Top 10 Ways to Motivate Your MLM Team of Distributors


It’s a powerful word that sure does get thrown around a lot in the network marketing industry.

But what does it mean?

And what should you know about it?

According to one source online, motivation is defined as “the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.”

If I was going to put it in my own words, I would call it desire.  It’s your desire to take action.

Motivation is never permanent.

No one is motivated all the time.

When you look at the successful people in our industry, they aren’t always motivated, but they are VERY committed.

Being committed is ten times more important than being motivated.

Being committed means you continue with your course of action even after your motivation or initial enthusiasm is gone!

Your Job As a Sponsor

Your job as a sponsor and upline is to help motivate and train your team.

Think of yourself as their coach or captain, not their boss.

You want to inspire them to take action, to get to work, to believe in themselves and to start building their business, but you don’t want to be bossy.

In most cases, this is MUCH easier said than done.

After all, this is a volunteer Army and no one has to follow your lead.

Trying to motivate an unmotivated person can become a full time job!

It’s can be tiring, demanding and stressful.

Personally, I think your ultimate objective in network marketing is to find self motivated people.

You want to look for people who are self-motivated, willing to work hard, and have big burning desire to change their situation in life.

You want folks who can motivate themselves to get off their butts and get out in the trenches and build their business.

However, these people are actually quite rare (sadly).

Maybe 1 out of every 50 people on your team will be really self motivated.

It’s sad, but those seem to be the numbers I have experienced.

These self-motivated people will build their business with or without you!

They’re leaders and doers who make things happen on their own.

If you have people like this on your team consider yourself lucky!

This select group of people will build MOST of your team and account for most of your income.

For everyone else on your team (the majority) you need some simple and practical things you can do to help keep them motivated UNTIL they lead you to someone who is self-motivated or until they become self-motivated themselves.

I’d like to share a few things that I’ve learned during the past 13 years to help motivate your downline distributors.

I hope you find the information helpful.  Here are 10 ways to motivate your team of distributors:

# 1 Lead by Example

Without a doubt, the best thing you can do to motivate your downline is to lead by example.

Set the pace for your team.

Show your team what right looks like by your personal example.

Never ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.

Get in the trenches and stay there!

Inspire your team by your actions.

being committed vs being excited in mlm# 2 Weekly Calls

Weekly calls, such as sizzle sessions, are a great way to get people together and motivate your team.

Have conference calls and training calls where people can get plugged in and learn, and get around other distributors who are doing something in their business.

Let people ask questions and get help.

Create a sense of community on your calls.

# 3 Events

Any type of event is good.

It can be a home party at your house, convention, a company event, local event or anything else.

People want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

Get these folks to events whenever possible.

Enthusiasm is contagious.

Events help create a team culture and they help keep your team motivated.

Typically, the biggest growth in your business happens right after events.

# 4 Reading and Personal Development

Get your team to read and listen to tapes and CDs every day.

Get them on a personal development plan.

This will help them motivate themselves.

Whenever you help people grow as people and leaders your business will grow with them.

# 5 Quality Time Together

Whenever possible, spend some one-on-one time with your top people and the rest of your team.

Bring them with you to an in home party or event.

Take a day and go fishing together.

Get to know them a little bit better.

Play a round of golf with them or anything else that gives you some quality time.

Find out their hopes, goals and dreams.

See what makes them tick.

Show them that you care about them as a person.

# 6 Pep Talks

Everyone needs a pep talk once in a while.

We all have bad days and get discouraged from time to time.

Maybe you could call your team members once a week for two minutes and just wish them good luck and tell them that you believe in them.

After all, it’s nice to have someone in your corner who believes in you and shares their confidence in you.

# 7 Help Them Get a Check

Make it a point to help your new team members get a check as quickly as possible.

It doesn’t have to be a huge amount.

Even a small check will help build their belief in the business and show them that the business does work!

# 8 Remind People of their Why

Another great thing to do is to remind your team members of WHY they joined the business in the first place.

Share their why with them.

Ask them about it.

Anytime they are down and negative about the business, remind them why they got started in the first place, and what they are aiming to accomplish.

# 9 Get Them Hooked on the Products

If you can get your team members obsessed about the products, you are moving in the right direction.

Get your team using the products and working on their own product story.

For example, if you specialize in weight loss products and someone on your team loses 30 pounds, they are going to be excited and happy to share their story with others.

Get your people on auto-ship if possible.

If no one is using the products, you won’t make any money!

building depth in mlm meme# 10 Leave Them in the Dust

One of the best things you can do to motivate your MLM Team is leave your team in the dust.

Don’t forget about them and neglect them, but spend your time with the people putting in the work.

Keep building your business and work with the producers.

This might influence some of your other folks to get off their butt and get to work, so they don’t get left behind.

Upward and Downward Motivation

In Don Failla’s book “The 45 Second Presentation” he talks about this concept.

Basically, downward motivation is anything you say or do to motivate your team member.

This might include:

  • One-on-one counseling
  • Attending an event
  • Having your upline talk to your team member
  • Doing a pep call

All of these things are great ways to motivate the person, BUT it’s only temporary motivation.

Within a few hours or a few days, that  motivation will dwindle and the person will revert back to their previous ways.

According to Don, there is a solution.

That solution is upward motivation.

He argues that the best way to motivate someone is to work in depth in their organization.

Work with someone on their 2nd level or below and help those people succeed and it automatically keeps your team member excited.

Basically, light a fire in the basement to motivate everyone in the group ABOVE them.

When you find someone excited and motivated on level 20, it automatically motivates the people on the 19 levels above them, mostly out of fear of loss.  

After spending 13 years in the industry myself, I think this is some of the best advice around.

What do you think?

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks.  These are my top 10 ways to motivate your MLM downline and team of distributors.

Of all the methods on this list, I still believe that working in depth is the best thing you can do to keep your team motivated for the long haul.

There is something about the fear of loss that really motivates people to action.

I’m not sure why, but more people on your team will take action and do something with their business if they feel that they lose out on someone in their team who is doing really well.

What are your thoughts?  What do you do to motivate your MLM Team?

Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Other Blog Posts You Might Enjoy:

  1. The Fear of Loss is the Best Motivator
  2. Training vs. Motivation
  3. How to Stay Motivated
  4. The Truth About Motivation

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Chuck Holmes is a Network Marketing Professional, author, and blogger. He's been in the industry since 2002. He is one of the top producers in his network marketing company. He is happily married and lives in Florida with his beautiful wife, Rachel. He enjoys flea markets, reading, writing, walking, fishing and funny movies. You can call Chuck during business hours at (352) 503-4816 EST or you can email him at

6 thoughts on “Top 10 Ways to Motivate Your MLM Team of Distributors

  1. I think that positive attention is the best way to motivate others, and keep them interested. Helping them to write down their goals, and reminding them of those goals from time to time, is a great way to spend some one-on-one time with recruits. Face to face mentoring is almost always appreciated. Do not recruit someone and then just forget about them. Stay in contact. Let them know that you care about their success, and not just for selfish reasons. Let them know that you care.

    • Yes, positive attention is definitely a great way to keep people on your team motivated.

  2. The encouragement in this article is priceless. I believe it is important to remind people, not only in this business, but also in life that progress matters more than perfection. This advice is excellent for novices in this industry. In order to maintain a strong MLM, it is important to get involved and show them you care. Excellent and encouraging article.

    • Showing people that you care about them really builds loyalty. The best way to motivate others is to find self-motivated people and get them on your team.

  3. I don’t have a downline (yet!). My take-aways from this article are:

    “Progress, not Perfection”. Absolutely love that. May have to make it into a nice motto to hang in my kitchen.

    Also, lighting a fire in the basement is a fabulous way to get the people upstairs hoppin’. 😉

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