Originally from California, Raychel Stokes Small is a 38-year veteran of the network marketing profession. Together with her husband Glenn, she is building a global business from her home in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Raychel loves applying her experience to mentor, coach, and inspire others for success.—J.G.
Tell us a little about your background.
I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, nor did I carry one in my pocket. My mother, Rodjie Stokes, wholeheartedly believed in being an entrepreneur and I caught the bug early on, having had all kinds of business ideas since I was very young.
When I was 15, my mom joined a direct sales company and began selling plastic containers because she wanted to win a Country Squire Station Wagon for our family. I remember she would pack up a brown bag, take it to people’s homes, come back with orders, and then we would have huge boxes full of plastic arrive at our house. I was the oldest of five, so we would form an assembly line in our barn and each one of us, ranging in age from 6 to 15, would have a job to complete for packaging and delivery.
Needless to say, my mom made the rank—she received the station wagon and a bonus. What I saw was a way to get a free car and make money without working too hard. I never forgot this, and I became even more determined to be an entrepreneur.
Today my best friend and husband of 13 years, Glenn Small, works our network marketing business faithfully with me. We both hail from large families and every day we have the honor to impact even more people globally with a message of change, hope, and vision.
I’m also a Minister, and God has blessed us with a new ministry where we teach and help people to build legacies for their families.
Can you give us an overview of your network marketing career?
Over my lifetime, I have been a part of 20 different network marketing companies, ranging from home care, skin care, and makeup, to travel, clothing, and my favorite—health and wellness. From each I have developed and maintained many wonderful friendships. I believe each experience was a stepping stone allowing me to achieve the next leadership level and ultimately brought me to where I am today.
Learning from your experiences, being coachable, taking constructive criticism, and just knowing when to listen was challenging at times, especially when I was inexperienced. As I became more mature and seasoned in this profession, I came to realize that every day we can learn something from someone, somewhere, who has walked this path, and that I am never too old to increase my knowledge.
One of my biggest challenges was convincing my husband Glenn Small that network marketing was an income replacer, as this profession was new to him. Once we hit the six-figure-income mark, Glenn really caught hold of the dream, the vision, and the plan. He was hooked. I was able to retire him from his job in July 2016 and he is now taking on the world with his personal message that investing in yourself and in the network marketing profession is your best Plan B.
How do you build your team? What’s your daily mode of operation?
I believe in personal development, team and relationship building, and communication. I read about 10 books a month for personal development. This allows me to always bring something new and exciting to our teams for continued growth.
I communicate daily with my team leaders to strategize, motivate, encourage and inspire. We believe in system duplication and continually develop new leaders towards their goals. I have found that team building is a profound journey in communication. It constantly connects you with individuals who become an extension of your family and you get the opportunity to form friendships that can last a lifetime.
When I initially started, it was as though anyone who came within three feet of me had the name “prospect” stamped to their forehead. I would go after them and regurgitate my pitch, then wonder why people weren’t falling at my feet to join my business.
As I began to listen to other leaders, I learned that sharing my story was the best prospecting technique, because people don’t care about your company, your products, or your compensation plan. They have a relationship with you, they buy you, and you have about 10 seconds to grab their attention. These are some of the concepts I train others on today.
I also learned that conversation starters such as recognizing what people are doing, what they are wearing, or what we have in common, became a great way for me to connect in the cold market.
I enjoy mentoring, coaching, and inspiring network marketers through private or group sessions on many of the aspects I have learned along my journey. This includes creating and duplicating systems for retailing, recruiting, and social media.
R stands for Respect. In this profession, respect is everything. You have to respect people’s boundaries, their communication, their way of thinking, whether they are a business partner or a customer.
I is for Integrity. Your word, your lifestyle, your personality reflects you, and this is what people buy. Don’t compromise yourself, maintain your values, and people will follow you.
S represents Service. Customers are the heart of our business, and our business partners are its foundation. Always remember that the hand of service goes a long way. People can sense when you care about them.
E is for Enduring relationships. In our profession you will meet new people and the same people over and over. As people’s needs change, companies close, and new opportunities arise, building long-term relationships is key.
What’s your take on leadership and mentoring?
Leadership is sowing into others to see them cross the stages of success. I live by the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) factor, because if I help others get what they want, then what I want will happen. Success is all about the other person. There is no greater fulfillment in this profession than to see someone come in “green” and skyrocket their business to fulfill their wildest dreams.
I have been blessed with many mentors at various stages of my life. My first mentor was my high school band director, Charles Buck. He awakened the competitive side of me through fundraising activities, which pushed me passed every “No” I encountered.
Phillip “Kyle” Brooks was my first mentor in network marketing. He told me that whatever I wanted in life would not happen unless I first was ready for change. He also gave me a book that transformed me: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff—and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.
I continue to be empowered by many friends in this profession and am grateful to Cedrick Harris, Tiffaney Malott, Chanida Puranaputra, and others for sowing wisdom and leadership into my life. My family are my biggest mentors, because they always offer constructive criticism, support, and encouragement at every level in my career.
Today, my mentor and friend, Armand Puyolt, continues to challenge me to be the best “Me” possible, to always be in service of helping others to reach their goals, and to never forget your beginnings.
I find events such as the ANMP convention, Go Pro, and company events to be life-changing. I participate in webinars and online trainings and encourage my team to do the same.
What are your dreams and vision for yourself and your team?
Glenn and I have a vision to help people reach their dreams, goals, and desires globally. We are personally on a mission to impact 3,000 families by showing them a way to impact their communities in health and wellness and increase their monthly income by $1,000.
Building internationally is challenging because of the different time zones and language barriers, but we are finding solutions. For instance, we engage Google Translate to provide training in other languages. To help the hearing impaired, we try to cultivate closed captioning.
Glenn and I are grateful to God for having blessed us to the degree He has in this profession. Since I was a child I’ve wanted to be a philanthropist, and that dream still exists. Today I have big dreams to open up youth centers that provide hands-on learning experiences to prepare young people for entrepreneurship.
I would love to see network marketing professionals globally lock arms and embrace each other, regardless of our differences. We need to lift each other up and share our knowledge, not only to help ourselves, but out of respect for this profession. All network marketing professionals at varying levels have something to offer and learn from each other, regardless of which company they are in.
I live by, teach, and train on the acronym R.I.S.E., which stands for Respect, Integrity, Service, and Enduring relationships. Together we can make a difference, and network marketing is the most powerful vehicle we have to create social and generational change.