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MLM Downline Retention- The Holy Grail?

May 19, 2008
Retention. It's the magic word in network marketing, maybe a more important issue to network marketing business owners than prospecting. It's the Holy Grail of network marketing. For the majority of MLM distributors, retention is elusive. High drop rates are discouraging. It's the easiest business in the world to start, and the easiest to quit.

Retaining your downline in network marketing has a significant impact on your income and your time. It costs more to sponsor a new distributor or customer than to maintain one. No one wants a revolving door business. Many, however, are resigned to the revolving door aspect of MLM. You've heard "throw mud on the wall and see what sticks". That approach is a response to the revolving door - recruit them faster than they leave in order to build big.

Retention in your downline is 5 things:

1)Who the people ARE
2)The quality of the company/service/products/comp plan
3)Your sponsoring process - based on hype and speedy sign ups, or are you looking for real business partners?
4)Your training system - does it teach your team how to avoid pitfalls? Does it teach them how to sort through candidates while maintaining their self-esteem?
Does it teach them how to work with people? How to target their marketing?
5)Your leadership style

You can change #2 by changing companies. You can change #3 and #4 by evaluating your results and making necessary changes. You have the most control over #5 by working on yourself. You can do NOTHING about #1 except to identify who you're working with -not by their words, but by their actions. MLM attracts a lot of people who really want at-home JOBS not businesses. So you can't retain the "I -really-wanted-a-job types. There are people who do not have any perserverence for this, no matter how simple/easy you make it, and you can't retain them either. There are those who do it when they feel like it, and not when they don't. You have precious little control over that. You can only work with with those who are willing to be coached and who are willing to do the stuff. You can only identify them by their actions.

I have tried to work with the uncoachable, done therapy with the unmotivated. I let them go now. NO they are not "losers" as some would call them. They have a different path, that's all. And the path of my business is not for them. The sooner I can identify them, the more fun my biz is, because I'm not trying to turn frogs into Princes. I let the frogs be frogs if they want.

I DO have some things in place to quickly identify the most likely candidates, and a process for closure for those who wish to back out. I am more rigorous in sorting my potential partners before they join.

Remember only 10% of the population will do a business. 3% of the population are self-starters. So you might want to look at who you are approaching. Not everyone who needs money or lifestyle will do multi-level marketing. Retention begins with your prospecting and sponsoring style.
About the Author
Karen Hurd has been a full-time network marketer
since 1988. Changing lives is her passion. She is a writer,teacher and wellness educator. She lives in Virginia Beach with her husband and 5 children.
For more marketing training visit Karen's site MLM Maniac
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