Primerica, the company that was an affiliate of financial giant CITI group is now officially no longer affiliated with them. Back in 2004, we attended a meeting to understand what the “Primerica” buzz was all about and now that Primerica is back in the news as a result of CITI group’s separation, we decided to give you our take of what we think of this poor business opportunity and an overview of what we experienced back then.
Back in 2004, Primerica had started to recruit just about anybody to be part of what they called the next financial boom. Their role was to sell Investment products to low-income families and convince them that they held the best products tailored to their needs. The concept of Primerica seemed noble at the time as their message was about helping people understand how investments work and help them regain financial control, but the reality of what occurred in their sales pitches and recruiting processes were far from noble. Hiring just about anybody that had $299 in his or her pocket and was willing to pay up was a very bad business practice that led to a poor reputation.
In 2009, CITI group a former affiliate of Primerica, which allowed them to use their name, cut their ties in full as they believed Primerica’s business practices and core values to not be aligned with their brand…
What will Primerica do now?
Primerica will most likely continue to sell its poorly priced investment solutions to those less fortunate folks that do not have the means or resources to educate themselves on what they are buying. By using their contractor’s families and friends as their primary source of clients, they will continue to profit from those believing in the giant dream they have been sold by their so called RVP.
I am not going to cover what an MLM Scheme is as you can read about it HERE!
Primerica on the other hand does a good job of differentiating itself to the ordinary person and acting as though they are not an MLM. They leverage their affiliation with giant CITI group and sell investment products like term life insurance, which requires licensing. In other words, Primerica is just a giant MLM which hides behind a corporate name to give it more credibility and not be associated with another MLM opportunity.
How does it all work?
The recruiting process: Primerica will hire just about anybody from the street, most of their employees are recruited during their daily activities by having someone approach them and ask the infamous line “Do you keep your options open when it comes to making more money?” This is a simple marketing approach, as no person will say “No” to this question and therefore creates immediate interest for those that want to believe in the easy way out. The person speaking with you immediately becomes your supervisor no matter what if you decide to join. The next step is them giving you an address and time for you to come in and learn more about what he does to be successful. (TIP: If someone approaches you asking you if you would like to make more money, look at them and gauge if this is the end result you wish for?) Is this someone you can really look up to? Most likely they will claim to make $30,000 a month and tell you the reason they drive an old beat up car is because Primerica taught them to be smarter and invest their money instead. Have you even met someone who made $30,000 a month and lived poor because they only invested money? Isnt the point of investing money to make more money?
The orientation: This part gets really interesting as you enter the Independent Primerica office, which is nothing more than a rented conference room that belongs to a non affiliated corporation. You are greeted by other members who claim to be senior members of the firm, which also claim to be there for a separate meeting. A Primerica rep asks you to fill out your information on a sheet, so they can call you to death if you choose to not join that night, and you are then told about this amazing opportunity by random members of the cult, which then decide to switch tables and do this odd thing of cross motivating all the guests. Then comes the best part of the night which is “the video presentation”. Primerica made this random video which describes what they do, the lifestyle their contractors (not employees) live and their affiliations with larger companies like CITI. They spend a good 20 minutes discussing what they are, which is nothing more than an affiliate of CITI, they do not discuss their brand, as it is non existent but rather focus on CITI’s brand. (TIP: If a company refers another company more than itself when selling you on itself, it is most likely simply hiding what it really is) The later part of the video is a montage of cars, vacations and other perks that they describe as the benefits of being successful at what they do. They describe Primerica as an experience and discuss renting expensive cars, hotel rooms and traveling the world for free. (Tip: How many job interviews did you go to that try to sell you on working there by showing you a car rental or a hotel room?)
The reps there also try to leverage their Better Business Bureau “A” ranking as additional proof that there is a good product and it is a good opportunity. For those of you who don’t know, we encourage you to watch this video of how corrupt the Better Business Bureau really is. The video even highlight how a fake terrorist organization was able to acquire a “A” rating by just paying $400 in fees. This should tell you how unreliable the BBB is.
The most interesting part of the presentation is the division of two rooms, one you sit in and the other the reps sit in and applause at random times making you feel as though they are celebrating, but in reality are trying to con you into thinking something greater exists and they are enjoying their rewards.
The selling point: Once the presentation is over, you get the benefit of more Primerica contactors trying to sell you on the idea of joining their cause and work for yourself. They will show you and tell you how financial freedom is rewarding and never having to worry about your day-to-day job again. You will soon be your only worry. (TIP: Are any of the folks talking to you financially free or simply claiming to be?) By now you are sold on how you get started, and so they sell you on the idea of paying a $99 fee (formerly $299) to get started which takes care of the licensing that they will help you attain. The reality however remains that they do not get you licensed till 6 months go by, despite the fact that you paid for it which means you must work referring business over to others who profit large while you get a small check before you can start selling. The idea is genius on their part as it keeps you from earning money and causes you to give up, which lets them keep your $99. Better yet, you quitting is irrelevant as they have already dried your resources like all your friends and family by selling them products that are not competitive.
The reality of Primerica: MLM companies are not new and it could be argued that corporate America is nothing more than a giant MLM but the reality is that corporate America does pay you for each hour you earn. Despite the fact that the reward may not be what you seek, it enables you to find opportunities instead of paying you. Primerica is one of the most well organized MLMs out there. Up until recently they were large and affiliated with giant CITI group, which is what every other MLM scheme out there like 5Linx and MonaVie wants, a big corporate brand to put their name on their brand. If they could be related to AT&T or Pepsi, they would enjoy the same number of applicants coming their way. But they are not, as very few major companies want to ruin their names affiliating with MLM companies, as the consumer never wins giving the merchant a bad name and social standing. The collapse of CITI group from a revenue standpoint has a lot to do with its bad decisions and bad associations and have now been undone to salvage one of the worlds largest financial firms. Now that Primerica is no longer affiliated with CITI and is publicly traded, the companies’ strategy and regulations have changed but you will continue to find many independent offices using very cheesy and malicious strategies to attract people to a very poor business opportunity.
The final question to answer is why portray and sell your sub contractors (not employees) the luxury lifestyle if it’s not real? It is simply temporary. You enjoy a piece of fake financial freedom while Primerica saves lots of money in tax write offs. Unfortunately in this country, luxury write offs are worth more to a company as they simply make a better write off than day-to-day operating expenses.
My final tip to you is simply open your eyes and look around you at real opportunities, no one made their money overnight at a business, its always hard work and its always full of problems, problems which turn into experiences, experiences which allow you to make better decisions and decisions that enable you to make a profit, a real profit that is earned and understood. All you have left to do is duplicate the effort!