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With a recession incoming, what is the best way to scale your network marketing business? How are you going to keep customers and attract new ones? What should you focus on? Find out the answers to all these questions today as your host, Patrick Shaw talks with one of the top network marketing trainers, Rob Sperry. Learn how to take charge of your business to weather any problems that you may face. Find out how to connect with your team or go to events. Discover how to adapt so you can beat your competition. Listen to this episode so you can start taking your business to the next level.
Rob Sperry: Helping Leaders Go To The Next Level
I am excited to be with everybody. I am with Rob Sperry. Rob, we’ve known each other quite a while, more in passing than anything but your name comes up quite often because you’ve been a top trainer in the industry. You’ve been a massive builder in the networking industry. You’ve turned all your attention and commitment to helping other professionals build their businesses and other companies to go to the top. It’s great to be with you. I’m glad you could join me.
I know. It’s been too long. The last time I saw you was probably in Utah, either at a lunch or we were supposed to eat and we probably didn’t. We shouted. You were showing me always the latest and greatest technology as you always do. I love how you always bridge those gaps with technology and also the human touch. I am so glad to be on.
I am excited to have you. Get us up to speed. Take a couple of minutes here and tell everybody what you’re doing. At the end of the show, we’ll get them all your handles. If somebody wants to reach out to you or leverage your expertise, they can do that. Get us up to speed on what Rob’s focused on, where his energy’s going and whom you’re helping.
I love doing a couple of different things. When I was younger, I used to always say, “I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.” As you get older, you start finding out where you draw the most energy and where you feel like you can provide the most value. For me, one of those things is books. I’ve written eight books and I’ve got another one launching in early 2023. I have read lots of different books, whether it’s leadership, skills, mindset or even networking in general. That’s been a huge passion and a lot of fun.
I did lots of consulting for different companies and spoke for either teams or companies. The thing I’m the most excited about is I’ve done about 25 masterminds over the last couple of years. Those are a ton of fun. That’s when rather than talking at people, you get to collaborate, talk with people, answer their questions and do deep dives.
I do one. It’s the Leader of Leaders. It’s 6, 7 and 8-figure earners. We did one in 2022 in Utah, another one in Belize and another one in Dubai. We’ve got one in Bora Bora in 2023. I’ve done one that’s open to everyone. It’s a mix of leaders and non-leaders. Those have been a ton of fun. I would say that’s been the main focus from a business standpoint. That’s where I find my most energy and focus my time.
That’s awesome. Congratulations. You’ve done eight books on all kinds of different aspects of mostly the networking industry or leadership in general.
Everything ties back into networking. Different themes tie back into that. It’s always you do training or someone asks you questions and then you write everything out. I’m like, “How could I better describe this?” It’s challenging but the process has gotten a little bit easier and better throughout the years.
Forget names or any of that. Knowing what you know after all these years, how would you go and identify the best company’s skate where the puck is so to speak? How would you go about that process?
The most important thing is always leadership. You start from the top. Who are the owners? I get it. With any due diligence, some things you don’t know. You do your best to try to find good sources of information for multiple people. Typically, if there’s smoke, there’s fire. Inevitably, there are going to be things that go wrong. It happens with Apple and Google. You had them report losses on their quarterly earnings report.
There are always going to be things that go wrong but they’re the ones that can ride the ship. They’re the ones that can either be innovative or say, “We should close this market. We need to open these markets. We need to come out with a new product. We came out with too many products. We need to listen more to our field.”
Things are going to go wrong when you run a business, and that is why it is up to the ones that can ride the ship to innovate.
Rapid-fire then. What are the three most important things within leadership? Is stability one of them? How long have they been there? How would you rank those that you’re looking for in leadership?
I would say first off, ownership. I would look at what their track record is. First off, what’s their track record in general? Second would be what their track record specific to network marketing is. If they don’t have a track record in network marketing but are, let’s say, billionaires outside of network marketing, it doesn’t always correlate or translate completely. I want to know whom they have surrounded themselves with.
The third thing to go with because I’m going to talk ownership first is I want to know that this particular person is pretty well-funded. We’ve seen a lot of incredible companies get in massive trouble or shut down because they aren’t well-funded or aren’t responsible with those funds. If we go with the leadership, that’s added on. In leadership, I would look at it as that’s part of it but then, I look at the leadership as far as who’s on the corporate team and what their experience is, which is beyond the ownership.
I would also look at whom you’re joining. People always say, “Be the upline you wish you had.” That’s what you need to do. There’s a huge difference if I come in and I’ve got, let’s say, Phil Jackson, Nick Saban or all these coaches that won championships versus a brand-new coach who sucks and has never done it. Leaders don’t want to tell you that because then, all you do is make excuses. Don’t make excuses. Whatever your situation is, you need to make the best of it. There’s always positivity defined in it. You got to find that.
The reason why those are more important than the products is that products will change. Trust me. You don’t have a legitimate company but have a legitimate product. That’s added to it. That’s 100% part of it. It starts with ownership because products can change. Systems can change. Compensation plans can be enhanced and modified. That’s why I would start there with first ownership and then leadership, which encompasses your upline leaders, field leaders and corporate team. After that, you’re going to look at products.
You notice I didn’t say compensation. Although that’s important, I see a lot of companies pay way too much and then it hurts them on the back end for doing culture trips, retention, more innovation, investment into their products or services and stuff like that. I’m not saying the comp plan isn’t important. People make that the most important thing when it’s way lower on the list.
It’s interesting to sit back and observe the industry. When I got started and this will date me, it was a fax machine, phone and VHS tape. That was it. People are like, “What order?” It doesn’t matter. You fax them this. You call them. You get them this VHS tape or invite them to this meeting. The business was so simple.
In the present, things have become so complex. It’s extraordinary. How do you navigate that with leaders that you’re coaching? They’ve got teams coming to them. What I’m seeing consistently is they can ask 1,000 people on their team, “What’s your 123-step process,” and they can get 500 different answers out of 1,000 people. It’s crazy. How does a leader navigate that? What are you seeing from a global perspective? How do you work around that?
You have to have a set of guidelines from the top that’s bought in and try to make it more principle-oriented so each person can customize their techniques. What do I mean by that? If you’re huge on third-party validations, teach that and then give the ideas for the techniques. Some will do three-way chats. Some will do Zoom. Some will do calls. If you don’t have that, we’re in the information age. What they’re going to do is they’re going to go search for it. They’re going to have one million different ways.
There may be several ways to reach the top of the mountain but the one way not to reach it is to keep climbing up a couple of steps for an hour, climb back down and train a new way. You probably could have made it ten different ways if you would’ve committed. I always say, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” That’s a Leonardo da Vinci quote. Successful people do the basics better. That’s one way that I describe it. I see a lot of these leaders whose systems are so good, they suck. You never build that way. They come in and it looks and sounds good. You always challenge.
It’s so good that it’s almost detailed. It’s step by step that nobody could execute on it.
It looks good and sounds good. We always teach old-school that what works is what duplicates. It doesn’t duplicate. Especially at the beginning, your system has to be so simple that the person you love to death, that family member that has the world’s worst sales skillset, could do it and plug people in. We know as many companies as anyone. I don’t see any company ever catching fire that is a complex system. Every single time you ask them, it’s the simplest system there is. If they attach accountability and recognition, that’s where you can be much more detailed because people aren’t going to get overwhelmed. It is simple accountability and then lots of recognition.
You Google it and the minute that person goes in, they have a seed of doubt. They go look for a solution. They find some salesperson, sales trainer or influencer who has never built-in a network marketing who doesn’t understand duplication simplicity and they promise the secret or the yellow brick road. What they’re teaching works but doesn’t duplicate. They’re like, “Pay for this survey platform. Build out these surveys. Post them on social media. Generate leads.” That person recruits ten people but it won’t duplicate because they can’t get everybody to go create this survey.
How do you defend against that in an organization as a leader? It does work. The worst thing is that person recruited ten people. They get recognized by the company. They’re on the top of the leaderboard. People are like, “What did you do?” They don’t understand what you said that what works doesn’t duplicate. That’s hard to get the new person to understand because it looks so good.
I always teach them through stories, examples, analogies, casting a vision and asking them what they want. Questions are the answers. I say, “Would you rather be the person that sponsors twenty people every single month and has the quick fix but feel like you’re starting over almost every single month or would you rather be the person that you have that decision to make 2 or 3 years from now because you are a leader of leaders?” You’ve built an organization. Too many people are leaders or followers.
How do I know this? I did get on the wrong way. I was the number one recruiter out of one million distributors. I was the king of, “Sell. Bring them in.” I remember looking back and no one did anything. It was tough. I had to take two steps backward to take 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 steps forwards. My mentor did that for me. He kept casting the vision. He said, “If you want duplication, don’t be so good and professional that only you can do it. You’ll sign up more people on the front end but you’ll have nobody on the back end.”
What’s the impact of COVID? We’ve been through that whole thing. It has certainly slowed down the high-touch part of the business. Those are the events some of the culture-building things and the repetition of weekly meetings for some organizations. What’s your view of some of that? Are we going to get back to as much? Has that changed a little bit? Even with technology and all of that and so many people being on Zoom constantly, what’s your perspective of some of that from a leadership perspective?
Everything is always learning. People go usually too extreme on things and then learn from them. They go back and forth trying to get it better. As a whole, that happens. People went to the extreme online. You think about this. We teach the cliché that leaders are born at events because it’s true. Go to a concert and try to describe the concert to someone. You’re like, “It was amazing. The music was good as well as the ambiance atmosphere.” They’re like, “That sounds good. That’s cool.” You can’t do it justice.
Leaders are born at events.
It’s the same thing in an event. There’s power in people being together and having the same common goal. It’s a different type of energy that you can’t explain like when you go to a concert that you love. I believe what’s going to happen is there are learning lessons where a lot of people improve their systems. They realize how much more they have to continue to improve their systems online. They also are realizing that on top of that, they can do some virtual events.
There are companies that I consult and recommend, “You should do a virtual event every year.” Prior to COVID, that wasn’t even an option or an idea. That helps a ton. Companies are live streaming more, which has a huge strength and a weakness because some people will default to that. The next one is they’re realizing that the in-person events are more important than they thought. Maybe they aren’t doing them as much. Maybe it’s a hybrid. They understand that a couple of times a year, you got to come together. You’re doing your team retreat, whether it’s a company retreat or a regional one. Whatever it is, that human connection or element will never be taken away from being in person. That proximity is so key and crucial.
In-person events are so important right now because human connection is something that will never be taken away.
It’s a big deal. You see a lot of companies that are almost trying to coach this easy road almost to the degree of, “You don’t even have to talk to anybody.” They’re leaning on the digital marketing world, which is a slippery slope too. We’ve seen it more in the crypto space and some of those companies that are trying to do everything digitally but they’re missing the heart and soul of it.
The other problem is the allure of it is an easier selling pitch. It’s a lot easier to bring people in on the front end when you say, “You’re never going to have to do this or that. It’s easy. All you have to do is follow our system. You send out links and people sign up.” It sounds good. You may get them to sign up based on the idea of it but the execution doesn’t work like that. Eventually, the duplication doesn’t happen.
It almost seems like a mundane question anymore but it’s so intrinsic to networking, that personal growth space. What are 1 or 2 books that have affected you personally? At this stage that you’re at that you’re reading, I’d love to know what has hit you most in 2022.
Most people have heard of it, I feel like but you live in your own world. It is Atomic Habits. That one is not a concept we don’t understand. It was the way that it was laid out made so much sense.
James Clear, right?
Yeah. I went back and re-read that book. It made such a difference for me. It helped me tremendously. That’s the first one that comes to mind for me. There is a lot that is coming to mind but I’ll throw one out. I don’t know if there’s such a thing but I read slash listen to way too many books and then I go back and re-read and listen. I counted up between purchases and different things. Over the years, I’m at 1,100 books. If you name it, there’s a decent chance I’ve rather listened to it. If not, I’ll probably put it there on the list.
Another great book is Superfans. I like Superfans because it’s helping people to understand that you’d rather have 100 people that are raving massive fans than have 10,000 likes on a social media post but none of them are raving fans. It gives good insight on that’s what you want to create in anything. You want to create that real, true community.
That’s one of the biggest challenges in the industry. People are looking for this massive number instead of slowing down to speed up and say, “Can I build a culture with 5 or 10 people? Can we create this incredible environment where those 5 or 10 can go out with a common culture, vision and inspiration and affect others?”
It’s something. Everyone wants to go faster. Everyone wants the shortcut. You got to look at it that a lot of times, the shortcut is the path that you think is harder. When you realize that, then it helps you build the right way. There’s so much more sustainability when you do that and you don’t try to take the quick fixes.
A lot of times the shortcut is actually the path that you think is harder.
I grew up and was selling tickets for Jim Rohn, Mark Victor Hansen, Denis Waitley and all those guys. That was my first job out of college. I thought, “I want to be a speaker and trainer.” The thing that started occurring to me over time is that they’re in a city and they leave. You don’t get to build a relationship. It is one of the aspects I loved about networking. You get a slowdown to speed up. You get to build a team and culture and have a relationship. Are you still getting to maintain those kinds of relationships?
At first, that was the hardest part. I felt lonely only in the sense that I didn’t have camaraderie. You didn’t have the incentive trips. You feel like you’re going to be going on these trips for 5, 6, 7, 8 or 10 years.
I appreciate your vulnerability. You felt lonely. That’s sensitive.
It’s the truth. I’ve talked to a couple of other coaches that are friends that have helped me and I’ve helped them. There are two coaches I talk to probably every day and another one that I talk with every 3 or 4 days. It’s great because we get to share that. That’s part of the reason why I created the masterminds, to be honest. I say to my wife, “Where do you want to go?” She’s like, “Let’s go to Dubai.” I’m like, “That’s great for a mastermind. Let’s go to Dubai.” I tell people that come there.
You got all these leaders. Most of the leaders that come to masterminds end up coming to multiple. We’ve had some that have gone to ten-plus. They become my team and I tell them that. They become those continual friendships and relationships that I get to keep helping them. I get to keep cheering them on, rooting for them and that sort of thing.
For me, it was that way at the beginning. That was probably the biggest void or the only big void that I can think of. Once I was able to help solve that, then that’s where I was like, “I got even more energy, passion and excitement.” I’ve already thought of places I want to go over the next three years. I’m like, “I want to go here.” People are always asking, “Where are you going? What are we doing,” which is so fun.
Tell me a little bit about the coming economy, which doesn’t look particularly bright. It looks like there could be inflation and unemployment. There are a lot of different things going on. How do you think that positions the whole industry?
Everything is what it is. Everything has a strength and a weakness. It depends on what you focus on. During the depression, there were more millionaires created during that time than at any other time until the dot-com era. You look at network marketing. The last time we had the Great Recession was in 2008 and 2009. I was one of the leaders that came in during that time.
Everything has a strength and a weakness, it just depends on what you focus on.
Countless people had insane success but had never been interested in network marketing. I sponsored someone that’s a seven-figure annual earner in network marketing that I brought in during 2008. That individual, if I would’ve approached him a year earlier or even three years later, would’ve had zero interest. This person always made fun of network marketing. He hated network marketing.
The hard aspect, and there’s always an opportunity for it, is customers are going to be harder to keep. Let’s say as an example you’re spending $80 a month. They’re not going to throw that money and say, “I’m good.” They’re going to assess, “What are the most important products that I’m ordering now?” If yours is good but it’s not in that top 20%, they may cancel. You’ll see autoships canceling. The strength of that is hopefully, that helps you to create an even better customer experience and more value for the products. You create more culture and retention there.
On the other side, the opportunity is going to be even more relevant and important. We saw since 2008 and 2009 that every year, the shift became more on customers. When Vemma had their FTC stuff happen, the industry flipped out and they went to this insane, massive focus on customers as they should. Customers are always the most important.
You’re referring to the FTC going out with different companies and that whole thing.
It scared everyone. They shut them down. Eventually, they opened back up but it was never the same. It was a shutdown of a $100-plus million company. Even a couple of years ago, if someone said they signed up three customers to one distributor, that was unheard of. It was like, “What’s a customer?” Whereas this time, you hear some companies say 30, 40 or 50:1 ratio, which is crazy. People couldn’t even imagine that a couple of years ago.
What I will say is this doesn’t take away from customers. The importance of customers is always there. You’ll see a slight shift of an opening or an opportunity for extremely successful people, whether it’s their businesses or they’re successful in their jobs or whatever their careers are, that have never been part of network marketing that will be more open. No one knows how long the recession will last but I believe the rest of 2022 and throughout 2023. That’s where you have to make a slight shift to not necessarily not focus on customers but some of those people you were scared to contact, I’d go reach out to them.
Right now, reach out to some of those people you’re scared to contact. No one knows how long the recession will last.
Many years ago, you sold Amway out of the garage and delivered your products. Now, people have an Amazon expectation. What we’re seeing in more of these companies that are the smart ones that are using authenticity is leveraging their relationship and the power of network marketing. When it comes to purchasing and delivering the product, they have to make that seamless. Some of the companies that are still struggling are the ones that have a very bulky purchase process.
Amazon’s the greatest competition. It’s greater than any other company that you think you may be competing against. That’s the greatest opportunity because it’s forcing us all to step up our game and know what our unique qualities are. You’re right. If you order something from anywhere and it doesn’t come for a week, what is happening?
Amazon’s the greatest competition. It’s greater than any other company that you think you may be competing against.
It’s an interesting transition. There are all these dichotomies or paradoxes that exist between the digital world and the networking world. There’s retail, social selling and authenticity of a network marketing model that can cut through a lot of noise fast. People are seeing 5,000 impressions a day. The reality is those are distracting. What cuts immediately through that noise is the personal relationship. When it comes to the buy, you better make it so simple and quick that it feels normal to me. Don’t make it clunky. If you try to recruit me and you’re asking me to do something clunky, slow or I’m not familiar with in the modern era of purchasing, it starts to break down. Companies have to be on the smart side of that.
They got to keep adapting. I get it. There are one million things that they want to focus on but that has become a standard. It’s an expectation. We’ve got to make sure that we deliver on that expectation and remove any of those barriers that could slow down the process.
If somebody’s a networker and they’re wanting to follow Rob Sperry, how do they do that? If they’re a leader and they want to reach out to you about coaching, let them know how to reach out to you there. Do you have any closing thoughts you’ve got?
The biggest thing I would say for anyone that is a networker is to make sure you take deliberate action. There’s confusion when people promote the 10,000-hour rule. It’s 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. You see a lot of people that do things for their entire lives and never get any better at it. I coached tennis and I saw people play for ten years that never got any better. It’s deliberate practice.
For anyone who is a network marketer, make sure you take deliberate action.
That deliberate practice is going to be focusing 80% of your time on making new invites. That’s how you get better at the invites, follow-ups, closes, presentations and handling objections. Too many people confuse being busy with being productive. They spend a lot of time but it’s not clocking in and out. They’re wasting time. Be deliberate with your time as that’s the most valuable thing we have on this earth. That those would be my parting words.
That speaks to what I’m passionate about and the whole four disciplines of execution, which we’ll have to discuss in the next interview. That’s great advice. How do people reach you?
That’s awesome. Thanks so much for the time.
Thanks for having me.
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About Rob Sperry
ROB SPERRY has been recognized by top publication, Business For Home, as the #1 trainer for 2017 in the network marketing industry. In his first year in the industry, he reached the highest level in a multi-billion dollar company.
Conquering new heights Sperry became the co-creator of mynt. Mynt was a spin-off from a $3 billion dollar company (total sales) and launched with a million dollars in sales, in just the first month.
After the success of mynt, Sperry was instrumental in bringing two top companies together, thus creating one of the largest mergers in the network marketing industry.
Due to his expertise, he has been featured in national and international books, podcasts, blogs, articles, and magazines specific to finding success in network marketing. Rob has spoken in 18 countries in the last few years and is a 8x author. His podcast has been listened to by 131 countries.
He now spends his time traveling the world speaking, training, writing books, and hosting some of the most prestigious mastermind retreats in the network marketing profession.