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Chances are you know Brett Nordin as the author of Network Marketing Survival Secrets, but there’s so much more you may not know. Brett is an Engineer, a highly successful international business developer, Network Marketer, parallel entrepreneur and father of two boys.
Brett’s industry experience ranges from semiconductors, capital equipment, software, consumer retail products, ecommerce and financial services. He has recently come to be recognized as an expert in the area of marketing for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
After initially failing in the Network Marketing industry, Brett was determined to succeed and spent a small fortune studying under two superstars of small business development. From those teachings, Brett implemented a method of sales and marketing that was well-known to the small business community but largely missed by Network Marketers.
Along the way, Brett coined the phrase parallel entrepreneur to describe people who operate a business in conjunction with a full-time job or operate multiple businesses at the same time. The needs of a parallel entrepreneur are unique because time and resources are extremely limited. To cope with these constraints, Brett found his way on the internet where he has experienced explosive growth implementing robotic sales and marketing systems.
Brett is on a personal mission to transform the Network Marketing industry by giving away his experience and know-how with the hope of creating a few more successful network marketers. In December of 2008, Brett released Network Marketing Survival Secrets as a free blueprint and success guide for Network Marketers around the world.
Q&A with Brett:
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I was an Engineer by education and spent my first 12 years after school in the corporate world. During that time my life was spent in clean rooms, meeting rooms and cubicles. Looking back I never realized how toxic the corporate environment was to my health and well being. My eyes were always blood shot, my weight constantly fluctuated and my hair was slowly turning gray.
I busted my hump flying all over the world, worked 12-14 hour days, missed out on my first child’s infancy and was being told by my peers that I was really accomplishing something, that I was “living the dream”. But I remember having a defining moment…I was stuck in a hotel room in Greece and I was completely exhausted, stressed out and had absolutely no one to turn to. I said to myself, “What the hell are you doing?”
I had come to my own conclusion that my career wasn’t worth the sacrifice. And, when I came home, there was no turning back. At some level in my mind a decision had been made to change my life. At the time I didn’t know what that was going to be, I just knew that what I was doing would eventually kill me.
What led you to Network Marketing?
I’m not shy to say that over 15 years ago I absolutely hated Network Marketing. So I laugh quietly now that I’m neck-deep in the industry. You can approach Network Marketing in a manipulative way or a persuasive way. I was introduced to more of the manipulators early-on and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Over time I educated myself on what Network Marketing was really all about and the way to run an ethical and transparent business.
The big turning point for me happened in 2003. Have you experienced a moment when you suddenly hear your calling or your mind crystallizes your passion? That moment in Greece, when I was completely broken down, was also the moment when two worlds collided inside my head. That was the moment I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Or at least I wanted the benefits of being an entrepreneur.
The only problem was I didn’t have the first clue how to go about it. The most obvious thing for me to do was consult for the companies I had worked for in the past.
So I quit my job and set out on my own. But I quickly discovered I was just ‘playing business’. As a consultant, I was an hourly employee instead of a salaried employee. I wasn’t creating a product or scalable business and would still be a slave to the grind but with a different business card.
When I was first approached by a friend about Network Marketing, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to take a risk and really come into my own as an independent business owner.
To be completely honest, I’ve been told that I’m somewhat of a strange breed. “A technical person that also has creativity and street sense.” I would consider myself adventurous and a little bit of a risk taker. I like to dissect and learn things inside and out before I start really implementing. So the first thing I did with my shiny new Network Marketing business was read the company sales manual to learn the sales formula:
1. Make a list of all the people you know, including friends and family.
2. Call and meet with all the people on your list.
3. Present the product and business opportunity.
4. Continue this process until you reach “no”.
5. To build your list further, attend networking functions and discuss the business opportunity with everyone you come in contact with.
Little did I know that this “formula” had nothing to do with marketing - it was simply the easiest way the company management knew how to generate some fast results from people that didn’t have a clue. If the distributor was able to sign-up a few friends, it was considered a victory.
It’s well known that you weren’t successful the first time around. What went wrong?
Eventually the sales formula I was taught left me broke and I had to exit the business. For someone that had been on a professional winning streak since the day I started out of school, this failure was a huge blow to my ego.
With my tail between my legs, I put Network Marketing on the back burner for a while and tried to reassess what went wrong. I saw other Networkers being successful in the same business and thought - “What do they have that I don’t?”
I went searching for the answer and it led me to discover small business sales and marketing methods that would change my approach to Network Marketing.
Who influenced your approach to sales and marketing the most?
During one of my consulting arrangements I was lucky enough to meet a brilliant marketer by the name of Joe Polish (www.piranhamarketing.com). Joe, of all things, teaches the carpet cleaning industry how to market their services. He is the largest marketing coach in the niche. One of the things Joe always reinforces is, “If you can persuade someone to buy carpet cleaning, you can persuade someone to buy anything.”
Joe really opened my eyes to the world of Direct Response Marketing using trust-based and education-based selling tools. Educating someone on how to buy whatever you are selling is the most powerful way to build trust and a feeling of reciprocity. You are giving the buyer transparency, not selling. Once I learned this basic principle, my approach to Network Marketing completely changed.
Joe introduced me to another exceptional coach by the name of Dan Sullivan. Dan is the creator of an entrepreneurial coaching program called, The Strategic Coach™. It wasn’t cheap, but I enrolled in Dan’s course for business development but also to see how a highly successful information marketer runs a business. I was drinking the Kool-Aid but also seeing how the Kool-Aid was made. Dan is another innovator and product genius. I learned how ordinary information can be packaged in a way that it becomes highly valuable stuff people would pay a lot of money for.
Between Joe and Dan, I discovered how to take a one-man-show and turn my knowledge and experiences into a scalable global business. Selling offline presents problems that are geographically limited. You can mail, call or advertise. All of these strategies are too expensive and time consuming for Network Marketers, especially part-timers.
The missing link was how to use the internet as a low-cost delivery system. The initial concepts I learned were largely based on principles from the direct mail industry and print advertising world. The concepts are universal - the marketing message is the same - but taking the message online drove me up a whole new learning curve.
How did you make the transition to internet marketing?
Although the internet is cheap and automated, learning how to market and sell online can be overwhelming. Without a mentor, I ventured on my own and just started blindly testing. I began writing articles, building my own websites, doing videos, email campaigns, etc.
At first, I was only mildly successful. When I looked at who was being wildly successful, they were all marketing their own product, which was a small ticket or free item, as a way to grow a big list of buyers. Once they had a list of low-level buyers, they were up-selling them into bigger ticket items (coaching, boot camps). I began focusing on list building and my businesses took off.
What obstacle do most Network Marketers have to overcome?
Still the hottest thing on the internet is selling information products on ‘how to make more money’. This can be through information marketing, network marketing, affiliate marketing, etc.
The problem with information products starts when the customer has to take the information and apply it to whatever business they are in. So if you are a Network Marketer, taking the model being taught and implementing it for your business is very difficult. I found it to be the biggest challenge that almost everyone faces, including myself.
There is a big opportunity in almost every niche for someone to develop a turn-key system for list building and conversion.
In Network Marketing, list building is the biggest barrier to success. The lack of a list is what made me fail my first time around and was the biggest ‘lie’ I was told by my company. I felt if I could share a system with the rest of the Network Marketing community, I would start to have a positive impact on many people’s lives.
What challenges did you face while writing Network Marketing Survival Secrets?
Developing a lead generation and sales system for Network Marketers is no small feat.
The biggest risk I had during the whole process was running out of money. When you are an entrepreneur, there’s no steady paycheck coming in and time is money. So if you are spending your time on a project that doesn’t pay, the opportunity to get paid for your time is lost.
When I tell people I spent over $20,000 learning small business sales and marketing, I’m being conservative. I’m not including any of my time or “sweat equity” in that number. Over the first 2 years of my journey, I surmounted over $80,000 in consumer debt trying to become an independent business owner.
There were a few times when I didn’t know if I was going to make my mortgage payment. Being financially insecure was something I’d never experienced before - let me tell you, it’s brutal! In the past, I’d always had a steady paycheck and could manage my money. With little or no money coming in, there was nothing to manage. It was pure chaos.
Just like when you are building a house, developing a business takes a lot of time and money…not to mention support from those around you.
I remember when I was writing Network Marketing Survival Secrets, I was afraid to tell anyone I was writing a book because I feared I’d get a lot of deflating comments. Whenever you venture into something new, it’s hard to stop and convince everyone that you are doing the right thing. Sometimes you just have to lower your head and don’t ask for opinions.
What kind of industry response have you received from the book?
When I was transcribing my success blueprint for Network Marketers, I wanted bring something new to the marketplace. Besides being completely free, there were 2 ‘must haves’:
First, I wanted the information to focus on implementation - provide a turn-key system that anyone can use out of the box but also deliver the training and know-how to take a distributor to the next level in their business.
Second, there had to be a Network Marketing opportunity attached to it - I had to walk-the-walk and stay true to the industry. In order to have a huge impact, I decided to give away the information and only sell the tools and implementation.
The feedback I’ve received on Network Marketing Survival Secrets has been extremely positive. I hope the book will have a lasting impression on the industry.
What projects and hobbies are you enjoying now?
Now that the book has launched, I’m really focused on the coaching aspects of Network Marketing Survival Secrets and that’s taking most of my time.
Depending on the season, you may find me at one of my children’s baseball game or out at the lake. I’ve been doing a lot of hiking and trying to stay in physical and mental shape. Coaching and teaching takes a lot of energy and focus.
Of course new Network Marketing opportunities and other business ventures are always on my mind. I have been incubating 2 technology companies that might mushroom in the next 6 months. Once you’ve got a system in place, there is almost no risk in starting new businesses!
My Location: Scottsdale, Arizona