How to Build a Big MLM Downline: 10 Steps to Success

Would you like to know how do you build a big MLM downline? What really is the key to success in network marketing? Why is it some people can build a team with tens of thousands of people, but other people can’t even sign up their brother or sister?  Listed below are 10 tips to build a huge team of customers and distributors, and build it right, so you can have long-term residual income.

# 1 Develop the Right Skill-Set and Mindset

Just like any other business endeavor, it takes a unique set of skills to become successful in network marketing.  Most people in our industry do not have these skills when they first join the business.  These skills must be learned, typically over a period of three to five YEARS.  The skills include prospecting, inviting, teaching, lead generation, closing, sales, marketing and leadership.  You must be a student of your business and constantly sharpen your skills. Learn something new every day and never stop.

You also need to adopt the right mind-set.  You need to develop a big why and a big vision for your life and business.  You need to be mentally tough.  Be prepared to deal with rejection.  You must learn to think like an entrepreneur and be results oriented.  Once again, most people who join our industry have never owned a business before, so it’s going to take them some time to develop the right mind-set.

# 2 Follow a Daily Mode of Operations

The next step to building a big downline is to have a crystal clear daily mode of operations.  This is nothing more than a list of three to seven things you will do EVERY SINGLE DAY to move your business forward.  You must have a work schedule that identifies when you are going to work your business and what you are going to do during that time.  You must plan your work and work your plan.  You must be disciplined with your time and make your business a top priority. Check out this sample daily mode of operations.

The Fastest Way to Build a Big MLM Downline

# 3 Use and Follow a System

Systems are vitally important for new people and inexperienced people.  Ideally, you want a training system and team building system for your team.  You want something that is simple, effective and easy to follow.  Keep it so simple and eight year old could do it.  Call your successful upline leaders and see what they do.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Promote and use their system.

In addition, keep in mind that close to 95% of your people will need intense hand holding and support. Also realize that your best people will do it their own way, and probably not follow your system anyway.

# 4 Exposures, Exposures, Exposures

You must make MINIMUM three to ten exposures every single day to NEW people you have not talked to about the products or business opportunity before.  You should do at least five presentations each week.  Without a doubt the number one reason for failure in this industry is lack of exposures.  This is a numbers game until you get people sponsored into the business, then it becomes a people business.

# 5 Recruit Minimum 2-5 People a Month Every Month for Five to Ten Years

Most top earners consistently sponsor two to five new people every single month, no matter what. They typically do this EVERY MONTH for five or more years until they have sponsored at least 100 to 200 people personally.  You don’t have to recruit tons of people every month, but you do need to consistently recruit new people every month.

If you sponsor two people a month for five years, you would sponsor 120 people.  Sponsor five people a month for five years and you will sponsor 300 people.  It comes down to being consistent month in and month out.

In addition, make it a goal to find at least 1-2 new customers every single month. Teach your team to do the same thing.  All businesses need customers.

# 6 Look for Leaders

The next step is to look for leaders.  Look for people to prospect who are already leaders in life. Look for doers.  Look for people with a RED personality.  Look for people who are successful, respected and have a large sphere of influence.  These are people who typically do well in the business.

In addition, look for leaders in your downline.  Check your back office every month and look for people who are doing the work.  Build relationships with these people and help them succeed. Typically, your best leaders are NOT personally sponsored.  They normally show up in depth.

Remember that most top earners make most of their income from just two to five leaders.  You don’t need tons of leaders to build a big team.  Your job is to find and develop leaders in your business. 

# 7 Build Taproot Legs

If you really want to build a big downline, you HAVE to build depth.  Build taproot legs in each leg of your organization.  Drive each leg as deep as you can and never ever stop.  Always work at the bottom most point of each leg with the newest, most excited distributor.  There are several benefits to doing this.  First off, it locks people into the business. It also locks in volume. The best way to motivate people is to light a fire in the basement.  When you have someone on level 20 crushing it, it automatically motivates the 19 people above them.

# 8  Work with the Producers and Ignore the Whiners

When you sponsor someone, they might talk a big game. However, actions always speak louder than words. If you really want to succeed in your business, you need to spend most of your time working with the people that are actually doing the work.  This is no more than 10% of your team.

Ignore the whiners and focus on the winners. After all, you can only lead a horse to water; you can’t make him drink.  Study your distributor report each month and see which people are getting customers and sponsoring distributors. Spend your time helping those people succeed. And remember that you will make 80-90% of your commissions from just two to three key people on your team.  So follow the 10-90 Rule and spend 90% of your time with the 10% of the people who are doing the work.

# 9 Create a Strong Team Culture

Realize that most people want to belong to something greater than themselves.  What you want to do is create a strong team culture that people enjoy being part of, even if they never get a check.  Do weekly calls. Have events. Do fun things with your team.  Recognize people for their efforts and achievements.  Provide weekly training.  Show a genuine interest in others. Have a team name.  Do weekly contests.  Do everything you can to build and maintain a strong team culture.

# 10 Build a List & Follow Up

Most people you talk to won’t join your business or become a customer the moment you approach them about it. However, people’s lives do change. If you keep a good database of everyone you talk to, you can follow up with them every 3-6 months. You never know what might change in their life. They might have lost their job, got a new boss that they hate, got divorced, lost money in the stock market, or just paid an enormous tax bill.

If you don’t follow up, you are leaving lots of money on the table. No doesn’t mean no forever. It just means not right now.  Many of the people who tell you NO today will join your team later on down the road if you keep following up with them and never pressure them.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you want to build a big MLM Downline the right way, and build it quickly, you should follow the advice listed above. You should focus on recruiting leaders. You should build depth as quickly as possible. Next, you should work with the people who produce the best results.

You should always provide great customer service to your customers, in order to get referrals and possibly upgrade some of your customers into distributors. You must follow up with every prospect regularly, in case they change their mind about your business opportunity. If you follow these steps, you will build a huge team of distributors and make a lot of money in MLM!

What are your thoughts?  What are your best tips on how to build a big MLM Downline? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.  I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional

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8 thoughts on “How to Build a Big MLM Downline: 10 Steps to Success”

  1. This is another good article. I love your advice in point number 3: Work with the producers and ignore the whiners. Usually, it is the ‘squeaky wheel’ that gets the ‘grease’, but that is so backwards. When you are working for yourself, you really do not need to be wasting your time greasing the people who are not helping. Spend your time greasing those few key producers on your team. If the whiners fall off, it really isn’t such a bad thing.

    1. The same holds true in most sales professions. Spend your time with the producers who make most of the sales. In the traditional work force, spend time with the producers who do most of the work. This is a small select group of people, but they are the ones who really add value to your organization.

  2. Some very good tips all throughout your post. I would take a little issue with the last sentence on #3. It’s kind of like Sales Managers who ignore the reps who aren’t in their top 20% and spend very little time with them. Network Marketing is no different. We can make false assumptions that all the non-producers won’t ever do anything, but a better approach is to find out from each and every one of your downline what are their struggles, what is holding them back, etc.

    You just might find a variety of issues that can be solved such as perhaps they are doing their marketing wrong and need to be shown step by step how to do it or perhaps their phone skills need some tweaking or perhaps they bought one lead list that turned out to be junk and now they assume that ALL lead lists are junk and so they struggle with their warm market because they might be fairly new in the town they live in or whatever.

    Just my .02

    1. Good point. I don’t think you should ignore them, but you shouldn’t spend MOST of your time with people who aren’t doing the work and producing the results. It’s easy to get side-tracked in a time consuming conversation with someone who “appears” motivated, but never does anything but talk a big game.

      1. Isn’t there a fine line, though, to walk with the mediocre producers? Ignore them completely, and they may leave the company, bad-mouthing it to all they know. They need some attention, and there is always a chance that their circumstances may change, motivating them to try harder. They should still be included in all of your team meeting and such, I would just not give them as much one-on-one time as the top producers.

          1. I like that thought process. Doing group sessions with the ones who just are not producing is a great approach. One thing I would do is have your producers get involved in those meetings. You can use them as examples, and it will also give them a chance to show their leadership skills.

            I also am very strong about getting a big customer base. In many cases customers will become distributors in time.

            Great post.

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