Sue Brenchley has a passion for offering people solutions and changing lives. A sevenfigure earner in a Utah-based wellness company, she leads a network marketing organization of over 200,000 people in 26 countries.
Sue got started in the business 25 years ago and became a student of the profession. In love with the unique products and leveraged income opportunity network marketing offers, she dedicates her life to sharing it with as many people as possible. She recently helped develop a state—of—the—art mobile app that will allow her international team to grow even faster. At the 2016 ANMP convention Sue became involved with the Responsibility Foundation where she now applies her passion to always become better and contribute more.—J.G.
How did you get started in life?
Growing up in a small town in northern Utah, I was the most unlikely person to ever succeed in network marketing. I was shy and socially challenged. My family struggled financially. As a child, I slept on a hide-a-bed in an unfinished basement because there were only two bedrooms in our house.
My mother’s mental illness caused me to grown up fast and take on responsibilities that were difficult as a teen. Looking back I recognize it was those challenging circumstances that drove me to ultimately succeed.
I excelled in school. I earned several scholarships and focused my life on education. I had that spark that is in each one of us—call it purpose, passion, or that drive to be and have more. I wanted a life that would allow me to do something bigger and make a difference.
I fell in love, got married, and had children. I didn’t plan on working, because I wanted to be a hands-on mom. I always wanted to have a home-based business, so we started a carpet cleaning business. I learned the hard way that owning a traditional business is expensive, takes enormous amounts of time, and that cash flow can be slow coming. Even though we needed more income, what brought network marketing to my attention was not the money, but a product that changed my life.
You were having health challenges?
Yes, my health had been gradually declining, and all the medical intervention I did wasn’t getting me better. I remember thinking one day, “I’m going to die if I don’t find a solution.” Shortly after that, I was having a conversation with a friend who had moved to another city about an hour and a half away. She started talking about a solution she had found to her health challenges.
I said, “Why haven’t you told me about this? You know I’m having those same issues?” She said, “There’s a meeting taking place this week if you want to know more.”
This was in the middle of the winter. I drove an hour and a half in a snowstorm to attend this meeting, and it changed my life. I was ready for a solution, and the magical thing about that meeting was that in two hours I understood more about health than I’d learned from doctors in 20 years.
I walked out with great hope. I told her, “I want to sign up.” She said, “I haven’t even signed up; I’m just a customer.” I said, “You better sign up, so you can sign me up, because I know people who need this product.”
I joined that night and bought extra product. Within three days it totally changed the course of my health and the path I was on. Within six months, my team had grown to 3,000 people.
What year was that?
That was in 1992, almost 25 years ago. My first company was a little startup in Idaho. I had never done network marketing, didn’t know anybody outside of Utah, yet my organization was transcending all that. I was simply meeting people and having conversations. One day someone from Canada joined our team and suddenly I had an international business. It was amazing.
I worked that company for a couple of years. Seeing how this was growing, I decided, “If I’m going to do this, I want to learn what I’m doing.” I was hungry and read all the books. I learned from successful mentors. One of my favorites was John Kalench. I went to his seminars and told him, “Teach me what I need to do to become good at this.” Some of my key people in that organization 25 years ago have gone on to become top leaders in other companies, and we have maintained our friendships.
Over time it became apparent that this company wasn’t dedicated to its distributors, so many of us transitioned to other companies. I had invested two years building a network that resulted in 12 years of residual income—not a bad way to start my career.
How did you transition to your next company?
The question is, “How did I go from accidentally stepping into network marketing to this being my life’s passion?”
Early on, as I had this growing organization of 3,000 people, all of a sudden the balance in my life was off. I had young children, I had a marriage, I had friends, and I had a part-time job at a pediatric clinic. My business had grown to the point where the phone was always ringing and people were calling me at work. My husband was feeling neglected. My children needed more time. What was I going to do?
My husband said, “You have to give up something. You either have to do this network marketing thing, or you have to focus on your job.”
I was very committed to the pediatrician I was working for, and at that time I had not really felt that network marketing was my life purpose. It was nice to make some extra income, but money wasn’t what motivated me. One day it dawned on me: I didn’t have a clear sense of what God wanted me to do. That night I said a very deep prayer, “God, what do You want me to do? What’s my life’s purpose? If I know what You want me to do, then I can do it.”
Did you receive an answer?
I went to sleep that night and had a vivid dream. I had died, and when I got to Heaven, the clouds parted, and the only thing waiting in Heaven for me were babies. Looking around, you could see hundreds of babies. One of the little babies walked towards me. I picked him up, and he said, “We all came to thank you for helping our moms have us.”
I woke up at 4 AM with this knowledge of how powerful this message was. At that time I was working with a product that helped women with hormone balance. These were women whose doctors had wanted to do hysterectomies, who had lots of infertility issues. I had experienced huge infertility issues myself, so I was very sensitive to the impact this product was having.
Before I had this dream, there were six women on my team who against all odds were now pregnant. The dream helped me understand the ripple effect of what we do. I knew in that moment that what I was teaching people, that they were then teaching someone else, and they were teaching someone else, could continue for generations. I quit my job that day.
And you never looked back.
I started learning as much as I could. In 1998 I had the opportunity of meeting with the founders of a new network marketing company. By that time I had the information, the passion, and the belief. I had the purpose of making this my life’s quest, of finding the best opportunities with the most incredible products and trying to help the most people.
My team grew quickly and I still get a residual income check from them. I haven’t missed one in 17 years now. That particular company was where I met my most important mentors. I was on the advisory council, learned from some of the best, and went to all the important events. I read every book Randy Gage wrote and became a high-level network marketing professional.
I believe our lives take us on journeys, and there are reasons behind those journeys. About four or five years into this, my father became critically ill and was terminal. I knew I needed to take a break to spend time with him, and I was so grateful for residual income and the ability it gave me to just take that time with my family. My father died, and then my sister died, and then my mother died—all within a year of each other. I had the better part of almost five years where my focus went from business to family out of necessity. I was still supporting my team, but I wasn’t in a growth mode.
When and how were you able to rekindle your passion?
After all the grieving, I wanted something new, so I went on a search. I struggled to find a product that would bring me alive like my first company did.
I found my current company in January 2009. Within two hours I knew I had found something that was going to change the world and improve lives. It was a product I could never get tired of talking about.
You know that feeling of having something that the majority of people don’t even know exists? That’s what makes the best network marketing companies. They have cutting-edge technologies or products that haven’t existed before.
When I hear distributors run into resistance or being challenged by people who have this negative idea of network marketing, I think it’s because they don’t understand the passion that comes with having a unique product. We exist because stories need to be told, and information needs to be shared. I look at myself as a servant educator, not a marketer.
Would you say you’re mostly product-driven?
Yes, but I also believe that the opportunity is our biggest product. I don’t have a problem talking to people about the lifestyle and the financial freedom. I like to call it financial dignity. Most people today are stuck in situations that are not meeting their needs. They’re financially upside down. I am just as passionate about healing the disease of poverty, and showing people that we have a product for that as well.
In network marketing there is this question, “Do you lead with the product, or do you lead with the opportunity?” My response is always, “You lead with what someone’s looking for, and until you know what that person is in need of, you don’t know what to invite them to.” When people are struggling financially, and you talk to them about a product, it’s not a good fit. Talk to them about a solution to their finances, which most people are in need of. I’m much more comfortable now teaching people how our opportunity is the greatest product that has ever hit this world.
You started over in 2009. Social media was emerging. Ecommerce was in full swing. How did you build differently?
To build this business, we need to understand the dynamics of duplication. There’s not one leader who built an organization; it’s always a team effort. Over the 20 years I’d been in the profession, I’d stayed in touch with many people I met, and even though we went in different directions and into different companies, over time we kept our connection and grew our friendship. Today with social media this has become even easier.
This business is about relationships, and you never know when the timing is going to be right for those relationships. Over time it was all about having the right people and relationships come into my business. If today I have a team of over 200,000 people in 26 countries, it’s not because I built it. My connections built it, and their connections, and their connections. It was a lifetime of building relationships that allowed all this to come together.
At the same time, you still need to have skillsets and knowledge. What started out with learning how to “fax on demand” and juggle long-distance phone bills evolved into using cell phones and all the amazing technologies we have today. Over the last few years we’ve been able to develop and implement some of the most technically advanced systems available.
Tell us a little more about the systems you are developing.
We have one of the most cutting-edge contact management systems with a virtual assistant that takes people through their own training process. In the past, you had to get on conference calls and attend meetings. Now all the training is available 24/7 via technology.
The platforms we’re putting together have four pieces: one’s the contact management system and the daily organization of your business. Then we have an app that lets you send a video or a document from your phone, without even having to log in. The next piece is social media.
People get a little confused about what they can and can’t say, and sometimes their social media behavior is putting their companies at risk. We have FTC and FDA compliance issues with people making claims and network marketing being scrutinized.
With the platform we’ve put together, we create the content and keep things under control. We even help people post at optimum times, while keeping the content fresh and compliant. If they use the wrong words, the system will either give them a warning, or stop them from posting. It’s the coolest thing on the planet.
Who created that for you?
A company called Turnkey Social that I’m working with. I helped them develop the communication platform while they already had the social media concept. I told them, “That’s going to help corporate, but it’s not going to keep our teams moving along and building the way they need to. It’s not going to make the difference in the growth of my business.” That’s when we came up with the foundation of the team communication. This is the fourth piece, which I believe is the most exciting.
It’s an app that allows my team to be totally connected. If anybody has a question, they simply ask it in the app, and the community is responding instantaneously. If I sign somebody up, and they have a question tomorrow, chances are everybody else who is new has that same question. Now instead of answering one person at a time, we’re educating everyone. And if somebody says something wrong, we catch it before it gets out.
When you come into the business, instead of getting overwhelmed, you are getting the day-to-day training straight through the app. Your daily training wakes up with you, and it doesn’t matter what day you start, you’re on Day 1 whenever you start.
Before, either the new people were holding the more advanced people back, or the advanced people were overwhelming the new people. Now they can learn a day at a time, and they know that tomorrow “I’m getting what I need.” We even have the app linked through APIs to the company so that when somebody rank advances or sponsors, it sends a notification straight to your phone.
How do you use social media to bring people in?
That’s my favorite part. We call it “QVC meets Facebook and network marketing.” It’s a Facebook-driven meeting system, where you have a presenter who is doing the meeting, but your invitations to the meeting are linked to your personal company website. During the meeting, the screen is interactive with purchasing options and specials. You can walk people right through the signup process while they’re in their homes on their computers or on their phones. If they’re ready to make a purchase, they click and everything connects automatically.
Imagine what happens next. We’re open in 26 countries and pushing into the next 30. This comes with significant challenges, including all kinds of language and logistical issues. If I have to fly to Germany or Japan to build my team, that takes a lot of time and money. Now we can do meetings online internationally in the local language, and our associates can promote those meetings with confidence, because anyone they invite is connected to them electronically through the invitation, as is anyone their guests forward the invitation to as well.
I’m passionate about the fact that network marketing is a belly-to-belly relationship business. We don’t want technology to take over what we need to do from a personal contact standpoint. However, this is going to make the sorting process much more efficient. When we open a country, now the entire field has the same ability to extend invitations they would have never been able to make before, because they couldn’t fly there and stay connected with their contacts.
What a change from where you started!
It really is. I just turned 60 this year, and I love the fact that thanks to technology, anybody can do this business, regardless of their upbringing, age, what they look like, or what nationality they are. They can start with nothing. I went from being that little girl in the basement who just wanted more, to now making seven figures a year. That’s almost surreal to me.
I am beyond grateful every day—because I’m not special; I said yes to an opportunity and I didn’t give up. I did what it took long enough for this to change my life. Hearing other people’s stories of where they started, I know there is no person who has succeeded in our profession who didn’t struggle in the beginning. Looking back, we see there’s always purpose in the struggle.
What draws people to you?
I’d like to think of myself as the people’s networker. I make it about them, and I make others feel I’m one of them. I’m approachable. People who get started often feel disconnected from those who are successful.
When I have conversations with people, I’m real with them. I try not to preach at people. I’m probably not as energetic as some, but I come from my heart. When I speak at events, it’s always interesting to see who I connect with. I love it when people say, “I believe I can do things because of you.”
This business is built on grassroots, and sometimes we focus too much on all the success at the top. We tend to forget that without the grassroots, we don’t exist. Sometimes new people get crushed by some of the behavior at the top, and things happen that take away their hopes.
I can say I put 100 percent of my effort into solving problems for the grassroots people to be successful, rather than making this about me or my leaders. People are competitive by nature. Human beings want to become more. They want to believe. Our whole culture in our company is set up around the motto “Believe, belong, become.”
We keep that as our focus. Network marketing isn’t about the transactions; it’s about relationships and making the world better.
Pee Wee Harrison & Tyrone Hollywood Brown presenting Every Kid Votes
You’re purpose-driven—and the results take care of themselves.
I call the financial goals your scorecard, and you have to know your score. You cannot help people if you don’t have resources. Sometimes people ask me, “Why don’t you retire?” My answer is, “You don’t understand. I do this out of passion.” Just because I have enough money doesn’t mean that somebody isn’t hurting and needs my product or my opportunity.
Most people in this world are simply trying to survive until they can retire so they can stop doing what they don’t like. I will never retire, and I will never stop loving people. If you look at the most successful network marketers, they genuinely love to contribute. Our life has a finite amount of years, and the longer I live, the more passionate I become, and the more I want to do.
That’s why earlier this year at the ANMP convention I became involved with the Responsibility foundation. At the top of my reading list has always been Man’s Search for Meaning. I was 25 years old when I first read that book and really understood the depth of what Dr. Victor Frankl had endured and experienced, and the vision for humanity that came out of that. When I heard the whole story on stage of the timeline with Steven Covey, and how this foundation started, and how the Statue of Responsibility has been years in the making, I just had goosebumps. It was one of those out-of-body moments where you just go, “I’m all in.”
What went through you mind when people started bidding on the statue?
At first I thought, “I’m never going to get this.” Then all of a sudden I realized, “No, I am getting this!” Then I found out that the sculptor, Gary Lee Price, lives in Utah. He took my statue back and engraved it. When I went down to their studio to pick it up, what I thought was going to be a 20-minute conversation turned into a four-hour meeting. I went home knowing I’m going to be a big part of this movement.
It has now evolved into the reality that we are doing a big fundraiser in November at the Grand America. I’m involved in the committees. The foundation has become a daily part of my life, even to the point where the app I had spent two years building for my team, that same app is going to be used to get the word out and educate people about the foundation.
I went back to the developer and said, “I’m going to ask you for a favor. This is something really big, and I need you guys to donate the app to the foundation to get the word out,” and they did.
Drive for Responsibility departure from Utah headquarters to NYC and Washington DC
How does the app work to grow the foundation?
When you wake up in the morning and look at your phone, you find the people who don’t know about the foundation yet—contacts in your phone, anybody you talk to during the day—and you simply ask them, “Have you heard about the Statue of Responsibility?” Most people are going to say no. Your next step is, “I’m so excited I get to share this with you. I’m sending you a video you will love.” Everybody who gets the link can then download the app and share it with others.
This fall we have the Drive for Responsibility across the United States, with former Harlem Globetrotters, Pee Wee Harrison and Tyrone Hollywood Brown, driving to every state on their way to the Statue of Liberty, where every kid votes on November 1. The app lets users share social media posts, so that by the time our celebrity partners arrive in New York, we might have a flash mob.
Over the next four years, everything is leading up to the building of a monument on the West Coast, but the stories behind it and the celebrities who are getting involved are making this into a movement. The app allows people worldwide to connect and donate to the Responsibility Foundation. It will drive communication and people will be able to ask questions. Again, as with our network marketing meetings, the app allows us to have online meetings where people will be able to donate right on their screens through the invitation process.
I feel like a child on Christmas morning. Everything I’ve dreamed of is coming together. Every day is a gift and an opportunity to serve and grow. Network marketing has transformed my life and enables me to live my purpose. I used to live in a 600-square-foot home; I now live in the 11,000-square-foot home of my dreams. The girl who dreamed of more is now making history by building this monument, while helping people around the world.