Bobby Stephens on Attraction Marketing, MLSP, and Keeping the Vision
Bobby Stephens joined network marketing and soon had no friends left. He then discovered Attraction Marketing through MLSP and started attracting prospects.
Thank you so much for this interview, Bobby! I see your potential and you’re a great writer. I want to learn more about you. So, let’s get started.
Where were you born and raised, what was childhood like, and what did you want to be when you ‘grew up?’
I was born and raised in Flowery Branch, GA. It’s a small, but rapidly growing, town about an hour north of Atlanta, and an hour south of the Appalachian mountains.
My dad is from the area, but my mother was born in California and raised in Arizona. They met after his time in the Air Force when he was stationed in Arizona, and they decided to move back to Georgia after they became pregnant with me.
I had a good childhood. It probably wasn’t perfect, but “normal” is so subjectively relative that you don’t realize your experience is all that different until you hear about other people’s experiences. I won’t go into detail here…I’ll just say that there were some interesting times lol.
“Active” makes for a great one word synopsis of my childhood. Early on, I took to athletics by joining my school’s baseball team at 6 years old, and I began playing football at age 10.
As young as I can remember, our dad had my younger brother and I fishing on the lake, and hunting small game like squirrel and rabbit. Like I said, born and raised in a small town…I loved the busyness of many activities, and that pattern continues to this day. I’m always doing something whether it’s hiking, learning and teaching karate or marketing my business.
I absolutely wanted to be a professional athlete until about sophomore year in high school. I idolized many of the great football and baseball players of the 90’s and early 2000’s, but I found a new love when I was 15.
I started playing music. The bass guitar quickly took priority over football, and in my mind I was forced to choose between the field or my heavy metal band for my Friday night activity. I choose rock stardom, and I’m still waiting on that dream to come to pass.
What did your parents do for a living and was there any Entrepreneurship in the family?
My dad worked in the textile industry. He worked his way up from an entry level operator to become a maintenance technician. I don’t believe he particularly enjoyed or disliked the occupation. It supported our family, and he never missed a sports function of mine so that made him happy. He has always been a great provider and supporter. He still plays a very supportive role in all of my endeavors.
My mom always worked with children. She worked for daycare facility until I was about 12. It was great because my brother and I would go to their after school program, and she was there. We’d go to their summer daycare program, and she was there. It is difficult for many parents to juggle jobs, childcare and raising their kids. I’m grateful for that unique experience.
My mother transitioned to becoming a para-professional educator in the school system working with mentally handicapped children. That is where she really came alive. Pouring into those children was truly her passion, and her love for them was tangible.
I don’t comprehend how she possessed enough energy to love her school children that greatly then come home to be fully present and loving for my brother and I. She worked with children until her passing in 2010.
She was a truly remarkable person, and large part of my motivation is to make her proud of who I have become even though she’s not physically here to witness it.
I had no entrepreneurship in my immediate family. I caught the entrepreneurship bug while working my first job. I was not even aware of the impression it was making during my time there, but it has imprinted me even to this day.
I worked for a entrepreneur name David who owned and operated a cleaning company. I admired the freedom that David had by owning his business. He could take time away from work, and still be paid because he had me as an employee.
He could work and get paid even more. It seemed like a sweet deal to me. He always could make time for his wife and children. Although I don’t care for golfing, but I was also impressed that he could pick up a tee time midday while others were obliged by their job to be “on the clock.”
I’m forever grateful for that time I had with him. He poured into me, and taught me some ropes of his business. I started pricing some of the jobs myself, and even selling added services when applicable.
I didn’t realize the value of what was being cultivated in me at the time, but he helped me develop a workmanship that has benefited me to this day. I just wish I had stayed with him longer for deeper mentorship, but I decided to find a “real job” that had “benefits.”
What types of jobs have you held, and why were they a “dead-end?”
My jobs after working for David have all been in the manufacturing industry in some form or another. Manufacturing is very prevalent in north Georgia. Due to a high turnover rate, the companies are constantly hiring so finding a job was a piece of cake.
I consider them “dead-end” jobs because there is a highly visible ceiling to your growth potential. I’m sure that it’s been said by many, but I love what Tony Robbins says, “the essence of life is growth.”
In manufacturing, it’s easy to climb the short ladder to higher paying jobs, and add to your skill set. However, in my experiences, you max out your growth potential in 3-5 years at a given factory, and then there are few options that lie ahead of you other than finding a new job elsewhere.
Beyond the restrictions of personal growth is the complete absence of freedom. Just to give you a picture of what I mean…in my last production role there was a stretch of time for maybe 6 months long where I worked 29 days per month unless I used a vacation day.
Yes, that’s 7 days per week with one weekend off per month. You also have to ask permission to take a vacation, which can be approved or denied at the discretion of your supervisor.
If you get sick, you are penalized for taking time off. You are even sent home if you go to work while being sick, and the same penalties still apply. There is a point system for missed time, and you are fired when you accrue enough “points.”
When did you discover network marketing, what was your first two years like, and can you tell us what you would change if you started over today?
I saw my first network marketing presentation when I was 19 years old. I rejected the opportunity because they asked me to cut my long hair, but I was in a popular heavy metal band, and cutting my hair was too unreasonable. Haha.
My real introduction to the network marketing industry was about 4 years ago. My wife and I had completed an 8-week course on financial education, and we were getting our financial house in order.
We met with our financial adviser to set up investment accounts, and before we left his home office he said, “you would be really good at what I do. Would you be open to learning how you can make an income doing for others what I just did for you?”
I wasn’t initially sold on the idea, but the entrepreneurship bug that had lied in a dormant hibernation for almost a decade started to awaken. A few months later I faced some trials on my job, and I called him to see if his offer was still on the table, and I haven’t looked back since.
My first two years were painful. I went to all of the local events, most of the regional events and the national convention each year.
I listened to the trainers’ stories and studied the corporate trainings, but when I executed what I had learned nothing happened for me.
I recruited very few people from my “hot market” of family and friends, and there was zero downline duplication. My customer base was minuscule, and the retail profits were not enough to cover my expenses.
I probably passed out close to 10,000 flyers during those two years at malls, shopping centers and neighborhoods, and I got one lead who became a customer for about 3 months. This experience was very embarrassing and disappointing to me.
Because I had not yet absorbed the value of personal development, I placed the blame on my company. I would say that the training is weak. It was all fluff and hype. ‘This isn’t what they’re really doing because if it were then I’d be having their success,’ is what I thought. I felt cheated and lied to.
But I kept attending these live events because of the hope they gave me. I knew deep inside that if they could do it then I could do it, and I’m the type of person that doesn’t take “no” as an option once I’ve set my mind to it.
Network marketing has a way of making you confront yourself, you know? I began to realize that I was the X-variable in the equation.
I was finally honest with myself that the compensation plan or the products wasn’t the weak link in the chain. It was me. That was initially a major blow to my pride and confidence. However, I was still determined to figure this game out. I knew that I wasn’t fatally broken, and that I was going to find the secret sauce.
If I were to start over today I’d really dive deep into personal development. I entered network marketing unsure of myself and not really knowing who I was. That being compounded by lacking the necessary skills of the industry is why the strategies weren’t working for me.
Now, I’d spend time alone doing the mindset work to step into my true self, and I would invest in courses and training to master the skills of prospecting and sales communication from day one. My daily meditations and study of communication has made the greatest difference in my confidence and abilities.
What is the biggest mistake you see new internet marketers make, and how can they fix it?
The biggest mistake I see new internet marketers making is that they come to the internet out of their weakness rather than their strength. This may sound harsh, but it’s true. I know because I have been there.
It goes a little something like this: you enter into network marketing because a friend invited you to a presentation. Your friend is likely unskilled, and/or doesn’t understand how to transfer their skills to you. The offline marketplace beats you up so you come to the internet because you heard it was “better and easier.”
I must admit that I’m a retired “spammer.” I obnoxiously posted about my products on social media, and spammed my friends’ inboxes with scripted messages hoping they’d buy my products or join my team.
None of that stuff works, and I quickly found myself in the NFL club. NFL is an acronym for No Friends Left. My friends still loved me, but the chances of them joining my deal were long gone. I completely burned out my hot market doing this.
The struggling marketer can easily fix this with a simple mindset shift of viewing training as an investment rather an expense. Marketers who perceive training as an expense use being broke as an excuse to stay broke by not using their resources to acquire the education.
Marketers who know training is an investment will find a means to put forth the necessary time and the money to develop their skills. Skill and leadership development is the secret sauce that I mentioned earlier, and the investment has to be made.
Everyone who is successful has paid their dues. The cost to develop yourself will either be time or money, and yes there is a plethora of good free training on the web, but sometimes free is the most expensive option. Valuable paid training can greatly shorten the learning curve, and accelerate the rate of development.
You discovered online attraction marketing through using a system, can you tell us about MLSP and what it does?
MLSP is a lifesaver for me. I would have definitely given up on the industry completely had I not been introduced to this system. MLSP at its core is a training platform to teach online marketing strategies and leadership development to its members.
They have a full catalog of recorded webinars that teach evergreen principles of online attraction marketing that range from social media strategies to copywriting to list building and much more. It’s the most comprehensive training library that I’ve witnessed online.
They also host live weekly webinars featuring industry top earners who share in-depth, what’s-working-now strategies to creating a brand and growing a business online.
MLSP also is home to essential tools that every entrepreneur needs to build a business online. They have a really nice blogging platform based upon WordPress. I actually tried creating a WordPress site for my music hobby a few years ago, and gave up because I couldn’t figure out the technical aspect.
I created Freedom With Bobby using MLSP’s platform in about 2 hours by following the step-by-step tutorial videos.
They’re also host to top-notch funnel creation software and a professional customer relationship manager that are highly customizable, and they fully integrate with your email autoresponder.
It’s great having all of the tools and education under one roof, and I recommend the system to any business owner who wants to use the internet to generate and convert leads.
I love your blog! How old is it, how many posts are on it, and what is your daily traffic like?
Thank you, Erik. I really appreciate that. I checked and I have posts dating back to July 2016, but I was not consistent back then. I wasn’t clear on how I wanted to bring value to the marketplace, and the process wasn’t fun to me.
I am now clear on my brand, and have missed publishing a post a very few days since January 1. It’s exciting getting to share my content that I’m passionate about. I currently have 47 articles, and I publish new posts every week on the topics of branding, marketing and persuasion.
My daily traffic is relatively low at the moment because I’m still too new to get much love from the search engines. My traffic is currently being generated by my email newsletter and my private Facebook group.
I have recently learned about the benefits of creating pillar content for my blog. Pillar content is basically an article goes into great detail, and provides much more value than the typical 500-word article. I’m going to setup a Facebook ads campaign to drive traffic to my pillar post once it is finished.
What’s the best way to generate leads for you these days, and can you share a technique?
I keep my lead generation extremely simple. I meet five to ten entrepreneurs per day on Facebook, and I authentically connect with them to build rapport.
I don’t bring up my business first because I know that they are tired of being bombarded by that 24/7. I ask about their hobbies and interests to establish common ground, and I wait for them to bring up business.
I know they’ll eventually talk about work or business because in today’s world we closely identify with what we do.
When they bring up their business, I simply say, “I have a great email newsletter (or private Facebook group) where I share tips on branding, marketing, and persuasion to generate leads and grow your business online…would you like to check it out?”
I’ve had very few people say no since I’ve started doing this a couple months ago. I like this technique because it’s very natural, and it doesn’t feel “salesy” or “spammy.” The most important thing is to keep my pipeline full of new Facebook friends. Inconsistency is the killer momentum with this strategy.
What is your favorite book right now, and why?
My favorite book right now is Magnetic Sponsoring by Mike Dillard.
I like it because it is a comprehensive blueprint for online attraction marketing. I literally finished it in one night, and I reread sections of it often so that I make sure my actions are on track. I use it as a physical road map to my marketing successes. In my opinion, it should be a required read for everyone who enters the industry.
What are your goals for 2017?
My business goal for 2017 is to be an L4 leader inside of MLSP by our event in August. My life goal for 2017 is to move my wife and I to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, and you’ll be seeing Facebook pictures of our coastal living in the very near future.
What is your favorite quote and why?
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.”
I like this Scripture because it’s difficult for me to move forward without faith in God and faith in myself. It’s also important for my faith to be my substance now, and for my vision to be my reality now because otherwise I’m chasing external means for gratification. I know that I that I need to be fulfilled has been placed within me.
Thank you so much for this interview Bobby! That was awesome!
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Erik Christian Johnson