Alan Pariser--Corporate Director IV!
For the second time in two years, Alan Pariser has rewritten the record books — he has achieved the highest level ever achieved in Melaleuca! And he still continues to set ambitious goals for his business and works on a day-to-day basis. The Leadership in Action editorial staff posed some questions to Alan about his recent advancement and his path to success. Following is that conversation, which shows that after ten years as a Marketing Executive Alan knows what it takes to help people succeed.

Q. Congratulations, Alan, for your unprecedented advancement to Corporate Director IV! You have been a Marketing Executive for just over 10 years now. Looking back, did you see yourself reaching this fantastic achievement in this length of time?

A. Thank you. The last ten years have been incredible. Of course, ten years ago the compensation plan didn't have any positions above Corporate Director status, but Corporate Director was always the goal. I remember how excited I was and how I believed that I would become a Corporate Director by May 1992, only six months after I enrolled. Of course that was an unrealistic goal. That's when I learned what Frank always talks about: that character is "the ability to carry out a decision after the emotion of making the decision is past." It actually took eight years to become a Corporate Director.

Q. Did you ever feel too discouraged to go on?

A. Yes, several times. The worst time was in 1997. In 1996 I had advanced from Executive Director V to Executive Director VIII and was on track to achieving Corporate Director in 1997. In that year, some leaders in my organization were paid to leave their Melaleuca businesses and join an MLM company. These were good people who were deceived. They were led to believe that the grass was greener somewhere else. Unfortunately for them, that company no longer exists. Unfortunately for me, I lost some leaders that were strategic to me becoming a Corporate Director. Because of these events I didn't reach Corporate Director until May of 1999 — a full two years later.

Q. What was it that kept you going when you hit those rough spots in your business?

A. Well, it was a very discouraging time. I thought about quitting. I took six months off and I fell into a rut. I took out a legal pad and wrote down all the reasons why I should quit. Some of those reasons were: I thought my business would never grow again, I thought all of my leaders were finished building, I thought all the good leaders were already in Melaleuca and I wouldn't be able to find any new leaders. Not only did I doubt myself, but also I started blaming others. Then I wrote down all the reasons why I should keep building. Among other things, I figured out that I would receive over $300,000 in PEG bonuses for advancing to Corporate Director, and that once I became a Corporate Director my income would be over a million dollars per year. These were only a couple of the reasons that made me realize that I should stop feeling sorry for myself and get back to work.

I often read what I wrote down on that legal pad and wonder what I was thinking. I realized that the reasons why I should quit Melaleuca were only excuses that I came up with because of the events of 1997. Those excuses were mine alone and had nothing to do with the reality of the Melaleuca opportunity. Since 1997 I have advanced four times. My business has grown by over 3000 customers. I've found five more personal Executive Directors, for a total of nine. I've won the President's Club an additional three times and earned over $1 million in each of the last three years. As I look back I realize that 1997 was a crucial inflection point in my business and my life. I was ready to quit just when success was to be had.

Q. Some of the elements of building the business that you incorporated in your first few months as a Marketing Executive are still key to your success today. What are these basic elements?

A. There are a few principles that Executive Director VII Tom Pisano, Corporate Director III Eddie Bestoso, Executive Director V Nona Pione and I have taught since the very beginning.

  1. It's easier to build the business fast than slow.
  2. Treat customers like customers and business builders like business builders. For customers, help them place their order in each of their first three months. For business builders, start them with a Career pack and ten Business Kits. Then help them get to Director within their first month of enrollment.
  3. Always look for your next leader. If someone says they want to build a business but doesn't take the appropriate action, then find someone else to work with. "It is easier to give birth than resurrect the dead."
  4. Remember that you get paid for increasing the number of Preferred Customers in your organization. At end of every day, you should ask yourself, "Was I involved in enrolling a new customer or Marketing Executive today?" If the answer is no, then you didn't build your business that day.

Q. What about the products? Could you have built the same organization with ordinary products?

A. No. The products are the reason why we enjoy such a solid business. We recognized in the very beginning, after talking to Marketing Executives like Executive Director VIII Larry Hseih, Executive Director III Sheila Brown and Executive Director III Ron Frasure, who showed us their business reports, that the products were exceptional. Even though we were in the beginning stages of our investigation their reports told us that the products were good enough to have customers come back and reorder. We saw real customers buying real products month after month. This was different from every other business out there. Every other business talks about how great their products are, but the proof is in the reports. And while every representative from every home-based business I've ever spoken with refuses to show their reports, I've always been able to show mine. Today I can show you customers who have reordered for 121 consecutive months. The Melaleuca products are what make our Melaleuca income so reliable.

Q. What are some of the qualities you look for in people who have come to love Melaleuca's products and now want to build a business?

A. As I look at my nine personal Executive Directors-Executive Director VIII Marlin Hershey, Executive Directors III Jack and Nancy Mellor, Executive Director VII Tom Pisano, Executive Directors VII Laraine & Ray Agren, Executive Directors II Ken & Lisa Klocke, Executive Directors Marcia Fine and Dr. Skip Feinstein, Executive Director Ted DiFilippo, Executive Director Ron Butler, and Executive Directors Tom and Marianne Estabrooks — each of these have common characteristics. First, they all have a hard work ethic. Unfortunately, the last ten years have taught me that the majority of people don't know what working hard means. It's essential to find someone who has a hard work ethic.

Another common characteristic is that each share is that they are coachable. Just after the lack of disciplined hard work, the second greatest challenge I've found is that most people are not coachable and that they like to do it their way. Melaleuca has a very simple formula for success. If people will follow the Success Cycle, they can become successful. In fact, Frank guarantees it — "We have always guaranteed Melaleuca's products. Now you can guarantee your own success by following each step in the Success Cycle!"

Another important characteristic that I look for in individuals is a willingness to put other people first. You can't become a Director II unless you help someone become a Director. You can't become an Executive Director II unless you help someone become a Senior Director. And you can't become a Corporate Director unless you help five Marketing Executives become Executive Directors. There's no place in our compensation plan for just thinking about 'me.'

Q. Is there a formula for turning your goals and dreams into actual results?

A. Yes. These are the steps that I suggest:

  1. You need to have a compelling WHY, a WHY that keeps you up late at night and that drives you. Making a lot of money is the most-often written WHY — and the most meaningless. Making a lot of money is not what I would call a WHY. I had many WHYs when I got started. One of my WHYs was getting out of debt. I hated owing other people money. I hated when people would call me and tell me I owed them money. I hated when my lights were turned off and I couldn't put food on the table. It made me feel like a failure. For me, that was something that made me work day after day, night after night, week after week, month after month, to change my life.
  2. You have to have specific goals, long-term as well as short-term.
  3. Once you have goals, make the commitment to work hard and work every day.
  4. When you get close to achieving your goals, raise the bar and focus on the next goal.
  5. You're only as good as the people you are working with. You'll only be able to achieve your goals if you have a strong team and you are a strong leader for that team.
  6. Announce your goals to the world. If you keep your goals to yourself, what difference does it make if you don't achieve them? If you make them public you know that others are watching and it will keep you accountable.

Q. Many people will argue that you are the "exception to the rule." Your success is unattainable by ordinary people. How would you respond?

A. That is not true! Einstein, Churchill, Lincoln, Martin Luther King — these are extraordinary people who have achieved extraordinary things. When it comes to Melaleuca, this company allows 'ordinary' people to achieve extraordinary results. Many people look at Eddie or myself and see where we are today. But what they don't see is where we were ten years ago, nor do they see the work that we continue to do on a daily basis. If they did, they would realize how much we have in common with most people who want to WIN. Melaleuca today offers more than we ever had! Today, there's a clear paved road to success. The compensation plan pays out over 50% every month, and back then it was less than 30%. The product line is better and more cost-competitive. We now have services that have substantially increased our retention rate. I believe that ordinary people have exceptional opportunities for success today!

Q. A new year is just getting started, and like most people, you are probably making new plans for new achievements. What are your goals for the future? How do you plan to reach them?

A. I want to win President's Club this year, and by the fall of 2003 reach Corporate Director V. I have a ten-year goal of having 20,000 customers, 3 million in PEG volume, 1 million in organizational volume and 20 personal Executive Directors. Those are my goals — and they are really extreme. But that is what it's all about — setting goals that get you excited. That's what every Marketing Executive needs to do when they set their goals: make them big and exciting. At the same time they need to remember that it takes big action to achieve big goals. After ten years in this business, I know that this is where the dreaming ends — and the action begins!

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