By Tony Nwankwo
Abuja, Nigeriaâ€™s capital city, will May, next year, play host to thousands of Forever Living Products (FLP) distributors from nearly 40 countries of Africa in an Invitational Rally tagged â€œABUJA 2010â€. This is the second time the Nigeria office of the global health and beauty products multi-level marketing company will play host to Africa in the annual FLP regional event also known as African Rally. In this interview, FLP country manager, Nigeria and Benin Republic, Mr. Cornelius Tay, throws more light on the 2010 African Rally and why the company has become the toast of Nigerian and African consumers. Excerpts:
You are hosting thousands of Forever Living Products distributors in an Invitational Rally next year. Tell us about it?
It is actually called African Rally. Forever Living Products worldwide organises regional rallies which are more or less continental. For this year, Nigeria has been selected to host the 2010 African Rally which will take place in Abuja. This will be the second time in the five year history of this regional international rally in Africa that Nigeria will be hosting. South Africa has hosted African distributors twice. Kenya hosted once and this will be the second time that we in Nigeria will be hosting. So, yes, Nigeria is the choice for the coming 2010 African Rally and we are expecting distributors of Forever Living Products from all over Africa in Abuja come May, next year.
What is in it for Nigerians? What are the benefits for the Nigerian people apart from your distributors sharing profits, etc?
First of all, it is an acknowledgment of the capacity of Nigeria to host a continental event of this nature. It is also in recognition of the exceptional performance of Nigerian distributors in the FLP global family. We should remember that of the top five distributors in Africa in 2008, Nigeria produced three of those distributors. Infact, Nigeria produced the number 1 distributor in Africa in 2008. So, Nigeria is very important in the FLP network and rightly so. Furthermore, the potential for FLP business in Nigeria is remarkable because of the high quality of the products, the relevance of those products to the Nigerian society and of course the effectiveness of our products for the population that Nigeria represents. So, these are important factors for us to host Africa. I believe that the challenges which the FLP products are targeted to meet exist in Nigeria. So, one can say that Nigeria is an ideal market for FLP products and the right place to showcase all that FLP represents in Africa.
FLP is always introducing something new. Is there any new thing you have in the Nigerian market today, new products for instance?
Every year, we are privileged to have new products introduced at our US International Rally, which is called the Super Rally. After years of research and testing and approvals etc, new products, which further enhance the quality of lives of people around the world are introduced.
This year, we have new products introduced which are excellent in improving the conditions of the human heart. It is called Forever Cardio Health. Itâ€™s a breakthrough product which fits perfectly with our other nature -based products. It has been very well received in various parts of the world. We also have very interesting products which are excellent for people suffering from arthritis and bone disorders which is called Freedom 2Go. That is another very helpful and exciting new product. These products are being submitted to the regulatory agency in Nigeria for processing and approval. We hope that as soon as we receive these approvals, Nigerians will have the opportunity of using these remarkable products.
There are always these trainings for your distributors here in your Ikeja complex. Are they off-the-cuff trainings or intended as responses to the market place?
We support our distributors with appropriate trainings, because they are the interface between consumers of our products and our company who represent the manufacturers in Nigeria. The support requires that we organise training on personal development and our products, because the distributors need to believe in their capacity to succeed and know the unique values of the wide range of products we offer consumers. It is important for us that our distributors know the qualities of the products, their ingredients, how to use or apply them and what benefits these products offer when they go out on their network marketing rounds. Remember, we do not use media advertising in FLP. So, the only way we can improve the knowledge and understanding of both our distributors and the end-users, is to invite all such people to the series of training programmes we orgainize all over Nigeria. Many of our programmes are now aimed at educating the public generally.
FLP regularly organizes â€œHealth Talksâ€, where qualified speakers enlighten our distributors and the general public about various diseases that threaten mankind, and what people need to know and do to prevent such diseases from destroying their lives.
Regular product trainings also take place in our Product and Training Centers spread across Nigeria â€“â€“ Warri, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Akure, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Calabar, Owerri, Aba, Enugu. There we teach our people how our range of products can maintain proper functioning of the organs of the body and the various processes of the body; how our products can promote good health; how our products provide vital items which the body require for optimum functioning.
So, this is the essence of our well packaged training programmes. We encourage our distributors to know about these values our products offer; we motivate all our distributors because the concept of multi-level marketing or micro marketing is relatively new to this part of the world. People need to be constantly trained and motivated so that they will be able to apply the correct techniques whenever they go out and introduce FLP products or share the unique financial rewards of our marketing plan with others. The opportunities of Forever Living Products are best communicated by distributors who know, be they people who want to do the business on part time basis or those who want to do it on full time basis.
There are people who are jobless who have become self employed by joining our network of distributors. And there are those who augment their salaries by joining our network of distributors and do this on part time basis. For either of these two groups, the training programme that we have is the means of providing them the tools that will make them go out and do their business profitably and be able to introduce the products correctly and convince people on how these wonderful products have helped in enhancing overall physical well being of people of all walks of life.
How much of the rural areas is your presence felt, how much of local people benefit from FLP products?
We have cases where some government institutions buy our products from our distributors and distribute them to their people. These are organisations that express concern for their people and they know that some of those people may not readily be able to afford some of our products on an on-going basis.
So, they buy and distribute to them. We are very happy that such organisations exist and we encourage as many organisations to do this and look after their people, because the productivity of a nation depends on the health of the people. If people are not healthy, they cannot produce. If they are suffering from serious diseases, and they are not able to provide and maintain the proper functioning of their organs, they cannot produce. We salute those organisations that cater for their communities, especially in the rural areas. FLP products are non-proprietary medicines, therefore, they just fit very well with the rural populace because they are all natural.