Water Ionizer Dealers: Choose Your Distributor(s) Very Carefully

I have been trying to focus on topics that are about water instead of water ionizers. However, some of the owners in the water ionizer business keep doing such stupid stuff that I find myself being dragged back down into the muck to help inform the public and dealers alike. This article is directed towards the dealers.

What a Great Business: High Profit Potential, Minimal Risk, Helping People

When people start into the business of selling water ionizers, they typically have to purchase three or more units to qualify as a dealer. Enagic dealers are the exception, as a person is automatically qualified as a dealer once they buy a single unit and pay a small fee. The dealer discounts are usually in the 30% to 40% range (with the exception of Enagic dealers who start out at a 7% discount on their first sale).

If a potential dealer can pre-sell 2 units, they effectively get their own unit for free. Alternatively, some dealers start by bringing in two friends or family members and everyone shares the savings, which is how I did it when I got started in the industry a few years ago. The key factor is to “get in” as a dealer. Once you are in, you can sell units one at a time and have them drop shipped by the distributor.

Therefore, you can get into the business with a minimum of risk and there is no limit to the upside profit potential. The best news of all is that you are doing every customer a favor by educating them about the water and helping them purchase a machine that produces ionized water.

Where the problems start

When you have done your research, or if you have been using a water ionizer, you assume that everyone will want a water ionizer. They really are that good!

Only one out of one thousand homes in America owns a water ionizer. That means the market is wide open and the potential to make money is huge… right? It’s true, but it’s much tougher than you think.

People don’t know anything about alkaline water or water ionizers. They don’t know about pH and ORP, or plates or power, and they just don’t care. Even if people do see the benefits of ionized water, they just don’t want to spend $2,000 to $4,000 for something they can get water out of their tap for free.

When dealers find out that all their friends and family don’t want a water ionizer, they realize that they have to start reaching out to people outside of their personal sphere of influence, which means advertising. The most cost effective way to advertise to a specific niche market is to advertise on Google Adwords or to go with Facebook. The good news is that it works. The bad news is that lots of other people are doing it as well, so it gets expensive. The net result is that many dealers have to drop their price because internet sales are impersonal.

When your Distributor becomes your Competitor

The Distributor who controls the distribution for a product has a Dealer Agreement that every Dealer must sign if they want to sell the product. The Agreement is written by the Distributor of course.

One of the clauses in every agreement is a statement to the effect that the Dealer must not advertise below the MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) or some similar term. Distributors allow their Dealers to offer non-price incentives of up to $200. This all seems great because the Distributor doesn’t offer the discounts from their website, which means no competition from the Distributor… right?… wrong if you choose the wrong company to work with.

Choose Your Distributor Carefully

The Distributors are the industry builders. They are smart. They are risk takers. And some of them are only in the business for the money.

Distributors understand that they need Dealers to help them grow. Dealers earn as much money or more money than Distributors on the sale of a water ionizer. While some Distributors recognize the value of the Dealers taking the story to the street and completing the sale, others only see dealers making a lot of money without assuming any risk or responsibility for technical support and warranty issues.

Some Distributors see the profits that Dealers make and want to jump in and grab the Dealer profits where they can. They typically do this in two ways.

One way is for the Distributors to set themselves up as one or more Dealers under another name. Of course they don’t advertise discounts, because that would be a contravention of the Dealer Agreement. However, once they have a customer on the telephone, they can offer any discount they want, and they take advantage of the fact that they have a $500 to $1,000 price advantage because they are buying direct instead of paying fees to the distributor.

The Distributors think that they can get away with it, and they have for the most part. Many Dealers eventually get wise to the unethical practices of the their Distributors and move on.

Another Distributor trick is to offer potential customers special deals when they have them on the telephone. Every Dealer that advertises on the internet or anywhere else is actually advertising for the Distributor as well. When people learn about a product from a Dealer, many will visit the website of the Distributor to learn more about the brand or to speak to someone that they perceive to be a greater authority. If Dealers direct their potential customers to the corporate site, they may be sending those customers to their biggest competitor.

There is hope. One Distributor that always undercut it Dealers had all of its Dealers decide to leave the company. The Distributor announced last week that they would no longer offer dealer programs as they realized that they had bastardized their system to the point that they didn’t have a system.

I would never recommend that anyone become a Dealer for a company that doesn’t play fair.

What can you do as a dealer to protect yourself?

I would never choose to deal with a Distributor that offers discounts to customers… ever!

Distributors should advertise on their corporate site that they encourage all customers to purchase from Dealers. They should also advertise that they don’t offer discounts in order to protect their Dealers.

Before considering becoming a Dealer for a company, I recommend that you call the company as a prospective customer and see if you can get a “deal”. If you can get a “deal”, then that company is going to be your competitor. Even after you have signed on with the company, it is fair to test the company from time to time with an investigative phone call. If the company is playing fair, then they will never have anything to worry about.

It is more difficult to discover Distributors who hide the fact that they are also Dealers. The good news is that Dealers investigate, and they talk. Eventually, the bad guys get busted.

Who are the Good Guys?

Enagic is the shining star when it comes to protecting its Dealers, as the company won’t allow you to purchase from the Corporation without going through a Dealer.

Alkastream sells products directly to customers from its website as it is building, but it sells at a premium thereby protecting its Dealers. I see that Alkastream actually has a “Find A Dealer” button on their website that provides Dealer contact information. Bravo! I hope every Distributor in the industry adopts the same policy.

As always, the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

6 Responses to Water Ionizer Dealers: Choose Your Distributor(s) Very Carefully

  1. A good summary, but I think one thing has been missed in the mix, which is the dealer ‘allowing’ illegal testimonials and claims. If you compare the sales system of a major MLM -whoshallnot benamed- and my own business one thing stands out. In their water parties, the testimonials and claims flow freely. We know that this is the magic bullet for selling water ionizers; we used it for years because we could.. until the local governance people informed us that doing so carried a million dollar fine.

    Truth is that testimonials, yours or others, ARE the best way to convince people to buy a water ionizer. We have hundreds on file, we have amazing stories from all levels of ailment from basic to life-threatening, but we are not allowed to use them. So when a company creates a structure where resellers are ‘independent distributors’, the subtext is that the company can deny everything, (as evidenced recently by Gabe Hunninghake’s call to Enagic’s ‘compliance department) and quietly encourage people to tell all the stories they like. So what if the independent distributor is nailed? No skin off he company’s nose, but plenty of green in the bank. I would recommend the movie ‘Love and Other Drugs’ to see where this is modelled. The movie is all about a Pfizer drug rep, and there’s an amazing scene where in his training he is told what a drug is approved for, then he is told all the other ways the drug may be ‘unofficially’ used. The purpose is obvious. To have a conduit (the drug co, rep.) to tell the doctors all they want, true or untrue, tested or untested, to ensure the doctors prescribe more of the drug.

    This is institutionalised corrupt practice and it lives and thrives in an atmosphere of extreme competition. Of course, most drug companies’ sales budgets are larger than the GDP of a swather of lessrt known countries with funny names. But the model is there. it’s how to illegally but safely sell product, and the same applies in our tiny industry. The extreme competition, the large rewards for the sneakiest dealer.

    I received an email from one of my distributors yesterday. As many people know, we hold the trademark ‘Kangen’ in Australia, and we sell the AlkaWay Kangen 7-plate water ionizer. The email was copied from a doctor client of my distributor, but it contained a copy of an email sent by an Enagic ‘independent distributor’ to the doctor. I’ve inserted a few of my own comments because my distributor asked me to tell him how to counter the claims made by the Enagic writer:

    Hey ____,

    I told a patient I was buying a Kangen water filter, and he mentioned to his
    mate who is obviously a seller of Kangen, as you will see.

    Peter (the kangen reseller) has sent me this email in response to his query
    about my kangen after I forwarded the alkaway page to him.

    I am not trying to start a war here, but this guy comes on pretty strong.
    You may or may not be aware of the controversy he suggests exists.

    I would be interested in your comments.

    cheers

    Robbie

    DR ROBERT ______ MD

    AUSTRALIA

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: “Peter”
    Date: 27 January 2011 8:40:30 AM AWST
    To: “robert”
    Subject: Re: AlkaWay Kangen 7 Plate Water alkalizer ionizer | AlkaWay
    Alkaline Ionized Water Australia
    Peter:
    Hi Robbie,

    Yes, these are the guys who are in a trade mark battle with Enagic for the
    term ‘Kangen’ in Australia. Great for their marketing, whilst they can get
    away with it, as it obviously leans on the term built up by Enagic and known
    so well throughout the industry. I wonder why they thought they needed to do
    that if they believe the Enagic machines to be sub-standard? Does this make
    you feel you can trust them more, or less?
    These machines, like those offered by all of Enagic’s so called
    competitors, are sourced from the cheapest supplier and simply rebranded for
    sale. The company is not in charge of the manufacturing process or quality
    of the most important component, the plates.

    Ian:
    How little this fellow knows!
    Chanson, the manufacturer of the AlkaWay Kangen, is the only manufacturer I know of other than Enagic who makes their own plates. Of course the whole ‘who makes the plates’ is pretty irrelevant. The EmcoTech people, for instance, get their plates made in Japan under a long term alliance with Toyo University, who have been researching plates for 11 years that I know of and who are way ahead of Enagic, who haven’t upgraded plates since who knows when.

    That’s the facts, but notice the slur, a trend which continued throughout his monologue. Are we trustable? How we must envy his machine!

    Peter:
    More on that in a minute. The only ioniser recognised by the Japanese Ministry of Health as a medical device and endorsed by the Japanese Association of Preventative Medicine for
    Adult Diseases, who are an independent group of medical doctors, is the
    Enagic machine. This is because there is a difference in the quality of the
    machines and therefore the quality of the water being produced. Out of the
    box all ionisers produce good figures for -ORP and alkalinity. But not all
    stand up over time.

    Ian:
    I am afraid I get very cynical about this because I have heard it so many times. There is no difference in water produced by any machine. It is a simple process of electrolysis with an identical result. What amazes me is the absence of science these people demonstrate.
    >
    > Peter:
    What matters about plates are size, consistency of platinum coating, solid
    or mesh, power supply and manufacturing process.
    > – Even though the Alkaway machine has 7 plates you need to ask what their
    total surface area is.

    Ian:
    No you don’t you need to ask that. Plates are all about high end ph and ORP: places no-one can drink anyway. You do need to ask will the system work for most buyers all of the time. The answer is yes.

    Peter:
    I can tell you that it will not be anywhere near the
    490 square inches of the Enagic machines, at best 245 square inches. This
    matters because ionisers get a build-up of minerals on plates over time
    reducing their effectiveness, especially when it comes to the
    micro-clustering property.
    > – The plates in the Enagic machines are dipped in platinum after they have
    been cut ensuring thicker, more consistent covering of the plates including
    the edges. Competitors spray a large sheet, sometimes only once and then cut
    the plates from the sheet. This is a manufacturing cost saving, not a
    guarantee of long life, but worst of all it exposes titanium at the edges.
    You do not want titanium in your water.
    > – Enagic plates are solid. One other company offers an ‘upgrade’ to solid
    plates, so they clearly acknowledge that this is an improvement to their
    standard mesh offering.

    Ian:
    The Alkaway Kangen has solid plates. All of the other stuff he talks about is without basis. We
    Peter:

    There are two problems with mesh plates. Firstly
    they clog up quicker because they are more difficult to clean as the
    deposits get stuck in the valleys. Secondly, because the ‘holes’ are cut out
    of the plate to form the mesh, the sprayed on platinum does not cover the
    edges of the valleys consistently, exposing the titanium in time.
    > – Whilst you can argue about the efficiencies of switched mode power
    supplies over a transformer this becomes a mute point under continual
    maximum load. Enagic machines deliver 230W to the plates, this thing only
    delivers 150W. Transformers are simple, SMPSs require things like
    over-heating protection because they are most stressed under continual load.
    I have no worries filling up large bottle after large bottle continuously,
    something you should be concerned about if you are giving a lot of water
    away.

    Ian: The AlkaWay Kangen has a transformer, not an SMPS power supply. What is this guy drinking? It can’t be alkaline water.

    >
    Peter:
    > A word on warranty. Enagic cover’s their own machines with a 5 year top to
    bottom, all inclusive warranty. The only thing you need to do is clean the
    machine twice a year with the organic citrus cleaner.
    Not true. You have to send the unit to the distributor for an annual deep cleanse.
    It’s a simple overnight procedure. If there are spare machines available you may even get
    a loan machine if yours has to go back to the factory for repair. If cleaned
    you can expect between 15 to 25 years out of your Enagic machine.

    Ian:
    Does ANY electronic system last 25 years, especially in a wet environment? We have ten year old systems out in the field in Australia but 25? Let me see one!
    Now the real rubbish begins…

    Peter:
    The Alkaway mob do not fix their machines and as you can see only offer 2 years
    parts and labour. After that the parts coverage is only up to $195. If the
    plates need replacing you can bet it’ll cost much more than that. That’s
    Emco for you.

    Ian:
    We do fix our machines. We have a fulltime support manager factory trained. And we do not need the annual deep cleanse that Peter says is an overnight procedure but in fact can take more than a week if you have to send the unit to the interstate dealer.
    Peter:
    I am also dubious about claims that this machine has the ability to make
    strong acidic and alkaline water. Enagic machines employ a Sodium Chloride
    enhancer to ensure these strong waters can be produced because of the lack
    of minerals in the source water. What makes Alkaway machines so special that
    they can do it without enhancer? Surely that would be a major selling point
    over the Enagic machine and subsequently spruiked all over their website. To
    be effective as a pathogen killer strong acidic water needs to get below 2.6
    pH hence its use on throat infections and skin conditions like acne and
    athlete’s foot.

    Ian:
    See it at http://www.chansonalkalinewater.com/water_ionizers_reviews.php
    Peter:
    The feature comparison table on their website shows their two offerings
    against, you guessed it, the Enagic machine. The fact that they put
    ‘unknown’ in columns may lead you to believe that this information is
    hidden. Putting ‘unknown’ for audio and visual shows they haven’t even
    studied an Enagic machine.

    Ian:
    Please! This man is an idiot. We don’t put things down we are not sure of.

    Peter:
    The ‘unknown’ approvals and warranty shows they
    haven’t done their homework or are hiding things. I’ve outlined them for you
    above anyway. By the way you can produce 5 strengths of acidic water and
    conversely 5 strengths of alkaline water, 4 or which you can drink, as well
    as clean filtered water.
    Enagic machines cost more because they cost more to make.

    Ian:
    Not so. If you ‘reverse engineer’ their commission structure by subtracting the commission paid to their many levels you will see that this very old design system costs about the same as ours.

    The ONLY reason it is expensive is that it is MLM. In the USA Enagic sell a +/-$1200 ionizer that we sold eight years ago. They have changed the name, but it’s the same system. Only 3 plates, but OK for some people. I don’t think they sell it in Australia. In the US they didn’t release this budget version until they had to due to market pressure.
    But here’s the point they don’t like to talk about; if they insist that their $4000 is the only way to go, how can they ethically sell a $1200 3-plate system? Isn’t there a bit of ethical dissonance evident here?

    Peter:
    They last longer and are self cleaning.

    Ian:
    All water ionizers are self cleaning

    Peter:
    They are a medical device.

    Ian:
    They are not. They are classified for commercial purposes as that in Japan but they are not in Australia or the USA.

    Peter:
    They are the gold standard of ionisers.
    Enagic is among the most ethical of companies as is the
    founder.

    Ian: Please see waterfyi.com for a much better summary of Enagic ethics.

    Peter:
    He pioneered this industry and is living proof of its efficacy.

    Ian:
    I am told he ‘He’ is a marketer who bought into a water ionizer company some 6 years ago

    Peter:
    The rest are simply Johnny-come-latelys offering a sub standard product,
    something I find unconscionable when it comes to health care.

    Ian:
    How sad this guy is! We have been supplying and standing behind our products for ten years. Emcotech have been making water ionizers for 30 years. And what a perfect example of the problem of MLM. Letting (and supporting) idiots and truthbenders out into the marketplace all driven by the promise of fortune. And just like the Pharmaceutical rep.. they’s do whatever it takes.

    Peter:
    Whoops, just saw how long this reply was. Thanks for reading.
    Regards,
    Ian:
    My pleasure, Peter…….Enagic Independent Distributor.

    • Hi Ian;

      I agree with you that the best way to sell water ionizers is throught the “proof” of testing, or through personal testimonials.

      I don’t sell water ionizers, so I can be charged with providing testimonials. Send your hundreds of testimonials and I will post them on my site with or without any connection to your site. I would love to see the Australian government try to stop me from writing about my hobby on the wwww from ten thousand miles away.

    • Wow. That letter read like the ones I used to write against the competition! Too bad he didn’t do some research and find out what you were selling!

      Good to know Enagic reps in Oz are as much of a puppet as those in the US. Or maybe I should say parrot since they only repeat what they are told word for word without doing any independent research to confirm the truth.

      • Hi Cathy:

        Somehow, Enagic has to be held accountable for the claims that are made, or things will never change. The higher prices of MLM bug me, but the real problem is that MLM’s are not held accountable for what the dealers say in conference calls or to the public. When do distorted and unsubstantiated “facts” become lies? Who is responsible for the lies?

        • Just heard that their total sales outside of the US exceed sales in the US, but they sold 5000 machines in December in the US

          • Hi Cathy:

            Interesting. I had heard total sales were 5,000. Either way, well done Enagic as 5,000 more families are getting healthy than there were in November.

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