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Motivational Speakers, Glib Salesmen And The Art of Selling Grandiose Dreams

dreams

Opinion

Motivational Speakers, Glib Salesmen And The Art of Selling Grandiose Dreams

dreams

There was a time it seemed like everybody I knew had read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Everybody was talking about it that by the time I got hold of it, I treated it like I just discovered the Holy Grail.

I didn’t know what to expect from the book since I never stayed long enough or listened attentively when friends tried to tell me how great the book was. I mean, I’d rather read it than hear them gloat about the fact they have read something I haven’t.

The common denominator from all the friendly reviews I got was that it Rich Dad Poor Dad would change my life.

I had to believe them because most of my pals who would never touch a book except it had to do with school work. They talked about it as if they had fortuitously found a new to orgasm that didn’t involve sexual organs.

So it is understandable that I finished the book in less than one day. Though I read fiction and non-fiction a lot, I wasn’t a particularly fast reader. So that was a personal record for me. It goes to show how captivating the book was to me back then.

After Rich Dad Poor Dad, I started reading motivational books like my life depended on them.

But I have to say, after a while, I stopped reading books like that. It’d suddenly hit me the authors were all saying the same thing.

The stories are fascinating. They are told engagingly. But when you cut out the flesh and leave only the bare bones, this is the message you get: you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

Robert Kiyosaki made millions from the book. According to records, over 25 million were sold worldwide and the book stayed on the NYT Best Sellers list for seven years.

One fact many don’t know about that book was that it gained traction through AMWAY in America. The book gained a foothold due to the aggressive way it was advertised by members of the organization.

If you understand what AMWAY does, perhaps you would understand why Kiyosaki filed for bankruptcy in 2012 after being asked by a US Court to pay a company $24 million for services rendered.

Apparently, the company was responsible for handling the author’s engagement with the public.

AMWAY is a multi-level marketing company, MLM, which is a euphemism for a pyramid scheme.

I almost fell victim to these people once upon a time. I had responded to an advertisement for a job for marketers and all that.

At the address, the conveners talked long, hard and convincingly about the benefits of working with them. I fell for their pitch. I left the hall counting the billions I’d make.

In the cold light of day, I discovered I’ll never make millions down that route.

I am a skeptic by nature. So if those MLM dudes could convince me then, many people don’t stand a chance with them. And so it has proven in Nigeria today.

So many youths respond to these adverts about a job. They get pitched to join said MLM for a fee at the interview.

Only a few they don’t end up signing with them. The few that abstain do so because of the lack the funds to pay or have prior knowledge of the activities of MLM firms in Nigeria.

The end result for many of them is bad. A few though do make enough money to live big; but you really have to look hard to find them.

People like Robert Kiyosaki make money on selling dreams to people. That was what Rich Dad Poor Dad was about. Reality though has a way of crushing dreams.

(By the way, the ‘dads’ in the book are fictional creations. In effect, it was a work of fiction but you would never believe that if you read the book).

That is what MLM promoters are all about. They sell you the dream of unheard of riches if only you can believe in yourself, tap your hidden potentials and explore all the opportunities around you.

In the case of MLM, the opportunities to exploit are your friends, families and colleagues and their own friends and families. Everybody is a potential opportunity you must exploit to make money and you must do it relentlessly.

If you fail, you are not doing it properly or you are not committed enough. There is no room for failure.

In a situation like this, you have to be a good salesman to succeed.

A simple evaluation of the personalities behind the success stories would reveal something obvious: they all have good people’s skills; they are very social.

They are the sort who can go into a room full of strangers and an hour later are on first name terms with everybody. They can charm a veteran nun out of her pants.

To be fair, some people do get inspired by motivational speakers without paying a dime. While some people discover they have to receive one on one coaching from them to unearth their potential.

In that respect, a motivational speaker can be useful to the public, just like pastors in churches do inspire us sometimes. Apparently, the ability to inspire others is a gift many people have chosen to monetize.

Like somebody would say, ‘Na there hustle be that.’ The hustle of a confident salesman hawking the universal dream of riches beyond comprehension.

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