In March 2014, I had the honor of interviewing Mark Yarnell, a Network Marketing legend. Sadly, he passed away not too long after.
I thought this would be a good time, with the current Pandemic and resurgence of huge growth in Network Marketing.
Listen carefully for his views on Other People's Opinions and Impression Management.
I used to listen to Mark Yarnell’s training CDS on my portable CD player at the gym. I am dating us both here, and I am sure they were on cassette before that.
I have learned a lot from him about Network Marketing over the years and because I have listened to him so intently in my ear buds, I really felt like I know him.
Full Transcript below -
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Your First Year in Network Marketing: Overcome Your Fears, Experience Success, and Achieve Your Dreams!
How to Become Filthy, Stinking Rich Through Network Marketing: Without Alienating Friends and Family
Jackie: Well, Mark, I have to tell you it’s absolutely a pleasure to have the opportunity to interview you. You’ve been one of my heroes and one of my mentors since my early days 20 years ago when I started in network marketing. And so it’s a treat and a privilege and an honor to be able to interview you here today. So thanks so much for spending some time with us here.
Mark Yarnell: Oh you bet, Jackie. I appreciate the opportunity. When I heard from you, I was excited to do it. So thank you.
Jackie: Well absolutely. Well before we get into some of your background and all the amazing stuff that I know you have to share about our awesome profession, do you have a favorite success quote or some words of wisdom that you’ll share with us?
Mark Yarnell: Yeah, I mean actually, believe it or not, it came from my father at a very early age and it really has guided me through all my career in network marketing. My dad said that, and he called it the, out of his arrogance he called it Yarnell’s Law. I’m not calling it that, but he did. It’s the law of six, three, two. Six words, saw by three words, saw by two words. Do one thing at a time, do it right, finish it. And I have been guided through my whole career by those words of wisdom and I’ve found that having the focus to do one thing at a time and doing it the right way and then not starting something else until I’ve finished that particular objective, it’s served me very well. So that’s kind of my favorite motivational inspirational quote, but it’s also kind of a substantive way of going about life, I’ve found.
Jackie: Well I love that and I love the fact that it came from your father because I think that’s a strong testament to good mentors in our lives that guide us through and it’s always fun when it starts close to home.
Mark Yarnell: You bet. Yeah. Dad was a great man.
Jackie: Well tell us a little bit of your background before you got started in network marketing. What was kind of your career path?
Mark Yarnell: Well I started out. I got very fortunate at a young age. A friend of mine whose father had been a car dealer was able to come out of retirement and buy a car dealership right after Bobby and I got out of college. And I was called by him and he said, “We’ve got a little car dealership over in Oklahoma and, if you’ll come over and learn from us, we’re gonna buy another one and then we’ll own two dealerships.” The guy’s name was Bob Mayfield. Wonderful guy. I grew up with Bobby in Springfield, Missouri. So I began in the car business and I learned from some real masters in a small town in Oklahoma and, sure enough about two years into the process, another Chevrolet dealership became available over in a small community and we bought it.
So I spent my first few years in the car business at a very young age and it was really the fortuitous intersection of blundering into it at the right time, young time in my life. But I found that I really wasn’t cut out for dog-eat-dog capitalism. It got to the place where I was working 60, 70 hour weeks. I had originally wanted to be a minister, believe it or not. I grew up in a fairly religious family and after several years in the car business I decided it just was not a good fit for me. So applied for seminary in Kansas City, was accepted and went up and went through two years of seminary. And then actually wound up my first church was in Knoxville, Tennessee and I was transferred to Kansas City and ultimately Austin, Texas in the early 80s, which is where I was first introduced to network marketing.
I was very vulnerable at that time in my life because the Texas economy had really cratered and real estate was horrible, oil prices were way down and what happened, Jackie, was a lot of my wealthiest contributors, the big tithers in the church, were going Chapter 11 and bankrupt. A lot of people don’t know this but a lot of times in a church there’ll be eight or ten families that are actually the biggest supporters of the whole church ‘cause when they tithe it’s a pretty substantial amount. So our revenue stream was drying up in the church and my income had been cut in half when a friend brought me the business opportunity that led me into network marketing. They used to have a picture of me in the seminary, I actually worked selling cars while I was going to seminary and that was back in the years around the Nixon time. Somebody actually put a picture on the wall in seminary, “Would you buy a used god from this man?” And everybody got a big laugh from that.
So it’s been an interesting trajectory through life. I’ve done a lot of things, a lot of things that are polar opposites, but it’s sure been a great life.
Jackie: Well that’s great. So it was a friend who approached you with the opportunity? Was it someone from your congregation or
Mark Yarnell: It was. As a matter of fact, it was the guy who was on steering committee who hired me as their minister. He called me and he said, he was feeling kind of guilty because the income had been so depleted and, I think in an effort to absolve his guilt, he came over to my house one day and he was all excited. I remember the only thing he had was a dog eared Xerox check copy for $112,000 and he was just breathlessly telling me that there was a guy on the check that was making this much every month and he wanted to tell me about this thing. He thought it would be good for me given my income had been depleted so much. And I remember thinking well this is the silliest thing I ever heard in my life. Nobody makes that much a month.
But yeah, to answer your question specifically, it was a friend, a member of the congregation and he showed up with a big check copy an that’s what got me started. That was back in April of ’86.
Jackie: Wow! That’s awesome. April of ’86. That’s a lot of money now, but that was really a lot of money then.
Mark Yarnell: It really was. It really was. I couldn’t conceptualize it. It didn’t make sense to me that there were people, well when he showed me the check I thought, man, that guy’s making a good annual income. That’s a good salary. I mean $112,000 in a year’s pretty darn good ‘cause I’d never made that. And when he told me it was a monthly check, I was a little bit more than I can even handle. I just couldn’t believe it. It was a real conscious shock to me to know that there were people making that much a month and frankly I started out just to prove that he couldn’t be telling me the truth. I started by doing a bunch of research actually.
Jackie: So you didn’t jump in right away.
Mark Yarnell: Well, yeah, I did, but right away is relative. I jumped in two days later because the way I went about it, Jackie, is I called, you know, I knew Bill pretty well and I figured maybe he was just being nice to me and he’d been lured into some kind of investment scam, but I couldn’t shut him up. He was so excited. So, once he left I called a good friend of mine who was my banker, and he’s a real conservative accountant type guy, and I gave him the name of the bank that the check had been drawn on and the guy’s name who supposedly made it and told him he was making that monthly and my banker kind of laughed and said, “Well, you know, I’ll check it out and get back to you” and I figured that’d be the end of it. But that afternoon Mike called me back, the banker, and he said not only was the check good but there were other people making more than that in this little upstart company called Nu Skin and he said something that changed my whole world. This is really what sent me down the path of network marketing.
He said, “Yarnell, if I were you, I’d roll the dice on this one because it looks like one of those companies modelled after Avon”, which means if you get in, here’s the way he put it, “I you get in at the very top of the tree, you’re rich” and he said, “Trust me, my crazy aunt’s been in Avon forever and she makes ten times what I do over here at the bank” so he said, “Roll the dice because there’s no real capital risk, you’re not gonna lose any money and the upside potential could easily be millions and millions of dollars.” So when a conservative friend of mine, who’s my own personal banker, tells me to jump into something, I’m doing it. And then, once I talked to him about it, that was it. Boom, I was in.
Jackie: I love it. Wow, that’s awesome. So what did you do then to get started? Did you have systems and tools that you used? I know you’ve mentioned the dog eared Xerox copy of a check and stuff. How did you get your business started and what tools did you use?
Mark Yarnell: Well I called the guy up in New York who was on the check, the guy that was supposedly making all this money. The guy’s named Richard Kall, what a great mentor he was. And he agreed to help me, agreed to work with me. I was down six levels beneath him, it turned out, in this company. He said, “I’ll teach ya if you just keep your mouth shut and do what I tell you”, which is what I needed. I needed a mentor. He was tough with me. I mean I didn’t know anything. I was going broke and he’s making that much money, I figure it’s a no-brainer. I’ll listen to this guy.
And so basically, his guidance to me was, “We are carrier pigeons.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, our job is to spread information. You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person, so your objective is to go out and talk to 30 people a day five days a week and at the end of a year you’ll be making more money than you can spend.” And I said, “Well what do you mean 30 people?” He said, “Well, you don’t have to talk to them for more than a minute or two. All you want to do is see if you can find people who want to make $30 to $50,000 per month and retire in three or four years.” And so he said, “I want you to pick areas, first go after all your friends.” And I said, “Well, I can’t do that because they’re all in the church and I’m not gonna use the pulpit as a recruiting tool. It just seems like a conflict of interests.” He said, “Well, get the people first who aren’t in your church that you like that you’re friends with ‘cause you want everybody to have a shot at this. And we’re gonna pick from locations in Austin, where you live, and all you’re gonna do is go out and hand out” he had a little cassette, this was back in the days when they had cassettes and VHS and all that, he said, “All you’re gonna do is hand out some information and some people are gonna do it and some people aren’t. That’s just no big deal.”
So the way I got started was, I was told it’s a numbers game. You’re a carrier pigeon. You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person. Just go out and talk to a whole bunch of people and the smarter they are the quicker they’ll get involved. So that’s all I did. And I figured, okay, I promised him I’d do whatever he said. And so I did that and again what I’ve learned is really fascinating. Over the years, Jackie, is when people are faced with change or uncertainty, it’s always funny to observe will hit the gas and salaried worker bee types will hit the brakes. So what I kind of learned in going and talking to all these people, and I’ve learned over the years to prove it subsequently is that, you know I’ve been in the profession a long time and if success were easy it’d be more common. You and I both know that, but the truth is it isn’t. The truth is it’s a difficult business regardless of what sector of capitalism you get into. And that’s why real success is so rare. Very few people willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to earn $100,000 a month, even though most people have the talent and I can easily teach them the skills. So entrepreneurs thrive on chaos and uncertainty and employee types thrive on predictability and routine. So what I’m looking for, when I’m out talking to people, and this is what I did the first year, I’m looking for people who step on the gas the minute they see the opportunity, not the people who step on the brake or ask me, “How can I do this without effort, without sacrifice?” And I just discovered early on I could tell real quick who was in the right time in their life by whether they stepped on the gas or they stepped on the brake. So I’m just looking for a handful of people who, when I show ‘em what the potential is and I talk to ‘em about that kind of big money and free time, they’re interested. In fact, they step on the gas. “What have you got? What have you got?” One of those things.
So that’s all I did. No, I didn’t have any tools. Basically it was just talk to people, find people who are in the right time in their life and who were willing to rise to their full potential. That’s all I did.
Jackie: When you mention the word “sacrifice”, which I like that, say more about what you mean by sacrifice and what it is that people are not willing to sacrifice. Is that ego that they’re not willing to sacrifice? Is it fear? Is it laziness? What does all that come down to?
Mark Yarnell: Well I think there are a number of sacrifices I’m referring to. Of course not the least of which is the time sacrifice. We’re all granted the same amount of time to work. So if you’re gonna do a business, you’re gonna have to sacrifice certain hours you could be doing something else in order to do the business you’re doing. So you’re making a sacrifice of time, but I think the real sacrifice is you’re willing to trade impression management, which is stupid anyway and impossible to generate. You’re trading impression management for the right to provide your family with a lifestyle they deserve. What I mean by that’s really simple to explain.
I talk to people all the time whose lives don’t work. They’re putting in 60 hour weeks at a job they hate with a boss or a board of directors that they think are stupid. They’re stressed out. Their kids are on drugs. They haven’t been on a meaningful vacation in ten years. They haven’t had sex with their wife for five. And so they’re sitting there, their life doesn’t work. And I come into their life and I start talking to them about how they can turn that around and get off the 40 year plan, which I’ll be apt to explain to you if you want to know, but I say, “I can get you off the 40 year plan and put you on a four year plan. Your life’s not working. I can show you how to do it.” “Well, what is it?” And then I tell them a little bit about it and it’s amazing the number of people whose lives are horrible, by their own admission, their own description, who will not do what I’m doing because they want to be able to manage the impressions that other people have of them in the community. Heck with their family. Heck with the vacations. Heck with the fun, the joy, the quality of life that we can all have. No, no, no, no, no. They’d rather stay in a salaried position they hate as long as all their friends think they’re a big professional business person or doctor or dentist or whatever.
So the big sacrifice people have got to be willing to make is they’ve gotta stop playing childish, teenager, arrested development games of personality and impression management and start focusing on what will provide their family the best standard of living. Because one thing I’ve learned, the money you make the more stature you’ve got in the community. But a lot of people don’t want to do our industry just because they’re so afraid what people think of ‘em. Oh my god, this is one of those pyramid deals. Duh, yeah it’s a pyramid. Everything’s a pyramid. Flip over a dollar bill, there’s a pyramid on the back of it. Every structure is shaped like a pyramid.
You don’t mean Ponzi scheme do you? Those are illegal. Most people in a professional position, now I don’t care what it is, are unwilling to sacrifice pretense for productivity. And so they stay in a meaningless dead-end life because they’re so afraid what other, they want to manage everybody’s impression of them. Well I got news for those people. When people put their head down on their pillow at night, they’re only thinking of numero uno and it ain’t you. You may be the subject at a church function or a cocktail party ‘cause they don’t have anything better to talk about. “Did you hear about Yarnell? He’s in one of those pyramids.” But the truth is, they don’t really care about you. They get to choose to make any impression, form any impression they want about you. So, since you can’t really manage people’s impressions anyway, it seems like kind of a stupid way to go about life, especially if your life stinks.
So my goal is to find people who finally had enough impressing people with all their fancy debt and their Beamers and their Mercedes and their hot tubs and their airplanes. Their lives don’t work. They haven’t been to a kid’s recital or soccer game in ever, their spouse is about ready to leave ‘em. Their life stinks and I’m looking for those people who say, “Okay. I played by all the rules and everybody’s impressed that I am a dentist or I’m president of the bank or I’m a doctor or I run this little corporation, but I’m tired of that. I don’t care what people think of me. I’m gonna rise to my full potential and I’m gonna explore every option out there.” Those are the people I’m looking for who will sacrifice their absurd obsession on impressing others for the money and time freedom that their family deserves. That make sense?
Jackie: Makes total sense. I love the way you put that and I had never heard the term impression management but I love that. Sums it up so well. Beautiful
Mark Yarnell: Oh well thank you.
Jackie: Had you heard of network marketing before? Had you ever been approached?
Mark Yarnell: Oh yeah, yeah. As a matter of fact, first thing I asked Bill, “Is this like Amway?” Yeah back in the early days, that was the big objection. Now I look back on it, I don’t know why, I mean Amway did over ten billion last year. Amway’s a great company. But back then everybody would say, remember what I said the difference between the entrepreneur and the employee is. The entrepreneur steps on the gas. The employee type steps on the brake and the first brake that people come up with is they step on that brake pedal that says pyramid scheme ‘cause that’s just the stereotypical red flag. It’s like Amway. It can’t be good. Only people who get into the top three make all the big money.
So essentially I’m looking for people who they don’t use stereotypical objections and step on the brake the minute I open an opportunity to ‘em. But I was guilty of it. I mean I evaluated everything based on is this like Amway? Why? Did I know anything bad about Amway? No. That’s just one of the brakes that my daddy taught me. So if anybody approached me with a deal all I had to do was say, “Oh no, no. Is this like Amway? I wouldn’t do Amway.” I didn’t know why I was saying that, but it was a good way to avoid having to go to a person’s house and watch ‘em draw circles on a board.
So yeah, yeah. I’d heard of network marketing and it was like, if I ever heard of any network marketing company, I would hold up a cross or a bag of garlic like I was dealing with a vampire. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. But see, remember what I said earlier about being at the right time in your life? I’m sitting there broke, broke. Well, when he came to me, I wasn’t quite as interested in putting on the brakes ‘cause I didn’t have any other options at the time. So instead o worrying about all the stereotypical red flags we all, the stupid objections people put up for instance, I said, “Okay.” I said, “Is it like Amway?” He said, “Yeah, I think so.” I said, “Well show it to me.” But then what confirmed that it was the right decision was when the banker said, “Oh, it’s like Avon. You get in at the top three, you make all the money.” So yeah, I knew what it was A. B I was always against it. C I didn’t know why I was against it. But D, when my life wasn’t working and it was a way to make money, all of a sudden I was willing to look at it. So I was in the right time in my life is what I’m saying.
Jackie: How much would you say the credibility of the person who brought it to you weighed in on your openness?
Mark Yarnell: It wasn’t so much credibility. Bill was a friend and frankly, his position in life was on the socio-economic scale far below mine. But I liked him. He was a friend. I liked him. So the real impression to me, anybody can get anybody. People worry about bringing in big players, I’m not credible enough. Of course you are. You’re just a messenger. In network marketing, we’re just carrier pigeons. We’re just giving the information to people and we’re looking for people who’ll step on the gas. And so Bill didn’t have a whole lot of credibility or experience. In fact, he’d only been in the deal one day and he wasn’t a particularly bright business man, but I liked him. Now what closed me, to think about it even more closely, was there was a guy more credible than me and that was my banker. And when I called Mike and Mike told me that his aunt was in Avon making ten times what he was making as a banker, I thought well, that’s a no-brainer. I believe I’ll try that. My own banker’s admitting his old aunt, crazy aunt’s making more than him.
So I was approached by somebody completely below me in socio-economic terms, but that I liked, and then the potential was confirmed by somebody I did respect a lot. But anybody can refer to anybody, Jackie. It’s got nothing to do with credibility.
Jackie: I like that. Bill sponsored up.
Mark Yarnell: Oh big time because we were friends. See friends will listen to friends. That’s what I always tell people. In fact I don’t even refer to people anymore if they won’t build a list of friends. And I’ve heard all the excuses. Well, you know I’m not gonna burn my friends anymore. Well, you’re not burning them. People need to understand. You’re doing people the biggest favor of their life. So if somebody tells me they will not talk to people they know, I don’t even sponsor them. I’m through. That’s it. Done deal. ‘Cause I know they’re probably not gonna make it. Now that seems pretty severe, and I’ll admit I’ve got an advantage in that I’ve made enough money I can be a little more picky than the average person, but I’m not gonna bring people into the business who refuse to do what I teach them. And the first step is to be willing to give your friends, the people you love an opportunity to rise to their full potential.
Jackie: Well, what backs that up, you ask any person who’s been successful in this profession and they’ll tell you they absolutely appreciate so much the person who brought it to them and it’s typically a friend.
Mark Yarnell: Absolutely. That’s the way to do the business. It’s a relationship marketing business. This is not a business about closing sales. This is a business about opening relationships. There’s a big difference.
Jackie: Well paint a picture for us then of how your journey proceeded then. How long did it take you ‘til you made the type of income you were looking for and then how many people did you sponsor, would you say, personally to get to that point?
Mark Yarnell: Well what’s interesting is I sponsored a lot of people. I don’t jump around much. I’ve been in three companies for 28 years and Nu Skin, everybody knows I was in Nu Skin International, which to this day I love. They gave me the perfect vehicle and, although I sold my downline in the ‘90s to a cross line person, I’m still very close friends to all those people and I still think it’s an unbelievably good company. But in Nu Skin, over a 12 year period I sponsored over 350 people, which sounds like a lot. It’s not if you break it down in 12 years.
Here’s what’s interesting. Three people resulted in all of my money, a hit and run detective, a maid and a high school teacher. Everybody else quit or failed or didn’t do anything. So it wasn’t so much that the number, I guess you could say I wasted my time on the last 250 people, ‘cause I found my best three in the first 100. And those three people led to all my money. I actually worked real, real hard. I think of it as a four year plan. I know people get in these bottle rocket deals where they can get to big money real fast and it’s all exciting, and I’m happy for ‘em. I’m just more interested in telling the person what my experience is. My experience is you can get off the 40 year plan and on the four year plan. But it’s not a four week plan. It’s not a four month plan. Yes, I can get you to earning more in a month than you’re surgeon friend earns in a year, but I might take you 48 months. But hey, your surgeon’s on the 40 year plan and the 40 year plan is the biggest delusion in North America. The 40 year plan’s a scam. Talk about a pyramid scheme.
The 40 year plan is a complete and total farce and I just can’t believe people are still on the 40 year plan. You know what I mean by the 40 year plan?
Jackie: I do, yeah. I do but it would be great. Go ahead and explain it.
Mark Yarnell: Well what’s scary about it is, everybody starts at age 25 with a pretty good sense of direction. But at age 65, out of every 100 Americans, 31 are dead, 68 are broke and one’s wealthy. You know we see this in every election, especially recently. The 1% and the 99%. Well after 40 years, 40 years, from 25 to age 65, which by the way is that magic golden year beginning. Bull. So you’re gonna work for 40 years and of every 100 Americans 31 are dead, 68 are broke, one is rich. Well those aren’t real good odds. Now some would argue, well Yarnell, you’re crazy. Actually there are four or five others that made a good living. It’s not just all 68. Well that’s true, but they’re still living moderately, less than they made their last year. I’m not saying they’re all eating cold French fries out of trash cans. What I’m saying is 1% of the people are rich enough to live however they want.
Here’s what bothers me about the golden year. The reason people need to get into network marketing fast and work hard for four years is they want their best years to be in the middle, not the end. If you look at the numbers, they’re very clear. By age 65 everybody is on an average of 7.2 pharmaceutical drugs. Sixty-five percent of all 65 years and older can’t run up two flights of stairs without gasping or having pain and 17% are on oxygen full time. I don’t know where these magic 65 years are coming into people’s lives with golden joy and fun. That’s all garbage. From 65 on it’s a crap shoot. So what I say to people is, put in a good hard four years in network marketing. Pick a great company, make sure you love the products or whatever you’re selling. Go to work. Work harder than you’ve every worked in your life for four years and then enjoy the golden years before the crap years get here, and they’re coming. So the 40 year plan is a complete farce, complete and total farce.
I did it in four years. I got to the big, big, big money in four years, but there were benchmarks along the way, Jackie. I mean I was making $30,000 a month inside of a year. And back in ’86 that was still big money. Well I mean it’s still a pretty good living.
Jackie: Yeah it is. It definitely is. Was it all smooth sailing or did you have some challenges along the way?
Mark Yarnell: No there was never any smooth sailing. It was all chaos and nightmares and challenges. I can remember, I called Richard at least once a week ready to quit. Oh no, it was hell on earth. And that’s what I mean by the sacrifices. I was willing to make those sacrifices and keep plowing the ground. I knew Nu Skin’s products were great. I loved the owners. I thought they were ethical and my upline was great and I’d made a lot of friends. Now I wasn’t making any money and there was always something popping up that was rotten, in my opinion, and I was always getting deflected. I’d call Richard with some whining, you know, there was always something I was mad about. And I’d call Richard and he’d say, well I’ll give you a good example.
I got so mad when Nu Skin came out with their first magazine because I’m a writer and so grammar, English are my tools. I love grammar and punctuation, sentence construction and syntax and all that. So here they send out their first magazine and I find five typos on the front page. I was livid. How embarrassed, this is horrible. What are my friends gonna, I called Richard madder than a wet hornet about these typos. Richard said, “Oh no problem. Listen. Here’s what I want you to do. Quit right now and come back in five years. There’ll be no typos. In five years everything will be great. Smooth sailing, everything. Just quit now. Come back in five years ‘cause I know you can’t handle the typos.” And then he hung up on me.
I was always having stuff that rankled me, bothered me, this downline was stealing this person, this upline was lying to this person, this person was quitting and going to another company that was ten times better than Nu Skin. That’s how I lost the mayor of Austin, Texas. He got in USA Vitamins and they had the president of the AMA and Chris Everett Lloyd and Steve Garvey and all these athletes and the head of Harvard Medical School on their video. It was the greatest nutritional supplement program in the history of planet earth and they had the best video I’ve ever seen in my life. I lost probably 30 people to USA Vitamins, including the mayor of Austin, Texas. So I called Richard just whining and moaning and everything and Richard said, “Hey, quit worrying about it. That company’ll be out of business in six months. It’s a flim flam. It’s crap.” Well I didn’t believe him. I thought I was ruined. It was chaos for six months. Almost to the day six months later they were put out of business by the government as a flim flam.
So it seemed like it didn’t really matter how much chaos, how many problems, what horrible things were next to agitate me. I just hung in. I did one thing at a time. I did it right and I finished it. I just hung in there. But I’m gonna tell ya right now, there was more chaos than fun in the first four years.
Jackie: What made it worth it for you?
Mark Yarnell: Well I’ll tell ya what made it worth it to me. That’s what I thrive on. I like challenge. I like, now you don’t know it when you’re in the middle of it. It’s not until you start making a couple of hundred thousand a month or a hundred and fifty thousand a month and every month like clockwork FedEx rings the doorbell and you get another big check and you’ve got a million four in your checking account and you have no worries, then is when it dawns on you, oh my god, this isn’t pleasurable. I have no real satisfaction here. And you have a little voice that says, “But Mark, you’ve got that new airplane.” Yeah, but it costs 500 to hangar it and I don’t have time to fly it that often and, even if I do, I’m bored with it ‘cause I’ve flown it a bunch the last month. In other words, what I’m saying is, it is the chaos of the build. They say you know the pioneers by the arrows in their back. I love the arrows. I love the challenges. I just don’t get satisfied making all the big money and then not having anything productive to do. So it turns out for me immediate gratification is too slow. Everybody wants immediate gratification. I don’t want immediate gratification. It’s too slow. I want process gratification. In other words, I want to enjoy the process, not the immediacy of the rewards that are just gonna bore me. And it’s hard to explain to people when they’re new to the business ‘cause they think, “Yeah, Yarnell, I’d love to have your problem for about a month. Too much money, too much free time. That’s crap. I could handle it.” Oh really? Then how come 80% of the people who win lotteries are either overweight or dead in eight years?
The fun thing about network marketing, in my opinion, is it actually is a challenge and you’re in control of your own destiny and you’re part of a volunteer army and nobody can stop you if you want to make a million dollars a month. Nobody can stop you. So who cares about the challenges? I love the process. That’s really how I feel about it. I love this business. I told a guy the other day, he said, “I can’t believe you’re doing this at your age.” Well, why wouldn’t I? I want to die; I want my face to smack on my desk in the middle of a three-way call. I want to be talking to a prospect and everybody hear boom and rumor gets out, “Geez, you’re not gonna believe it. I was on a three-way with Yarnell with a doctor up in Muskegon, Michigan and he died!” That’s how I wanna go out. I wanna go out talking to a prospect. Now if that sounds crazy, I’m serious about that. I love this business
Jackie: Well that’s perfect and it’s funny that you bring that up because I remember when I was in the struggling days and banging my head against the wall and I would hear people, I always hear top leaders say, enjoy the journey, enjoy the journey, and I would think what is to enjoy about the journey? You’ve gotta be kidding me. Just get me there already. And, you know, it literally was the day that I just stopped and relaxed and just decided to have fun with my business. That is truly the day that everything changed. It really is.
Mark Yarnell: And I know you’ve had fun with it. And you’re still having fun with it by helping other people. That’s great.
Jackie: Yeah. So how do you go about getting someone new started? Do you use the same technique that Richard used with you saying, “I’ll mentor you if you do what I say?” Tell us a little bit about how you launch someone getting started in their business.
Mark Yarnell: Well my goal is to avoid them getting stuck getting started. So rather than a real excessive diatribe of these are your 12 principles you need to understand. These are the six steps under it. Basically what I do is I say, “We’re gonna start with your top 40, so I want you to get together your top 40 people and I want you to, I’m gonna teach you what to say to ‘em.” Really all we say to people is, “I’ve gotten in a business. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m losing sleep. I think we’re rich. It’s low-hanging fruit. You’re not gonna believe, I’ve partnered with this crazy guy who wrote a best-selling book in the industry. Look, I just want to give you some information so you can look at this and, if you like what you see, I’m gonna put you on the phone with my partner.”
Now here’s the key, in my opinion. The real advantage in network marketing beyond the vehicle, the vehicle’s critical, but the real advantage is having an upline who’s good and who’s accessible. So I’m telling young people all the time to call me and they’re in some deal and they can’t get going and they’ve read my book and they just can’t, and I say, “Well track upline ‘til you find somebody making $100,000 a month because there’s somebody above you somewhere who knows how to do the business. I don’t know how to do your business. I’m not in your company.” But I used to tell my people, “You’re a carrier pigeon. You’re giving information to people. The more information you give out to more people, and the more people you get to me for a three-way call where I can validate you and answer their questions, the more money you’re gonna make.”
My process is real simple. It’s all basically go to your top 40 first, then we’re gonna go to your second degree of separation, which I call your classmates, and one of the best advices I can give anybody listening to this call, this time we’re spending together now, Jackie, a million dollar idea, is everybody went to high school and most people graduated from high school. And even if they didn’t, they went to some high school. Most people had an average class of anywhere from one to 300 people. That means ten years after they graduated from high school, in my case I graduated from Glendale High School in Springfield, Missouri and we had 300 in our class. After I graduated for the next ten years 3,000 people went through that school. All you gotta do is find out who plans the reunions and, the longer you’ve been out of high school the better, get the list and phone numbers, here’s the most important thing, phone numbers of those people from the person who plans the conventions and go after those 3,000 people or 400 people that were in your graduating, target your high school people. ‘Cause if I call you, Jackie, and I say, “Hey, it’s Mark Yarnell. I graduated from Glendale High School. How have you been?” Boom, instant rapport. I mean instant rapport. You’re not gonna say to me, “How’d you get my name? Don’t you know I’m on a no call list? How dare you?” You’re gonna say, “Great. Mark, I got out of Glendale, too. What’ve you been up to?” Instant rapport. See what I’ve just done is I’ve taken a cold market person and turned them into a warm market lead by defining our affinity. Everybody’s got their own high school class and it is a captive closed market that nobody else but you can work.
Then we go after the 400 that are, we call, the classmates. After that, it’s just a process of going after people both in person and on the phone and on the Internet who have something in common with you. In other words, I want people that have an affinity with me where, if I identify to them that I’m a paraglide pilot and I know they’re a paraglide pilot, it’s instant rapport. I’ve converted them into a warm market lead immediately when I define our commonality. We’re brethren. We’re kindred spirits. We both paraglide. Well there’s nobody that doesn’t have a group of 50,000 people that they can call on that’s their own private group. I don’t care if they’re private pilots, yachtsmen, soccer mothers, coaches of Little League, mountain climbers, paragliders. You give me five minutes with any man or woman in North America and I’ll identify a warm market of 50,000 people unique to them. All you’ve gotta do is call ‘em, identify your commonalities and tell ‘em about your business and give ‘em something to go look at. It’s that simple.
Jackie: Simple enough. What would you say are the best things that you did to succeed?
Mark Yarnell: The best things that I did, certainly it was I refused to ever end the day without hitting a quota of 30 people. I knew that if I talked, Richard had told me if I talked to 30 people in a 20 day month that’s 600 people and if 95% of ‘em don’t do anything, if I keep that up for a year, I’m gonna get to 100,000 a month. Well I couldn’t get that out of my brain. I kept thinking about it. Wow, that’s unbelievable. Well surely I can talk to 30 people. So all I did was talk to the, the greatest thing I did was, I always made sure the day involved communicating with 30 prospects about my business opportunity. Now I could have done it with 20 or ten. I always tell young people, “Pick a number, but you gotta pick one of these three. Either you’re gonna talk to ten people a day, 20 people a day or 30 people a day. And if you’re unwilling to do that, you shouldn’t even get in this business because you’ve got to talk to a lot of people to find the entrepreneurs who will step on the gas. Most people step on the brake. The minute you approach them with your opportunity, they’ll step on the brake.” So the greatest thing I did was I set a number and I stuck with it and nobody could deter me from my intended objective ‘cause by golly, if Richard Kall can make 100,000 a month, so can Mark Yarnell. And that turned out right. I turned out to make a lot more than that.
But I never slowed down. If I can just get one idea across to people, it’s the multi-million dollar idea, it’s pick a number, ten, 20 or 30 and talk to that number of people every day. Why? Because we’re only paid to do two things, and this is a real, I don’t mean to kick start my mouth here, but this is an important point. There are too many amateurs in network marketing. This is a profession and the thing is I’m only paid to do two things. Now everybody thinks I’m being disparaging when I say, “Aw most people are just amateurs.” I don’t mean it in a disparaging way. I’m telling ya the last year that Tiger Woods was an amateur he didn’t make any money. The first year he turned pro he made 18 million. What’s the difference? He turned pro.
Now in network marketing, we are only paid, and by the way the only difference between a professional and an amateur, an amateur isn’t paid to do the same thing a professional is. So if you’re gonna be a professional networker, you’ve gotta do what you’re paid to do. The only thing I’m paid to do is recruit and retail. So if I’m doing anything else, I’m an amateur. If I’m flying Air Wings on my iPad, I’m an amateur. If I’m watching Oprah, I’m an amateur. If I’m walking the dog, I’m an amateur. If I’m griping to my downline or upline, I’m an amateur. If I’m looking at somebody else’s comp plan, I’m an amateur. In other words, what I learned early on is if I wanted to make the big money, I had to turn pro and that meant I had to do what the company was willing to pay me for. Well they were only willing to pay me to do that, recruit and retail. So that’s been my focus, recruit, recruit, recruit, retail, retail, retail ‘cause that’s all I’m getting paid to do. So I’m not gonna waste my time whining about problems on the phone. That’s too amateur. So I always tell people, turn pro for at least an hour, two, three hours a day, turn pro. Talk to new people about your opportunity and about your product. And that’s my best advice.
Jackie: That is fantastic. What mistakes would you say that you made?
Mark Yarnell: Oh my god, I see by my watch we’re running out of time, so it’s probably not a can of worms you want to open. If we had another three hours. I made so many mistakes. For starters, I was in the habit early on of believing it was my job to talk people into doing the business. And I can’t tell ya the number of times, you know, what I’ve learned is I really would prefer to build a downline as opposed to a daycare. And I went through lots of periods of times where, you know, when you’re a minister you’ve got what we call the messiah complex. You think you can fix everybody. Well you’re really sick as a messiah complex compulsive if you go into the ministry ‘cause you’re getting paid to love people. You think you can fix anything.
So I’ll admit to you right up front, I’ve always had this messiah complex. So when I first got in the business, the biggest mistake I made was I was gonna fix everybody.
First thing I was gonna do was I was gonna fix ‘em by getting them out of their god awful lifestyle, and the next thing I was gonna do, I was gonna fix ‘em by getting them into Nu Skin and making the rich. And I saw what potential they had and I was gonna help them along. And what I discovered is I couldn’t motivate anybody. I tried and I’m pretty good, but I never could drag anybody across the finish line.
So the first big mistake I made was I had to realize that I couldn’t fix everybody and that everybody wasn’t cut out, most people are not cognitively hard wired to be entrepreneurs.
The second big mistake I made was the more money I made the more I became convinced I was general manager of the universe. And so, on regular occasions, I’d have to be reminded to resign as general manager of the universe. When you’re young and you make too much money, you tend to take yourself a little more seriously than you should. And so yeah, I went through these phases. The product knowledge phase was real important to me. I’m making so much money, I’ve gotta become an expert on the products. So I spent countless hours learning the hard science behind the technology of this product from Cuomo, Italy and the Labs and I would dazzle audiences from coast to coast with my genius, my wisdom of molecular structures and how the papillae of the hair follicle could be vasodilator at the capillary level to perfection, da da da da da. And I’d have people come up to me from the audience, dermatologists, and say, “I have no idea what you were talking about. I’m a doctor.”
So the big mistake I made was, the more money I made the smarter thought I was. And we see this a lot in network marketing where people will make a big bunch of money and they think that means they can run their name up a flagpole and own their own company. I can’t tell ya the number of people, including me, who believed we were so smart that we could start our own company. Well there’s nothing to that. The hard thing’s building a downline. Watch my smoke. I’ll start my own company. And I see leader after leader after leader hit bottle rocket companies where they start a company and they bring over a few people ‘cause they’ve got a big name, but they have no clue how to really run a deal. They’ve never managed a big company and, in a relatively short time, they make a mistake and they’re put out of business or the sell out or they go public and then they’re pleasing the shareholders instead of the distributors and changing the comp plan.
So the biggest mistake was first of all I was gonna fix everybody and I never fixed one person, and then secondly I decided I was smarter than everybody and I wasn’t. And then I was gonna control my whole downline. If I found somebody who wasn’t duplicating the great Mark Yarnell, my god, I was on the phone with them. What’s the matter with you? Until a couple of them pointed out they were making more than I was doing what I didn’t do. And I realized, you know, you take yourself too seriously and that ego gets in the way. As I said when you’re young and you make the big money.
And then I thought I could be happy doing nothing. So I took a year off and went to Switzerland, Gstaad, Switzerland and that almost killed me. So I made all kinds of mistakes. Talked to the wrong people. Tried to save the wrong people. Tried to persuade the right people ‘cause I thought they were great and they didn’t really want to do it, but I talked ‘em into it. Oh another big mistake, don’t become a banker. One of the things I learned is when somebody says, “Hey, if you buy me a kit, watch my smoke.” Well I’ve put $17,000 into kits over the years for other people and not one of them has ever made it and not one of them has ever paid me back. So what I say to people now when they say, “Buy me a kit and I’ll make you rich” I say, “Hey, I made my banker a promise. I won’t loan money if he won’t do MLM. So I’m not giving you a kit.” The biggest mistake I was making early on is I had so much money I’d just buy somebody a kit. Well they didn’t have any skin in the game. They didn’t have a vested interest in it, so sure, they’ll sign up as long as I buy the kit, then they didn’t do anything. So that was the third big mistake that I made.
Oh I could go on and on, Jackie. Really, I made a lot of mistakes.
Jackie: Well those are brilliant and I think most of us have made them and it definitely drives the point home. So there ya go. If you had to name three primary skills that you feel like a person needs to develop, and I say develop because most of us aren’t born with them, but that a person needs to develop, skills to develop in order to be successful, what would those three be?
Mark Yarnell: They’d be listen, read and communicate effectively. The first thing I do when I meet a new person, whether I’m doing a three-way call for one of my downline or I’m doing a call myself, is the very first thing I want to know is, “Tell me about you. What have you been up to? I’m interested in you. I’m gonna tell you about me in a minute and what we’re gonna talk about in our business, but I’m really interested in you. Tell me about yourself.” And I really am. I’m not doing that to make ‘em feel good. I’m doing it because I want to know who these people are. And I’m gonna pick up clues about their self-esteem, about whether they’re entrepreneurs. I’m gonna learn a lot about people in just a little five minute dialog. So the first thing is learn to listen. It’s real easy, if you’re like me, to be too big a talker. That’s another mistake that I tend to make a lot, still do and I try to catch myself, but I just can’t. It’s like I kick start my mouth like a Harley-Davidson. I get all cranked up and I start talking and don’t listen. So I’ve gotta be cognizant of what I’m doing or I’ll make the same mistake all over and over. Learn to listen to people. Find out their story. They want to tell their story. You’re gonna have plenty of time to tell yours. And as you listen to their background, you pick up a lot of wonderful, wonderful facts.
Read. I get up every morning at 5:00 am and I’ve done this now for 30 years, 30 years. I’ve got a library. I’m not bragging. I’ve got 6,000 books. People come into my house. My library is books from floor to ceiling and I’ve read most of ‘em because I love reading. So every morning from 5:00 am to 7:00 am when everybody else is not bugging me and I’ve got my ringer turned down on the phone, I read, I read. If somebody calls me and says, “Hey, what book should I read?” I can give ‘em so many books it will choke a horse. And I’m talking the latest, greatest books written by the best people, books that are life-transforming. And every time that I read a book, and I do this every day, I learn something and I learn something from an expert in another field who’s dedicated his or her life to exploring one narrow domain. So if I go get the best-sellers in every domain, business, science, technology, philosophy, psychology, etc., I’m gonna be way ahead of the game. The average American reads one book a year and it’s fiction. So learn to listen, learn to read and improve your brain and then practice communicating effectively, both in the written and the spoken word.
Nothing is worse, and I know, Jackie, you’re a technology expert and I think you’re very, very special at what you do and Valerie and I have looked at your stuff and really impressed with it. One of the things that I’ve noticed is your attention to detail. People need to understand that they’re judged by their language, both written and oral. Don’t let up on your ability to improve as a communicator. That will serve you well, both in the written and spoken word. And it doesn’t matter how people abbreviate things online and how cutesy they get. If you’re gonna send somebody any kind of information of any kind, whether it’s a text message or a Facebook, anything, make it good grammar. Check it over ‘cause that is a reflection of who you are and the more you improve your communication skills, the more effective you’ll be at guiding a group of people in network marketing.
So those are three things that are real, real important to me.
Jackie: I like those and speaking of reading, what would be a book, if you were to recommend one book to the listeners, what book would that be?
Mark Yarnell: Well in network marketing I would recommend the old standard A.L. Williams’ book “All You Can Do Is All You Can Do, but All You Can Do Is Enough.” “All You Can Do” is a book that’s so dog eared here, I mean I’ve read 11 books and I recommend his book ahead of mine. People say, “Wouldn’t you rather sell your” no, his is better. It’s the one I read. “All You Can Do Is All You Can Do.” I think it is absolutely fabulous. I love the book by Michael Legault. It’s fairly new called “Think.” I don’t know. If I were gonna recommend one book to everybody and say you know, don’t go through life without reading this one, it would probably be “The Great Turning” by David Korten. Just “The Great Turning” by David Korten and I think Korten spells his name with a “K”, K-o-r-t-e-n or K-o-r-t-i-n. “The Great Turning” is a very life-transformative book. If you’re willing to laugh at yourself and take yourself lightly, another great book is Kaplan’s book, “Bozo Sapiens.” I got a big kick out of “Bozo Sapiens” by Ellen Kaplan, K-a-p-l-a-n I believe. That is an absolutely fabulous, fabulous book.
So I’ve got so many great books that I love.
Jackie: Yeah, I can tell you do, 6,000 or so.
Mark Yarnell: Yeah, 6,000.
Jackie: What do you love most about our profession?
Mark Yarnell: The fact that the only way you can win is by elevating others. Instead of getting in at the very bottom and trying to crawl your way through some artificial bureaucratic nightmare to the top and using all your skills as a negotiator and a backstabber, whatever you’ve gotta do to get to the top, you start at the top of your own group and you win by filling in the bottom. And to me, it’s just a reversal on the whole concept of economics 101. So we’re probably the only profession where everybody starts at the very top and wins by elevating other people. And I just think that’s marvelous. I think it’s a great business model. Don’t you? I mean, I love it.
Jackie: I love it, too, and I love that analogy of it. That’s perfect. All right, final question for you. If you were just starting today with the knowledge that you have that you’ve gleaned over the last almost 30 years I’d say in this profession, what would you do to build your business? How would you get off to a rocket start?
Mark Yarnell: Same thing. The same thing I’ve done three times. I would simply make a list of my top 40 and I’d call ‘em and say, “Get over to my house as quick as you can. Bring your credit card. I have found the mother lode. And by the way, you may need to buy some Unisom and a box of Depends, ‘cause when you see what I’ve got, you’re not gonna be able to stand it. You probably are gonna need adult diapers and sleeping medication. But get over here Thursday night and bring your Visa.” That’s exactly what I’d do. Last time I did that, I had 14 people in my living room signed up 12 of ‘em and two of them are now still making me the most money of anybody in the company. First meeting. So that’s the first thing. I went after, last time, everybody I knew. Then I expanded my circle to paragliders, but I’m also, I’m very conscious of the fact that if I’m out talking to people, I can get almost anybody interested. I’ve just gotta determine if they’re in the right time in their life. Because I go about it in a different way than the average person. I’ve learned how to nullify all the objections right up front. For example, Jackie, what I’m saying is, going about it now, what I love to do is go out in public and talk to people, because my whole goal is to plant seeds that are gonna give you trouble. They’re gonna germinate later give you trouble. I’m planting seeds.
So if I run into you, Jackie, no matter where we are in the event we’re talking, I’m gonna ask you what you do and you’re gonna tell me. And then you’re gonna ask me what I do to be polite and I’m gonna say, “Well, I flip pyramids.” You say, “What?” “Yeah, I flip pyramids.” “What do you mean?” “Well, you ever heard of flipping real estate, flipping houses?” “Well, yeah.” “You know, where you go in, you get a piece of real estate and you improve it and then you flip it, you sell it, you flip it, right?” “Yeah, I understand what that is.” “Okay so you understand flipping houses.” “Yeah, I do.” “Okay, well I flip pyramids. I go and I look for a ground floor pyramid where I can get at the very top of the tree. You know, you’ve always heard that people who get in at the very top make all the big money. And then I make sure that the products are scientific, the owners have run companies. They know what they’re doing. They’re well capitalized, good manufacturers, quality. In other words, I don’t just jump into anything stupid. I’ve got algorithms for picking the best kind of company. I find one early. I bring in all my friends and relatives and everybody who will listen to me at the very top. We make a fortune then, when the company levels off in stability and hits a billion, we sell our organization and go find another pyramid to flip. I flip pyramids.”
Now, Jackie, let me tell you the truth. When I say that to the average, now most people have pyramid objections or they think our industry’s crazy. When I say that to a person, most people say to me, “Wow! That’s fascinating. You actually flip pyramids. Have you found any good ones lately?” They want to know. I’ve not only taken all the objection out of, the wind out of their sails, but I’ve also given them a chance to participate in what they’ve always known would make sense, and that’s the ground floor of a deal. Boy if I could get in on the ground floor. It’s like the people that used to say, I learned the best from Richard how to deal with the Amway objection. “Is this like Amway?” I’d say, “Well, let me ask you a question. If I could wave a wand and turn back the clock to 1959 and get you in the first week of Amway, would you sign up knowing what you know?” “Oh yeah.” “So in other words, you don’t hate Amway. You’re just mad you didn’t get a shot at the ground floor.” See everybody wants to do one of these deals, but they want to get in at the right time and they want to know that the people bringing them in have access to smart people who don’t pick stupid companies. And so that’s what I do. I just go out and talk to a lot of people, plant seeds, have fun.
Jackie: Perfect. Mark, how do we find out more about you? How does our audience access you?
Mark Yarnell: Well, I’ll tell ya, it’d be better if they just access somebody in their upline who’s in their company to really work with them on three-way calling and everything. What I always tell people is a lot of times people try to track me down because they’ve read my book or whatever, and I always love to recruit and work with people. I love people to be able to find me who are between companies and all that, but I always hate to use my influence to persuade people to think they’re gonna somehow be better off with me on my frontline. So what I would say to people, I mean, I’m very visible on Google. Anybody can Google Mark Yarnell. You’ll find out what I’m doing, where I’m at but with this disclaimer: I would stay where you are and do the best you can until you’ve tracked upline in the company you’re in and trusted your best leader at the top to coach you, you’ve got no business changing companies because geographical cures usually don’t work. But I’m all over the Internet. You know, you can find me anywhere.
Jackie: Very good. True sign of integrity. You’re a leader of leaders and I so appreciate you and I so appreciate you taking some time to share with all of us today. So thank you so much, my friend. It’s been just a true honor and privilege for me.
Mark Yarnell: Thank you, Jackie. The pleasure is all mine. Let’s do it again sometime.
Mark Yarnell: Thanks a lot.