mind. Do you want an example? Don’t think about singing dancing crocodiles. (Did you just visualise a crocodile chorus?)


If we up the NLP skill level a little bit we can move on to the hypnotic use of language and tone. Have you ever found yourself almost zoning out during a sales pitch? Highly skilled users of NLP will repeat certain words or phrases, use specific key words and phrases repeatedly across the pitch and will speed up and slow down the speed at which they speak, changing the tone of their voice as they do it. In short, if you ever feel you have been hypnotised by a sales pitch then you aren’t going completely mad. They haven’t actually hypnotised you, or at least I hope not, but they have used certain techniques that hypnotists do use.


What about on video?


Yes, I would say that NLP techniques can be used on video. Perhaps not to the same effect as in person, as when watching a video it is easy to get distracted, or pause and come back to it.


Is there any certification required by government before you can use it?


No. Anyone can use NLP. When I was trained to use NLP I was also taught about the ethics surrounding it. Think of it as a scalpel – a tool that can be used to heal as well as harm. I don’t believe government regulation would be a good idea, and it certainly couldn’t be enforced. I would guess that any one of us use something that could be interpreted as NLP on a regular basis. Anyone that has any notion of sales, or who is naturally skilled at influencing others are most likely using something that could be described as NLP.


Using NLP in sales isn’t necessarily bad either – we have to be allowed to sell our products or services. It is when NLP is used to harm, to exert undue influence or to manipulate people that we step into a grey area. If I used NLP techniques to sell you a dodgy car or to recruit you into a Ponzi scheme, that would be unethical.



Yes, I think it is possible she felt as though she had been hypnotised but I doubt she was actually hypnotised. As I mentioned above some NLP techniques are based on hypnosis techniques (and vice versa) so a slight feeling of zoning out may have been linked to NLP. Perhaps the trainer used a specific tone of voice, or repeated certain phrases.

From what I know of hypnosis you need to be receptive to it, so I doubt you would unwillingly be hypnotised by a video. I am not saying it is impossible, but I think it is unlikely in this case.


 Thanks Rebecca, that’s very interesting.


“It was when my son said the way I was talking was like a cult that I came to my senses” – a new ex FL Bot speaks.


I had been told of the benefits for allergies for animals and was looking for a natural way to help my dog




The more training videos I was watching the more I wanted to watch them




After my son had mentioned ‘cult’ I started to think about how I was feeling and could only relate it to when I had hypnotherapy years ago




I’ve lost £400 in 3-4 weeks




I am a nurse, middle-aged and consider myself to be a pretty strong character but I got pulled into something that certainly is not a business opportunity and in my opinion is a cult type organisation.




A note about neuro-linguistic programming.  It’s a good tool and can really help people with issues they may need to work through, but like any tool, it can be used unethically in the wrong hands.  Ethical users of hypnosis and NLP would always seek a person’s permission before putting them into such a state.   Unethical users will not.

Please also read the excellent post about Mind Set training here: We love this blog about Mindset Training (and also MLMs). Please Read.

FYI: We have also received a huge dump of FL training documents from an informer, including information used by FL bots to sell products to pet and animal owners, as well as veterinarians.  Stay tuned huns xxx

We love this blog about Mindset Training (and also MLMs). Please Read.

When Mindset Isn’t Everything

“Now I see it’s like brainwashing” – final thoughts from our informer




Here’s a video about Emma Cooper we made

Also, read this, and this, and and this.

There was intense pressure put on our informer to go to every “Success” event.   Normally, the bot is expected to pay for tickets to the event, the cost of petrol, acommodation etc. etc. etc.  We suspect that these events are another source of income for the MLMs.




The screenshot below was sent to us by another member of an FB group.




Let’s look at that again:




Her business didn’t move not because she wasn’t working hard enough (she was), and not because there were too many other people flogging the same shite  products in her area (there were), or because no one wanted to buy the her stuff cos they could get something similar at Holland & Barrett for 50p (they can)…


It’s cos her mindset wasn’t right, see?

Interesting isn’t it.

How they convince you it’s all up to what’s in your ‘mind’.

And the only cure for your mindset? Go to EVERY BP, every “success” meeting, every (insert name of random event they put on and say you have to go here), read every book, watch every DVD….

Therefore, if you fail at making Diamond Manager= your mind did it to you cos you didn’t go to enough events that you must pay for.

Interesting and very, very clever.

More on “mindset” training and how it is misused & abused  by MLMs to come.  Keep checking huns! xo xoxo