The secret to building a successful network marketing business is to have a system consisting of a few simple actions that can be repeated consistently by a large number of people over a continuous period of time. Business partners Tim Berry and Julie Mirr learned this lesson from Randy Gage and really took it to heart. Both successful professionals in their previous careers, today Tim and Julie run a large international organization, allowing them to travel the world, spend more time with their families and serve their local communities.
Finding Network Marketing
Julie was working as a litigation paralegal in Englewood, Colorado when she first encountered network marketing. She was looking for a way to free herself from the time constraints and stress of working for a law firm.
“I was at a place in my life where I was burned out,” she recalls. “My income was capped; I had three little children at home and no longer wanted to work in a nine-to-five job. The day my neighbor introduced me to the business, in December 1994, I didn’t even know what network marketing was, but after seeing it I realized that it was everything I had been looking for: it was a way to replace and grow my income and have time flexibility as a parent. I also loved the fact that you could choose who you were going to work with.”
After Julie replaced her income, her business also became an exit strategy for her husband, who was working as a real estate attorney.
Dr. Tim Berry and his wife both had busy medical practices in Tennessee when they discovered network marketing,
“We were working really hard,” says Tim, “and I knew I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life, so I started looking at other options.”
Initially, he looked at traditional businesses and even started several, but each one added more responsibility, stress and employee headaches. He realized there had to be a better way, but he didn’t know what it could be.
“I actually got introduced to the business by an ad,” Tim recalls. “I was in the intensive care unit one night—it was my third night in a row on duty—and I was thumbing through a medical journal. I saw an ad showing physicians giving a toast on a cruise ship and wondered, ‘What are they doing that I’m not doing?’ ”
Tim called the ad, and the gentleman who answered invited him to come to Dallas that weekend. Tim said, “I can’t come to Dallas. My wife is due with our second child in ten days, and I have a full practice. I’m busy for the next three months.”
The man answered, “You’ve called three times, starting at 3 a.m. this morning, and you’ve emailed me. You definitely need something.”
He was right, Tim needed a change. With his second child on the way, he needed his time back, more than anything, so he flew to Dallas that weekend. Once he saw the network marketing concept, it immediately made sense to him.
“From that moment on I was dying to do it full-time,” says Tim. “It took me about one year to replace my medical income, and once I had, I walked away from my practice. I’ve been full-time in network marketing now for four years.”
The irony was, in his practice he’d been prospected numerous times—he just didn’t know it. As a physician, a lot of people brought him different juices and vitamins, but they failed to mention the business opportunity.
“I’ve always been entrepreneurial,” says Tim, “and my mind was open to alternatives. When I finally closed my medical office, I had walls of products people had brought me over the years without ever talking to me about the business.”
Julie was with her first company for twelve years, and that’s where she met Tim. Both were attending a conference and they discovered they had a lot of things in common. They were fit, athletic, outdoors people who liked to travel, and they had similar philosophies on the networking profession. They bonded as friends, then started working together.
One of the top earners and producers in the company, Julie was ready to retire from building the business after twelve years, when she and Tim got intrigued with a brand new company. During their numerous meetings together they had often brainstormed about how they could improve upon their current products and systems, and now this new company had everything they had ever wished for.
“It was uncanny,” says Julie. “It was as if Tim and I had sat down and said, ‘Let’s design the company of our choice.’ ” Within a few weeks, Tim and Julie moved over and started a new partnership.
Starting a New Journey
One of the main attractors of the new company was that it came with a very simple, duplicable system.
“We call it a virtual system,” says Julie, “because I can introduce my next-door neighbor exactly as I do someone in Slovenia. We simply introduce prospects to an audio or video tool, and as soon as they finish reviewing that tool we introduce them to one of our business partners on the phone.
“For example, to introduce a friend of mine, I don’t sit down with her and give a two-hour presentation. I say, ‘I’m launching a new business I’m excited about. Are you interested in making money?’ If she says, ‘Sure,’ I go, ‘Great! I’m going to send you a link to a thirty-minute presentation. As soon as you’ve watched it, I’m going to introduce you to my business partner on the phone,’ and Tim does the same with me.”
Tim and Julie believe the simplicity of this process attracts people to want to do it themselves.
“It’s not as time-intensive as the traditional network marketing model,” says Tim, “where people come home from work and then have to go back out and drive to a meeting. That’s what we love about it. We feel like we’ve gotten our lives back.”
“Before starting with our new company, Tim and I were grinders,” says Julie. “That’s a Randy Gage term; he used to tell us this when we first met. Today we are very protective of our time. We let our tools do the initial work and only invest our energy with people who show potential and commitment.”
A few additional factors attracted Tim and Julie to their new company.
“We were not truly international in our previous company,” says Julie. “Our favorite part of our current business is building in other countries— not just in the U.S.
“Another aspect we loved was the uniqueness of the product, being first to market and the delivery system. There was a ‘cool’ factor that we just couldn’t resist, and we’ve found this to be the case with people all over the world.
“Last but not least, we were attracted by the pay plan, which is definitely structured to create wealth.”
Building the Business
Tim and Julie have been with their new company for almost three years now. Living in different parts of the country—until just recently, when Tim moved to Colorado—Tim and Julie built their business independently for the most part. While their styles are complementary, their philosophies are identical.
“Work ethic is a big piece of that,” says Tim. “We know not to do what we did when we first started in the profession: we tried to do everything for our people. Today, if someone calls Julie and asks for information and she points them to a tool, and they call me and ask again, I’m going to point them to the same tool. I’m not going to feed them the answer.
“Our team gets a very stable, unified presence from us. They understand exactly how we work, which makes them stronger. They know what to do in each situation, because we’re so firm on systems. Our organizational culture is entirely built on the concept of using third-party resources. We tested and tweaked a lot of prospecting and training tools to find what works best and what is most duplicable.”
Another aspect of the business Tim and Julie both feel strongly about is that this is a warm market business. By warm market, they mean not only family and friends, but anyone you come in contact with, such as the UPS guy or the lady behind the counter at the dry cleaners.
“It’s kind of a living, breathing list,” says Julie. “We teach our team to cultivate awareness, that if you’re truly excited about what you’re doing, you will naturally recognize who to share it with. Some networkers feel it’s more comfortable to talk to people they don’t know. But we have found that if you really believe in your opportunity, you want first to tell the people you are already in contact with.
“With this approach, you can never run out of people, ever—unless you never leave your home. But even there, you have Classmates.com or other online communities.”
Being the top enrollers in the company, Tim and Julie’s goal is to expose new people to the business every day, no matter where they are.
“Especially in today’s economy,” says Julie, “there’s a ton of people who would love for someone to offer them this business. The way to introduce it is by asking questions, being a good listener, and simply offering them this gift. It’s no sweat off our backs if they say no. Our responsibility is just to offer it to them and let them make their own decision.”
Tim and Julie feel strongly that besides meeting people in person, the telephone is the number one tool to introduce the business and build relationships. “Sometimes, people hide behind their computers,” says Tim, “and they’ll send out emails without talking to someone first. We believe it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to that person first, tell them you’re launching a new business and then send them the email with the information.”
Reflecting back on his journey, Tim says one of the biggest initial struggles for him was taking “no” personally. Or even worse, when a good friend said yes right away and then didn’t do anything, he would wonder, “Is it me? Am I a bad sponsor?”
“Sometimes we share our excitement with a good friend, who just kind of joins,” says Tim. “But the person isn’t fully there, and doesn’t see what we see. When we care about people, we have a tendency to want success for them more than they want it for themselves, and we spend time with the wrong people, instead of with the ones who really want it.”
Another challenge Tim and Julie have learned to overcome is what they call “shake-out.”
“The nature of our business includes that you will have some attrition,” says Julie. “You start with a big wave of excitement, and many people catch that wave and just follow you on that adrenaline. Then, suddenly, some are gone. At that point, you have to rebuild. But your core gets stronger because the ones who are truly dedicated are still there, and they’re not going anywhere. Once you understand this, you will no longer get discouraged when some people drop out, because you know you are building a secure, committed group.”
“As in any business, there are good and bad days,” says Tim. “Again, that makes you stronger. When I found network marketing, I thought I’d discovered something no one in the world knew about. I wanted to tell everyone about it, even though I didn’t have any skills or training. I was clearly talking too much. This is a common problem for new people. In order to remedy this, we show them how to use tools and point to resources, and let the tools do the talking. Network marketing can’t be a personality-driven business. You’ve got to be able to keep your presentations short and tight.”
Another skill Tim had to learn was how to help new associates decide when is the right time to leave their jobs and go full-time. He remembers this was a difficult challenge for him, at the time when he was trying to balance his new passion with his old career.
“From the moment I discovered network marketing,” he says, “I felt ready to go full-time. I wanted to give up everything, including some of my other businesses—that’s how much I loved it. During the two years that I did my networking business while still practicing medicine and running the other businesses, my heart was constantly pulled. But it wasn’t time to go full-time. I didn’t have a stable infrastructure in my organization yet.
“Sometimes, people go full-time into network marketing too soon. I actually did that. It would have been less stressful on my family if I had waited three to six months longer before quitting my medical career. I remember within a month of leaving my medical practice, I was sitting at home one day and realized it was lonely, because I didn’t have a plan for where I was going to find those relationships throughout the day that I had established in my medical practice.
“Everyone who is serious in this business encounters this challenge. The key is, don’t be impulsive. Make sure you have a plan and a strategy before you quit your job.”
Today Julie and Tim are disciplined about getting out of the house and meeting new people.
“It’s nice to be able to run your business in your pajamas,” says Julie, “but we force ourselves to get out and participate in lots of different activities, because that’s how we grow our network.”
Julie and Tim agree they both have great lives. As full-time networking professionals, they spend roughly fifteen hours a week doing follow-up and calls, and the rest of the time, they just live life.
“We have totally integrated our business into our existing lifestyle,” says Tim. “If we’re at a soccer game, we aren’t necessarily working but we are always listening for people who have a need.”
“Networking is part of everything we do,” says Julie. “When traveling, we always combine pleasure and business. Tim and I actually sponsor more people when we’re on vacation than if we’re at home. That’s because what we do is so easy to market.”
When thinking about the future, Julie says she doesn’t see herself retiring any time soon. “My profession allows me to travel the world, and one of my dreams is to visit places I haven’t been yet, such as Asia and India. I feel like I own this international business but I work from home, and that’s something I just love to share with people.”
“One of our goals is to help our company become the next billion-dollar network marketing company,” says Tim. “We want to be part of making this happen. We’re on a mission to share our opportunity with people we care about and make new friends all over the world.
“We typically travel to places where we already have leaders who are actively building. Again, this is system-driven: we first let the new areas—no matter what the country is—prove that they can follow a system and show some growth using it, and only then will we visit. New associates need to prove themselves willing and able to use the system, and then we’ll go over to show our appreciation by doing a training or an opportunity meeting.”
“Some networkers have that backwards,” says Julie. “They first go and try to create some activity. We like to create independence and empower others to experience that they can do this.”
When asked about their dreams, Tim says his personal vision is to have total comfort and security that his family is protected for generations to come, to solidify an income that never goes away. Beyond his own family, he loves to give wherever he sees a need.
Julie has always been involved with non-profits and volunteer work, and would like to be able to write bigger checks to the charities of her choice.
“Also, I have some family members who have been heavily hit by the economic downturn,” she says. “I would love to help relieve some of that financial stress.”
On a professional level, Tim and Julie want to continue developing and empowering leaders.
“We would love to see emerge from our organization some of the top leaders in the networking profession, and know that we have contributed to that with our training and mentoring programs. Nothing would make us happier.”