Born in Russia, Nikita Gromyko was a swimmer on the Soviet Union national team for the 1500 meters at the age of fifteen. For several years he swam three times a day, covering a minimum of twenty-one kilometers, in addition to running, skiing and other forms of fitness training.

When the time came for his coach to select who would represent the team at the competition, he said, “Nikita, you are not going.”

Knowing he was the best, Nikita was flabbergasted. He asked, “Why not?” He thought he was about to be a national champion!

The coach answered, “Because you have an F in Russian Literature.”

Nikita said, “But… that’s impossible! What does that have to do with swimming?”

The coach answered, “You aren’t going because you have a crown on your head and I need to chop it off.”

Painful as it was, the lesson Nikita learned from his coach as a teenager became a very important one he would remember for the rest of his life.

“Whoever you are, always keep in mind that your shoes are on the ground. After the perestroika, I saw how many people, when they became rich, also changed their attitude towards people around them. My coach helped me not to do that later on. Having both feet on the ground is a part of my success.”

Today Nikita has an organization in fifty-two countries and his distributors know they can always come to him for answers to their questions on how to be successful in their networking business.


Second generation of MLMers.

Do you think you look better?

Nikita and Tracy in Russian math class.

Great people = great business.

Getting Started

In 1993, Nikita ran a big company selling guns and hunting supplies. In an effort to teach his employees to be more productive, he invited them to a seminar on building self-esteem. The seminar took place in Odessa by the Black Sea, in the Ukraine.

During the seminar, a guy came up to him and said, “I would like to introduce you to an opportunity where you can invite people to join you and they will work for you and you will get a commission for doing nothing.”

“The next day, I signed up as a distributor,” says Nikita, “along with two other people I knew—they joined because I told them to.”

The product was life insurance—not an easy sell in post-Soviet countries where people have a hard time warming up to the idea of spending money now for some money they might get in the future. Yet he was successful at that business and eventually won all the company’s awards.

“Most people in Russia lived under the communist regime for a long time,” says Nikita, “and this instilled in people a slavery mentality. My father was quite the opposite. When I asked why he wasn’t in the Communist party, he told me about the importance of always thinking for yourself instead of letting others dictate your opinions and beliefs.

“When I asked my father to teach me how to be successful, it was tricky, because at the time we had no words for to be successful. The closest we had was the concept of how to build your career. ‘All you have to do,’ my father said, ‘is paint the left side of that wall blue.’ I was twelve years old. I understood that to succeed I needed to focus on whatever I did without any interruptions or distractions from others.”

When Nikita came to Odessa from Russia, people told him , “Are you crazy? You’re a foreigner! How can you do business here? You don’t know anyone, you come from a different place, you even speak differently.”

But Nikita always believed in the old Soviet expression, “Behind every big door might be a big person.” He used all his gun selling connections, which of course was not duplicable. He would tell people, “If you don’t buy this life insurance, you will no longer be able to do business with me.”

“They wanted to be on my team,” he says, “because I was making money wherever I went. And they thought if I was starting a new business, it was better to join me from the beginning.”

Developing Systems

In 1997, Nikita joined a different company. “That was a breakthrough,” he says, “considering how focused I was on my first company.” He started selling food supplements and educating himself, spending an hour a day on the Internet studying health conditions and nutritional solutions.

“Once I realized that my approach was not duplicable, I wanted to come up with a system for my people to constantly expand their contact list.” Nikita believes that learning how to constantly grow one’s list is the most important thing in this business.

“I currently have 2.5 million people in my database. I figured out how to find prospects and collected more than 300 different ways to build a database. For example, because I used to be on a national swim team, I contacted a retired swimmers organization. I told the lady on the phone, ‘I am looking for someone with my background.’ She said, ‘Well, we have 150,000 people in our database.’ I asked, ‘How much would it be to have the whole list?’ She said, ‘It’s free.’ Remember the big door? If you knock, it might open.

“Another way to find new distributors is to consider everyone with whom you work. In most countries, I work with translators, doing fifteen meetings every day. Out of all my translators, only one survived for a week; all the others became distributors before the week was over.

“Translators repeat what you say all day long. Most people don’t realize that when they hire a helper or a secretary, that’s a great way to get new distributors who immediately have a lot of knowledge because they listen over and over to what you are saying.”

Another method Nikita uses, one he learned from Art Jonak and Tom Schreiter, is the MLM IQ test.

“At an exhibition, you put up a sign that says ‘MLM IQ test’ with a computer on a table. Soon you will have a line forming. People fill out their contact information and answer thirty to forty questions; for example, ‘What’s more important in MLM: management, product or compensation plan?’

“In Russia, people share their personal information very easily. They have no privacy issues and don’t worry about things like ID theft. You can go through five to ten people per hour without pushing anyone. Everyone is looking forward to finding out their IQ in MLM. It’s foolproof, no-pressure marketing: people stand in a line and you start a conversation with them.”

Simplifying

Nikita teaches people to concentrate on three things.

“The first one is internal motivation. Without this, nobody can be successful. You need this because you will have to go through a lot of objections and obstacles.

“Second, learn how to build your database.

“And third, as Art Jonak says, when you are motivated, you have to know what to do and what to say. I teach people what to say and I at the same time they are building their contact list.”

Nikita initially made a 600-page course that cost fifteen dollars to print. That was too expensive for most distributors he works with, so he simplified it into an online system.

Over time, his presentation became very simple. Once, while he was doing days of one-on-one meetings in Mongolia, he worked with a translator who was eighteen years old and spoke five languages. After a few days, she said, “Okay, Nikita, now just be quiet. I am going to explain to this person what you are doing by myself.”

Soon she was making $500 as a distributor and $200 as a translator—in a country where the average salary is $32 a month. She made the presentation shorter and shorter every time. It went something like this: “Hi, my name is Nikita. I work with company X that helps people rebuild their health. You probably have a lot of people around you who have different health issues. You can help them by selling them these products and the company will give you a commission. If what I’ve shared with you is of interest, let me know and we can talk more.”

When asked how building in the U.S. compares to building in ex-Soviet countries, Nikita summarizes the difference in one word: technology.

“Most of my distributors don’t have e-mail, and if they do, they have no computer to check their e-mail with. I used to start my meetings with a joke: ‘Okay, guys, I have been telling you for over seven years that you have to communicate with me through the Internet. So let’s check it out, how many of you have your own e-mail account?’ Between 70 and 80 percent of the people raise their hands. ‘Now, how many of you can open it?’ About 10 percent raise their hands.”

Nikita used to travel a lot, but now he does all his trainings over the Internet. Every Sunday morning at 7 a.m. he does a one-hour conference call using www.paltalk.com, because it works well for slow connections. He calls it “MLM Special Forces” and compares it to an MLM radio show. For thirty minutes he talks about a specific prospecting method, and for the next thirty minutes he answers questions. Usually about a hundred computers log onto the conference room, with an average of five to twenty-five people clustering around each computer.

The Road Ahead

For the moment, Nikita is taking a break from networking. “We are not robots,” he says. “I need to get away to gather more information and knowledge. We can’t keep repeating the same marketing methods if we want to go further.

“For example, in 1999, in Poland I had the wrong approach. I was very aggressive and emotional when people were saying no. That country just beat me. After six months, working fifteen meetings a day using push-through marketing, I only signed up thirty-four active distributors—365 people in one month was my record—while having a lot of expenses.

“I was emotionally broke. I came back to the U.S. and worked as a swimming coach at the YMCA. After that I went to Mongolia, and within six months I had created half a million dollars in sales—in a country where the average salary is $32 a month.

“Even though I take breaks, I will always come back to network marketing. What is it that hooks me? I like to work with people, to be on stage, to show my charisma and be recognized. If I said, ‘I do this to help people,’ I wouldn’t trust myself. It’s a money game. I understood a long time ago that if I didn’t help people, I couldn’t be successful. But to be honest, I want to create wealth. It’s a fuzzy border between financial motivation and the desire to help people. I don’t know what drives me to do this, but I am passionate about doing it.”