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ABC 20/20 has Mannatech in the news…

In an ABC 20/20 segment (See “Sugar Pill Treats Cancer?”) Mannatech is in the news again.

I have removed the original post, because it was probably not productive criticism on my part.

Here’s what might be more productive:

How do we answer trick questions by the media so we don’t get into trouble with the regulators, and yet stay true to our beliefs?

Here’s the question ABC posed in the segment above: Does your product cure cancer?

(We can as easily make the question: Does it reduce weight? Does it grow back hair?)

It’s about promises – promises about the future, isn’t it?

OK. Now picture this interview…

NEWS PERSON (or customer): Does your product cure cancer?

CEO/you/Rep: I don’t know if it does or not

NEWS PERSON (pressing): Well does it or doesn’t it?!

CEO/you/Rep: I don’t know. We do not claim or promise that it does that [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][whatever, cure cancer, lose weight, etc.]. So the answer is, I don’t know if it does cure cancer or not.

NEWS PERSON (pressing more): Well there are your reps saying they were cured of cancer with your product. Were they?

CEO/you/Rep: I don’t know for sure. It may have been a placebo effect. 30% of medical cures are reported to be from the placebo effect. It may have been that. I don’t know. We make no claims or promises about what the product will do for people, that’s what I DO know.

You’re not denying what you may have seen or the stories of others (or your own). And yet you are making NO CLAIMS or promises about what might happen for anyone else.

This reflects the New School approach. No need to deny what you believe you’ve seen or experienced. Yet, make no promises.

Think?

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About the author

Kim Klaver

14 Comments

  • I use home parties to market my product. Having one or two ladies there who are faithful users is a better advertisement than I could ever give. They just tell what it does for them in the course of the conversation. I can tell my story but everyone knows I am there to make a dollar.

    Outside of the home party setting, my story followed by “what if it does the same for you” is wonderful. No promises, No problem.

    Nancy Carlson@NMC
    perfectmombusiness.com

  • Hi Kim

    I’m asked all the time if my products will get rid of bad breath for pets and their people. I always say, it worked for me and my fur kids. I don’t want the headaches to come if I say something like “Of course it will, it always works exactly the way it’s said to.” Wow with a claim like that I would be nervous all the time, wondering if and when someone would call me to state it didn’t work. Then my credibility would be out the door.

    I’ve had good results with word of mouth from my satisfied customers and that’s what I want, satisfied customers.

    It’s so easy to have the mindset – No Promises – No Problems

    Robin and the fur kids
    Doggy Breath

  • I guess I’m amazed that Sam Castor didn’t give a better answer than that. I truly believe he’s a smart man and the company wouldn’t have been so successful for so long if he were not a gifted CEO. But, I could have thought of a better answer than he gave and one that would not have added fuel to the fire.

    Couldn’t he have said something like, “What I would tell all distributors to say is that studies have shown that our products contain ingredients that assist the body in maintaining a healthy immune system.” Or, he could have been really clever and said, “You know, I really can’t say that our products cure anything. What I can tell you is that we have (whatever number they can legally quote) people that use our products consistently for health maintenance. some of them have used our products for (whatever number they can legally say, which in some cases would probably be since their beginning)”

    If I can think of answers like this, he certainly should have been able to.

    However, what if he did give a better answer in the interview and they edited it to make it look worse? You know, it can be done and is done all the time.

    From what I’ve heard of the situation, Mannatech believes they have some really solid research and they are like, drawing a line in the sand.

    Point is, when the regulators and the media are on your trail, even telling the truth often isn’t enough. When you’re dealing with beauracrats or politicians, you really have to speak their language. You truly have to be sure that you phrase your answers so that there isn’t a shadow of a claim. In fact, your best bet is to make the interview as bland as possible and know that when it’s dull enough, the media, at least, will get off your trail and get on someone elses. And, while it doesn’t seem so at the time, people will eventually forget when it’s not in front of their face every day.

    If you can do that, you can live to fight another day. It almost sounds like Castor is thumbing his nose at the inquisition and even if you truly believe you’re telling the truth about your product, when it comes to health claims, especially concerning the “Big C”, you can’t stand toe to toe with the “Big Boys”. It’s like boxing. If you just stand toe to toe with an opponent that’s bigger and stronger than you are, you’ll probably get knocked out. But, if you are faster and have better footwork, you could avoid getting clobbered. And I’m not talking about telling lies; I’m just talking about speaking in their language.

    How do I know? I was in a company that the regulators and media got onto big time. Once it became clear that they couldn’t stoke the fire anymore, they moved on to something else and the company survived, reformulated products, got a new focus. The people who focused only on that one product and couldn’t adjust were toast, but the ones who were able to refocus were able to survive. Over the years, I’ve seen several companies survive the scrutiny, but never by getting in the face of the Feds.

    JUDY MARSHALL
    http://www.judyann.networkmarketingcentral.com

  • The 20/20 story is just that another media attempt to discredit something they don’t want to understand not to find the truth. Since we are associates in Mannatech I fully admit to being totally basis and I make no apologies for that. In the years we have been involved we have NEVER heard, seen or experienced anything that would make us doubt the company, the CEO, and the awesome products!

    And yes, 20/20 we know that the products do not treat, cure or mitigate disease. We don’t say they do.

    If anyone is interested you can see the entire uncut video here, and draw your own conclusions.

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=48B9EDFFD7864260

    Thank for letting me put my 2 cents in. Marsha

  • Hi Kim, it’s Robin again.

    My step sister battled cancer for over 15 years. She found Mannatech after several years of conventional treatments that left her feeling like a shell of the woman she had once been. She started using the products. They did help her in many ways. She decided to sell them because she was spending so much money on them. She never told any of us the products cured her cancer but she did say how much better she felt, how her blood tests were coming back better and how she had hope after so many years of lost hope. She would refer others to the results of many other people, but never claimed the products would heal or cure.

    Sadly she lost her battle a month ago but I feel using the Mannatech products added years to her life and gave us more time with her.

    I know this doesn’t have much to do with the post except I wanted to defend the way my dear Amber ran her business. She set an example for everyone, just say what the product did for you, no miracles, no promises, no hype.

    To all you Mannatech reps out there, I believe your products helped my sister when nothing else did. She believed in them until the end.

    God Bless
    Robin

  • Kim,

    What we can do is what doctor’s do with patients….Tell them “Every person’s chemistry is unique, so no one person may have the same experience with any food or product.”

    I just tell them that they are welcome to look over the ingredients and or take it to their doctor.

    I also tell them what the product has done for some people, but that it would be no guarantee for any other person because of individual body chemistry, genetics, etc.

    They would just have to try it for themselves if they wish.

    As you say, “No Promises, No Problems”

    How can we make medical claims when doctors and scientists tell us all medications they create will not react or work equally for all people?

    I try to think about doctors and follow their lead “It may work well for you, but each person is different. You’ll just have to try it for yourself and see.”

    This rule goes for skin care, food products, healing herbs, etc….. anything!

  • I believe the 20/20 story to be skewed against Mannatech as it would be against any company which offers an alternative health product. All major media outlets are owned by Big Pharma and must report as directed by their owners.

    It’s been a long time since major media has given an objective report on anything. Also, we as a public have been inundated with the allopathic plan. Most of us don’t know there are any alternatives because of such heavy advertising of pharmaceuticals and the status quo.

    Regarding Sam Caster: I think he could have spoken up with a much stronger voice in defense of his company and product. However, he may just have been downplaying this story in order to avoid additional scrutiny by the FDA. I don’t know much about Mannatech but they definitely have the right to seek customers, to target niche markets and to sell their products by using honest means as do we all.

    For myself, I believe strongly and passionately in my products. I have personal experience with many of them and have credible testimonials from others. In order to answer the tough questions I just tell the truth: that they have worked for me and for others, that they may work for you and they may not, that I believe them to be of the highest quality and worth trying.

    I never tell anyone that my products can cure them or heal them. I know what I know about my own personal experiences and I have definitely been cured of certain things. But I never say those exact words to a customer because I, too, am afraid of the FDA.

  • Dear Kim:

    My comments below are based on my 11 years as a 20/20 transcriber and my eight years of experience as a Mannatech associate.

    First, as someone who highly respects your programs and trainings, I am dismayed by your comments regarding Mannatech and the recent Wall Street Journal and 20/20 publicity. If you have not seen the entire interview with Sam Castor on YouTube — not just the edited version that aired Friday evening — then your opinions are based on a partial picture, not the whole one.

    Instead of blaming Mannatech (or any other company “fortunate” enough to catch ABC News’ attention because it was a slow news week), why not turn this matter around and look at the agenda of 20/20?

    ABC News — which produces 20/20 –is in the entertainment business and must maintain a sufficient audience market share to satisfy its advertisers. As the audience’s threshold of boredom rises to the level of the stories they see, ABC producers must resort to ever more shocking or disturbing pieces to catch and hold people’s attention.

    In the full interview on YouTube, the 20/20 correspondent did not listen to what Sam Castor said, but repeatedly tried to elicit damning admissions regarding glyconutrients and “cures.” Sam’s answers were consistently clear regarding the distinctions between what nutrition does versus what drugs do and how improved nutrition is a quality-of-life issue, not a matter of making claims regarding disease.

    Instead of taking potshots at the head of a company that has helped improve the quality of life for many people, how about putting your focus where it more properly belongs, i.e., on the egregious distortion of facts by a network “news” department that started with an agenda and refused to let the truth get in its way?

    Mannatech may be the current target of ABC News’ distorted lens, but it certainly has not been and will not be the only one. It behooves everyone in network marketing to understand that this as an object lesson in what happens when someone who does not understand your company or your products is in a position to broadcast a false and misleading impression to millions of people and there is little, if anything, you can do about it.

    Thank you for allowing me to express my concerns.

    Littlepaige

  • Perhaps the critics of Mannatech should focus on the outstanding health of their associates! If these “sugar pills” not to mention the rest of these high quality supplements are so ineffective someone needs to explain the amazing health most of these people enjoy. North America is suffering a health crisis that could eventually destroy our economy. Companies like Mannatech and several others that produce high quality, effective supplements should be applauded not hunted. What? Someone is making money promoting quality products? What a concept! What happened to truth in reporting to allow the public to draw their own conclusions? No wonder intelligent people disregard 90% of what is reported by the media.

  • Are all you people involved with those Mannatech (and many other similar companies) involved because you want to spread the (good??) news or do you all try to get rich quick. I know several people who are/were involved and just wanted to get rich without regard for their claims, and yest they would put the claws right into people with bad medical assessments. I hope all those companies will go bankrupt, it they had a real cure for horrible incurable diseases it would make headline news day after day. Sugarpills, give me a break (or two or three).

  • C’mon folks.You should know that
    the FDA,majority of traditional
    doctors and the pharm companies
    will continue to attack the
    wellness companies of our industry
    because they are not regualated by
    the FDA and no prescription is
    required (po doctors).This is why
    regardless of what company you
    belong to in this great industry,
    we must police ourselves, so the
    “pimps with the red tape”,wont try
    to make life hard for us.

    Raven

  • I think people whao are very sick find Mannatech, Juice Plus and other products very beneficial because their bodies are so deficient. The drugs and chemo products cause their bodies to be even more deficient, If those people radically changed thier diets and went on raw foods or raw juices they would be similar benefits. However, many are too sick and do not have enough support to do that. Mannatech fills a void. When people get to feeling better they will be able to take better charge of their eating and general living habits,

  • Mannatech, like other nutritional products, is PROHIBITED from making claims that their products CURE anything. Otherwise the FDA nazis come in, seize assets, and shut your company down.

    That’s why the statement “…has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” is found on the bottles that Mannatech and other supplement sellers produce, and has to be stated several times during sales meetings to keep the lawyers happy.

    Sam Caster said considerably more but 20/20 only used the portion that made him and Mannatech look the worst.

    Of course Mannatech Associates want to make money. But should we vilify them and not include Big Pharma too? Why would Big Pharma place cute, catchy prime time ads about their products on TV and in major publications and go to such great lengths wining and dining physicians in order to persuade them to prescribe their products?

    I am not a Mannatech associate but have been buying and using their products for many years. I seldom need to visit my doctor or opthamologist. I’m more willing to put my faith in Mannatech’s products made from plant derivitaves than Big Pharma’s patented poisons.

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