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Raising a Dead Downline: When to Pursue and When to Abandon

Apr 8, 2008
A network marketing or MLM business lives on its contacts. Although theoretically, you could join one and still make a killing selling on your own, being the lone wolf sort of defeats the purpose of this business model. If you're so good at selling by your lonesome, why bother becoming a part of the company? This is why when you're in a network marketing business, having a downline that doesn't work can be a burden. A dead downline is like well, dead weight for your business. It's there but doesn't do anything and it could drag your operations down. Here are things you can do to raise a dead downline and breathe new life into your business:

Get information.

A dead downline may not always be the guy who just got lazy. There may be other reasons why he or she isn't performing. Who is this person? What's his background? How did you recruit him? What was he like when he signed up? What were his business goals? Did he seem enthusiastic about the prospect of joining your network marketing business or was he ambiguous? Has he worked with another network marketing company prior to his sign up?

Knowing who your dead downline is will help you determine the possible reasons about his non-performance. This information is also valuable once you get in touch with him.

Consider his past performance.

Do you have the data regarding this member? Take a look at how well or badly he performed in the past. If he did quite well, it may just be a case of neglect on his part. If he did a bit badly, he may not have the kind of support and resources he needs in order to excel. Consider if his performance fluctuated before. Believe it or not, some downlines have 'seasons' where they peak or drop.

Follow up.

Once you have the necessary information, get in touch with your downline. Make it informal just as you would if you were dropping by a friend's house to see how they've been. You can do this through an e-mail message or a phone call. Ask about the member's drop in performance or lack of activity for the specific period of time. Be diplomatic. You're trying to get information at this point and if the member clams up, you won't be able to learn what it is about.

Do not reprimand. Remember that you're not speaking to a child. You cannot harass, threaten or coerce your downline not only because it's against the law but also because it makes you look ridiculous and unprofessional. You're there to offer support and if necessary, come up with feasible solutions to the problems your downline may be experiencing. Reprimanding him will make him defensive and he may not be so readily receptive to your persuasive tactics.

Offer support but only to a reasonable degree.

As a sponsor, it's part of your job to offer advice or if you can, solutions. But it's not your job to work for the member. That's what he's supposed to do.

Try to assess the problem, discuss possible solutions (yes, that means your downline has to come up with his own solutions as well) and offer your support. Come up with a deadline a specific period of time within which you can expect positive activity and then come to an agreement. Then follow up.

Still dealing with a flatliner? Consider looking the other way.

If all else fails, you probably have no more reason to raise a dead downline. He could have given up altogether, moved to another company or just decided network marketing isn't for him. In any case, get in touch just for closure and thank him for his support. If you can, ask for referrals, people he can recommend to replace him. Then wish him luck and move on.
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Daegan Smith Is And Expert Online Marketer
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