Ken Dunn was a Canadian police officer when he got involved in network marketing.
“I spent fifteen years in investigative policing,” says Ken “a career I started at the age of eighteen. I was on a SWAT team and a surveillance team. I did undercover drug work, crime scene and homicide investigation. My friends used to call me the ‘as seen on TV’ cop.”
Everything changed when Ken’s son was born. Ken had always been an entrepreneur at heart and started looking for ways to create additional income. Little did he know that his journey in network marketing would also lead him to examine his character and evaluate his relationships.
“One of my mentors told me that if you want to become a millionaire in network marketing, you have to build a million friendships, and the rest happens on its own.”
Ken took this advice to heart: just five years into his networking career, he has made close to $4 million dollars. He recently wrote a book and started a training company to teach people the “Secrets of Simplicity” that helped him become the natural networker he is today.
Ken grew up very poor. His dad worked for the Canadian Navy, and Ken has childhood memories of lacking even the basic necessities.
“An exciting day for us was Wednesday,” he remembers, “when we all got together and had fried bologna for dinner. As a young child, I wore clothes from the Salvation Army. There was a period where I had developed my own ‘exchange program’ with the local department store: I would wear old sneakers into the store and somehow walk out with new sneakers. I learned how to survive.”
Ken decided early on that he didn’t want to live this way, and at the age of sixteen, he started his own business.
“I convinced the owner of a gas station in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I grew up, to finance me, and I bought a tow truck for $100,000. I drove it to school every day and I would tow cars, do flat tire repairs and repossessions on the way home. Soon I started making as much money as my dad on his job, and life got better.”
After Ken finished school, he entered the police force and put his entrepreneurial streak on hold for a while. When he got married, he vowed he would never let his family live the way he grew up. He was investigating murders in Ottawa, and created what he thought was a great life, including a nice house and nice cars.
Ken Dunn with his top Indonesian leaders and company owners, Greg Fullerton and Fred Ninow.
Ken always works the room as he trains on recruiting.
Ken Dunn with his kids Matthew and Laura in a Porsche Boxster that he won in his company.
Hitting the Ground Running
Ken joined his first network marketing company in 2003 and reached significant success right away.
“I signed up four buddies from the police department and they went gangbusters with it. I wasn’t convinced I was going to do this business, but they started working directly with John. My first month’s check was $2,800. I learned a valuable lesson that I still teach to this day: don’t worry whether or not somebody’s going to join. Your job is to match up people who have like interests. Then let whatever happens happen. I took four of my friends who like to make money and introduced them to John, who told them about the business. They decided to join, ended up making money with it, and subsequently, so did I.”
That first check got Ken excited and he was impressed by how little he personally had been involved in generating this income. He didn’t know anything about the profession or the company, so he decided to educate himself. Four months later, he had forty people in his downline and one of the local leaders he had been taking advice from said, “You need to get everyone to the convention.”
“I was still a cop investigating murders, a mortgage broker with nine employees, and now I was doing network marketing on the side. The only reason I listened was that the convention took place on a weekend in my home town. I took my forty people to the event, and the next month I made $10,000, which taught me another valuable lesson: attend company events.”
In March 2004, Ken quit his job with the police force. He continued building the business, and a year later he was making $20,000 a month. His second year in the business he started to travel and visited a dozen countries. His third year, as he had become one of the company’s top earners, the company owners wanted to meet him, but when Ken got to know them, he was shell-shocked.
“They were some of the most unethical people I’d ever met,” says Ken. “The handwriting was on the wall. I knew the company was going to end up in trouble. I decided to bail out. Walking away from my organization of several thousand people in twenty-one countries was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I felt I was letting people down. It made everything I had stood for and talked about for the past three years feel like a lie.”
Ironically, within days of Ken quitting, a friend called him up about a new nutritional company in Utah that was just starting. Ken had known the owner, Steve Scott, for a long time and considered him to be one of the top marketing experts in the world.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to actively build another network marketing business,” says Ken “I didn’t need it; we were doing okay financially. But when I met Steve and understood what the product was all about, I felt I was in the right place at the right time, and I ended up joining the company right at the start.”
That was two years ago. Ken built his new business the way he had done it in his first company, using his circle of influence of colleagues and clients, and inviting people to events. Today he is a leader in the networking profession, heading up an international organization of eighty thousand people. One of his leaders and friends, Mickey Burns, introduced him one night using an analogy:
“You know how some people take piano lessons their whole life and try desperately to play the piano, but they just sound cumbersome?” she said. “And somebody else will sit down and make miracles happen, without much training or coaching? That’s Ken Dunn. This business is what he was meant to do his whole life.”
While Ken had made money in every business endeavor he’d been in, nothing ever felt so right as network marketing. The other side of the story, however, was that internally he didn’t feel like a success.
“Prior to my network marketing career, I was a police detective with a strong A-type personality. I had a tendency to be dominating and condescending. My first mentor in the business, who gave me a lot of great advice, was an absolute tyrant, which fueled my personality. My first year in the business, I became a dictator myself. People would come to me frustrated about how their business wasn’t growing, and I would say, ‘Listen, your business isn’t growing because you’re no good at this.’
“I was arrogant and self-centered, very proud of myself for everything that was happening. Part of it was the environment I grew up in: I never received any proper coaching. In spite of that, I made $80,000 my first year in network marketing. But at the end of that first year, around Christmas, a couple of my friends in my downline sat me down and told me they were quitting, that most people on my team didn’t like me, and that they were leaving, too.”
Learning from the Masters
The vast majority of Ken’s organization quit in his twelfth month in the business. It was a painful and eye-opening experience. After many emotional days of crying and soul-searching, Ken called his friends and said, “Okay, listen. I get what you’re saying. I want to make some changes, even if you’re not going to be here. I want to become a better person. Tell me some of my character flaws, so I can focus on changing them.”
Ken asked for a couple of points, but they gave him a list of forty. As they went through the list, Ken realized they were right. After a few more days of pain, he decided to focus all his attention on changing who he was and becoming a better leader.
A couple of months later, around Easter, something happened that became a turning point in his life, and the catalyst for everything that’s happened to him in network marketing from then on.
“My wife gave me a stencil with a quote from Gandhi,” says Ken. “I’m looking at it right now, in my office. It says, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ ”
Ken immediately felt the impact of this truth. He jumped online and started researching everything about Mahatma Gandhi’s life. He was blown away by the adversity this man had encountered, yet he was almost single-handedly responsible for the freedom of India. He was cast out by his people, but stayed true to his mission and his values, and ended up changing the lives of millions.
“Who else do I know who is like this?” Ken thought, and right away, Mother Teresa came to mind. He went back online and started learning all about Mother Teresa.
“This woman was incredible,” says Ken. “At the age of fourteen, she received a calling to take care of the poor in Calcutta and she devoted her whole life to that. She never had a cent to her name, but was considered to be one of the wealthiest people in the world. At the height of her leadership, she had seven Lear jets, strategically positioned all over the world, at her disposal. These jets were owned by billionaires who trusted her and wanted to support her with their fortunes.”
Ken also researched political leaders and studied the lives of John F. Kennedy and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, one of the greatest Canadian prime ministers in history.
Ken then went on to the area of business and found three businesspeople he aspired to emulate: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Steve Jobs.
After studying these seven different leaders, Ken was able to distinguish ten characteristics they all had in common. He thought, “If I focus on these ten traits in myself, I can become more like them and if I can be a better leader, everything else will fall into place.”
Identifying the Core Task
In all seven leaders he studied, Ken found one trait to be the most consistent: at a very early stage in their lives, they all realized what their core task was.
“What I mean by ‘core task’ is the one thing that generated prosperity for them,” says Ken.
“Applying this to my own life, I knew that what generated prosperity for me was prospecting. I knew I was good at it and I needed to stay focused on that. Now, I just had to work on the other nine traits, and as I started to improve those, everything would work out: people would like me and my business would grow.”
Once Ken committed to this process, his business became stronger.
“I found incredible loyalty in my leaders, and I was loyal to them,” says Ken. “Ever since that turning point, my income has been steadily increasing and I’ve wanted to write a book about it, because I believe this set of ten characteristics is a roadmap anyone can follow to duplicate what I’ve done.”
As Ken’s personality changed, people noticed and asked him to talk about it in small meetings and in large group events, inviting him to speak in front of thousands of people in Malaysia, Japan, China and Indonesia.
“My passion is to help people understand that network marketing is a relevant, sound business model,” says Ken. “When teaching people how this business works, I take a slightly different approach from most trainers. While personal growth is an integral part of being a successful networker, I believe we first need to work on automating the core task. What I focus on with new people is helping them find their groove in the recruiting process and getting them to a point where it feels comfortable. Only then do we start working on personal development by going through the other nine points.”
One of these points is called gravitational pull.
“Inspirational leaders have this walk-into-a-room magnetism about them,” says Ken, “When they’re with you, they’re fully with you. They know how to get your attention. They make you feel good about who you are and there is a natural attraction, almost like gravity.”
When working on this quality, Ken helps people understand where they can improve personally in how they look and appear to others. “It’s not that we have to be different,” he says, “we just all need to be better. For example, if somebody looks overweight, I don’t tell them to lose weight. I say, do your best to feel your best, and it will increase your gravitational pull to other people.”
Becoming a Natural Networker
Ken says one of the biggest problems with network marketing training is leaders try to teach others what worked for them.
“In order to help people automate the core task of recruiting, I get them to identify their favorite way to approach others. Some have an easier time using email or online leads, while others prefer to go out and join social groups or communities.”
Ken typically shows people twelve different ways to generate leads, and asks them to find out which one feels most comfortable.
“There is a lot of confusion about the word ‘duplication,’ ” says Ken. “People think it means you have to prospect the same way I do in order to be successful. I say, duplicate the system, but don’t duplicate the soul. Instead of approaching people the way I do, find out which way of generating leads works best for you, and then let’s duplicate the system.”
Once people know how to grow their contact list, the system Ken advocates consist of three simple steps: 1) Make your first call; 2) Build the relationship and refer your prospect to a web site for evaluation; 3) Connect the person with a third party to get their questions answered and ask for the order.
“Automating the core task is the most important part of helping someone become an effective recruiter,” says Ken, “but people get lost when they look at recruiting as a one-step process. I distinguish a two-part process that consists of procurement—generating the lead—and processing—taking the lead through a funnel or a system of evaluation. Procurement is individual in nature because the way you generate leads has to fit your personality. Processing is the duplicable part, where everyone uses the same three-step system to evaluate prospects. Only if you are able to naturally generate leads will you develop the posture that gives you the gravitational pull to build the relationships and bring people in.”
Another way Ken has found to develop posture is to read Networking Times.
“I first was handed Networking Times in my second month in the profession,” says Ken. “The insights I’ve gained from this publication in the last five years are very much a part of why I’m successful. I always have the journal with me and I recommend it to everyone on my team.”
Through his marketing company, Secrets of Simplicity, Ken offers an online training program with free resources and mentoring for networking professionals.
“I found a roadmap that has served me incredibly well,” he says, “and I’m committed to sharing it with others. I’m not saying I have arrived; I’m still on that road. I still have a lot of personality issues to perfect every day.”