IMG--in Plain and Simple Terms

Have you ever heard about the International Marketing Group, or IMG? Word-of-mouth about the company tells different stories: a financial literacy awareness-driven firm, a seminar-based affiliate program, a business start-up for financial distributors.

Others think not too kindly of it—ranging from multi-level-networking companies (Filipinos hate the word MLM and networking), a recruitment-based business, a pyramid, a scam (no truth about the last two).

Stripped down from all its frills and modalities, International Marketing Group is a brokerage firm (See our Honest-to-Goodness Business Model). It operates as a middleman between financial companies and clients (See IMG’s list of providers here). Make no mistake about it, your primary job in IMG is to educate and sell healthcare, insurance, investments, etc (No sale, no commission).

What makes IMG unique from other brokerage firms is their powerful mission statement that is indoctrinated to their human resources.

Their advocacy is not unique but it’s nothing short of noble: NO FAMILY LEFT BEHIND.

IMG will run this mission by relentless and (sometimes) aggressive seminars. They will literally run FREE financial literacy seminars in coffee houses, in Facebook live, in their offices, in hotel rooms, in your offices----in your homes.

According to IMG, the Filipino people are almost dead last in financial literacy in Southeast Asia-----meaning, most of us don’t invest; don’t have retirement plans; no foreseeable passive income,.... nada.

So the more financially aware we become, the better—and best for the country.

The Catch

Apparently, what ticks off some IMG guests and attendees is that they feel the seminar is just a front to hide what they think is the real face of the company—a recruitment-based marketing firm. These are the people who believed and bit the word “free” and never let go. And when the person who invited them showed them the required fees of becoming a member, they feel conned. “Hey, I didn’t come here to buy something or be told about purchasing insurances!”

As all business cliches go, there is no free lunch. The good thing about IMG is that sometimes free is free. You get free information about financial planning, leave, and go one with your life. What IMG is doing is working with the law of averages. The more people they get to listen to their financial seminars, the higher percentage of someone investing in the products and becoming their business partners. It’s just a good business sense.

To become a full-fledge IMG advisor, you have to buy yourself a healthcare policy from Kaiser. In reality, purchasing a healthcare policy for yourself makes a lot of sense. First and foremost, your financial freedom begins by protecting yourself from medical/hospital bills just in case. Secondly, how can you sell healthcare policies if you haven’t secured a policy for yourself?

Cursed by MLM impressions

We all know that Filipinos despise the word MLM, multi-level marketing. MLM is a common practice. In fact, many brokerage firms and insurance companies run an MLM system one way or another.

One of IMG’s biggest hurdles is overcoming the negative perception that they are, in fact, a company running an MLM system. A more informed individual, especially those who already overcame the learning curves of networking, is unfazed by the word. But Filipinos generally hate it. Half of the time, an IMG member will explain that their company is legit—such wasted time where they could have been more productive and talk about financial concepts and share ideas.

But when a prospect hears the dreaded acronym “MLM”, the brain naturally tends to retreat to its prejudices. This often triggers a moment of contention and disagreements. The prospect should understand that MLM is just the way modern marketing works—networking people to distribute sales and spread out commissions. At the same time, the broker should understand that the prospect is just using heuristics—a behavioral tendency to resort to educated guesses, common sense, and rules of thumb to avoid emotional stress.

A typical gut reacted jolts the attendee/prospect upon learning that IMG agents do two things: sell financial instruments and recruit three people to become partners in order to get promoted (although IMG agents never profit from membership fees, doing so will just make the whole thing a Ponzi scheme).

Heuristics will sound the alarm and warn that this is MLM. If the agent is lucky, it often takes the agent days or weeks to convince the prospect that MLM is okay. If not, it will take them months or years. Most of the time, IMG agents lose prospects because they can’t get over with the MLM notion.

The Opportunity and the Work Required

Get over all the negativity surrounding MLM, and you have a company committed to your financial freedom and independence—if you commit yourself to it strongly enough.

Be careful, however, not to be sold by the promises of overzealous agents who tend to describe IMG as the be-all-end-all for entrepreneurship. Sometimes IMG sounds too good to be true.

IMG isn’t. What IMG offers is an opportunity. That’s it.

You have to understand that in order to be successful in IMG you have to establish a solid work ethic. This means 80% fieldwork, 20% office work. Fieldwork is about relentless prospecting, meeting customers, enduring rejections, conducting personal financial coaching; while office work requires training partners, attending training and seminars.

A common complaint about inactive agents of IMG is that their recruiter failed to train them or offer technical and personal support. To be honest, this happens and will often happen. Do take note that by becoming an IMG member, you're basically handed the keys to the (financial) kingdom. That doesn’t mean you will be treated like a royal. Don’t be a diva. As an IMG agent, realize that you are in a self-service, DIY work environment. Once an agent, be prudent enough to understand the ropes by yourself. Overcome all the necessary learning curve with self-initiative.

The Pay-Off

Apart from its continuous, all-year-round training, IMG can help members get their finances straightened out by DIY or with the help of their agent/recruiter. In addition, as of September 2018, more than two dozen benefits and exclusive discounts await members.

An established and well-promoted agent is rewarded handsomely in the form of commissions on top of commissions (They will show you the math for this). In short, the agent has money and people working for him. He has both active and passive income at his disposal. Moreover, he has different sources of revenue.

And before we forget, successful IMG agents also get to travel around the world—with all expenses paid by the company.

Intangible Benefits

You can learn about investments and insurances in a dozen or so seminar-based financial companies in the Philippines. The finest feature of IMG is its commitment to the welfare of your family. Once an agent, you are encouraged to pull in your spouse and your siblings to work with you (they believe that a family working together, succeeds better together). In fact, an agent can pass down his membership to his/her child so that they would reap the rewards (the high commission rate) built by his/her parent.

The idea behind this is to build a culture of financial awareness and a positive financial mindset from here-on end. Indeed, IMG seminars will teach you one thing: that your money problems—whatever they are—have feasible and doable solutions right now.