Friday, May 30, 2014

Things to Consider Before Becoming an Arbonne Consultant (Arbonne for Nerds)

*Even if you don't care about Arbonne, stick around to the end if you are a math or marketing nerd.  I find this stuff fascinating. 
**This is not meant to take anything away from anyone who has had a great experience and made a ton of money - it is just meant to be helpful information for people looking into the company!

My real life friend N recently became an Arbonne consultant to get the 35% discount for herself and friends/family, and is absolutely in love with the products.  Her success on the 28 day detox inspired our mutual friend E to try it (you can read about her experience here - new blogger alert!!), and all 3 of us have been gabbing about Arbonne ever since.  When I heard that N has lost around 20 pounds and her husband lost 25, I was instantly intrigued and basically went down an internet rabbit hole looking into it.  I thought anyone who might be interested in consulting for Arbonne would benefit from my research.

Basically, Arbonne is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company like Avon, Mary Kay, or Party-Lite.  I was a Party-Lite consultant in my early 20's (little known fact!), signing up just for the discounts and not so much to sell it, so I'm pretty familiar with the MLM construct.  You can go here and download Arbonne's "Success Plan" to learn how it works, but there are basically two requirements for a new Independent Consultant:

1) You must sell $1200 in your first year (which is actually the calendar month you start in and then 12 months after that) to keep your status as an Independent Consultant, and therefore keep your 35% discount.  Think long and hard about whether or not you really want/need/can afford $1200 in skincare, makeup, and health stuff before you sign up.  Ask yourself that question regardless of whether you are selling it or using the discount for yourself - you may not get that investment back.  UPDATE: If you don't sell $1200, the only penalty is that you would have to pay the $79 consultant fee again instead of the $20 annual renewal fee, so don't feel like you HAVE to hit this magical number or the Arbonne gods will strike you down. 

2) You must sell $150 every month in personal retail volume (PRV)(which does not necessarily equate to actual dollars sold/spent) to participate in management qualification programs and in the various bonus and override programs.  This is important for people who are consulting in order to start an actual business - even if you sign up 10 of your friends to consult your first month, if you don't sell $150 the next month, you don't make your 4% commission off the consultants you sponsor. 

If you hit your one year mark and still want to be a consultant, another rule applies:

3) You must pay an annual consultant fee (UPDATE - it's $20).  I don't know if this is the same as the initial $79 or if it's more or less.  I couldn't find this information anywhere on Arbonne's website, and I have been making poor N ask her sponsor a zillion questions so I didn't want to bother her again for this one. 

If you are okay with all of the above and are still interested, then there are a few more things you should probably be aware of.  If you are trying to sell Arbonne as a business, do your homework on MLM schemes in general and Arbonne's payouts in particular.  If you watch the Arbonne Opportunity video on YouTube, there is a disclaimer at the end that says only 2% of active consultants make it to Regional Vice President and 1% make it to National Vice President.  Manage your expectations accordingly.  I also thought this post makes some good points about market saturation and the availability of the product at a significant discount on ebay, and this is a really interesting read about greenwashing (the comments section is interesting too). 

I should probably stop right here and say that I read all of that (and so much more) and still signed up to be a consultant.  I just like to be an informed consumer.  I am not going to be selling it, I just want the discounts for myself and my friends and family (4 of us are doing the detox so this made it more affordable).  I will likely review some of the skincare products if I think they are especially noteworthy or if I just feel like it, because it's my blog and I'll review if I want to.  I will probably also do a post on my detox results (here) and my own personal opinions on detoxing in general (here) because I have a lot to say about it and god knows I have bored N and E enough with my thoughts. 

Okay, so if you made it this far and are still planning on signing up, here are some hot tips for placing your first few orders (and I think the math is SO INTERESTING). 

When you first sign up to be a consultant, you pay a $79 consulting fee.  You will then be shown some package options that look like this:



Hot tip #1: Sign up to become a consultant and fill out the agreement BEFORE you place your first order.  That way your consultant package counts towards your $1200 PRV and you are that much closer to fulfilling your end of the deal.

Hot tip #2:  Ignore all of the "this includes" stuff and just get what you want.  These are just suggestions and you can totally customize it to your needs based on whatever products you are interested in trying or want to sell.

Hot tip #3:  Ignore the % off retail stuff.  Those are just there to trick you into thinking that this is an extra special deal that is going to go away if you don't spend all of your money right this very second.  If you want your free product, you only need to spend $150 retail value (RV) before the free product up to $102 shows up as an option.  No need to buy any more in your first order, unless you want to.

Skeptical?  Let me prove it.

Take the "best deal" package up top.  You are able to get $750 worth of stuff for just $375.  Sounds great, right?  Sure, but it's just business as usual.  Do you know how you actually order it?  You add $500 RV worth of stuff to your cart, and since you get a 35% discount, it's $325.  Then you use one of your other perks - for each $250 RV you sell, you can buy $125 worth of stuff for only $25.  So by ordering $500 worth of stuff, you get to do the $125 for $25 twice, spending $50 for $250 more stuff.  That is how you get to the $750 worth of goodies for only $375.  This deal is something you can get at any time, all year long.

This is what it looks like on the screen, if the math is confusing you:





So I got $510 worth of stuff for $331.50, then $250 more of stuff for $50, and it counted for $510 towards my $1200.  Note that shipping and tax were crazy - it added about 15% to my order. 

In addition to the "$250 order gets you $125 for $25" deal, there are a few other perks you should be aware of when placing your first order.  All the perks are listed here, but for my next tip I want to focus on the "Right Start Value Pack" or RSVP. 

Hot tip #4: The RSVP is a great deal for your sponsor and upline manager, not so much for you.  If you sign up, your sponsor gets a $50 bonus and the upline manager gets $25.  Do you know where this bonus money comes from?  You.  How?  When signing up for the RSVP, you get an RE9 skincare kit and other goodies up to $700 value for $350, and you get $350 PRV for that.  Now look back at my example above where you can get $750 stuff for $375...that one is worth $500 PRV.  So instead of doing the RSVP you could just spend $25 more and get $50 more worth of product.  Or you could just NOT, seeing as how this deal is available to you all of the time, as part of business as usual.

I feel a little bad divulging this, since I'm guessing if it becomes widely known a lot of people are getting screwed out of their bonus.  So I will say that if you are totally confident you can hit your $1200 no problem and you want the RE9 anyway, go for it.  This tip is more for people like me who were really nervous about hitting the $1200 quota.  I love N dearly, but I don't want to give up $150 PRV ($150 that goes to my $1200 requirement) so she and whoever the "upline manager" is get a bonus.  I'll take her to lunch or something to make up for it, plus she gets 4% of my sales.  We are forever united by the bonds of being co-preggos, so I think she will forgive me. 

I don't really know how the RSVP2 works, but I assume it's similarly not worth it. 

Hot tip #5: Pay attention to all of those little deals that pop up at the bottom of your order screen. 


As you order, this little screen shows up at the bottom of your cart that shows what deals you qualify for.  I talked about the 250 RV special and the RSVP; there is also something called "Twice as Nice" that lets you pick from a small list of products (there were only 11 in mine, I got the eye cream) when you place your second order of more than $150, and there are a number of "Purchase with Purchase" items.  I haven't been able to test this theory, but I suspect the RE9 travel set is WAY BETTER than paying for the full size.  For every $250 purchase you are able to buy an 11 piece travel set for $50.  I don't know the product sizes to confirm, but considering that the full size set is $323 for 6 items, I'd think that 6 of the travel sets are way more product than the full price.  So my recommendation would be to get the little sets rather than wasting money on the RE9. 

Those are all of my tips for now, but I literally learned about Arbonne a week ago and have never attending a party or a gathering of consultants (nor do I intend to, ha). 

I am sorry if this was overly detailed, I am just FASCINATED by how this works.  Your consultant fee pays for the free product, and they make you feel like you have to buy or sell another $1200 of stuff.  They try to get everyone to buy a ton in the first 2 months while you are still excited about it, but short you on the PRV points through the RSVP 1 and 2 so you end up needed to buy more than $1200.  It's kind of genius, really.  I don't think Arbonne is a scam, but I think they jack up the prices on everything to make up for the high discounts (and then jack them up some more), and there is unfortunately some incentive for reps to not be 100% honest when signing people up so they make more money.  I hope you all do your homework and that my little list of tips helps!  Stay tuned for a totally honest look at Arbonne's detox program and skincare (I'm not doing the detox until July, so it will be a while). 

Have you tried or do you sell Arbonne?  What has your experience been like?  Any products you especially recommend?

31 comments:

susan said...

I've never tried the brand at all, but the detox has me interested, of course. :) I did Mary Kay for the discount a while ago. Very similar structure and numbers. I had to share it with my friends and family to ever meet my quartly requirement.

k said...

I know absolutely nothing about selling Arbonne, but I have used their Creme Concealor for years and swear by it. It covers like nothing else and stays put all day.

Unknown said...

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1092240210816551&id=100000917477628&set=a.1092354897471749.1073741829.100000917477628&source=56

Anonymous said...

I have tried the Arbonne detox and I am sure it will work for most people but in my personal experience it did not work. I was very excited to try it and had high hopes that it would work but unfotunalty I was disappointed.I should mention that the taste is absolutely revolting. I had to hold my breath when I drank it. Just a heads up.

However I use a lot of Arbonne products and really like the brand. I am not a consultant but was contemplating becoming one and thought this blog was very informative and helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I found this very helpful!

leckig said...

hi!

When you say "detox", what do you all actually mean? Is there a measurable amount of a chemical compound you are removing from your body that the liver/kidney was not able to remove? Is there a way to measure the effectiveness and need for such treatment?

I hear Detox everywhere but trying to really understand this is not easy. I recently heard about arbonne and of course they promote the detox a lot.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing on Arbonne. I'm interested by Arbonne and it is exactly the kind of things I wanted to know before going in that kind of business. Thanks a lot!

Unknown said...

If anyone has any further questions feel free to contact me at erica33trahan@gmail.com

Leslee Arnold said...

The body cleanse can taste not so good when your acid/alkaline bis not in balance

Erica Trahan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erica Trahan said...

Update: the renewel fee is now $30 plus you get a $15 product credit. There are a lot of other benefits you get as a consultant that are not mentioned in this blog. Please contact me at erica33trahan@gmail.com or 2286976759. Thank you and have a blessed journey.

Anonymous said...

Hello if you are interested in an online businesse with a comp plan from a family company that look after there distributers well. please contact me at kimmyhall.com

Hailey Adrian said...

I just started being an Independent Consultant for Arbonne not even two weeks ago and I will be hitting my $1,500 PQV tomorrow! It seemed crazy to reach this far considering how young I am and how small of a network I have but it truly is easy to sell such an awesome quality brand. This blog provided me with a lot of great facts that should be known but there are also a lot of other benefits and rewards from Arbonne. If you are interested in joining my team or would like some information I would love to inform you!

haileydadrian@yahoo.com

chevyheads said...

would like to follow you other suggestions on ways to get better savings on product ,,

Vanessa Rangel said...

Interested. What is it?

Vanessa Rangel said...

Interested. What is it?

Cleone Hall said...

Love the informative post, very thoughtful piece. I am a new consultant based in nz. I would rather put money in a friends pocket as opposed to some big Corp boss I know nothing about. Love this business model, its genius. If you want to join team nz please email ; cleonebree@gmail.com

Susan Conohan said...

Thanks for doing the homework, very informative. I just signed, and like, you I am motivated first by my opportunity to use and share the product. I am just not prepared to look beyond that at this time

Hionia Kalugin said...

Hi I am curious about this product and am so far very interested if you could provide me with some info and answer some questions that would be amazing would really love to see if signing up is a good move for me thank you! Hionia.kulikov.kalugin@gmail.com

Tara said...

I am a preferred client with Arbonne but I'm tempted to sign up as a consultant for the 35% discount. However I don't want to pestered into doing the business. Have you had any issues with this?

Amanda said...

This is extremely helpful-i am about to sign up as I have tried the skin care line(got the free sample box from my friend who joined)awesome it is! And I just tried the make up cause I hosted a party for my friend-only 2 people came but it was fun trying the products and getting pampered-i too only want to join so I can get the price discounts which are 35-50% off retail and so my friends and family can get the discount as well..I don't wanna market it or get a check..I have 5 homeschooled children and don't wanna worry about not making quota each month while trying to juggle everything..these tips have made me feel better about joining as in the research I have found had some not so good stuff about trying this as an actual money making business--please let me know how this has worked out for you just using it for you and not as a business

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent blog post and validated my decision NOT to pursue this as a business. A friend of mine is strongly pressuring me to "join her team." Why? because it will benefit HER. I can see in the comments that most are begging people to join their team as well. Anytime I hear, "this sells itself," my red flag starts waiving.Stop and think, if EVERYONE is selling, then the only people earning are those above you. You can't really make money at this until you recruit another seller. Typical pyramid. I sold Mary Kay for years and the system was set up the same way, ridiculous shipping fees, etc. This is just another business that will get rich off of people desperate to find alternate ways of earning income.

leckig said...

finally one reasonable person posting here, I am talking about anonymous post from Feb 7.

Seriously, if you are trying to convince your friends and family to become a distributor so that you can finally make some money, you are a real scumbag, of the worst kind.

At the same time, if you are becoming a distributor to get discount on the product, I question your intelligence. There are plenty of cosmetics out there, for less and better. Cosmetics are a commodity that is cheap and easy to make, you are just paying for the brand.

Anonymous said...

Well you're certainly opinionated aren't you! Who are you to judge anybody if they want to get the discount bc they love the products? Good products cost money.You get what you pay for. Make your own products you suggested? Lol apparently you have a lot of time on your hands and aren't worried about wrinkles. Lol I also think you should mind your own business concerning a consultant asking their friends and family to become consultants who the he'll are you to call people scumbags?! What a stupid thing to say! Nobody needs your input people can make decisions for themselves and just because you see it as a waste of time doesn't mean it is. I know a woman that after just 5 years is making over a hundred thousand a yeAR and was given the white Mercedes they give you when you've hit a certain level. I also know another woman that quit her full time job she hated after 6 months bc she was making more a month by then working with Arbonne than she was with her old job. Both woman love it and are surrounded by amazing woman. I'm not a consultant but have used many products and will continue to. Good products are tested and fda approved. Real research goes into it. I'm not sure what you look like but nobody slows the aging precession down making their own products that I know for a fact. Good luck with the negative attitude though. It say's a lot about you and obviously not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Just in case you can't figure it out the end if my post says "slows the aging procession down" it should say "aging process" doubt you could figure that out.

Anonymous said...

I've read every single comment and not one person "pressured" anyone to join their team. Clearly you don't know the definition of the word. A couple people said "if you want to join my team contact me"! Where is the pressure in that comment? There isn't any! Not one little bit of pressure so don't be an asset assn make things up! And Of course your friend wants you to join so she can make money from you that's how network marketing works but if you let that stop you from also having the same oportunities you're not hurting her you're only hurting yourself. Just because your friend is going about it like that doesn't mean anyone else is. You worked for Mary Kay and I guess you weren't successful but that's you not others. Just like any business there will always be new people pursuing a job with Arbonne. If you stay at the bottom it's because you don't have the ability to bring people on to become consultants and have them then do the same. The two woman I know that are extremely successful believe in the products and wouldn't use anything else. It's that love of the products that has made them so successful. You sound bitter from working for Mary Kay.

Colleen said...

Thank you for taking the time to do this! I have been in direct sales since 1983, first with Mary Kay for over 20 years and I did sign up with Arbonne Twice but never got off the ground. Both good companies. However both required thst I invest thousands of dollars in inventory/products. I carried an inventory with Mary Kay but I couldn't quite understand why in Arbonne, they wanted me to place a large order but then hand it out. Anyway, last year I had an itch to get into direct sales one more time and really did my homework. I found NYR Organic and aside from loving this product...aside from my kit which wS $149 (and included $400 retail products)...I did not have to invest any money whatsoever in an inventory. Don't need it. No front loading. The only products I have ordered are for myself. Every day I am more and more impressed with this company, products and compensation plan. I also got a free website. bonus off my own order...and while the organic skin care market is exploding...my investment for my future with this company...only $149!! Thats it!! And I am witnessing productivity that surpasses what I have witnessed in the past with other companies. Most probably have yet to hear about NYR Organic, so if you have questions please let me know.

Anonymous said...

Hi Colleen, Are you a consultant or are you just buying product from your own web store? Do you make an income from NYR Organic? How are they a network marketing company? Also, I am from Canada. Will the company be making their way to Canada anytime soon?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am an Arbonne Consultant and I started out with the 30 Day Detox Bootcamp which worked amazingly for me! Curious to know what tasted revolting(mentioned in a previous comment), although, I've been told the taste of the actual cleanse can be different for everyone depending on how how many toxins are in your body.(It tasted like weak apple juice to me).
Also, I was never pressured into buying a big first order, only made aware if I purchased a certain amount that I would receive a free gift.
The one thing I did love about Arbonne was the fact that you didn't have to keep stock in your home, just direct shoppers to your website. Wasn't a big money commitment for me to sign up. Been with the company for one year now and love it!! My only suggestion is to gradually try the products for yourself so you have the advantage of letting your shoppers now your experience with the products. Thanks for your blog!

Dr said...

That is my experience too. I am an Arbonne consultant for less than a year after being a satisfied nutrition client. No pressure to join. No pressure to make large investments. Only some guidance about what works for others, but the choice is mine.
I did order many products both to use myself as I became acquainted with the phenomenal products, and also to be able to share, since clients are more likely to try a full size product on loan for a few days than a sample they dropped into the bottom of their purse. Those get forgotten.
I chose to invest slowly, as circumstances in my life at the time prevented me from going all out business-wise. But I can cotinue to learn as I earn, and I'm extremely impressed by the company and its continuous research to continuously develop and imorove pure, safe, and beneficial products. I am also impressed by the consultants it attracts and the warm team camaraderie (that also extends beyond one's own team).
Don't we all give referrals all the time? But rarely do we get paid for them.
I may not be driving a white Benz yet, but I'm here to stay. This is the business model more and more companies are going for in this global economy.

Monica Leyva said...

Hello Everyone, I started as an Arbonne consultant in February, after nine skeptical years from when I was first introduced to the product. After trying all kinds of brands and even home-made remedies, I must say that I do love it because none did what Arbonne does for me. I have done the 30-Day Detox, and yes it does eliminate toxins and undesired stuff from each and everyone of your cells. To the point that when I went back to having a meal of processed food, my body would try to get rid of it in the form of 6-8 pimples on my body all at the same time. I have also done the RE9 Skin Care and acquientaces asked me "Why are you doing that you are glowing?". This is verbatim, nothing made up. I am a fan of the sunblock for babies, my 3 year-old son moves around so much, I am always afraid of getting stuff into his eyes. Also, we live in the desert and during the summer months, we put sunblock everyday. Even if he is not going to go outside for extended periords of time. So yes, the products are not perfect, it is a MLM based company, but as I learn more and more about the insane amount of hormones, pestisides and petroleum added to our daily consumption, it makes Arbonne feel like a better choice amongst all evils. Like I said, I was introduced to Arbonne, nine years ago and was sooo skeptical, it took a while for me to mature and chose what was best for me and my family. I do appreciate your blog and the research you put into this, it explains so much about why the up line is so motivated.