'The Best Thing About This Business is the People'
An Upline Interview with Gary Gillespie of Conklin
Gary Gillespie was selling insurance when he first heard about Conklin products from a friend of his, back in the Seventies. A decade later, when he owned a fast food restaurant, someone else sold him Conklin's industrial cleaning products. Seven more years went by-- Gary had sold his restaurant and moved on to be the fundraising director for a non-profit organization-- but the company and its products were still in the back of his mind. "I guess you could say I recruited myself," Gary reflects, "because one day I just called them and asked, `How can I get involved?'"
I didn't know how it worked, but I was looking for a way to create an income stream in addition to my full-time job, and I knew there was a distribution center nearby. When I called, there happened to be a Sales Director there picking up an order and we connected for lunch. He presented the business to me, which at that time was mostly direct sales focused, and I decided to get involved part-time.
One of my initial challenges was that I didn't have a personal use for most of the products. I wasn't a farmer, so I couldn't use the crop or animal products; I wasn't a roofer, and I didn't have a fleet of vehicles, so I couldn't use the building and lubrication products. Many of the distributors were using thousands of dollars of product in their own operations, and I didn't have that option.
I did have some interest in animals, though, so I immediately came up with targeted list of people who would be likely to use some of the animal products. I started a direct sales mailing campaign asking if people would like to try the products, and within four months, I had customers in 22 states.
I went to some trainings the company offered, and started to grasp the notion that combining sponsoring with my direct sales efforts was the way for me to really make my business grow. After a year, I was able to leave my job and focus on my business full-time.
One of the most important things I did to get my business off the ground was to stay in constant contact with my sponsor. If he wasn't available, I went up until I found somebody to help me. That gave me a tremendous back-and-forth relationship with the leaders above me-- it helped me to avoid some of the common pitfalls, kept me aware of what was going on in the company, and most importantly, kept me feeling encouraged. Some days you just don't feel like getting things done, and if you have that relationship, you have someone to spur you on. My sponsor particularly helped me to learn how to make a strong presentation. I went to as many meetings and got involved in as many things as I possibly could in order to learn.
Even though I didn't have a way to use many of the company's products, whatever I could use, I always did and continue to do so. With the introduction of family care products, there's more that we can replace in our household, but right from the beginning I replaced all the cleansers and fertilizers that I was using. I immersed myself in whatever was available-- I believe you should use what you can in whatever company you are involved in. Just get rid of whatever competing products you own and use the products you sell.
In 1997, I started reading Upline, and it was actually in reading these Success Stories about other people in the industry that I realized how much bigger the opportunity for me in my own business was. I thought to myself, "What do those people know that I don't know?" Some of the people interviewed had been in business about the same amount of time I had, but looked like they were doing a little better than I was, so I decided to "go back to college" and major in Network Marketing 101. I went after every bit of information I could get about Network Marketing and studied it as hard as I could.
One of the things that struck me most was the speed with which some people were building-- they were making more contacts, conducting more presentations, and communicating with a much larger network than I was. Some of that is just a product difference-- some of our product orders are sold by the semi-truckload-- but I recognized a whole new horizon out there. To me, the connection between product and opportunity is almost like AC current, like we have in our house. It goes back and forth from positive to negative so quickly that no one can ever see it happen. It goes from the business side, over to the product side, and then back. No matter if you first introduce them to the products and then the business, or to the business and then to the products, they have to go back and forth between the two almost instantaneously. If you don't have that, it's like a DC current, much like your car battery. If you leave the lights on long enough, eventually there's no power left. You have to have that balance-- the business and the products need to go hand in hand to really work.
Since then, I've enjoyed being able to help the company develop methods for training those who are direct sales focused to understand the Network Marketing dimension of their business. We have people who have been in this company for almost 30 years, are full-time and have never done anything else, yet they, too, are seeing how much faster it can grow putting a turbo-charger on the business model.
My philosophy is to put the Lord and his interests first. Then comes family, and then comes the business. This business works very much like the same way that Jesus sent out the disciples. He sent them out, and told them that if the folks out there aren't interested, dust off your shoes, go down the road, and see the next ones. We try to help every person we can, but we don't necessarily feel bad if they aren't ready right at that moment.
My second philosophy is to tithe-- to be committed to and contribute to a cause as I make money. We give to different ministries, and Network Marketing is a perfect vehicle for that because you're able to do well and still pass it back where it should be going.
My best advice for succeeding is: Get started and don't quit.
The best thing about Network Marketing for me is the people we've met-- and not just in our company. We attended the Masters Weekend in Orlando last year, and it was an eye-opening experience to meet so many upbeat, positive people willing to give of their time to sit around the table with us and tell us how they're doing the business. Their attitude was, "What can I do to help? What can I tell you that would help you to become a success? I know that you're not in our company, but that's okay, because it will help the industry, if there is a whole bunch of successful people out there." People in Network Marketing share a value system-- they have that dream of being successful, and they're willing to share.
GARY GILLESPIE is a full-time Sales Director with Conklin, Network Marketers of industrial and farm products. He has been with the company since 1992 and is a member of Conklin's Presidents Club and Winners Circle. He lives with his wife, Mary, in Wahoo, NE, where their three children are also involved in the business.
Reprinted with permission from Upline, Gillespie-Success Story-March 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com
Back to top of article