Leslie Hocker and Ron Forrester have a passion for helping people grow and achieve their dreams. They chose to dedicate their lives to network marketing because they believe it is the greatest environment for personal development—and they love the ripple effect this can have throughout an individual’s life and an organization.
Leslie and Ron’s network marketing careers began twenty-seven and thirty-three years ago, respectively. Based in Texas, they were fortunate to work with and be mentored by legends such as Zig Ziglar, John Kalench, Tony Robbins, Paul J. Meyer, and Jeff Olson.
Both Leslie and Ron had experienced significant success in the business before they met. What brought them together as business and life partners was their common focus on growing people and relationships before growing the business.
Today Leslie and Ron are dedicated to passing on the success principles they have learned to people who are ready to hear them. Having built multimillion-dollar organizations in the U.S. and Europe, they work closely with other leaders, helping them maximize effectiveness and become master achievers.
Partners in business and in life.
Ron having fun training business partners in Massachusetts.
Leslie with sister Hilary and brother Craig.
Getting Started Right
In the early eighties, Ron was a pharmacist working in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A gentleman by the name of Bill Britt had been trying to recruit him, but for seven years Ron had refused to listen.
“I had a head problem,” says Ron. “It was called, I’m a pharmacist, for God’s sakes!”
He didn’t pay any attention to Bill’s opportunity. At one point, after he had been working over seventy hours a week for a year and a half without a day off—and barely seeing his children—he finally decided to go see Bill.
Bill had just bought two mansions; the purchase was written up in the Chapel Hill newspaper as the largest Chapel Hill real estate transaction ever. Ron remembered that when he had first met Bill, he’d lived in a tiny little house.
“This got my attention, so I went to talk to him,” says Ron. “I asked him three questions, which I still address in my presentations today, because they are what every new person is wondering: What do I have to do? How long do I have to do it? How much money will I make?”
Bill started training Ron right then and there.
“Bill clued me in early on that people start learning the minute you make contact with them,” says Ron. “And if you do it improperly or incorrectly, they’re going to turn around and do the same thing.”
To this day, one of the most important points Ron stresses in his trainings is how to make a correct first contact and start people off properly.
To Ron’s first question, Bill simply replied, “All you need to do is hand out a cassette tape like this to two people a day. You cannot control results, but you can control your activity. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we do know that the tools work 100 percent correctly, 100 percent of the time.”
Bill’s next statement was what hooked Ron.
“You don’t have to create anything new here, you just follow the system.”
Immediately Ron could picture himself having the same success as the people who went before him and developed the system.
Next he asked Bill how much money he would make.
Bill answered his question with another question: “How much time do you have to spare?”
“Right there was another concept I’ve used my whole career,” says Ron. “Spare time, not part time. Part time connotes another job. Spare time means two, three hours here, fifteen minutes there, twenty minutes over there.”
Ron told Bill he was working over seventy hours a week, not including his commute, and that he could spare five hours. He would give up basketball—going to the arena for live games and watching reruns.
Then Ron asked, “If I work five hours a week, can I reasonably expect to make $500 extra in five or six months?”
Bill said, “Absolutely. You see, Ron, the system is perfect; it’s the people who aren’t perfect. Anybody who works the system is going to have success—as long as they don’t stop.”
Bill then asked Ron to attend one marketing meeting a week.
Ron says he made the best decision of his life that day: he decided to stick around and see how far he could take it. Five months later, he held a check for $500 in his hand, and two of the people he had recruited the first month also had checks for $500.
With partners and leaders at leadership academy in Houston.
Systems and Stories
Ron continued to work five hours a week. At the end of three years, at age thirty-six, he was making three times more in his spare-time business than at the pharmacy, so he retired from his job.
“The biggest secret to this business is, you’ve got to let the compounding take effect,” he says. “You don’t have to do a whole lot, but you have to do it consistently. From the beginning, Bill Britt taught me a few concepts that were so simple I could easily teach them to new people.”
In addition to teaching simple principles, Ron believes in using allegories, because, he says, our brains are engineered to remember stories better than facts. To drive home the importance of following a system, for instance, he likes to ask people, “How do you go through a minefield?”
The answer he usually gets is, “Very carefully.”
He then gives people his answer: You follow someone.
“Every single new thing you’ve ever done in your life was a minefield for you,” he explains. “You had no idea how to do it; you didn’t know what problems would arise.
“Take me, for example. The day I decided to be a pharmacist, I had a two-tiered minefield to cross. First, I came from the wrong side of the tracks. My mom’s family were tenant farmers and my dad’s family were textile workers. I’m the first person in my family ever to go to college. When I went to university, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. My advisor took me by the hand and said, ‘Ron, this is what to do and this is how do to it.’ After the required years of following that system, I had the exact same success others did and graduated with my degree.
“When I got my first job, I had a second challenge: again, I had no idea how to do it. Somebody had to take me by the hand and say, ‘Ron, this is what to do and this is how to do it.’ By following that system, I became a successful pharmacist. This is the way everybody attains success, no matter in what area.”
Ron warns people against bringing their creativity to the business to replace the system.
“Add about 10 percent of yourself to it,” he says. “My strength lies in my stories. That’s how I add my 10 percent—but I still teach and use the proven system.”
Another way Ron playfully engages people is when they are afraid of contacting others, he tells them he is going to sponsor a nocontest.
“I want you to go out and get me one hundred no’s by Saturday,” he says. “Then I want you to go home and strip naked in front of your bedroom mirror, and turn around and around. You will see there is no blood; the no’s did not hurt you.
“Whenever you let a no stop you, you’re putting your financial future in somebody else’s hands. Do you really want them controlling your financial destiny?”
Over the years, Ron has always worked within a success system using what he had been taught. Fascinated with what made the business work, he interviewed successful leaders from different companies to learn about their success secrets and incorporate the best of the best into his methods.
In 1990, he met Leslie through a new company he had joined.
Leslie had been introduced to network marketing by her next-door neighbor in the early eighties. Working in the oil industry in Houston at the time, she understood passive income because she was used to receiving overrides on those oil or gas wells that produced.
“As most people my age, I was raised to go to school, get a good education, and get the best job I could find,” she says. “At age twenty-eight, I realized I was working ‘eight to faint’ and getting paid eight to five. I couldn’t see myself doing this for much longer; I knew there had to be more to life.”
Having been an athlete in college, Leslie also had a love of health and nutrition. An entrepreneur at heart, while still working full time she opened up a Pilates studio in 1984, an experience that taught her about the importance of right timing. Pilates was still largely unknown and she learned that “if you have to educate people to a need, it’s going to be a tough sell.”
Looking for better health and a better life, Leslie started a side business in network marketing. In 1986 she was laid off from her job and went full-time.
“My degree in business had taught me nothing about building a team or coaching people, or even how to evaluate a company,” she says. “Fortunately, through my company I met the late John Kalench, who taught me how to develop people. I also met Tony Robbins, who at the time was a distributor leading seminars for thirty to forty people.”
Leslie began working with Tony to learn more about herself. She helped him promote his seminars and became certified as a trainer, but when faced with the choice of starting a franchise as a trainer, she decided against it.
“I realized I was building Tony’s dream,” she says. “I also discovered that his approach, which is based on NLP, is only one piece of personal development. I didn’t want to limit myself to one tool to help people grow. I chose to stick with network marketing, because it gave me a chance to help more people and create a more long-term ripple effect.”
When Leslie and Ron met, they were cross-line from each other in Leslie’s second company. In order to promote Ron as a trainer, this company sent out glossy flyers with pictures of Ron and his success story in each starter kit. New distributors would contact Ron and say, “I don’t have any confidence in the person who signed me up. Can you please sponsor me?”
Ron would tell them, “I don’t do that—but here’s what I can do. I will give you an hour of my time each week to teach you how to do this business—but you’ve got to call me.” He received few return calls.
One day he took a call from a woman in New Orleans who seemed serious about wanting to be mentored. When Ron got off the phone, he called the home office and found out she had been in business for one week and that her sponsor was a new distributor in Leslie Hocker’s organization.
Ron had heard of Leslie, so he called her and said, “I think you should call this lady, she could be significant in your business.”
Leslie followed his advice and in a short time the lady became an Executive Director, which made Leslie a National Marketing Director.
This was the relationship foundation Ron and Leslie built, based on trust and collaboration. In 1993, when their company stopped operating in the U.S., they started working together as business consultants. As their friendship developed, they started dating, and they got married in 1998.
With mentor and company founder Jeff Olson.
Ron and Leslie with some of their leaders in Nashville.
At one point Ron helped Leslie launch a health product in a network marketing company and they went on to build an organization together in that company, all the while continuing to coach and train for other companies.
Leslie established herself as Biz Coach Leslie, specializing in helping network marketers reach the next level of success.
In the mid-nineties, Ron and Leslie met Jeff Olson and the late Paul J. Meyer and began working with them.
“Together with John Kalench, Jeff and Paul became my primary mentors,” says Leslie. “Paul is the grandfather of personal development. He taught me to work with the strong and make them stronger. This is an important concept, especially for women, who tend to want to reach out and help those who need it, instead of working with those who are having success and making the whole organization stronger.”
Ron and Leslie also became avid students and followers of Jeff Olson, bestselling author of The Slight Edge, and his 10 Core Commitments for network marketing success.
“Jeff epitomizes what everybody is looking for in leadership style and work ethic,” says Ron. “He came out of corporate America in 1988 after achieving a top management position with Texas Instruments. He had also established his own solar-energy company in New Mexico and quickly overtook every competitor because he was extremely innovative and had a long-term vision. When he joined network marketing, he applied everything he had learned about systems and blew by all the other top earners in his company in record time.
“Jeff has the ability to teach in a way that everyone can understand, taking everything down to the lowest common denominator so that everybody can do it.”
In 1996 Jeff Olson started a new company that sold personal development programs via a satellite channel, essentially creating a 24/7 positive television experience. However, the network marketing model outpaced the satellite company’s ability to supply, so the company was merged with another; the resulting company is still recognized as one of Jeff’s greatest success stories.
In 2011 Olson and his longtime friend Dennis Windsor approached Leslie and Ron about a revolutionary new product and personal development company he was launching. They jumped on the opportunity to work with their mentor and became some of the company’s founding distributors. Thanks to Jeff’s vision and leadership, they were able to build an organization and income three times faster than they had ever done in the past.
“Another factor in our success is that we focus on developing people,” says Ron. “That’s something Leslie and I have always been passionate about, because we know it works. We define success as helping others become better people. We’re more interested in the person than we are in the business.”
Working as a Team
What makes it easy for Ron and Leslie to work as a team is they both love what they do and they share the same work ethic.
“We enjoy helping people and work until we get it done,” says Ron. “We are self-starters and we don’t quit at five o’clock. Although we love traveling and training as a couple, part of our strength is that we often travel separately to train in different places. We know we can rely on each other to do our best to help our team members while advancing our business, and we never have to second guess what the other person is doing.”
Another trait Ron and Leslie share is that they are extremely focused on assisting new distributors in creating their first success.
“Unfortunately,” says Ron, “many networkers think that when they recruit someone into the business, their job is done, and they move on to the next person. We call this slinging mud on the wall—and it doesn’t work.
“Who is more valuable to you, the person who has already made the commitment to join you, or the ten people you might get next week? If you start people off right, you will most likely keep them in the business for at least long enough to make a difference in their lives.”
To be effective sponsors, Leslie and Ron work closely with new recruits until they build their income up to several thousand dollars a month.
“We don’t just sign them up and say, ‘Okay, here’s your kit, go to work,’” says Ron. “We take them through the new distributor training, making sure they attend all training calls and live events. We find out what their why is, because nothing is going to keep them involved in this business more than knowing why they’re doing it.
“We give them a game plan and get them started on personal growth so that they develop confidence in themselves and are able to hear ‘no’ and see that there’s no blood.”
Next Ron and Leslie help new distributors organize ribbon-cutting ceremonies, where they announce their goals and intentions for the business to family and friends. This consists of a small home party where they invite eight to ten people, usually within three to five days of signing up.
Ron and Leslie also help new team members make their contact list. To avoid the common I-don’t-know-anyone objection, they tell the new person, “Take out your mobile phone. I want to make sure you’ve got my phone number so you can get in touch with me at the drop of a hat, anytime you need me. Put my numbers in there. Oh, and while you’ve got it out, give me the names of at least two people you know. Then, give me the contacts of the last ten calls you made, the last ten calls you missed, and the last ten calls you took.” Right away this generates a list of thirty-two names.
Next Ron and Leslie show people the company’s product overview and communications system.
“We’re using cutting-edge technologies, including the texting blast, which is very effective,” says Ron. “We also use email, even though nowadays people don’t open their emails as much as they used to. Our company uses a lot of video and other advanced features as part of its communications system. We can now conduct our entire business on our smartphones.”
After the initial training, Ron and Leslie continue to do twenty- to thirty-minute individual training sessions on a daily basis with a chosen number of people each month.
Snorkeling with whale sharks in Cancun.
Enjoying a romp in the park in Austin.
Back to Basics
According to Ron, success goes back to the fundamentals.
“Vince Lombardi would always start off the football season, no matter how good his players were, by telling them, Gentlemen, this is a football. Jeff Olson says you need to become a master of the mundane. When I ask people what the word mundane means, they usually say, ‘Boring, the same thing over and over.’ I tell them, ‘You can look at it that way, but what it really means is you become a master of something you’re going to do over and over, and the way you keep it from being boring is to challenge yourself.’
“Tiger Woods doesn’t play any other golfing opponent; he plays himself to see if he can be better this week than he was last week. Leslie and I do the same thing. We try to be better each time we show up to present or train.”
“One of the challenges we have in starting up a new company,” says Leslie, “is that after all these years, our peers and business contacts are all top performers in their companies. Today we mostly work with a fresh list of absolute beginners; eighty percent of our team members have never been involved in network marketing before. To keep ourselves anchored to what brand new people are running up against, we have to go back to the basics of our business, which is connecting with people and talking to more people.
“At the level we work,” says Ron, “we could easily get bored saying and doing the same thing over and over. When people call us to ask us what to do next, we tell them, go do it again, learn to do it better. Start over as if you’re doing if for the first time. If you’ve passed your qualifier this month, push for your next rank as if you’re going to make it. Even if you don’t think you can reach the next level, keep pushing for it anyway.”
As more and more people use Facebook to connect and communicate, Ron tries to help them understand the power of the telephone. He has a sign on his wall that says, Every person you don’t ask is already a no. He asks people, “Do you want to keep the no, or do you want to take a chance?”
When someone comes to him with a problem, he asks the person, “If you didn’t have this issue, where would you be? Would you be growing? As Jeff Olson says, ‘The size of the problem you can solve is the size of the person you are.’ If you don’t have problems, you’re not growing.”
Ron loves to illustrate the transformative power of the business with the story of a thirty-eight-year-old African American he recruited in 2002. The father of four teenage boys living in downtown Detroit, he was working as a cable layer for Comcast, making $1,500 a month.
He asked Ron, “If I do this, do you think we can get rid of my credit card debt?”
Ron replied, “How much credit card debt are we talking about?” He expected the man to say $50,000 or $70,000.
The man told Ron, $2,000, and added, “Do you think we could get rid of that in two years?”
Ron said, “If you do what I teach you to do—and I assure you, it will all be moral, ethical, and legal; it will just be a simple system—if you’ll do it, then you can get rid of that in two years, certainly.”
Next Ron taught him how to contact a prospect, how to do three-way calls, and how to recruit someone, using a baseball diamond as an illustration of the process.
“First thing, you’ve got to get on first base. How do you do that? You give somebody a tool. How do you go to second base? Follow up and hand them off to a third-party expert. How do you get to third base? The third-party expert invites them to an event. How do you get them home? Somebody at that live event brings them in.”
Within six months, the man was out of credit card debt and two years later, he called Ron up and said, “I think I’m ready to make my ‘well’ call.”
“What do you mean?” said Ron.
“I want to tell my boss I’m doing so well that I just can’t see myself working for him anymore.”
At that point he was making $4,500 dollars a month, three times more than he had ever made in his life. Another two years later, he was making $12,000 a month.
Ron and Leslie feel grateful for these kinds of stories and for the number of people they have been able to help.
“The financial opportunity of our business gets people in—and then we begin to change their lives,” says Ron.
“We believe network marketing is the last bastion of free enterprise. The more people we can affect, the better off we’re going to be, in this country and in the world.”