Market America Executive Vice President, Dennis Franks is a busy man. Currently traveling the country for his The Last Laugh Book Tour, he was gracious enough to give us 5 minutes of his time and reflect on his love for the Market America Business.
Just a little bit about Dennis Franks
Having helped develop the Mall Without Walls™ and the Preferred Customer program, Dennis’s focus is now on global sales. He also supports Market America’s health professional program, nutraMetrix®, and the ultimate weight management program, Transitions Lifestyle System®. Additionally, he is charged with evolving Market America University in the field to increase product diversity within distributor organizations.
Dennis was the offensive center on the University of Michigan’s “Team of the Decade” for most wins and later played in the NFL for six seasons, helping to build the Philadelphia Eagle’s 1981 Super Bowl team. After football, Dennis became one of the few to earn over $1 million in commissions a year owning a home-based business.
How did you learn about Market America?
I was introduced to Market America in April 1992 by JR Ridinger. He was referred to me by a friend of a friend of a friend. Yes, it took 4 layers of friendship before we final connected. What a great example of how networking works.
After my professional football career ended in 1981 I had a hard time finding a decent position in the traditional job market. There had to be a better way to make a living. Fortunately, I found one.
I had gained a lot of weight post-football. A friend introduced me to a product that helped me lose that weight. That product was offered through multi-level marketing [MLM]. People wanted to know how they could get the products that led to my dramatic weight loss. I decided to become a distributor, so I could sell the products and make some profit. I rose through the ranks to become the company’s top retailer and eventually a corporate executive.
Though that company eventually folded, I am grateful for the experience. JR was looking for successful networkers and his search led to me. Without my MLM experience, my name might not have made the cut.
How long have you been a Market America Unfranchise owner?
I have been a Market America Unfranchise Owner for more than 25 years. In fact, it will be 26 exciting years come May 2018.
How did JR introduce you to the Management Performance Compensation Plan (MPCP)?
He drew it out on a yellow legal pad. I will never forget that meeting. He scratched out some circles and lines, explaining to me how this new way of compensating distributors would revolutionize the industry.
I had been successful in Multi-level Marketing (MLM). I had been one of the top money-makers in the industry. I knew how to make money, but JR was right. There were problems with the industry.
I had credibility and connections from my NFL years. I was able to leverage these advantages in building a team. The average person did not have those advantages. The painful truth was this: I had earned my money on the failure of thousands of people, not on their success. I felt bad about that, but it was the math of the MLM compensation plan. A few make it. Most don’t.
JR’s revolutionary compensation plan made so much sense. It addressed all the challenges that kept average people from earning any significant income in traditional MLM. I came to the table a skeptic. I left a believer.
What convinced you to join JR as a Market America Unfranchise owner?
What closed me was not JR’s product line, not his connections, nor his experience. It was his excitement and commitment to change an Industry. In 1992, Market America was a brand-new company with no track record. I was straight up about my concerns, “JR. You do not have a line of great products. You have very little capital. Look at your corporate team, young and inexperienced. How will you make it?” He looked me square in the eyes and said, “Market America is going to work because it is an idea whose time has come. I am going to make it work.”
I asked him for some marketing materials to take home and study. He tore off that page of scribbles from his yellow legal pad, handed it to me and said, “Here.” Oh my God, right? But he got me.
Were you part of his original Corporate team back in 1992?
No. I was just a distributor. Back then we were called distributors. Eventually, the status was changed to Customer Managers and now we are called Unfranchise Owners.
Some of the early ‘distributors’ were people you may have heard of, Marty Weissman, Betty (AKA, Elizabeth) Weber, Dave and Maria Silva, Sam Pitts, Tony and Pam Bowling. They are all millionaires now.
I was asked to be part of the Corporate team with fellow distributor, Marty Weissman, in January 1993.
What were some of your most memorable experiences building with JR and then your Field organization?
In the early days, JR worked with all of us. He was a master builder. He would drive up from Greensboro, NC to my home in New Jersey. Nancy would make us dinner and get us out the door.
JR and I drove thousands of miles doing meetings in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Harrisburg/Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh. Then we would turn around and hit each city on the way back. We would share the Market America business plan with anyone who would listen. The work was hard, but we enjoyed a lot of laughs along the way too.
I had a lot to learn and I was a tough student. When we first started the training and meeting system [GMTSS] I fought JR like crazy about prospects paying for a ticket to come to an event. He kept telling me to trust him, it will work and sure enough, it did.
Another highlight for me was partnering with Kevin Buckman. Networking was totally new to Kevin and he had much to learn. His inexperience led to some funny moments. Today he is a respected authority on networking and business building. It was gratifying to watch his growth.
There were so many memorable experiences but hanging out with JR and Kevin are among my favorites.
Recently you co-authored a book with Vince Papale, former Philadelphia Eagle and teammate. How did that come about?
Vince Papale is an incredible guy. He made the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie at the ripe old age of 30. He was the oldest rookie to be recruited in NFL history. That makes him a real-life Rocky Balboa. His story was so unique and inspirational that in 2006 Disney made a film about it. In the movie, Invincible. Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale.
We have been friends ever since our NFL days, over 40 years, and have always wanted to work on a project together. We gained hard-earned wisdom over the years and we wanted to share it.
That dream was consummated in writing The Last Laugh. The book provides a roadmap to success and a ‘Victors Code to live by. It includes the wisdom of other titans including JR Ridinger, Coach Jim Harbaugh, Coach Dick Vermeil, Pat Croce, Pat Croce was the former owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Hollywood producer, Ken Mok, actress and activist Mariel Hemingway and other entrepreneurs, artists, and best-selling authors. Mark Wahlberg wrote the foreword.
We chose The Last Laugh as the title because this is the caption on a photograph taken of Vince and me back in 1978. That picture now hangs in the NFL Hall of Fame.
The backstory is this. The Philadelphia Eagles had been on a losing streak for a decade. We were to face the undefeated [at that time] Washington Redskins. They were heavily favored to win, but they didn’t. This victory over the Redskins marked the resurgence of the Eagles football team and paved the way to the Super Bowl.
We were celebrating our team’s ‘last laugh’ in that photo. We were also experiencing our own last laugh. Vince was told he was too old to play for the NFL. I was told I was too small. And here we were, vital teammates in a major upset.
Why would you recommend an individual looking to improve their financial position to become a Market America Unfranchise Owner?
Market America offers a compensation plan that allows an average person to earn an above average income through ‘leverage’. What is leverage? It’s like this. Just like a lever and fulcrum allows a small person to lift a lot of weight, this compensation plan leverages a team of people working together in the distribution of products and services. Each person doing their small part – using and sharing the products – can lead to prosperity for all. We also offer a way to get paid on everything you currently buy. We call it the ‘Shopping Annuity’.
If you are not familiar with the Unfranchise system, take some time to check it out. Once you understand it, you will never want to work at a traditional job again.
Have a question for Dennis? Comment below and we will get them answered!