David Frey is one of the most unassuming, laid-back, low-key network marketing leaders you will ever meet—living proof that you don't need to be an extroverted, high-energy, life-of-the-party kind of person to make it big in this business.
David is the owner of MarketingBlogger.com, an interactive online community that provides support to thousands of small business owners through seminars, coaching, and informational products. He also founded AppreciateLife.com, where he shares inspirational videos to uplift and motivate viewers through the power of words, music, and images.
David calls himself "the reluctant networker" because, he says, he didn't want anything to do with the business when he was first introduced to it. Today he is a top income earner in his company, but what he is most proud of is that he is a great husband, father, and servant of people.
How did you get involved in your company?
Network marketing kind of fell into my lap the day one of my marketing customers sent me a product. It intrigued me, so I emailed him and asked some questions. An hour later he called me and I signed up in less than sixty seconds. I didn't even know there was a business opportunity associated with the product. All I knew was that I needed it.
Today, that person who signed me up is making six figures a year as a result of that short phone call. That may have been the most productive sixty seconds of his life, and that's one of the beauties of network marketing.
|With wife Ingrid on his Harley in front of his home in Houston, Texas.|
|Having fun with wife Ingrid, son Sterling and daughter Alina.|
|Training an excited team in San Diego with his Californian leaders.|
|With some of the powerful women leaders on his team.|
|Receiving several recruiting and team-building awards from the founders of his company.|
|With a student standing in front of one of the schools he helped to build in Kenya, Africa.|
|Displaying his collection of network marketing awards. The bald eagle is his company's symbol of achievement.|
|Working with church youth program and Boy Scouts.|
|With several of his young student friends in Africa.|
About six months after using my company's product in my own business, I had so much success with it that I called my sponsor and said, "Didn't you say I could earn some money from this thing?" I began showing the product to people I knew and they started signing up like crazy. I realized I was on to something. But I still wasn't interested in the multilevel aspect of the business.
I was making $5,000 a month from product commissions before I was willing to take a serious look at the whole income opportunity and attend a company event. I went with my arms folded because I thought it was going to be a bunch of hype. By the middle of the first day I was jumping on top of my seat, dancing and yelling with everyone else. The event truly changed me.
This taught me two lessons. First, you never know what someone is going to do with your product or opportunity. Your job is simply to show it to people, and if they want to join you, to get them started on the right foot. If you do that over and over again, you'll be successful in this business.
Second, always get as many team members as possible to live events. Live events change people by building belief and creating connections. Live events will do more to build your team members' performance than you could ever do by mentoring them yourself. Attending events can bring out the motivation inside your lukewarm team members and turn them into leaders that go on to build teams of thousands.
What was it like getting started?
This is my first and only network marketing experience. I've been in my company for six years now, and I can honestly say I have stumbled my way to success by making a lot of mistakes.
In the beginning, I had to overcome my ego, which held me back from following a proven program. An experienced marketer and ex-corporate executive, I thought I could do it better. I spent a lot of time on non-value-adding activities, such as creating fancy recruiting systems and slick marketing materials.
Another mistake I made was thinking I could automate my way to success. I learned that you can't rely solely on automated systems and tools. Autoresponders and online video systems can help, but they will never replace the live interactions and group events required to change the heart and grow the belief of a new distributor. Even the most motivated team members need the support and energy they get from face-to-face meetings and personal phone calls.
After I started signing people up, I began to see little checks coming in. I wasn't too impressed with them, but they slowly got bigger and bigger. Finally one day a member of my upline called me and introduced himself. He had me open up my back office and showed me the names of people who were joining my organization. I was shocked! I said, "Who are these people?"
He said, "They are joining your team—and each one of them is making you money."
Finally the lights came on, and I went full steam ahead. Today, those little monthly checks I used to receive have grown to surpass what I used to make in an entire year as a beginning management consultant with one of the Big Five firms.
What were some of your early successes—and failures?
I just loved the product so I told everyone about it. Shortly after I joined, I made a product presentation to a large group and signed up over 120 people in one weekend.
Unfortunately, I didn't call any of them afterwards. I didn't do any training or mentoring for them because initially I had no intention of building a network marketing business. I just wanted to sell the product because I loved it so much.
I now realize what a huge mistake that was. Helping new sign-ups get their first customer or distributor is critical. We sometimes say that you don't have a distributor until they bring in their first distributor. That's so true. You can teach someone until you're blue in the face, but until they take action and do it themselves, they'll never truly learn. I learned to help my new partners set small, obtainable action goals to launch their businesses.
Did your background in online marketing help you?
Today I use a mixture of high touch and high tech to grow my business. I meet and network with people face to face, and I also use a three-step online video system to introduce people to our opportunity. We let the system do the presenting for us, which appeals to many business builders who don't have time to spend their evenings doing live opportunity meetings. I'm extremely protective of my family time, so this system works well for me.
I also use live webinars to present our product and opportunity and automated webinars that run twenty-four hours a day. I can have hundreds of people around the world watching an opportunity presentation live while I'm sitting at home in front of my computer. Once a candidate shows interest, we call the person and talk one-on-one. We also urge the person to attend one of our live events as the next step in the enrollment process.
A great benefit of our company's product is that it has a strong appeal to business professionals. Most people who sign up to use our product are already successful business owners. Nearly every businessperson who sees our product recognizes the need for it. We hardly need to do any selling. After showing our product to people, I always ask if they know other business professionals who might need our product, and this naturally leads into a conversation about the business opportunity. Before I even mention it, I often get comments such as, "You mean I can make money referring this product to others?"
What are some success principles you teach?
First and foremost, to be successful in this business you need to focus on building a large network of people who like you, and find a way for them to remember you. I learned this from an audio program by Joe Girard. Joe was crowned the greatest salesman in the world by The Guinness Book of World Records for twelve years in a row. A car salesman, Joe said the secret to his success was getting people to remember you. That has stuck in my mind, and I've always tried to find ways to do that.
Joe got people to remember him by sending out a greeting card to everyone in his network every month. The card simple said, "I like you. Sincerely, Joe Girard." I've adopted this practice, and it works like magic. People immediately recognize me and thank me for thinking about them when I see them. It creates instant rapport. When I bring up my network marketing business, they are open to what I have to share.
Second, this business is all about finding your "aces," or people who have a compelling personal reason to do the business. They will become your leaders and will usually find a way to be successful, with or without your help. They are out there, you just need to stay in the game long enough to find them.
Third, the most powerful tool you'll ever have is your reason for doing the business, or what we call your why. Building a business isn't easy, and if you don't have a compelling reason that motivates you to keep moving forward every day, you'll struggle and perhaps quit. I carry my why statement on a small laminated card in my wallet everywhere I go. When I need some motivation, I take it out and read it. It energizes me and puts me back in action.
Finally, make your family your priority. My favorite quote is by David O. McKay, who said, "No success can compensate for failure in the home." I have that quote in a frame sitting on my desk. Although you have to make some sacrifices in the beginning to build momentum in your business, it should not engulf your life to the extent that you lose what's most precious to you.
How do you provide leadership?
First, lead by example. For the past six years I've been one of the top three income earners in my company, and for five of those six years I've been one of the top five team builders. If we want people to follow us, we need to earn their respect through our actions and performance, which always speak louder than our words.
I also make it a point to edify and support other company leaders. You can't be a great leader if you can't be a good follower. Stand by your company through the inevitable ups and downs. Show loyalty to your upline and company's leadership. The greatest leaders have the ability to inspire their teams to move forward even during difficult times.
The most common frustration network marketers experience is bringing people into the business only to watch them do nothing. Leaders know you can't motivate an unmotivated person. The best you can do is go out and find motivated people.
Leadership is about getting people started in the business, then finding the next person and help him or her get started. In my experience, you can't create leaders, you have to find them. Your leaders will step up and reveal themselves by their performance. When you find leaders who take responsibility, your business becomes infinitely more fun and you'll discover true freedom. Even though I have thousands of people on my team, my cell phone rarely rings. Most of my calls are from my wife and kids.
That said, I'm always looking to empower others. The most effective way to do this is by helping people see their potential through constant recognition and encouragement. My mentor and role model is the CEO of our company, Kody Bateman. Kody constantly recognizes and encourages those around him, and that's rubbed off on me.
Never underestimate the power of recognition and encouragement. One word of encouragement or one act of recognition could be all a distributor needs to unleash the leader within and begin a firestorm of activity.
What other skills and habits do you cultivate?
One of my key strengths has been my ability to become relevant and influential to a large group of people. The only reason I was able to sign up 120 people in one weekend was that for five years I had consistently worked on becoming a trusted advisor to those people. When it came time to recommend my company's product, they listened to me.
One way I build a following is through blogging. I love writing articles and creating training videos, which attract like-minded people who get to know and trust me. Today it's simpler than ever to create a blog where you can write about topics you are passionate about. Once people like and trust you, they'll be open to your suggestions about products and business opportunity.
Another great way to expand your network is to attend seminars and workshops. You'll usually meet a lot of highly motivated professionals with whom you can develop relationships. I've never attended a seminar where I didn't meet at least one person who ended up partnering with me in my business.
Last month my wife and I went on a cruise with 400 other business professionals. Three of the people we met have already joined our business. To grow your business, you have to get out, meet lots of people, and build your circle of friends.
Once you meet a person, you need to nurture the relationship by staying in touch. Keith Ferrazzi, in his book Never Eat Alone, calls it "pinging." I send out a monthly email newsletter, and whenever I meet someone new, I ask if I can add them to my email list. I also ask if I can "friend" them on Facebook. A third way to ping people, as I've already mentioned, is to send them greeting cards every couple of months, letting them know that you're thinking of them.
Inviting is another crucial skill every single networker needs to learn. It's one more activity you can control. You can't control whether someone says yes or no, but you can control the number of times you invite them to take a look at your opportunity. Raising that number should be one of your primary daily goals. Tom Schreiter has some great trainings on how to extend effective invitations.
If you develop a consistent habit of meeting people, staying in touch, and inviting them to take a look at your business, you'll be successful in this profession. It's that simple.
What do you like most about your profession?
I love the fact that you don't make money unless your team makes money. I used to be a senior vice president of a $500 million company, and whether we were profitable or not, I got paid my salary. In network marketing, if I'm not helping someone grow their business, I don't earn a dime. To me, that's the most honest and ethical business model I can think of.
I also love the social aspect. Some of the best moments I've had over the past six years have been times I've spent with my team members skiing, swimming, dancing, snowmobiling, or just hanging out. I love doing fun stuff and traveling to exotic places with my leaders and team members.
Another unique benefit of our business is the residual income you can create. Over 80 percent of my income is derived from customers using our products. Since we have a high retention rate, the residual income this generates has allowed me to do some extraordinary things.
I always dreamed of building schools for underprivileged children in foreign countries. When I served a two-year mission in Bolivia over twenty years ago, I saw many children living in desperate poverty who could not escape their circumstances because they had no school nearby or transportation. I vowed that someday I would do something about this.
Last year my dream became a reality when we attended the inauguration of a primary school in Kenya that I helped build for over 500 children who now have access to education. Right now, I'm helping to build a large high school for those children who are about to finish primary school so they can continue their education.
All these children live in extreme poverty in a refugee camp, and they now have a real chance of going to college and growing up to be leaders in their communities. This brings me great joy and satisfaction, and my network marketing business continues to make this possible.
It also has allowed my family and me to travel extensively. I typically spend up to three months of the year vacationing. I think it's healthy to let your team see you enjoy life and have fun. Both my wife and I are fluent in Spanish, and we enjoy traveling throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. One summer we actually sold our home and moved to Costa Rica. I wanted our children to experience another culture outside the United States. The coolest thing about traveling around the world is that my business has never skipped a beat. With the use of screen-sharing programs and services like Skype, I'm able to continue to grow my team anywhere I go.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude when I contemplate just how fortunate I am to be part of this exciting profession. I love having a career in which I get to help people fulfill their dreams. I love to work when, where, how, and with whom I like. I'm grateful for a business that continues to pay me whether or not I work this month or next. It feels incredibly liberating.