MLM Cross Recruiting: My Thoughts & Insights

Today, I want to educate you about MLM Cross Recruiting.

This is a touchy subject with a lot of confusion in our industry. What is it? What does it mean? Is it illegal? What should I do if someone does it to me and my team? My goal is to address each of these questions in the paragraphs that follow.

MLM Cross Recruiting

What is MLM Cross Recruiting?

With nearly 20-years-experience in this amazing industry, here’s how I define cross recruiting:

MLM Cross Recruiting is when you leave a network marketing company (or simply join a second one) and contact people you did not personally sponsor about your new opportunity.

I do not define cross recruiting as contacting your personally sponsored reps about a new company if you leave that company, or simply promote multiple companies. Many people will disagree with my stance, but that’s my take on the subject.

To keep things interesting, here’s a definition of MLM Cross Recruiting I found online.

According to the MLM attorneys, Wellman & Warren, MLM Cross Recruiting is seen when representatives uses the networks that they gain in one MLM company and request them to join a competing company.

Common Questions About MLM Cross Recruiting

Common Questions About MLM Cross Recruiting

Now that we’ve defined MLM Cross Recruiting, let’s answer some common common questions.

Don’t I own my downline?

Nope. You don’t own them and neither does the company. Everyone in our industry is an independent contractor, not an employee. Last time I checked, we also live in the good old USA and have the freedom to make our own decisions. What’s sad is many distributors and companies ACT AS IF they own the people in their company or team.

If you are one of the people who think you own everyone on their team, let me ask you a question. Does your sponsor, company, and upline own you? I’d bet you don’t want to be owned or controlled by anyone. If that’s the case, don’t have that same mindset about your team.

Should I Cross Recruit?

No. Not intentionally. If you know someone is in the same company as you, and you decide to move on, let them be. On the other hand, if someone reaches out to you first, and you have no idea what company they are in, or who they are, I see no problem recruiting them. Why? You didn’t approach them. They approached you.

Is Cross Recruiting Illegal?

To the best of my knowledge, keep in mind I am NOT a lawyer, it is not illegal. However, if there is a restriction about it in your company’s policies and procedures that you signed, you could be held responsible legally and financially in court.

What about non-MLM Businesses?

Can you approach someone in your downline about a job opportunity? Can you invite them to evaluate a home-based business that has nothing to do with MLM? To answer that question, you must read your distributor agreement. Many network marketing companies prohibit this, even though I don’t agree with that mindset.

What if Someone Does it to Me?

What if someone in your upline, crossline, or downline raids your organization? Sadly, this happens a lot in our industry. Many leaders jump from company to company. They get a deal with a new company and jump ship, bringing as many people as they can with them to get their big pay day.

You could notify your corporate legal office and let them know if this happens to you, to see what your options are. You could hire an attorney specializing in network marketing and see what your options are, such as a lawsuit. Or you could learn from the experience about how to create a better team culture, where people don’t want to leave. More on that in a minute.

How Can I Prevent It?

How can you prevent MLM Cross Recruiting? Well, you will never prevent it 100% of the time, but you can minimize it by creating and environment where people don’t want to leave. Happy reps don’t leave or join other MLMs. If you have good relationships with your team and they are making money, why would they want to leave or do multiple deals?

My Personal Thoughts on the Subject

Personally, I think our industry is weird about cross recruiting. In the corporate world, and every other business model I know of, this is quite common and is not considered unethical or immoral. Here are a few examples.

Bill is your boss. You enjoy working with Bill. He leaves the company to work with a new employer. Because of your relationship with him, he reaches out to you about an open position in his new company. You decide to leave because the pay, opportunity, and benefits are better. Plus, you really enjoy working with Bill.

You and Melissa are co-workers. You both head different departments. You’ve worked together five years and have a solid, professional relationship. You place your resume on the internet and find a new job with a different company. When you start your new job, you find out about an open position in your new company that would be perfect for Melissa, so you call her up and tell her about it.

You and Tony are both independent contractors working for a company that does cable installation. You’ve been friends for years. Tony leaves the company to start his own cable installation company. He calls you about hiring you as his first employee. You accept.

Do any of these examples sound illegal or unethical to you? Not to me. But if these same people did any of these things in the MLM Universe, it would be considered cross recruiting. Crazy.

The MLM Industry Mindset

Many people in the MLM Industry, including the top leaders and company owners, act as if they OWN the people on their team. I will never understand that mindset. Every rep is an independent contractor. Yes, they need to follow the company’s rules and policies, but give me a break!!!

Here’s another issue in our industry. Companies don’t care if you cross-recruit when you JOIN their company, but they sure do care if you cross recruit when you LEAVE their company. Does that even make sense? They are okay with getting all the new business, but God forbid you do the same thing when you leave with your team to a different company.

mlm recruiting solutions

Solutions to MLM Cross Recruiting

I am a big fan of offering solutions, not just focusing on problems. When it comes to MLM Cross Recruiting, there are many solutions.

First off, network marketing companies need to realize we are in the 21st century. Most people have multiple side gigs. Letting someone join your company as an independent contractor, not as an employee, and then trying to force them to do ONLY your gig is crazy. I think if companies loosened their policies, our industry would be attractive to more people.

Next, leaders must create an environment where people don’t want to leave. This would eliminate 95% or more of the potential cross recruiting problems. When you have a team that is making money and respects you, you don’t have to worry about them jumping ship if someone on your team leaves for another company.

Finally, companies and top leaders should provide mandatory business education on this subject. Many new and inexperienced reps know nothing about this subject. Good training would reduce cross recruiting significantly.

My Experience

I will not sit on a high horse and say I have never cross recruited anyone in the past 21-years. I have. In fact, I don’t know of any top leader in our industry who SWITCHED companies and didn’t reach out to people they previously worked with about their new opportunity.

I have reached out to people I had good relationships with through the years, when I joined a new company. Most of the time they were personally sponsored, but sometimes they were simply people I had formed strong friendships and relationships with through the years. Or they were people on my email list and I didn’t even know who they were. Do I feel bad about doing those things? NOPE.

I’ve also been cross recruited many times by my sponsors through the years. I don’t get upset about it. If anything, I am appreciative that they thought of me when they found something better.


In conclusion, these are my thoughts on MLM Cross Recruiting. Take what you want from this article. If nothing else, hopefully you’ve gained some new insights you might not have considered previously. As a quick disclaimer, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. This is for educational purposes only.

What are your thoughts about MLM Cross Recruiting? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day.

Suggested Resources
  1. My Best Recruiting Tips
  2. How to Build Your MLM Business Online
  3. 34 Ways to Get Leads
  4. Dealing with Competition in MLM
  5. Finding and Being a Great MLM Mentor
chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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2 thoughts on “MLM Cross Recruiting: My Thoughts & Insights”

  1. After reading this article, I realized Cross-recruiting does not sound illegal at all. Though it can be risky for them who feels like their employers or leaders own them, and to avoid making enemies, they hesitate a lot. No matter what century we live in, network marketing companies just never let their employees be independent, and only wants them to work for them only, which is why they lose employees more often. To avoid such problem they really should create such environment so that their employees don’t leave. This article is really helpful for both employers and employees. Employees should not hesitate to build up their career even if it means changing jobs, unless it is against their current company policy.

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