Social media influencers bring tremendous attention to your products. In this episode, John Solleder’s long-time friend, Chris Thomas, explains how companies should work with influencers. Chris has considerable experience working with high-level athletes, such as UFC fighters and Olympic athletes. The key is to have a product that’s unique, exclusive, and patent-protected. Why? Because influencers don’t go to your company because of networking. Rather, they go to your company because of the product. And they stay because of the paycheck. So if you want to attract high-profile influencers into your company, this episode’s for you. Tune in!
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How To Work With Influencers With Chris Thomas
It is my privilege to welcome a long-term friend of mine, another East Coaster from the United States. Neither one of us live there anymore. He is living over in Quezon City in the Philippines. I’m here in Dallas, Texas. That is my good old friend, Mr. Chris Thomas. Chris, how are you?
I’m fantastic. Thanks so much for having me on, John. It’s great to see you. This is fantastic.
You can thank God for technology.You can control your mind to eliminate procrastination and create the future you're looking for. Click To Tweet
It’s amazing. If you think of where we started, we were using care tags and phone calls.
Before we get started, how are all the babies?
All of them are good. I have two daughters and two sons. It’s good. Life is all brand new for me.
I enjoy your Facebook pictures of those little guys. One of these days when this craziness is over, I’m going to come, visit, and meet my nephews and nieces.
They’re waiting for you, Uncle John.
I know your story, but our readers don’t. How did you get started in network marketing?
I owned a telemarketing company and I sold the company. I was twenty years old. We had raised millions of dollars for Special Olympics for about a two-year period. I woke up one day and my father had died of a massive heart attack when I was sixteen. I remember thinking to myself, “What happens if I never worked for somebody and I died at 58 like he did? How would it affect my life?” There was a decision I made in my life right then and that was, “I was going to start my own company. I didn’t know what.” I fell into multi-level marketing.
At twenty years old, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I looked in an ad in USA Today because that was what everybody did on a Friday if you were looking at these opportunities in the ’80s. I looked for an ad, and it said, “Eat cookies. Make money. Lose weight.” I thought it was the stupidest ad I ever saw and I had to give it a call. I called and pulled over to the side of the road. I was so excited about the conversation that I was having from a guy whose name was Bob.
Bob was telling me about these crazy diet cookies, how people were losing weight and, more importantly, the concept of leverage. He was going to teach me the same leverage that allowed him to put both his kids through school with a company called Herbalife back at the beginning of the ’80s. I was so excited that I hung up the phone and I had been checking my oil in my Dodge Omni at that time. I didn’t even know. I set the hood down and I never closed the hood.
I got back going to the highway and I started driving down the highway. I got to be about 60 miles an hour. The entire hood flew up and smashed my windshield and hood, but I still decided that I was going to go to the meeting. I took a coat hanger and I tied down my car. I drove up to this gentleman’s house and that was my first exposure to network marketing. It was about 1987 or 1988. One week later, I had you walk into my life at Holiday Inn in Cromwell Bridge Road in Loch Raven in Maryland, United States.
I remember the first time that we met and the guy that ran the ad I sponsored. This brings everybody up to speed. Chris and I know each other. We’ve got so much history here. We could go about nine interviews. Let’s start on the multi-level stuff for a bit. In the book, Leave Nothing to Chance, I know you’ve read it. What principle stands up the most to you?
Without a doubt, it’s number eleven, “Build a better future starting today.” Who I am now, I spent from 20 years old to 50 years old learning multi-level and apparently having a pretty successful career, but that completely changed when I turned 50 years old and I finally had kids? My wife and I had our kids and we had a brand-new life. I was able to make a commitment in a way that most people weren’t. I met my wife and she was all the way in Manila and I was in Florida.
I made a decision because of multi-level marketing and something that you taught me when I was very young, which is, you were going to teach me a skill that allowed you to transport me anywhere in the world and drop me off and I would be able to build a business. It’s true because, without you saying that all of those years ago, I would have never had the belief that a kid from Baltimore with no education could get involved in an industry and change his entire life and destiny and maybe for generations to come.
That’s what it did for me. Without a doubt, it’s number eleven, “Build a better future starting today.” One thing that you say here is you described that the most important thing is your education. Your retirement health for a loved one. That is literally where I live right now. Every day of my life, I live in number eleven.
What was the first self-development book you ever read?
It was The Richest Man in Babylon, but the one that had the biggest impact on me, the first one was Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins, without a doubt. I found myself, shortly after reading that book in Washington DC, walking on fire, 24 feet across superhot coals. It was one of the first fire walks Tony Robbins did and it changed my life. It made me realize I could do anything no matter who I was. No matter where I came from, the past does not equal the future.
I know you’ve got some great islands over there in the Philippines. I don’t know if you’ve got some properties on a couple of them. Let’s say, hypothetically, that tomorrow they came and said, “Chris, we’re sending you to a beautiful island. We’re going to give you plenty of food, water, and shelter. Don’t worry about any of that stuff, but you got to travel light. You could only bring three books with you.” What would the three books be?It's the greatest time in the world to be involved in multi-level marketing. Click To Tweet
Unleash the Power Within and Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins. The third one has been the one who has had the most impact on me. It’s The Silva Mind Control Method by José Silva. I highly recommend that. It has nothing to do with controlling other people. It’s teaching you how to control your mind, eliminate procrastination, and create the future that you’re looking for. It has been a tremendous instruction guide for me. I feel very blessed to have found that book. I didn’t find that in the normal channels that I was looking for. I found that through a friend of mine who is a professional athlete and they use it for their own improvements on a daily basis. It has been amazing for me.
Let me ask you this. We’re living in some weird times. We’ve known each other more than half of our lives. I don’t think either one of us have ever seen anything like what has gone on in the world. It has affected everywhere, where you are, where I am, and where everybody else is reading, certainly. Let me set this up for you. I would love your response.
We have a 25-year-old, well-educated, maybe college-educated. They understand the internet, technology, and social media. They started their business career. All of a sudden, the pandemic came and slammed the brakes. Now, they find themselves living on mom and dad’s couch. Maybe they’re back in the room that they were in when they were born. Who knows?
On the other side of that, dad is about a 60-year-old guy about my age and been in business. Maybe he has owned a business. Maybe he has been a senior level management in somebody else’s business who has done really well. All of a sudden, he was probably looking at it a couple of years ago. He was starting to think, “In a few years, I can hit more golf balls, catch more fish, play with the grandkids, and spend my golden years doing what I want to do. I worked hard all these years.”
All of a sudden, it’s the same deal as the 25-year-old. Brakes got slammed on. Things are not the same financially. They say to themselves, “We know Chris. Chris lives down the street from us. We’re going to pop over to Chris’ office this afternoon and we’re going to ask him, ‘why multi-level end of 2021 and 2022?’ Why should somebody get involved in this industry now?”
It’s the greatest time in the world to be involved in multi-level right now. It’s the industry. If you remembered years ago, we were saying, “This is the last fashion of free enterprise,” and now it is. Now, it’s the only business that when all of the other brick and mortar businesses and delivery services were shut down, the one thing that wasn’t shut down were the end-line deliveries like Amazon, UPS, or one of the delivery services.
What was happening is, if you were able to own a business that you could start and run from your home, you do not have to do any of the heavy lifting, it was done for you by a central location somewhere in the world, and you would get paid not only based on the personal sales that you made, but also the generational sales that were to come, what industry is that? It’s only one industry. It’s the industry I learned many years ago, multi-level marketing.
We now are the cool guys. We now have a solution. Few people in the world have the solution. Whether you’re getting involved in Amway, Herbalife, Mary Kay, or any of those companies, it’s better than working for someone else and hoping that they pay you. Multi-level marketing has a structure built in that’s going to pay you. All you have to do is do the work and you can do it from your home without any of the heavy lifting.
If I’m 25 years old, I’m learning how to use the technology and the apps. I’m learning how to do all. I’m learning to use Zoom, Instagram, and TikTok. I’m learning all of these skills, your friends. It can allow you to do Zoom meetings, just like it would be an opportunity meeting. It can compress time in a massive way.
If you’re that 60-year-old, learn how to use Zoom and how to make things easier for you. When your friends ask you, “Can you show me that video?” Learn how to use that app that you have with your company to be able to send them that video right away on their phone. They can watch it. Don’t make it difficult for people. Make it easy for people.
Multi-level marketing now has made it easier than ever to start a business from your home with no money and be able to create leverage. I mean real leverage, 4, 5, 6, and 7-figure leverage. It’s the kind of leverage that can allow a 54-year-old man to move halfway around the world, start a family, and never have to leave his home to be able to support his family. That’s what multi-level marketing does. That’s what it has done for me for many years. That’s what it does for everybody now. It gives you the opportunity to have freedom. What we want in the world more than anything else is freedom.
Let me ask you this. You’ve started with a lot of people. You’ve been in the industry for a long time. You’ve been very successful in a number of different companies over the years. What strategies do you use with that 25-year-old, 60-year-old, or with anybody? Any age, sex, or demographic you want to throw out there?
How do you get them started to a fast start, so they see some success and what we used to call ink strike paper? Now, it’s probably more like the internet strike or whatever it strikes. They get that result where they go, “Chris told me about this business. He coached me up on what to do. I’ve done it and now I’ve had some results.” What’s that strategy?
It’s very important that people, no matter what company they choose, they choose a company that has a great customer program. We know, as of about 2018, the network marketing climate changed for everybody. It’s a strong retail customer program and you have to get people out of the gate. If it’s for 60 days, you lost them. It used to be the 90-day wonders. Now, it’s the 60-day wonders. You got 60 days to make an impact on somebody’s psyche and their wallet.
If we cannot make an impact on their psyche and their wallet, how do you do that if you’re the 25-year-old? You use those tools. You use TikTok and Zoom. You create your own content and put it out that day. You make sure you understand about Facebook ads. Facebook ads, TikTok ads, and Instagram ads are so important. These are things that I would never have thought that I would have an interest in, but I realized that so many people are on these social medias and they’re looking just like we are. They’re looking for something.
That’s why they make the bad decisions because they don’t see any of the real decisions. We can give them a chance to have a real company, no matter what company. If you select a good company in our industry, you’re going to have a better chance at success than you are if you go about it on your own. In that first 60 days and the companies that I choose, I make sure they have a good 60-day program right out of the gate, giving somebody a chance to have a leg up.
The bottom line is people want to be able to make money immediately. They don’t have 90 days to be able to make a dime down. They want to be able to put money in their pocket. If you have a program that can allow them to put money in their pocket relatively quickly, but it also has a generational wealth element to it like the good networking companies do, you have a home run. I can’t see starting a restaurant or doing a laundromat. I can’t see doing anything else that is more productive and effective than multi-level marketing in 2021. It’s the best choice you could possibly make.
You mentioned legacy, for example. This is a legacy business. One of the things that I recognized now that I’m getting older is this is a business that, once we build it right, it gets passed along to our heirs, kids, and even eventually grandkids will wind up all our distributorships down the road. Legacy is something that’s so important. What’s your response to that?
When I had my oldest son, Corban, all I thought about was the legacy. I also thought to myself, “I don’t want to be the father that’s jumping from one network marketing company to the other.” That’s not something you and I were going to talk about right now, but I want to put that in there. When I had kids, all of my ideas of what multi-level marketing represented to me changed. I took the same skills that I learned and I said, “How would I teach this to my son? First, you have to do what you did. I remember when you did it. I remember when you made the decision that you were going to be in one company for a long time and that’s it.”
When you find a company that is somebody that you feel comfortable with and somebody that you feel like you can have a growing business and respect with, you have to lock horns. You have to understand that your job is to bring the people, train the people, keep the people, keep the morale up, and teach the skills. The company’s only simple job but it is so difficult is to make the product, make sure it’s consistent, and ship the paychecks on time.
That’s ultimately, at the end of the day, the only job of the network marketing company. It’s our responsibility as distributors in this industry to be the professionals. I love the saying that I heard when I first started, which is, “Network marketing is nothing else than a personal development course with a check.” That’s what it is.
Let’s switch gears because we have a lot of our audience that are either big sports fans, current athletes, former athletes, and old guys like us that were athletes. We were tough at one time. We’re not anymore. At the end of the day, I still think I am. I was watching the Olympics in wrestling and watching how the guys were getting twisted.
My wife was watching with me and she was like, “You used to do that?” I was like, “Yes.” She was like, “That’s why you walk the way that you do.” It was great to watch it. You were involved in the martial arts, like I was way back. It’s one of the passions you and I have shared. You even started a company way back, Dojo.TV, where you were ahead of your time. You’ve known a lot of the legends in the UFC, for example. I know you’ve sponsored a couple of UFC legends. Tell that story.
Before you do that, for the audience’s benefit, we all know people who are social media influencers who are not in network marketing, but Chris has been able to reach out to some well-known people in the martial arts world and the athletic world. It’s another guy who is not a martial artist but very well-known in his sport. He reached them and then they’ve had an impact on his business on his company. Chris, let me throw the ball back to you if you want to talk about them. If you want to name them, no problem. They’re celebrities.
When I first got involved in the industry, I remember thinking all those years ago, all the way back with selling a Muhammad Ali energy cookie. I remember that was the beginning where I thought to myself, “What if we could have a product line that was so unique that would even enhance the performance of a professional athlete, basketball player, or wrestler?”
That was my own personal search. I began to look for companies that had extraordinary personal development supplements so that I could maybe take them to a college and take them to an athlete. At first, there was nobody doing this. Eventually, with that first company you and I knew about all those years ago, we were able to establish some professional sports. That became what that company was known for. It’s the company that attracted professional athletes.
I always thought to myself, “What if you could create a great product?” The challenge is, you can’t do that with your regular supplements. It has got to be something so extraordinary because these athletes see it all, especially at the highest level, the UFC fighters, Olympic athletes, and professional athletes. If you’re not coming to them with something that’s so unique, patent-protected, and exclusive, then you’re wasting your time. I know that the company that you’re with, you guys are exclusive. Mine, too, and that’s so important.
What I realized was, the thing that is important to elite athletes at any age in their career is oxygen intake. If you can create or find a product that increases the oxygen in your blood and the ability for you to have better endurance because, if you’re a fighter, it’s not like being a baseball player or a basketball player. You don’t just lose the game. If you’re a fighter, you go to the hospital sometimes if it doesn’t work out.
These athletes know how important endurance is. That’s what I focus my attention on. It’s finding great athletes and I did. One of the athletes is somebody that I’ve known since I owned that Dojo.TV company in 2000. He was at that time the UFC World Champion, Pat Miletich. He went on from being a world champion to one of the best trainers in the world, to a commentator for ESPN and the other large networks for sixteen years.
When I reached out to Pat, this time, I was reaching out to a friend. I wasn’t reaching out to a prospect. I was reaching out to a friend who hadn’t been paid in sixteen weeks. I didn’t know and realize that, but many professional athletes, especially if they’re in the broadcast world, are not being paid this entire pandemic until when sports started up again. All of these world-class athletes, world-class people, and presenters are out of work.
Multi-level marketing, for the very first time, becomes of interest because we have a product that’s so unique. We have a compensation plan that will pay them no matter where they live and where they’re at directly to their bank account, which that’s pretty much all network marketing. I’m not giving any exclusives here. This isn’t one company. This is any company. They probably have a system set up where the distributor can use their phone, computer, or technological information to get information out to people.
When people sign up, somebody somewhere is going to ship the product to them and they’re going to get a check every weekend. That’s what happened. Most professional athletes don’t understand the multi-level marketing concept of leverage, but they do understand that they are social influencers. As social influencers, they have a certain amount. Maybe it’s 5,000, 50,000, 100,000, or 1 million. They have people following them, that when they tell them about a product that they love, people come from miles around.
I have a rapper. He is a very famous guy. He is the number one rapper in the world right now. He is a non-industry rapper. It’s interesting. He doesn’t do any kind of advertising, but yet when he had such an amazing result from this particular line, he couldn’t help but give a free testimonial to another professional athlete because his friend, who was a professional athlete, asked him to try this. That’s the difference. Once you get inside of these influencers, one influencer goes to another. It’s a fire.
If you have a great or unique product, a product that maybe is NSF-certified, NSF-certified is something that if you want to take and put your product into Major League Baseball or NFL Football, you have to have that certification. What they realize is that, if you have a product that is natural and organic, you’re not going to have the same issues of getting your product into an environment like a professional athlete environment.
If you make any kind of alterations to that product, then you’re going to have to go through the normal channels, but if you don’t make any alterations and it’s a very natural product, you’ll find that it’s easy to get in. Once you’re in, they don’t care where it comes from as long as the price is good. These professional athletes will use the product. You don’t have to pay these people.
Another thing, a lot of these are companies. They think we have to pay an athlete. That’s not true. First of all us, as network marketing professionals, we don’t respect the fact that you’re going to bring an athlete in from the outside. These athletes are going to be people that come in, use the product, and fall in love with the product no matter what company. If you can find that unique formulation, you’re going to have massive success and that’s what we’re having right now.
There are major celebrity athletes all over the world right now that are dying to have someone that they know approach them about some great network marketing company. They are dying because they are losing their income. There are so few opportunities out there in the world like network marketing. We have the goal. We have the can. We just need to be willing to share it. The fact that you started doing this show again, the industry needed it.
There used to be a publication called Upline Magazine, but that doesn’t exist anymore. Now, you’re the Upline Magazine. You’re the one guy talking about the industry. You’re not focused on one company or product. It’s the industry. It’s the kind of people that come to this industry that make this industry great. That’s why I’m here. I’m here because somebody believed in me when I never believed in myself all those years ago.No matter what company, if you find a unique formulation, you'll have massive success. Click To Tweet
You made a lot of great points there. Let me point out one and I have a question for you about one of your other celebrities who I am hysterical. Pat Miletich, here’s a guy who won the UFC. You and I were there when he won the UFC. We were also there when he lost the USC to Carlos Newton. Chris had some great connections. He got us sitting next to the cage at the UFC. We weren’t sitting. We were sitting next to the cage with Chris’ connections. That’s a nice guy. I met him way back there. I remember he was a very nice young man.
Pat is a perfect example if you go back to one of the prior questions, the 25-year-old and the 60-year-old. Pat Miletich, under normal circumstances, is a super busy guy. He runs one of the elite gyms for UFC in the world, not just in the United States. He does broadcasts, has a family, and a busy guy. If you walked in and said, “I look at this multi-level and that multi-level,” he might listen to you and use the product, but he didn’t have time.
All of a sudden, pandemic happens, sixteen weeks without a paycheck. We won’t been there at one point in our lives or another. Pat Miletich, a professional athlete, great guy, world-renowned fighter, sixteen weeks without a paycheck, that has got to impact you. Why would Pat be any different than the guy down the street who worked at the car dealership who is not selling any cars, or the guy who had a local pizza parlor who isn’t selling any pizzas during the pandemic?
I got to ask you because I’m a big fan of this guy. I know he is one of your guys there with your company. I know he has got a lot of customers. I would love for you to talk about the customers. Bas Rutten, he is funny in person as he is on TV. I don’t remember the show what it was called, but Kevin James had a remake with Leah Remini. I forget the name of it. He was a cop on Long Island. He had retired. Bas was his secretary.
I remember he had the movie, too, Here Comes the Boom.
That’s right, where he was the coach. Is he that funny or is he just good when you give him the lines?
He is that funny. I had the opportunity to interview him a whole lot when I was at SiriusXM Radio. I had the opportunity to be inside that world for a long time. He is world-class. He is a tremendous human being, but he is very real. He doesn’t say anything he doesn’t mean. That’s the thing about Bas. You’re not going to get him a set fee. If he believes in something, he is going to tell you. If he doesn’t believe in it, he is going to tell you with a smile, but he is certainly going to tell you.
How many customers? Can you tell me? Last time we talked, it was thousands.
Hundreds. It’s interesting. Bas Rutten, Paul Lazenby, and Pat Miletich came into the company. Pat put on over 2,000 customers. Paul is over 1,000. Bas is right in the same number. This is an industry where we all want customers, but the reality is, to meet someone who goes out and does these kinds of numbers is very rare. The idea is, “How do we show these people to create leverage in their life, not just to have the customers, but how do you create leverage?”
It’s a lot easier to do that when they’re getting a check. It’s a lot easier for them to listen when they got a check coming in because they have so many customers. That’s what I’ve noticed that influencers, easier to listen to you and have a personal product experience and they’re making, but it has got to be enough money to get their attention. What I found is if you get their attention, they’re never going to go anywhere because they did not come to your company for the networking. They came to your company for the product. They stayed there because of the product and paycheck.
We’re going to start to wrap up here. I got one more question for you and I’m going to throw it to you. Let me do my little advertisement for the show. The show is called LeavingNothingToChance.com. We archive all of these shows. We started last March 2020 during the height of the pandemic. We’ve interviewed a lot of the luminaries in network marketing and some of the support people in network marketing. We’ve had a host of people on. We’ll continue to have the best and the brightest in the future like Chris Thomas, for example.
A lot of the questions we asked were based on one of the books that I wrote, which is called Leave Nothing to Chance, which is available on Amazon in English, Spanish, and digital. You can get it all over the world. Chris was able to get it over there in the Philippines, for example, the hard copy of it and also my prior book, which was called Moving Up: 2020 and Beyond. Both of those are Amazon Best Sellers.
I’ve done this business as Chris has. We’re real guys. We built networks. That’s what we’ve done. A lot of guys write books and then you find out they’ve never built downline and everything, which is funny that they’re writing books about an industry that they’ve never experienced only from the arms’ distance. We’ve done it. Read the blog. Tell your friends about the show. It’s free and the content will always be generic.
Chris, I got to ask you in wrapping up, your sage advice, 30 plus years in the industry, tons of success. You’re living a great life. You got a beautiful young family. You got a beautiful wife. You’re living the dream. What’s your best advice simply for somebody that perhaps is reading and maybe they’re struggling right now? They’re struggling with, “Am I a network marketer or not?” You know what I’m saying, but they haven’t made that real commitment to tell their best friend that they’re in network marketing. They’ll tell a stranger. They’ll send an email, text, or whatever, but they won’t tell their best friend or mom that they’re in the business. How do they get over that?
I’ll tell you the same thing you told me years ago, “You have to never be afraid because that chicken list is going to be the list.” There are people just like you who most people are afraid to talk to them. If you’re that person talking to someone about network marketing and you’re that first talking, use that chicken list. Don’t be afraid of your chicken list because that’s the key. Now, everybody has the chicken list. Also, immerse yourself in network marketing. Treat this as though you just bought a $1 million McDonald’s and you were saying that you could give them McDonald’s for $1 million.
Let’s say you bought a $5 million McDonald’s and now you have to pay for it. You have to get up at 5:00 in the morning. You have to make sure the employees are there. You have to make sure that everything is made. You have to have the same commitment to running your network marketing business. Even if you haven’t made it, it doesn’t mean anything. When I first met you, you continually forced me to make sure I was always using the ten pennies, “Take ten pennies in your left pocket. Make the presentations ten pennies until they’re done with your right pocket.”Consistency and persistence are keys to success. Click To Tweet
In that process, I met a guy that owned eleven companies. He had no time for my industry and yet that guy lost 38 pounds selling those diet cookies all those years ago. He ended up becoming a millionaire in that business, which in return, because I was his sponsor, changed my entire life. If it hadn’t been for taking those ten pennies and never be willing to quit and understanding, that success is always right in front of you. Success isn’t something that some people get. Success is something that everybody can get. Consistency and persistence are the keys to success. Never ever believe anything else. It’s not talent. It’s hard work.
Thank you so much for staying up late with us. It’s a wonderful interview, Chris. Continued good success, my friend.
John, thank you so much for having me on.
- Chris Thomas
- Leave Nothing to Chance
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Unlimited Power
- Unleash the Power Within
- The Silva Mind Control Method
- Moving Up: 2020 and Beyond