The Teacher's Son
Dale Brooks: Learning Core Values at an Early Age
By Kurt Inderbitzin
My parents were both teachers," says Dale Brooks, "and they instilled in me three things: an appreciation of learning; the ability to communicate, to watch people and see if they are understanding what you're trying to explain to them; and the understanding that you never quit at anything."
It was a combination of these traits that eventually made Dale into a world-class network marketer. It was also a combination of these traits--with an emphasis on the not quitting--that gave Dale the fortitude to survive three stressful, draining and character-testing years.
"It was in the late eighties," Dale recalls. "I had been a computer programmer for 16 years in Texas, never really enjoying what I did all that much, when the oil markets crashed. I lost my job and suddenly, overnight, had no way to support my wife and our three kids."
With the entire Texas economy around him collapsing into a deep recession, Dale saw absolutely no near-term prospects for regular employment, so he did the only thing he could. He started painting houses, cleaning carpets, doing whatever odd jobs he could find--anything that would bring in a buck. His wife Donna took a position in retail, turning them into a two-income family, yet they still weren't making ends meet.
"We ran through our savings and retirement in no time," recalls Dale. "After two years, all we had left was our house--and we were holding on to that by a thread."
Desperation was starting to set in, but Dale wasn't about to quit fighting to get back on his feet. He considered his options: continuing to pursue the meager number of employment opportunities out there, or trying to start his own business.
"Honestly, being an employee was simply no longer an option," he says. "I was in my mid-40s when all this happened, and I realized that there would never be any way I could build up a 401K fast enough to re-fund my retirement by working as an employee."
Dale began to focus his attention on his other option, starting his own company.
"I figured if it was my own business, I couldn't get fired. That was the plus side. On the minus side, the businesses I was looking at--franchises where I'd be my own boss but with a support structure behind me--cost a small fortune to get into. And I didn't have a dime."
The Long Climb Back
Dale finally settled on starting an insurance business. In insurance, he could operate as his own boss and didn't need start-up capital.
"It was a tough business, very competitive; in the three years I sold insurance, I never made more than $18,000 per year."
To Dale, little though the income was, it was still very much worth his time: the first of those traits his parents had instilled in him--an appreciation of learning--allowed him to fully appreciate what he learned in insurance, more than what he earned.
"If I hadn't worked in insurance, I never would have understood how to market something--and I never would have grasped the idea of residual income. Those were two things I'd never had a chance to pick up on in my 16 years of programming computers, and they were crucial to my later getting into and succeeding at network marketing."
Dale learned one other crucial thing while selling insurance: healthcare was on a lot of people's minds.
"A lot of people were unemployed, or facing unemployment, which meant their health coverage was in jeopardy. Practically everyone I sold to asked me if I offered health coverage to private individuals." Dale mentally tucked away this piece of information about the marketplace, not realizing it would play into his life a lot sooner than he had imagined.
By February of 1993, Dale and his wife continued to struggle. Donna was still working in retail, and Dale was earning less than $18,000 per year selling insurance products. Then he got a phone call.
"A friend said he had some people he wanted me to talk to about a business opportunity," Dale remembers. "I didn't have anything to lose, so I went to the meeting."
At the meeting, Dale was introduced to the company that would become a part of his life for the next eleven years and eventually give him an income stream he couldn't have imagined at that time.
"Back then, the company was just a few guys starting out. Even though I knew there was a huge potential demand in the marketplace for the kind of health care products they were selling, and even though I understood the value of the residual income they were offering, I refused to let myself get excited about it."
Still, over the next month, Dale found he couldn't get the concept of what the company was doing out of his head. In March, Dale finally gave in and started selling the company's product.
Core Values Bring Big Rewards
"On my very first day, I signed someone up--and one of the company's founders wrote me a commission check on the spot! He actually wrote this $6 check by hand, and then his secretary manually typed up and laminated my first customer's membership card."
Excited by his initial success, Dale brought the $6 check home and showed it to his wife, Donna.
"She wasn't impressed," Dale remembers. "She said, 'Just make the house payment.' Now, eleven years later, I make $600,000 per year. I like to tell people that over the past decade, I just kept adding zeroes to that first $6 check."
What allowed Dale--a man in his late forties with a computer programming background and a brief stint in insurance sales--to grow such a successful network marketing business so quickly? It goes back to those traits, those core values, instilled in him by his parents.
"First off, I never quit," says Dale. "I stuck with the business through the good times and some really bad times; if I hadn't, I'd be nowhere today.
"I also really had learned to communicate, to teach, from my parents, so I ended up training a lot of people how to sell the company's product. That's been absolutely key to my success."
Today, when Dale looks back at his experience in network marketing, he realizes that in addition to the gratitude he feels towards his parents for the values they instilled in him, he also owes a great deal of gratitude to the founders of the company.
"The founders developed a great product, which made it easy to sell. When I would walk into someone's house, they felt good about it and I felt good about it."
The founders gave him something else of crucial value, too: a support structure.
"I got to work side by side with those guys for years. They helped me learn everything I know about this business--and we've been able to pass on that same support to our team."
Above all else, Dale has learned one lesson that he feels is absolutely crucial to becoming successful in business and in living a fulfilling life.
"You have to have a life purpose. That was something I never had as a computer programmer, or when I was unemployed. Now that I have a life purpose--to show myself, my wife, and the world that I can be a success, that I'll never be a loser--I feel I can accomplish anything."
Given Dale's track record, we're inclined to agree.
Dale's Quick-Start Method to Networking Marketing Success
When new people join my team I immediately give them a list of things I know they can accomplish right away. This builds confidence, loyalty and the foundations for a successful business.
Kurt Inderbitzin is a contributing editor to Networking Times.