At LifeVantage, I meet with distributors all the time. It has, and will always continue to be, one of the best parts of my job. I get to know new distributors. I get to spend time with distributors who have become close friends over the years. And I get to meet prospective distributors – including some of the more prominent distributors in our industry – many of whom are at a crossroads and weighing their options.

Whether it’s on the road or in my office, whether they’re just beginning or about to retire, there’s a common denominator when it comes to the vast majority of distributors: very few understand the principles upon which real business success is based. They’re having success. That’s true. But they don’t know why – or how.

Is success in direct sales based on luck? Yes, it is. But before everyone gets their pitchforks ready, let me explain. There are ultimately two versions of luck. One good, one bad. Let’s start with the bad, or in our industry’s case, the usual take on luck.

Default Luck

Default luck is the way all of us normally view luck. It’s something we fall into or stumble upon. Jane gets in at a certain company at the right time and that’s why she’s successful. John just happens to meet the right person at the right time, and it changes his entire business.

Default luck, or at least this common impression of luck, is due largely to the fact that the majority of distributors don’t take time to learn and apply the principles of success. Instead, their businesses become a byproduct of luck and timing.

These distributors are passionate. There is no doubt about that. But their passion reminds me of something John Wesley is often quoted as saying: “Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” And this is never truer than in our industry. When passion isn’t followed up with good training and principles, it flames out. Even worse, customers get burned in the process.

Understanding default luck means getting at the heart of what causes it. Author Habeeb Akande really nailed it when he said, “the difference between greed and ambition is a greedy person desires things he isn’t prepared to work for.”

I think we all know someone in our industry who has been the beneficiary of classic default luck. Some distributors have stumbled on opportunities that blow my mind. But even though these cases are so few and far between, they still perpetuate the myth that they’re the norm. And that’s because so few distributors are willing to put in the hard, grueling process of learning correct principles and then working their tails off. They’re motivated by the fancy cars and the beach vacations. They want the rewards without the work. That’s why they believe in default luck.

Created Luck and the Power Law Principle

Prolific statesman and continual inventor, Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

Created luck is the other trend I see among fewer, albeit more successful, distributors in our industry. These people believe that we all make our own luck. That the harder we work, the more success we’ll have. Instead of being motivated by the shiny new things in life, they’re concerned about working hard to build a business and a legacy. And the money they earn is a byproduct of that motivation.

When I meet with these distributors, two actions really stand out as a common thread among all of them. One, they follow correct principles. And two, they take action. They make their own luck happen.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been trying to understand the principles behind successful distributors. Our motivation was business driven. We wanted to look at the common data behind thousands of leaders across our company. What are they doing that makes them so successful? If we could figure it out, we’d be able to extract principles and duplicate success across our entire organization.

There’s a commonly held principle in the business world called the Pareto Principle, also known as power law distribution. In a nutshell – and contrary to normal “bell curve” distribution –  it suggests that 20% of an organization generates about 80% of the results. But as you look under the hood a little more, there’s an incredible compounding effect of the Pareto Principle that comes into play.

When power law scaling kicks in, 4% actually produces 64% of the results and, drilling down even further, .8% produces 52% of the results. And on down the line. Any way you slice it a small minority is driving the vast majority of the results. This phenomenon is playing out at LifeVantage. Nearly 3% of distributors in our business have enrolled 64% of all distributors and customers. We call it the Power Law Principle, and these Hyper Movers, as we call them, are having a massive, compounding effect across the organization.

With 3% percent of our distributors – these Hyper Movers – producing more than 60% of our results, we, naturally, want to be able to better identify these people. We are using machine learning to do just that, and, eventually, our quantum grinder will be able to help us identify these people far in advance. In the meantime, we already know that they generally share several characteristics in common.

By and large, Hyper Movers don’t subscribe to default luck. The opposite is true. In fact, we were able to discover six action-oriented principles that these leaders all do on a consistent basis.

  1. They typically recruit their first customers or distributors within the first two weeks of joining the business.

  2. They earn their first dollar as soon as possible.

  3. They attend company events.

  4. They qualify for incentive trips.

  5. Almost all of them are on subscription models.

  6. They buy larger packages when they join the company.

In other words, Hyper Movers, are creating their own luck.

While the idea of default luck will continue to seep into our industry with its visions of sports-car, white-sand grandeur, we should all be taking a closer look at what really drives success – the small portion of distributors who are building massive and wildly successful businesses. More importantly, we should be focusing the majority of our efforts on finding them, supporting them, and helping them duplicate their principles across their entire organizations. If we do, we’ll exponentially compound our success. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all become a little luckier.

Darren Jensen

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