The Fearless Networker: Ben, you have a massive organization. How long have you been involved in Network Marketing?
Ben Sturtevant: Todd, I've been involved in the Network Marketing industry for 19 years and with my current company for 10 years where I've personally sponsored 685 people.
The Fearless Networker: You have an organization of over 40,00o. What was the biggest roadblock you experienced on your way to achieving success in building your business?
Ben Sturtevant: My biggest roadblock was confusing “being in the business” with time actually “building the business”. In other words, in my first few years in Network Marketing I spent A LOT of time going to meetings, listening to calls, learning the comp plan of my company, etc. In my first three years I probably talked to a total of 100 people and was very frustrated with my results. I finally overcame this challenge when I found Tim Sales’ “Pocket Tracker”. It assigned point values to income-producing activities and it saved my life in Network Marketing. It showed me that nothing was wrong with me, the company, product, compensation, etc. I just wasn’t doing enough income producing activities on a consistent basis.
Create a passion that burns so strong nothing will stop you. — Ben Sturtevant
The Fearless Networker: “Being in the business” versus “building the business” are two very different things and one in which many people have a struggle at one time or another. So, what is one piece of advice you'd give someone entering this business for the first time?
Ben Sturtevant: Have realistic expectations. Too many beginners expect everyone to see what they see and are frustrated when it doesn’t work that way. While some beginners expect their income to grow exponentially and they get frustrated when it doesn’t. Many beginners expect their team members to take their business as seriously as they do and get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. Beginners need to understand that it’s a business and to expect it to work just like one – where there are ups and downs, challenges, roadblocks, learning curves, etc.
The Fearless Networker: What is your suggestion to make one's Network Marketing business a lasting and successful venture?
Ben Sturtevant: Focus more on developing people and leadership than on money. People get so caught up with products, comp plan, the size of their company, etc. It isn’t about that. Passive income and lifestyle freedom comes from developing leverage in your team. Leverage comes from leaders that don’t need your help any more. Make it your focus to replace yourself as many times over as possible.
I would also encourage people to be smart with their money. If managing money is something you’ve never been very good at it then I would highly suggest taking some courses on financial management. Giving a lot of money to someone who doesn’t know how to hold on to it is asking for disaster. Don’t get caught up with all of the bling. Bling isn’t cool, total time and lifestyle freedom is cool!
Ben Sturtevant: Obviously the money has been great. But it’s the freedom that has been more rewarding. Having a passive income that completely pays for your lifestyle is something that one can’t describe. Being able to do what I want, when I want is an amazing lifestyle. And, being able to be a parent to my kids and to experience their lives rather than hear about their lives has been AMAZING.
The Fearless Networker: Looking back, what was your biggest fear as you started your Network Marketing career?
Ben Sturtevant: My biggest fear was being judged negatively by people. I was 19 when I started my career in Network Marketing so I felt that people wouldn’t respect me. I was a broke college kid so, why would they? I spent way too much time trying to professionalize everything the company offered rather than just sticking to a simple system. It hurt my results because I wasted way too much time trying to sell people instead of sort people. I overcame this when I finally realized that the people whom I was afraid of didn’t have the lifestyle I desired.
I received some great advice on a training early in my career that said, “Never take advice from people you don’t want to be like financially.” I took it a step further and said, “Never take advice from people who don’t have the lifestyle you desire.” None of those people had the freedom I wanted so why on earth would I care what they think?!
The Fearless Networker: Absolutely, be fearless! On that note, what recruiting strategies would you like to share?
Ben Sturtevant: A majority of my success in recruiting has come from the cold market, specifically marketing online and other direct response methods. I created a system for our team that was a process of sorting prospects. It didn’t matter if it was a warm or cold market. We drove our prospects to our system that weeded out the tire kickers. That meant, we were only spending time on the phone with qualified prospects.
There really isn’t anything new that people don’t already know about this process. We simply got good at creating interest and passing it on to the system and let the system do the educating. Each time we made contact with a prospect we would scale up the exposure. For instance, if the first contact on the phone directed them to a recorded overview online then the second contact would direct them to a live event (online or offline). The next contact may have directed them to a credibility call (three-way call). Each time we made contact, we tried to make the next exposure a bigger deal than before.
Ben Sturtevant: Creating an environment for training and development has been key to growing leaders on our team. We do this with live events, webinars, conference calls, recognition, etc. Creating our “Fast Start Launch” system has been vital. This is the training system that all of our new team members plug into when they join. It walks the new team member through the process of successfully launching their business.
The Fearless Networker: Over the years, what's the best piece of business advice you've received?
Ben Sturtevant: Never take advice from people you don’t want to be like financially. The late Paul Orberson said that on a conference call in 1997 (my first year in Network Marketing). I was literally on the verge of quitting when I heard him explain that if those people out there who are throwing around negativity don’t have the life that you want, then why on earth would you let them steal your dreams from you?
The Fearless Networker: If you could share anything that would impact the people reading this, the way Paul Orberson's statement impacted you, what would you say?
Ben Sturtevant: Treat this business like you’ve invested millions of dollars into it. Treat it like your life and the lives of your family depend on it. That’s the secret. Create a passion that burns so strong nothing will stop you.
The Fearless Networker: Ben, one last question for our readers…what's your absolute favorite business book of all time?
Ben Sturtevant: Wow, that’s a tough one, there are so many. But the one that has had the biggest impact on my business (and life) would probably have to be Jeff Olsen’s Slight Edge. I remember reading this book years ago and its concept changed everything. It FINALLY clicked…I can control the actions in my life by simply deciding to take control and take the right actions.
The Fearless Networker: I believe that's a great way to wrap up this insightful interview. Thanks for sharing Ben and continued success!