Wealth Builders Folds Prerecorded Messages Into Marketing Programs

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Wealth Builders International is incorporating a prerecorded message campaign into its multilevel marketing program, a controversial method that has been the target of consumer advocates.

Wealth Builders, Monarch Beach, CA, is a multilevel or "network" marketer that sells memberships to individuals, most of whom work at home, who in turn sell more memberships and products. The company's main targets are other network marketers, to whom Wealth Builders sells the ProSTEP line of multilevel-marketing support services.

ProSTEP provides its members with lists of pre-qualified leads, training and services, such as conference calling and e-mail broadcasts. Members pay a one-time membership fee of $99. Services cost between $150 and $500.

That rate roughly equals the rates that distributors were getting when they dialed each lead on their own, said Jim Lewis, co-founder of Wealth Builders. However, while it normally takes two weeks to dial 1,000 leads, the use of prerecorded messages enabled distributors to hit their entire list within just a few hours.

Network marketers traditionally sell products and memberships to friends and family. Using ProSTEP's leads in conjunction with RealCall's prerecorded messages, Wealth Builders' members contacted thousands of people. The lists are drawn from people who respond to Wealth Builders ads in magazines.

In the message, the caller, a ProSTEP member, leaves a message in which the person being called is reminded that he requested some information. Although ProSTEP is never mentioned, the caller goes on to say that he has "some very exciting information to share with you that can help you literally double your current sponsoring activity."

The message ends with the mention of a toll-free number to call and an offer of free information.

Several Wealth Builders members who recruited additional members during the summer used the RealCall service provided by The Broadcast Team, Ormond Beach, FL. During a two-day period after the first 1,000 prerecorded messages were left, more than 70 people responded, Lewis said. Two weeks later, when the second batch of 1,000 calls went out, the rate increased to 9 percent.

"We didn't spend two weeks calling leads," Lewis said. "Within hours of pressing the go button, we had callbacks."

The computerized RealCall system detects the start of an answering machine and is not based on a timer. It can send messages to a minimum of 1,000 numbers at less than 25 cents per call.

In addition to Wealth Builders, The Broadcast Team has served network marketer USANA, a marketer of nutritional products. Other RealCall clients have included the Detroit Pistons, the professional basketball team that left a message from player Grant Hill with season ticket holders thanking them for their patience in the wake of a lockout; entertainer Kevin Bacon, who left messages with radio listeners urging them to listen to his new syndicated program; and Donald Trump, who left messages with visitors to his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City thanking them for their visit.

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