Resourceful and Persistent

For Dan Stammen,
Fifth Time's a Charm


By Kurt Inderbitzin

It would be easy to look at Dan Stammen, with the millions of dollars he's made and his laid-back lifestyle, and think, "This guy must've had all the breaks." It would be just as easy to look at his million-dollar house, his waterfront condo and fancy cars and think, "He must come from a rich family."

There's one problem with making either of those assumptions about Dan; both are absolutely wrong. Truth is, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who came from humbler beginnings or has faced more adversity in business than Dan Stammen.

Dan grew up as one of six kids in a working-class family; at age 13 he was delivering 500 newspapers a day to help make ends meet. Throughout high school, he never worked less than a 50 hour work-week. Here's how that hard work paid off: as an adult, he experienced no fewer than four different companies going bankrupt while he was working with them!

So what's his secret? How, with no easy breaks, no family money behind him, and countless setbacks that would have knocked many others right out of the game and into lives of quiet desperation, did Dan rise to the upper echelons of network marketing? Dan would say it's because he can promote an idea whose time has come.

"Drop me by parachute into any city in this country, and I'll soon be making a good living--because I know how to sell an opportunity," he says.

Is it really that simple? Yes and no. Dan's passion for business and his ability to sell other people on that passion goes without question; but there's more: at the very least, an indomitable spirit, never-say-die attitude and persistent resourcefulness have to count among the traits that have allowed Dan to reach an income of over $50,000 per month with four different companies. (How many people have achieved that kind of result with even one company?) Even more astonishing is this: in three of those companies, he reached that figure less than six months after joining.

A Twenty-Something Powerhouse

Throughout his teens, Dan spent long years in low-paying, labor-intensive jobs such as delivering newspapers, stocking groceries, and doing construction work; this last is what he was doing at the age of 20, when a chance encounter set him on a new path that would eventually change his life.

"I was working on my old, beat-up Mustang on a day off. I needed some parts, so I went into the local hardware store, dirty, in a tee-shirt and jeans. While I waited in line to pay, I noticed a man in line next to me with a button on his shirt that said, 'Lose weight now, ask me how.'"

Dan couldn't resist. He asked the man, "What are you selling?" The man turned and looked at Dan as if he were crazy. It turned out he'd been wearing the button as a favor to his wife, and had forgotten he still had it on! After the misunderstanding was cleared up, the man talked with Dan for a few minutes and showed him some nutritional and dietary products he had in the trunk of his car.

Dan was only mildly interested, but decided to attend a meeting that night anyway. At that meeting, he bought a $23 distributor kit. He started approaching his friends to sell them product and sign them up as distributors. His friends weren't the least bit interested.

"All they wanted to do was hang at the beach and party. I needed to take another approach," says Dan. He decided to boldly go where no 20-year-old had gone before: he bypassed his friends and start approaching his friends' parents.

"I'd go up to them and say, 'Hey, I'm thinking of getting involved in a new business and was wondering if you could take a minute to look at it and tell me, am I getting taken, or could this be a real opportunity?'"

Most of the parents responded overwhelmingly to this approach; in fact, enough of them expressed an interest in becoming distributors that Dan dug into his meager savings and plunked down $800 for product--which represented roughly a full month's worth of construction work.

"I figured, if I could sell all $800 worth over the next several months, I'd make about $400 profit; I'd be very happy with that."

A decent goal, and one soon surpassed: within one week, he had sold all $800 worth.

Dan quickly realized that his new venture might be more lucrative, and more permanent, than he had first thought. He continued to network among his friends' parents and their friends, as well as anyone else he knew around his hometown, using hotel lobbies as his "office" and his garage for storage. Within a year and half, he was bringing in $4000 a month, an income level that triggered an invitation to attend all-expenses-paid trips to monthly "corporate schools" all over the country.

At these "schools," the most successful people in the company would talk about their successes. This gave Dan an idea.

"The week before each corporate school," Dan explains, "I'd take out newspaper ads in whatever city I was about to go to and set up meetings with potential distributors in the hotel lobby for the two or three days before the school started. I'd have these prospective distributors attend the school later in the week, where they would hear all these million-dollar-a-year network marketers talk about their success. It was powerful stuff."

Not surprisingly, nearly everyone he brought to these meetings ending up joining the business. Using this technique, Dan quickly built a national network of distributors that began generating substantial income. Soon, at the tender age of 23, he was earning a solid $20,000 per month.


A Cycle of Adversity

Dan started living the good life. He was young, bought his first house and started taking spectacular vacations...when out of the blue, adversity struck--the first of what would prove to be a mind-numbing series.

"The company got into trouble," Dan recalls. "It was partly mismanagement, partly overzealous regulators; virtually overnight, the company kind of imploded."

Dan was in the toughest spot of his life. A few years ago, he'd been earning very little money--but his expenses had also been low, so low that he could get by on practically nothing. Not any more. Now he had a mortgage, credit card debt, taxes...and no income. Things were heading south in a hurry.

Desperate for a solution to his financial woes, he jumped on board another network marketing company and, using his nationwide web of contacts and distributors, quickly built his income up to $15,000 per month.

He was back on the road to the good life--when another set-back reared its head. After several months with this company, Dan's commission checks began to bounce.

"Here I was," Dan recalls, "25 years old, and in less than two years, I'd seen two of my affiliated companies go bankrupt. I seriously considered going back into construction."

That thought didn't stick, though; the idea of doing hard labor for minimal pay was decidedly unappealing. Instead, Dan sought out and found what he was certain was a rock-solid network marketing company that happened to sell insurance.

Within six months, the industrious salesman had built his income back up once again, this time to just over $10,000 per month. It wasn't huge money, but it was solid.

"And then, what else?" Dan grins. "I got bored with the company. It was a local sort of business, and I couldn't use any of my national contacts."

Dan joined a fourth company, where he was able to build nationally, and his income shot up past the $50,000-per-month level. But this company failed two years later!

At his next company, he made about 2 million in 3 1/2 years, but the company­­which suffered from major management problems­­ slowly started to lose its best peole and Dan started to see the writing on the wall.

"Obviously, at this point I was thinking seriously about getting out of the industry altogether. But I knew I had the skills to be very successful at network marketing--if I could just find the right group of people in a really stable company."


Staying Resourceful

In 1996, at the age of 35, Dan's life finally began to solidify. He got married, moved to Dallas, and joined a new and dependable network marketing firm, one that looked absolutely certain to stick around for the long haul...and indeed, has done exactly that. (A few years later, the company was acquired, but Dan happily stayed with the new organization, where he's been a leader and a million-plus earner for the past five years.)

Now, however, Dan faced a new problem: in an increasingly competitive market and changing media environment, his tried-and-true technique of recruiting distributors through newspaper ads had lost a lot of its punch. At the same time, after multiple encounters with failed companies, much of his personal network had moved on to other careers. Dan needed to recruit new talent--and his old methods weren't working.

Fortunately, all his varied experience through the years had bred into Dan a tremendous resourcefulness and adaptability. Dan developed a new, much more powerful approach to recruiting; this system was so successful that Dan had soon built his income up, yet once again, to well over $50,000 a month!

Dan has used his new system [see sidebar] to build a new network of highly qualified distributors all across the country. Says Dan, "I've always had a knack for getting people to do what I want them to, and not everyone has that. But I do think that anyone who understands how to build a network can make a lot of money in this business."

Even someone who doesn't get all the breaks.

Dan Stammen's Secret Technique

Let's say I approach a new contact, maybe a friend of a friend. Instead of saying, "Are you interested in selling or buying my product," I'll say, "How would you like to keep doing exactly what you do now, as a plumber (or doctor or repairman or whatever), and actually start a new business with very little time or money? Utilizing your contacts and credibility with my time and knowledge, I can show you a way to start making thousands of dollars more every month!"

"This, needless to say, gets everyone's attention. Then I explain that if they'll give me a list of the 20 smartest and most capable people they know, I'll go approach them myself. The only thing they have to do is keep referring me good people and collect their checks.

Virtually everyone I talk to gives me a list; I then use their list to make warm calls.

I call the people up and say, "This is Dan Stammen, I'm a friend of so and so, and he suggested I call you about an interesting business opportunity or a project we're working on." Then I'll set up a meeting with those people, and repeat the same pitch I made earlier. If this new person isn't ready to go to work, I'll repeat my pitch and get a list of his contacts, too. In this way, I'm only making warm calls--and I'm only calling people who are rated really highly by someone who was rated really highly by me!

As my network of contacts expands, I inevitably find some people who become successful distributors, and then money starts flowing to all the people who gave me contact lists. I've had people make as much as $5000 per month just off the leads they've given me, without ever actually selling anything themselves.

Once the money starts flowing, the network starts building itself. As more and more people start receiving checks, more and more of them say, "Hey, maybe I don't want to only give out a contact list. Maybe I should be selling product too!"

-- DS


KURT INDERBITZIN is a contributing writer
to Networking Times.