Let me start out by saying that I think Bonvera is one of the best networking opportunities that I’ve seen in a long time. However, I do have several issues with the Extroda training system that already seems to be part and parcel of Bonvera (though technically it is separate).
If you are wondering how I can be so incredibly impressed with Bonvera but downright hostile towards Extroda, I’ll give you a few things to consider. Before I dive in though, please note that I’ve been following the history of Bonvera for over 10 years and have lived what I’m telling.
Extroda is a so-called “training system” created to help Bonvera representatives build their business. Presently the training consists of meetings, seminars, and audios about which information is available on the website at Extroda.com.
On their website, they describe Extroda like this:
“EXTRODA IS A PROVEN TRAINING SYSTEM DEVELOPED TO ASSIST YOU IN ACHIEVING YOUR PERSONAL AND BUSINESS GOALS. EXTRODA OFFERS A TURN-KEY BUSINESS SUPPORT SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS YOU TO LEVERAGE YOUR TIME AND RESOURCES AS YOU BUILD YOUR BUSINESS.”
“The leadership behind the development of the Extroda training system has over 600 combined years of business experience, including sales and marketing, manufacturing, company ownership, leadership and training development, information technology, distribution systems, commercial media production, graphics design, corporate finance, and more. This Extroda leadership team shares a common vision of bringing true success to any ambitious person who is truly looking for real opportunity in his or her life.”
So as you can see, the idea behind Extroda is to empower a Bonvera Associate to build a duplicatable, sustainable business by giving them access to resources to build their organizations.
Sounds good right? The goals of Extorda are noble. It’s just that the “resources” suck…
Here is why…
1) The Meetings Hold Little Value for New People
The Extroda system is dated. The “system” it was based on was originally developed around 15 years ago for a different networking company. Having been apart of that previous company and previous system, I can say that not much as changed with the creation of Extroda. It has basically been copied and pasted from the old company.
I recently attended a meeting just a few weeks ago in Grand Rapids, MI where the Bonvera opportunity was being presented. Unfortunately, the meeting was nearly identical to the meetings from 10 years ago. Aside from a new Prezi presentation which replaced the whiteboards of yesteryear, not much had changed…. which sucks.
For starters, the meeting environment was way too formal. The speakers are still wearing suits like they did 15 years ago and therefore looked more like a religious sect than cutting edge entrepreneurs who are working on the latest start-up.
Secondly, the pitch was pretty bad. Lots of big brand names were thrown out there such as Amazon, Uber, and AirBnb and the speaker obviously did not have a deep knowledge of any of these companies. My favorite quote of the night was when the speaker was talking about how Amazon grew into the behemoth we all know about today he said, “Amazon didn’t do anything different.”
What?!? Amazon was the first company to even dare to offer the widest selection on books ever available in the history of the world, they pioneered affiliate marketing (customers could get paid for referring other customers online through links), and they invented and patented the 1-click buy button – just to name a few things they DID do differently.
Bonvera is not Amazon nor is it Uber. It has some similarities to both, but it’s unique and should be presented as being good enough on its own merits, not as a “me too” company.
The worst part is that the opportunity was pitched as though it needed to be pitched. If Bonvera is as good an opportunity as they say it is (which I think it is), then why try to sell it or convince anyone to participate? Why not just let the facts speak for themselves? Why not show projections for company growth and market share for 6 months, year 1, and year 2 like any real start-up presentation would? If it is said that Bonvera hopes to compete with Amazon, there should be more than some cute little houses with arrows to demonstrate the plan to do so.
The old company that these meetings were derived from had to be dressed up and made to look pretty because the opportunity wasn’t all that great. Bonvera is, but it is still being pitched as though it isn’t. There is literally nothing to hide here with Bonvera.
And why not let people ask questions and have speakers confidently answer them? Sure you’ll get a heckler here and there, but that can actually be good for the audience if it’s handled well.
In the end, I found myself thinking, “I would never send a prospect to one of these meetings.” The meetings feel forced and generic. The speakers answers to questions I did ask were vague. Had I been sent there by a friend prior to doing my own research about Bonvera, I would have been turned off and probably unsold on the idea.
Fortunately, I had done my own research and found that Bonvera was better than what they were pitching. But this is why I can’t recommend these Extroda meetings. It’s not to say that they have no value at all. They do have value for reminding people that are already Associates what they have their hands on, but they hold almost no value for a new person.
2) The Audio Trainings are Repetitive
Another carryover from the old training system that Extroda copied is that the training audios nearly all cover the same content. Recordings are made from seminars where speakers tell their success stories, try to motivate other Associates, and teach some basics of building the business.
All of the above are great until you get the same basic thing by a different speaker the next month. And then by a different speaker the next month. And so on and so on and so on.Where is the value in that?
I can buy one Anthony Robbins or Zig Ziglar course and use that to motivate myself. They are two of the best in the world, and they have plenty of replay value and I don’t have to pay every month to listen to them. When and if I exhaust their training, I can get another one by another speaker. Why would I pay $50/mo. to listen to speakers that aren’t as good instead of paying for the greatest speakers 1 time?
Unfortunately, the trainings will likely be rehashed as well. I don’t mind paying for training materials that will actually help me build my business. (I’ve spent nearly $3,000 in the last 6 months alone on information to help me build my various businesses.) But who wants to pay monthly fees for the same trainings over and over by different people when there isn’t really anything new that they’re teaching?
I guess I should mention that the $50/mo. Extroda membership does include access to a list of calendar of meetings… but you already know what I think about those.
3) The Idea of Duplication Kills the Entreprenurial Spirit
One of the ideas from the old system on which Extroda is based is the idea of “Duplication.” This is the idea that we should learn from people who have more success than we do and duplicate what they did to be successful. “If we do what they did,” the saying goes, “we should get what they got.”
This is right and wrong at the same time. It’s correct because we should most definitely learn from people who have more success than we do. We can often learn a lot from their successes and their mistakes. However, it’s also wrong because a) it is not always possible to repeat what someone else has done the way they did it and b) because it discourages innovation.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s assume that Associates are taught that they should make a list of everyone they know or come into contact with, contact as many of those people as possible to schedule meetings to show the opportunity, and then go to those meetings and share the opportunity with those people.
Obviously, building a networking business is somewhat of a numbers game. The above outline would probably work well for anyone who has a large network and/or who interacts with lots of people on a day to day basis between work, church, and other social events.
It probably will not work as well for a stay-at-home parent who doesn’t get out much and went to a small school. The successful leader may have had 2500 people to pull from whereas the parent may have 300. Even if the parent followed the instructions exactly, do you think she would get the same results?
Telling her to simply follow these same steps is almost cruel!
If this person is further convinced that following in the leader’s footsteps is the best way to build the business and is furthermore discouraged from attempting to do it another way, it compounds the problem.
Not only will this person almost definitely not have success following the road map she was given, but she has learned not to even attempt going down another path that might work better for her. Instead of being discouraged from attempting to sell products at a flea market or fair (for example), she should be encouraged to try any number of things to see what works best for her.
Of course, it may be the case that what worked for the leader will also work for her, but maybe not. But if not, why not encourage her to try something else?
Again, the system on which Extroda is based highly discouraged any deviation from the program outlined by the leaders. Unfortunately, I don’t really see Extroda being any different. The leaders that promote Extroda all had success using the old system, so it will likely be incredibly difficult for them to see any other way to do things other than what they’ve been doing and all the more because they have had a measure of success with it. To them, it works.
So in the end, I can’t at all recommend the Extroda training system. It looks to be nearly identical its predecessor in all the wrong ways. However, I am excited to be working with a group of Associates to build Bonvera who are innovators and risk takers to pioneer a better training system that offers greater value to Associates building a Bonvera organization.
If you think you would qualify to join that team of innovators and entrepreneurs who dare to try new and different things and then share our success within our group, get in touch.