Welcome to the very first post of Uzzies Uncensored! Leaders love to use the term “blanket statements” when a consultant speaks of the company in generalities that in their mind is not true. We’re here to set the story straight and present you facts and opinions about what it’sreally like to be a consultant with UBAM.
Without further ado, here are your top 10 reasons why you should not join Usborne Books and More.
10: Joining UBAM is not a multilevel marketing company, it’s a direct sales company.
This is the first thing you will hear when joining. These words are often used interchangeably to describe how Usborne operates their company. Rhonda Abrons of Demand Media describes each. “Direct sales can be understood as face-to-face selling. Products and services are presented to consumers at work or home by an independent salesperson. Multilevel marketing is not actually marketing, but an additional technique to systematize and compensate direct salespeople.” Furthermore, “Both direct sales and multilevel marketing are avenues for businesses to retail their products straight to the consumer. Each selling method operates at the end of a chain of distribution that culminates with the buyer receiving the product or service… the difference between direct sales and multilevel marketing methods is primarily in compensation arrangements.”
9: The books Usborne Books sells are available elsewhere, and often at a lower price.
A few years ago, Randall White, CEO and owner of the United States division of Usborne Books ended his relationship with Amazon.com because their price point was too low, and as a result, independent consultants could not compete with Amazon’s ability to sell books at a lower price. Consumers are going to buy a product at its lowest price anywhere they can find. While you will not find all selections, you can find many, if not all books available that an Usborne Consultant sells elsewhere, including: Amazon, Ebay, Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books, and other retail and toy stores, often at a much lower price.
8: Becoming an Educational Consultant is not as easy as you think it is.
Selling to your friends, family and blog readers is one thing. Selling to schools, daycares, and libraries is a totally different ball game. Your #1 competition in this area is longtime favorite Scholastic Books. Scholastic Books owns a portion of Usborne Books and More and sometimes you will even see an Usborne book at a Scholastic book fair event. We will discuss this issue more in depth at a later date, but there are many hoops you must jump through to get an educational venue to buy from you.
7: Usborne Books are not unique
In order to sell a product, it must stand out when surrounded by its competitors. Children’s books are bright, colorful, and provide children an educational need for brain development. Another thing you must consider, whether you like it or not, this market in general, is shrinking. Many publishers are also designing their books into apps for tablets and providing an e-book format. E-books are always going to be cheaper to purchase. Yes, children need to feel and touch items to develop sensory skills, but install an app that goes with a book and watch the book comes to life and a child is enthralled into the person narrating the story, and watching characters come to life. Usborne has no e-book format available for any book they offer and very few apps for purchase.
6: Unless you recruit and create a downline, don’t expect to make much money.
The literature shows a “good” month with Usborne is $400.00 in sales, one venue event, and one educational event. Earning approximately $100.00 for a home show is far from lucrative. If you live in a market that is saturated, you typically end up selling your product for a lower price at book fairs and other events. Only 2% of those who join a multilevel marketing company will be considered a success, meaning, you get a pay check every month in which you can pay your bills.
5: All marketing materials must be purchased by you.
Usborne depends on you to sell their product. They also depend on you to market their product by any means necessary—that way they don’t have to spend company funds to hire a marketing agency to do the work you will do for free. You will need to purchase flyers, often not up to date, out of stock, or out of print. Catalogs have out of print books listed for sale the minute they are published for distribution, and you will need to check the lists weekly for out of stock/print items. By the end of 6 months, your personal catalog will be marked with what is not available more than what is. They are big on branding their product, and you must follow those branding guidelines or you can expect a slap on the wrist.
4: Usborne only has 20,000 active consultants; the time to join is now!
This is a very misleading statement, often said by Team and Advanced Leaders. You are considered an “active” consultant if you buy or sell $500.00 worth of books. Most people sign up to get their 25% discount for their own personal needs. Not many consultants are actually out in the field trying to make a living by being a “Book Lady.” It is a revolving door of people joining and quitting, and you’ll never get a number that shows out of how many of those who joined one month, actually quit the next month. They are considered active consultants regardless for a period of one year.
3: Usborne does not know what kind of company they are.
On a good day, Usborne can’t decide what kind of business model they use to make their company a success. You have a home sales division, which has an onslaught of problems that we will discuss in length. You have a retail division that sells to stores at a wholesale price, and they are slowly ending relationships with some retailers. Does that help the home sales division? No, it tells you there are indeed problems going on internally. You also have a company that has a consignment program so that some consultants, if they choose, can create a large inventory and get a portion of those books for free. It is in this situation those people act as a wholesaler, meaning they buy at minimum, a 25% discount, and then are allowed to purchase a portion, usually after when they have purchased $250.00 in retail, for free, and turn around and sell to other consultants. The math is this: buy $500.00 worth of product and get 1/3rd or $335.00 of additional product for free, that they sell to others for full retail. It is frowned upon that consultants sell to other consultants to get rid of their inventory that did not sell, or because they want to shut down their shop and if you do, you must sell your books for at least 25% off. However, if you are a Team or Advanced leader, they are more than willing to sell to you on the bottom, or among others in a co-op fashion—often selling at full price to those who missed the memo that you should not buy any book from any consultant at full retail price.
2: Expect to stay positive no matter what dilemma you encounter.
You have a ton of leaders who are considered “sunshine pumpers.” Everything must be rainbows and sunshine and all hardships are pushed to the side. They demand it and the CEO demands it as well or it’s time for you to move on. The CEO of the company is present and says “How many CEOs are willing to call you and speak to you? Not many to my knowledge.” We at Uzzies Uncensored have opinions as to why he chooses to call people rather than respond to grievances via e-mail. He’s a seller. Lee Iacocca, whose philosophy was to put a face to the name of a large automobile company, he is not. Many people reach out looking for understanding via the company’s internal online forums on social media, and Advanced Leaders are waiting for someone with a complaint to jump in, ridicule you, twist your words, leaving you to defend yourself when you just wanted to talk to someone who understood the problems you are encountering. These Team and Advanced leaders have forgotten what it is like to be a consultant. They have a list of statements to say to you to keep you in line, and they do a horrible job at managing, training, and encouraging. For example, if you are not having any luck getting anyone to host a party, the solution is to spend the money and do a booth. A booth in their eyes is to recruit people, not to sell the product. When you live in a saturated market, people expect to buy a product. They have no interest in hearing your sales pitch about what Usborne can do for them. If you disagree with anything they have to say, you can expect more than a slap on a wrist… which leads us to…
1: You will be terminated for speaking your mind.
We have witnessed it on more than one occasion. If you express yourself even in such a way that you were looking for solution, or you are expecting to have a healthy debate among adult women on how to run a successful business, the bait and switch tactics go into full swing via Team and Advanced leaders and you are the bad apple of the bunch. They ask, “Why are you even here if you hate this company so much?” They are very, very good at twisting words. In one corner, you have those who say you are intentionally writing negative posts to constantly complain, and it seems to be only leaders who bark this statement. They will also tell you, you are making general statements that are just not true. Consultants are too scared to speak in your defense because they know the repercussions if they do. Leaders also like to say those people who were let go were terminated because they violated the terms outlined in the consultant agreement. The agreement states: “I will conduct my business as an UBAM consultant in an ethical and honest manner and do nothing which may harm or damage the reputation of my business or the Company, or bring the Company into disrepute. I will not make any claims about the Company’s products or business which are not set out in the Company’s literature or directions.” Therefore, if you have an issue, you should private message your upline to discuss an issue you might have. Most people state that their leaders do not respond to their messages, therefore they will go online to a private internal forum to discuss an issue. Instead of discussing issues at hand in a fair, objective, unbiased way, attacks ensue. You are abused, defamed and all the other things that if you dig closer, you will find on Usborne’s policy site and on this blog that you agree that “when using a Communication Service, you will not: defame, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others.” That is exactly what you can expect from any given Advanced Leader who will brow beat you. What is even more disconcerting is it is allowed. There is no human resource department and home office sides with its leaders. Why are you terminated? They realize at that point if they can’t keep you in line, that you are expendable. They don’t care how much money you have made them, they cannot control you, and if they cannot control you, they run the risk of you exposing the truth of the tactics they use to lure other vulnerable people to join this company.
That’s my take, tell me yours.