It’s About Execution. The model works. Now we must each do our part in the execution of it.
4LIFE president and CEO Danny Lee’s career has spanned almost every area of operations, accounting, marketing. Now as CEO (since October 2017) he has the advantage of being able to switch lenses depending on what the current environment requires.
I recently connected with Danny to talk about his current tenure as the chief executive, as well as how he is helping move the ball down the field when it comes to improving the customer and distributor experience, and ultimately growing the company.
Given your experience in many areas of business, what particular lens do you use the most as President & CEO?
I am trying to see the lens more from a sales point of view now, actually, because that’s the mandate I’ve been given to grow sales. So that’s one area that I don’t have experience in. So I’m looking to glean ideas from those who have that experience in my industry and from our peers.
You could you could say that for the first 10 years of my time or nine years of my time at 4Life, I’ve been a student of 4Life, learning our business and how we do business here and throughout the world. And since coming into this role I’ve kind of pivoted and try to become more of a student of the industry, trying to look outward and see what other colleagues I admire are doing, what reputable companies I see that are doing a good job of recruiting that we can model and glean ideas from.
What has been your biggest challenge in your role being a year and half in as CEO?
The biggest challenge to this point has been battling Amazon. When I say Amazon, it makes it sound like Amazon is the enemy, which the company is not. Amazon is just a platform, right? They have no conscious involvement in 4Life, or necessarily in our industry. We’re just a blip on the screen for them. But from where our distributors stand, it’s a very big challenge to their business, to their livelihood, to their long-term success. And so being able to take Amazon and turn it into something we can leverage for growth…that’s been my greatest challenge to date.
What responsibility do you have as a company to retention? And how does training fit into that?
Generally speaking, we view recruitment as the field’s responsibility. Distributors sell to customers and bring entrepreneurs into the 4Life business. Retention is our responsibility. We retain them through a great customer experience, a unique product experience, and a superior interaction with the 4Life brand. When someone contacts the company, we want that to be a first-class moment.
“We’ve rededicated ourselves to getting out into the field and developing those relationships.”
So, we view the field’s responsibility as a recruiting and ours to be more in the realm of retention, but at the same time, we collaborate with the field to empower them with the tools they require to attract those who are interested in 4Life. We achieve this through training, enculturation, product differentiation, and a general awareness of all the assets, tangible and intangible, that we offer the field.
As an industry, we shouldn’t expect that recruits will come to us with any idea about what to do or how to accomplish it. Our participation in their success is critical.
How are your international markets faring?
The majority of our international markets are up in sales. We have corporate offices in 25 markets. As an executive team, it’s important for us to be hands on. That means traveling to markets and developing relationships with our field leaders. I visit different markets around the world at least four times a year.
Like a lot of companies in our industry, we began in Hong Kong with a traditional direct selling model. Just this year we launched a cross-border e-commerce model into China. It’s been quite a
transition for us but is working well.
What are you doing specifically for the North American market?
North America is our biggest market, by far. Like most of the industry right now, it’s been a little stagnant. We have, however, enjoyed modest single-digit growth in the United States over the past four months. But we’re talking about a market that is well over $100 million for us. So, the growth is significant. But to answer your question, we’re developing a real strategy for field development
and training. We’re getting out into the field, doing events, locking arms, getting face to face and knee to knee with distributors.
We are learning things, like how hungry business builders are for relevant information about the company. They’re saying, ‘We didn’t know this. How have I been doing this for 10 years and I didn’t know how that worked? I didn’t know we had an app that could help me with my business that much. I didn’t know the incentive worked like that,’ etc.
So, at the end of the day, we’ve rededicated ourselves to getting out into the field and developing those relationships.
What have you been specifically tasked with to help grow the company?
China will obviously be a part of that plan. I mean, if you look at the top companies in our industry, especially those that have broken a billion, there aren’t many that haven’t entered China.
“Another initiative that our industry must commit to is mobile first.”
The next thing we are laser-focused on is the U.S. market. The interesting thing about 4Life is that 90% of our demographic in the U.S. are Hispanic. But we are now beginning to show positive growth among women in that middle income, middle America Caucasian market.
How does our channel need to evolve in your opinion?
If you think you can ignore technology, then obviously that’s a huge mistake. And not only do we need to remain mindful of what companies are doing well in our industry, but we must be heedful of everything happening around us. Too many examples abound to mention them here, but the question is how to leverage technology in a way that mirrors the needs of customers with the strategic placement of distributors. There’s a lot to be said for what’s being done outside our industry and we have yet to accomplish in the marketplace.
Another initiative that our industry must commit to is mobile first. We are getting to the point—if we aren’t there already—where everything one needs to manage the business must be easily executable from a mobile device. China’s a good example. They skipped the entire standard computer laptop phase, and went straight to mobile. They are not only chatting and paying bills, scheduling meetings and buying takeout, but their entire lives evolve around mobility. We must think mobile first to keep up.
What plans do you have for 2019 going forward? What are you laser focused on?
Execution. I feel like we have the programs in place. We have the comp plan and products, history and leadership, both on the corporate side and in the field. We have great founders who are actively engaged. All we need now? Is to execute. We want our distributors and customers to feel empowered to share their 4Life experience with others. The model works. Now we must each do our part in the execution of it.