Dave Stewart knows a thing or two about prospecting. For one thing, he created the granddaddy of all generic prospecting tools for network marketers: the famous “One Plus One Equals Four” brochure (and audio tape, and video tape, and CD, and…). One of the most experienced leaders in our profession, David has started, built and run several multinational networking companies; served as CEO for others; been called in as a turnaround expert for companies in trouble; and has built huge, successful organizations as a distributor. As founder of Success in Action (publishers of One Plus One…), David also directs one of the longest-running “third-party” tools and training businesses in the business.

And another thing: when he’s not involved in prospecting for a living, he prospects as a hobby. Stewart, you see, is sitting on a gold mine—and that’s probably the only time I’ll ever write those words and not be using them as a metaphor! Near his Arizona home, Dave and his wife Linda own a 240-acre copper and gold mine. (“You know how to make a million dollars in gold mining?” he asks. I don’t know, how? I hear him grin. “Start with two million.”) The day I called to speak with him, David had just returned from dealing with a pair of claim jumpers, but he took a generous hour to chat about the profession of network marketing and how far it’s come over the years. — JDM


Tell us about your mine.

This has been my passion for 20 years. My original partner was 93 when he passed away last year. His dad worked these claims; they go back to the thirties.

I’m always threatening to do a leadership seminar down here at the mine, show people what’s really involved in prospecting!


How did it go with the claim jumpers?

They’d come in and opened up an access tunnel we had closed. We go out there, have a confrontation: there’s some posturing back and forth, everybody hems and haws, and then it gets worked out. No guns were fired.


This time.

Yeah, this time. Four or five years ago, the guy next to us had a few guys come out on his claim; he went out there and shot over their heads, and they shot back—only they shot him in the head. He laid in the Wickenburg hospital a couple weeks before dying


A dangerous life!

Not really. It’s life. It’s real. Tell you what, though, you’re not asleep! And I think most people are asleep—they walk through life like a bump on the log, reacting to life instead of taking charge and going forward.


David, how did One Plus One happen?

About 1990, we were doing an executive search for a CEO for a company in Great Britain. We found a great guy, highly qualified, but no experience in network marketing. Before he started, he wanted to get a hands-on sense of what network marketing was all about, so he got a distributorship with another company. A month later, he was a lot less enthusiastic about the whole thing!

“These products are great,” he said; “I have no problem talking with people about them. But when they ask me about the business opportunity, I don’t know what to tell them.”

I said, “Give me a few weeks and I’ll put together a brochure that explains the business.”


These were the days when nothing like it existed.

There were a few pieces circulating that described the industry in a sort of lottery-mentality way. There was no credible explanation of network marketing, nothing that said, “Here: this is a business, a profession like any other; here’s how it differs from traditional marketing, how it works, and how it can work for you.”

I knew the piece had to be simple, something people could grasp in a matter of minutes, and it had to end with a call to action. It couldn’t just look good, it needed to actually work.

Three months and 35 drafts later, we came up with One Plus One Equals Four.

My first order was 10,000 pieces—and they were gone before they were delivered. Word spread. We quickly printed 25,000 more, then 100,000. Our most recent order was for a quarter million pieces.


After all these years, it’s still going strong?

Yes—and we’ve never advertised it. It’s sold itself through word of mouth.


What does “one plus one equals four” mean?

Synergy: by adding two things, you get something more than the sum of its parts. When two people get together, they do more together than they would both do separately. Three together do even more. Which is why your efforts can create such exponential growth and momentum in this business.


“I’d rather have one percent of 100 people’s efforts than 100 percent of my own.”

We all know what the key to success is. Not education: the world is full of educated derelicts. Not talent: the world is full of unrewarded talent. The secret of success is persistence in action.

To accomplish anything in this business, you have to do three things: One, you have to keep telling the story. Two, you have to accept the results. And three, stay in communication, keep following through.


What does that second step mean: “accept the results”?

When you share your opportunity with someone and they say, “Oh, I got it! This makes sense! Wow! When can I get started?!” instead of going crazy celebrating, just say, “Thank you.”

If you present to the next person and he turns into a piranha and rips the meat off your bones, tells you what a crook you are, how stupid this is and how it won’t work, instead of feeling awful, what you need to do is say, “Thank you.”

No matter what the result is, your reaction should be the same: “Thank you.”

It’s obvious why you would thank the first person. But why would you say “Thank you” to the second? Because he’s put you in a learning position. You learn far more and far better from challenges than from those situations we usually call “success.”


Where does One Plus One fit in?

It helps people tell the story, which helps them stay in action. There’s a sequence we all go through in any creative endeavor: logic, emotion, then action.

First we gain information, which provides us with logic. That inspires and creates an opening to our emotions, which—assuming those emotions are positive—provide us with the fuel to act. The key is to move through the whole sequence without getting stuck.


What gets people stuck?

Focusing too much on either information or emotion can knock you off balance. A wheel won’t turn smoothly when it’s off balance; neither will you.

People often say, “I’ll get going as soon as I learn everything in that manual,” or, “as soon as I go to the next training.” They think they need more information to fuel their enthusiasm—and they never get into action.

Information by itself is limited. Beyond a certain point, you can only learn more through action, because the learning itself comes from what actually takes place. It doesn’t matter the slightest bit whether the actions were “successful” or not. When you take action and the results are not what you wanted them to be, you now have something to build on. Something that points you in the direction of how to do it differently next time.


How do we get stuck on the emotion side?

Here’s an example. I first got into this business in the late 60s, when I was a VP of a Fortune 500 company. A friend said, “You’ve got to go to this meeting and see how crazy these people are!” I went to an auditorium where I saw 2000 people get so excited they were standing on chairs. I thought they were rabid or something.

But I was still young enough that I wasn’t so set in my views, and I could see that these people were enjoying what they were doing more than I was. There might be something here.

I paid my $5000 for my kit and walked out of the corporate world.


Just like that?

Just like that. And I had the same problem as my CEO friend would have in the early 90s. When I tried to explain this experience and opportunity to my peers, they laughed at me. That didn’t stop me, however.

My first month in the business I made $20,000. Second month I made $10,000. Third month I made $5000.


Not a good direction.

No, and I tell this story to explain that the problem came from working off pure emotion. This is crucial: enthusiasm alone will not do it. There has to be more to it than that.


What did you do?

After the third month I pulled back and started examining the business, exploring everything I could to see if there was a real profession here, and if so, how it worked. I found that there was indeed a huge business, and I learned some fascinating things about it.

I saw that there were two prevalent mentalities about the business. The first said, if you could fog a mirror, you qualified. “Can you breathe? You’re gonna get rich!” That’s pure emotion, which is not sustainable on its own.


And the second?

The second prevalent approach was to understand the definition of sponsoring, which comes from the same root as the word responsibility. As a sponsor, you take responsibility.

For many, the game back then was to recruit as many people as possible, and if you got lucky, you got rich. It was all about getting people to sign on the dotted line.

But when I looked at the truly successful people, I saw them doing just the opposite. Their real work doesn’t end with the sponsoring, it starts there. And they work with a balance of both logic and emotion.


Logic and emotion is like right-foot-left-foot, right-foot-left-foot.

Absolutely. If you don’t have the proper mix, if you’re dragging one foot or the other, you’ll get way off course. And it’s not just balance: those feet have to move, too! Everything alive moves. Think of what a flatline means. When you see a heart monitor stop its beeping, you’re dead. As long as you’re beating, you’re alive: taking action, accepting the results, taking action, accepting results.


Back to One Plus One: What role did it play here?

It speeded up the process. It gave new people critical information they needed. As a result, they gained the logic that fueled their emotion—and that led to immediate action.

Without the tool (or something like it), people would have unanswered questions. “How does this work? Why does that work? Is this a pyramid or chain letter deal?” When people met with resistance like that and couldn’t answer it, the action would grind to a halt.


Back in those pioneer days, I think your brochure actually went a long way toward defining the profession.

I think it helped move the picture people had from a “money-making opportunity,” with its get-rich-quick scheme mentality, to a business profession mentality. Of course, we’d already had many people working it as a business profession for years; it just wasn’t widely viewed that way.


Didn’t your materials help establish the term “network marketing”?

At the time it was still widely called multilevel marketing, or MLM. That’s actually not a bad term: it’s accurate. But it had a big old nasty stain on it, because people associated it with its abuses. So we used the term “network marketing,” and it has stayed with us.


What did you do after your initial due diligence?

I went back to work on my business and developed a training program for my people. How to get organized, how to communicate, give a presentation, follow through, create check lists…. Others saw it and wanted it for their groups, too, so I started teaching it more broadly. I guess Linda and I offered one of the first generic professional trainings in the business: “Being a Successful Network Marketing Business.” We still offer it today, and it’s fundamentally the same.


You’ve seen a lot of companies come and go; what have been some of the biggest challenges, on the corporate level?

The Amway/FTC Decision in 1979 cleared the legal clouds and defined the parameters for legitimate business within this industry. That event prompted many Fortune 500 companies to get into the business by starting network marketing divisions or companies themselves. Without exception, they all failed.

Why? Because the traditional corporate mentality thinks differently and works from a completely different paradigm than the prevailing paradigm of network marketing. Traditional companies are product-driven. In network marketing, the distributors are product-driven—but the company has to be people-driven. Product-driven people who are administered by a people-driven company…they couldn’t grasp that.


I think that chasm of understanding between corporate and field—our “Mars and Venus”—is the single biggest challenge of the business.

It’s something. I’ve been in a number of boardrooms where I’ve tried to explain that this is a joint venture between corporate and the field, and the field is the majority partner!

They’ll say, “Oh, yeah, we understand that, we know how to do customer service.” No, you don’t! You think you get it, but you don’t! When a decision comes down to the bottom line in the boardroom, the decision has to be in favor of the majority partner—and in this case, that’s the distributor base.


That’s brilliant! I’ve never heard it put that way before.

The paradox is that a good network marketing corporation has employees with a different mentality than the field whom they’re supporting. The field is entrepreneurial, and the corporation needs to be logical and structured—if you want a smooth operation that’s going to last. Yet most network marketers don’t even want to fill out a one-page piece of paperwork, let alone be responsible for accounting or R&D or fulfillment!


How is the business different today than when you started out 35 years ago?

When I started, it was like we all belonged to our little clubs. Whatever company you were in, that was it. Most people in the business had no idea that any other companies even existed. And if they did, it didn’t touch them. This was a religion, and all other religions were heretical.

Now, there was some power in that, some focus and drive, that’s really missing today. In giving up that sort of parochial fanaticism, we’ve gained a greater awareness, but at the sacrifice of some of that single-minded focus.

We’ve moved from having that pure risk-taking entrepreneur mentality to a more structured, consistent activity.


And no more $5000 kits.

That’s another big difference between now and then. Back then, it was a lifestyle, it was a commitment, like joining the service. You made a decision and you followed through. Today, more and more people are involved because it’s easier to get in, but the price we pay is that many are not as committed.

How committed can you be when you get a kit and a case and you’re in business for under $500? Three people say “Boo,” and you say, “I quit!” If you had put $5000 into it, you would be a little tougher, a little more committed.


Without going back to $5000 kits, how do we accomplish that?

I think we need to encourage people to invest in their future by investing in their own continuing education.

When is enough education “enough”? Think about that flatline. “Enough” means you’re dead! This is an ever-evolving, dynamic industry. It has fundamental principles, like any profession would, but it’s growing and progressing, just like any other business or profession.

In network marketing, there’s a direct correlation between success and personal growth. The education successful networkers need to go through is not only about the logic of how to maintain a structure, stay organized, follow through and so forth: it’s also personal growth. That’s something impressive about Networking Times: you offer continual education from many perspectives, which all lead to a more professional, ever-growing industry.


How has your own focus in the profession shifted?

Back then, it was a huge leap for people to understand that this is a profession. Today, what we’re working on is showing people how to be more professional within that profession.

You look at software and how it continues to evolve exponentially; so does engineering; so does aeronautics; so does any profession—and so does ours. If you want to stay ahead of that curve, or at least stay with that curve, you need to continue pursuing further education. Even people who spent years and tens of thousands of dollars to get a license, now continue accruing accredited course hours to maintain those licenses. Why should we be any different?

Like any other profession, whether it’s accounting, law or medicine, there’s a discipline you go through, a way to be a true professional within your chosen profession. And this doesn’t take the fun out of it, by the way; in fact, the more professional you get, the more fun it gets!