Keith Halls has been active in network marketing for over 30 years. He began his career serving as a senior vice president, original shareholder, and a member of the board of directors of a network marketing giant for over 15 years. As a distributor, he has built three international downlines of over 100,000 people. Keith and his wife Heather live in Utah with their six children and two grandchildren.
When Keith joined his current company in 2013, he was starting all over again at age 55. In 2014 he was awarded Rookie of the Year at the company’s annual convention. “I was very fortunate,” he says, “but it gave great hope to a lot of people who were a little bit older that you can get started any time, any place of your life and still succeed.”
Keith wanted to make sure others could duplicate his success. Being extremely well connected in the network marketing space, he told his wife and friends, “I’m going to try my very best not to recruit any network marketers.” He firmly believed that if he could show people who’ve not been involved in network marketing before how to succeed in this profession, that he would find a lot more success in the long run.
“It took me a little bit longer,” he says, “because I was teaching people who when you say the word upline look at you and ask, ‘What’s an upline?’ But it was fun, and I reached the highest rank in my company recruiting only people who are brand new to the profession.” Today Keith leads a growing international organization of about 120,000. “Of those, roughly 100,000 are product users, and close to 20,000 either have made it or are on their way to making it.”—J.G.
What made you leave the corporate world for the field?
First of all, I loved the corporate side. I had a wonderful 17-year experience with an incredibly great company, helping as it grew from a mere dream to a billion-dollar enterprise. After we went public in 1996, my financial security was pretty much guaranteed unless I really did dumb things with my money.
With that knowledge also came the fact that I had always wanted to become a distributor. When I left my job, many people thought I was absolutely crazy. When they asked why I would go out into the field, I would always give them my first reason. As Chief Financial Officer, I was signing—or stamping—checks for people who were doing quite well. I realized they had a check coming to them that was going to be residual for the rest of their lives. I knew that at some time in my life I would retire, and no matter how well that company treated me, I knew that after I retired I wouldn’t continue receiving a check. So my number one reason was to build a residual check for myself.
The second reason was to teach others how to build a residual check. I grew up in a small town in east Texas, and our family struggled financially. I remember when I was only seven, one night I said a prayer, “God, if you’ll help to take care of my parents, I promise I’ll give you everything...” First, I said “everything I ever earn,” and then I realized if I did that I’d be broke. So I said, “... half of everything I ever earn.” I also promised, “If you’ll help my parents, I’ll spend the rest of my life helping other people.” I knew that being on the distributor side would allow me to work one on one with people who are struggling, helping them with their financial life, no matter where they are.
We live in a world where so many people could use an extra $500 or $2,500 a month, and a residual check, so that they can prepare for and survive during retirement. I wanted to be able to help as many people as possible, because I knew what it felt like to be in a family that was struggling. I believe network marketing is the greatest business model in the world to help people.
From east Texas, how did you end up working for a company in Utah?
At the time I got my accounting degree, you had to work under a CPA so they could make sure everything you were doing was basically correct. After I finished that two-year period I left the CPA firm, almost to the day when I got my certificate, and went to work full time for the network marketing startup. I became one of seven original shareholders. I didn’t like working for a CPA firm, but I loved doing the accounting for my company. Part of the reason was there was excitement in the air. We were young and many people, old and young, were joining. We didn’t always have the money to hire everybody we needed, so all of us pitched in on just about every aspect of what was going on. Often after our day job we would help others hold meetings at night. Being a corporate executive and helping distributors nearly nightly was like holding two full-time jobs, but it was so much fun that no one complained. People would come in and say, “I don’t know what you guys have going on here, but it is so much fun, and we would love to be a part of it.”
Did you become a distributor right away?
No, I decided that would not be a good idea. There were a couple of reasons. I’d been an officer and board member. I didn’t want anybody to think there would be unfair advantages. When I left my corporate position, I made a clean break. I had to wait 18 months before I could sign up with any network marketing company. I waited 18 months, and then I joined a different company in 2002.
When I first became a distributor, for some reason I thought, after all this experience I bet people will just be ready to listen to me and join my team. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Those first months were probably the hardest months in my entire 30-year network marketing career. I went through hundreds of people telling me no, and after nine months my check was barely $200. I can remember adding up the checks and thinking, I used to earn more than this in a day. It just wasn’t working, until I started changing not only the way I was approaching my prospects but also how I interacted with my team.
With Mrs. Chanida and Mr. Kaneko at ANMP convention.
What do you attribute that to?
Even the best corporate executive probably knows only about 70 percent of what a distributor needs to know in order to succeed. When I moved into the field, it took me literally starting all over from ground zero and learning the profession. Fortunately the young company I joined had a good system in place. I had to finally swallow my pride and stop reinventing the wheel for success to come my way. I decided I had to do something different or go with my tail between my legs back to my job. I changed my approach and within one year my check grew from about $200 a month to over $100,000 a month.
I wrote a book called The 9 Rules to Succeed in Network Marketing. I credit a lot of my success to those nine rules. I would teach my team that if they would follow and make those nine rules part of who they were, and how they acted and interacted with others, that their chances for success would escalate immensely.
Too many network marketers think you have to sponsor thousands upon thousands of people in order to succeed. I realized rather quickly that instead of trying to go out and sponsor the world, if I could sponsor four or five good, strong leaders, and then spend my time doing anything and everything they needed in order to help them succeed, I would automatically succeed. That’s actually what happened.
During that year period I connected with a Japanese gentleman, Mr. Kaneko, who’s quite famous in the international network marketing space. Then I spoke with another leader from Thailand, Ms. Chanida. I told both of them, “I will do anything and everything to make sure you reach a million dollars in income before I do.” At the time I was still earning only $200 a month, so I had a lot of faith in my dreams and the Source that gave me those nine rules.
Within a year Mr. Kaneko came to me and said, “I’ve earned that million dollars.” It took Chanida about 18 months, but she came to me also and told me the same. They had truly succeeded, and in turn taught the rules to their team, telling people to adopt them as part of their business and life. If you plug into the system and follow these rules, you’ll know if you’re with the right company. Because, if you are, your business will take off.
How to choose the right company?
Number one is the product—it has to be so good that all you have to do is share it with another person and give your testimony of what this product has done for you. You don’t have to be a salesperson.
The second thing is you need to have a compensation plan that pays a person handsomely for their time, energy, and effort. Realize that those first few months you’re going to work a lot of hours, and you’re not going to receive a whole lot of money per hour for what you’ve done. As long as you stick with it, that will start to change, and you’ll be able to earn many times more than you ever dreamed possible. The compensation plan has to be such that not only you can earn the money, but more importantly your downline can earn the money, because if they earn it, you automatically benefit.
The third thing would be the integrity and experience of the corporate staff. Integrity means everybody knows that when their president or their CEO is speaking they can trust what they’re being told. Integrity is necessary to build the trust distributors need in order to go out and invest those many hours.
When joining a young company, also make sure it has the financing needed in order to truly get started. It costs money to buy the computers and inventory and to rent the space. Too often companies fail because they don’t have their finances together when they begin.
Training with Mr. Kaneko in Japan.
What kept you going during those first challenging months?
One key principle my parents had taught me is that in life you don’t quit. I can remember my mother telling me, “Don’t quit. If you mix hard work, determination, and a firm conviction to succeed, then more than likely those goals you have within will become a reality. None of that can happen if you quit.”
One of the bigger obstacles I’ve encountered was when I was in my 20s I discovered I had a brain tumor. They took one out, and in my early 30s, I had another series of operations. I have no idea why that ended up happening to me, but those health situations, though I would not want anyone to have to go through them, truly made me a stronger and better person.
When it was time for me to leave my first company, I had a brief stint with another company and was very fortunate. I had considerable success there, but by 2010 I was honestly a little bit burnt out on everything. I decided that I was going to truly look for the company I thought had the greatest potential, and it took me nearly three years to find my current company in 2013. It was a lot of fun, because everything I mentioned before about choosing a company came in play.
Just like with the other companies, I didn’t sponsor a lot of people. Instead, I went out of my way to try to make sure the people I did sponsor succeeded. Once you sign up a few people, I make sure (and teach my leaders) to have an at least weekly presentation call, as well as a weekly training call, with as many of my team members attending as absolutely possible. They in turn take that information and transmit it to their group of leaders. This way you can effectively “downline” the information.
I’m very big on systems, because I think they really help a person, team, and company succeed. I also teach everyone that you need to build a strong base of product users. It’s one thing to go out and recruit business builders; it’s another thing to go out and just recruit a product user. In most teams I’ve seen that are big in other companies, the majority of people end up being just product users. That’s why you have to keep teaching your team members and product users different facts about the product, because if you’re not constantly telling them why your product is so good, somebody from a different company can possibly come along and take them away. So that communication needs to happen continuously, with product users as well as business builders.
Who would you credit as your mentors?
Probably two people. One I already mentioned, Nobuhiro Kaneko from Japan. When I was in my first company, we became close friends. We tease each other that we’re twin brothers. We just haven’t figured out how the parent thing happened, but he has helped teach me more, not just about how to succeed in this profession, but also how to succeed in different countries and cultures. Sometimes I see people who spend lots of money to go to different countries hoping to succeed. He taught me a few rules that when implemented have helped me tremendously.
The other is my friend Tom Chenault. Tom teaches me over and over many things. He’s the type of guy I go to and just say, “I need help.” I bet we talk three or four times a week, and he leads me and guides me. Hopefully I can help him a little every once in a while.
With Tom Chenault and Scott Fardulis at company convention.
Being awarded by ANMP President Garrett & Sylvia McGrath.
What do you think of the future of network marketing?
Our future is incredibly bright. The reason I say that is more and more people are realizing that what we used to call the American dream just isn’t there anymore. If they want to find the type of success they’re looking for, they need to look into our profession, where they can own their own business, where they can leverage not only their time and effort, but the time, energy, and effort of others. More and more people are realizing how powerful that is, as well as the power of a residual check is. So many baby boomers are approaching the retirement age, and so few are ready financially.
If I had a million dollars in the bank, and I invested in a Treasury bill, earning about 2.5 percent, I would make $25,000 a year or $2,000 a month. What if we could help that same millionaire earn an additional residual check of $2,500, or not even a millionaire, whoever it may be, how powerful would that be for that person’s retirement? That aspect of network marketing is becoming noticed more and more, as people are looking at it. A long time ago it was almost embarrassing to most people to say they’re involved in network marketing. Now many people say it with great pride, because we’ve gone from the back streets to Wall Street.
Tell us what your day is like.
Usually when I wake up, I try to think and list five things I could do to be nice and/or help my wife that day. Maybe it’s doing the dishes, I don’t care what it is, but just think about five things I could do for her. Then I also have a piece of paper by my bed, and I think of the different people in my team who might need my help. Maybe there’s someone who’s struggling and could use a call. Maybe somebody else could use a congratulations call. I write down as many of these as I can. Then I reach out to lend a helping hand or to give congratulations. That usually takes me up until about 1 or 2 pm.
I try to set aside three hours a day to make sure I’m recruiting. To have credibility with the team, teaching them how to recruit, I need to make sure I am out recruiting new people.
I spend about an hour each day building what I call my belief system. I read books or listen to audios—everything I can find. I split them into four categories, learning more about either my company or another company; my compensation plan or another company’s; our products or another company’s; the fourth category is self-help books. After reading or listening for 45 minutes or so, I take notes.
I used to think I could remember all the wonderful things people had said in conferences or conventions, until I realized that wasn’t going to happen. The only way I could honestly do that was to write them down or record them, so now I have my own encyclopedia of literally thousands of different talks.
With two of his children in Tokyo.
With his wife Heather, Utah 2015.
When people call me asking for help, I can simply go into my database and say, “Let me explain that type of compensation plan and why that person or that company is experiencing success.” That knowledge also helps me to build a belief system in my company and in the profession. I used to print my personal database of content twice a year, but it became too big. Now I keep everything on a couple of different hard drives. This way I can help people who call with any question.
As much as I possibly can, I try to make 5 pm to 8 pm family time. We still have kids at home, and my number one responsibility, I believe, is to be a good husband and father. I don’t want any type of success to cause me to fail at being a father or a husband. That’s why I keep that family time.
After that, I’m oftentimes speaking on a webinar for a couple hours, or training people out in the field, or maybe I’m trying to help them recruit. That goes to about 10 pm. Because of my health issues through the years, I can only eat one time a day, so about 10 or 10:30 pm my wife and I sit down together to eat dinner, talk, and go to bed—and start the new day all over again.
Can you give us some rules for building in other territories?
A long time ago my friend Kaneko gave me an important insight. He said, “I don’t want you to be offended, but you need to know that when you come to Japan people aren’t jumping up and down thinking, ‘I want to be just like that guy from America.’ They’re not. They’re very proud of being Japanese. Their culture has been going on for thousands of years, and we have a culture of a few hundred years. Many people become quite offended if you try to turn them into Americans. They just don’t want to be.”
The next thing he taught me was to learn the basic belief systems that make up a culture or a nation. He said, “For example, some countries may be 90 percent Buddhist. Learn about Buddhism. Go buy a book. Study it so you will understand their belief system. You’ll also know the holidays, so that you can respect them. Find out about their culture so you can learn to appreciate it. If you do these few things, they will be so grateful that you took that time to learn about them before you were trying to get money from them.”
First seek to understand before wanting to be understood.
It all comes down to being kind to others. I’m not going to say I’ve perfected that, but it’s just been a part of me. I was taught as a child when we didn’t have a lot, how appreciative we should be when somebody helped us, no matter what it is. Just be so appreciative of the things that are done in kindness for you, and make sure you give twice as many acts of kindness back to others. I’m not sure I’d say I practice this principle perfectly, but that is my goal.
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