MLM Numbers Game: Is MLM Success Really About the Numbers?

Today, I want to take a few minutes and talk about the MLM Numbers Game.

Is working the numbers really the key to success in network marketing? Is it more about teaching and supporting your team members? Or is it more of a game of skill and strategy?

The answers to those questions will vary depending upon who you ask (and their agenda). In the remainder of this post, I will share my thoughts on this subject. Keep in mind it’s just my opinion and we can agree to disagree if necessary. I’ll also share some insights from some people I know and respect in this industry.

The MLM Numbers Game: My Thoughts

If you review the “Earnings Disclosure” for any network marketing company, you will quickly discover that this business is a numbers game.

In most network marketing companies, less than half the distributors are even ACTIVE in the business (ordering the products each month) and no more than one to two percent are in any type of leadership role. To me, that alone proves this business is a numbers game.

From my own experience, I’ve found that you must talk to thousands of prospects to sponsor hundreds of distributors to find a few key leaders.

Yes, skill and strategy are also important. The more skills you have, and the better your strategy, the fewer people you can talk with and get the same results.

However, even if you have great skills and a great strategy you still must talk with LOTS of people to find new distributors, and no matter what you do, most of your new team members will still do nothing and quit.

I’ve also learned that if I have one hundred people on my team, I normally have one leader or potential leader, and out of every five leaders on my team, I normally have ONE good leader.

In other words, about 1 in 500 people turn out to be a good leader (just my experience and thoughts).

What I Learned from Jordan Adler

Jordan Adler is one of my favorite mentors in the industry. He is the author of Beach Money, one of my favorite network marketing books of all time. He frequently talks about the MLM Numbers Game. He mentions that most top earners in our industry have been with one company for five or more years, have personally sponsored at least 100 to 500 people, yet make MOST of their income from just two to five of these people.

What I Learned from Mark Yarnell

Mark Yarnell was my favorite mentor in this industry. He is now deceased. Although I never met him personally, nor was I ever part of any of his organization, his teaching and training have molded me into the leader I am today.

In his training, Mark always talked about the MLM Numbers Game. He mentioned that you can’t make anyone else successful in the business or drag anyone across the finish line. No matter what you do to help people, most people will quit the business.

He taught people to “go wide fast.” In other words, sponsor several hundred people on your frontline as quickly as possible, and from that, you will find a few key leaders who generate MOST of your income. He always claimed that duplication was a lie. I agree.

Mark’s strategy was to talk to thirty prospects per day, five days per week. Assuming you sponsored one in twenty people you talked with you would sponsor thirty people per month. Assume that twenty-nine of those thirty people will quit. Repeat this process for 12 months and you would sponsor 360 people. 348 of those people would quit and twelve would be solid leaders. Assume that half of your twelve key leaders quit, and you would still have six amazing leaders.

He went on to say that you could make six figures a month in any network marketing company in our industry if you have six mega-huge personally sponsored leaders. After twenty years in the industry, I agree with Mark Yarnell.

direct selling is a numbers game

What I Learned from Eric Worre

Eric Worre is the author of “Go Pro” and the founder of Network Marketing Pro, a popular training website for network marketers. He’s also a respected trainer in the industry.

In one of his training sessions, this is what he taught:

  • Sixty percent of the people you enroll will do something for the first 30-days and then fizzle out.
  • Forty percent of those sixty percent will appear to be leaders for their first 90-days in the business.
  • Within a year twenty percent of the forty percent will still be around in the business.
  • After five years one, two, of these people will be left and will be a leader in the business.

Let’s break this down and do the math. If you sponsored one hundred people, this is what you could expect:

  1. Sponsor one hundred people
  2. Sixty will do something for first 30-days
  3. Forty will still be around after 90-days
  4. Sixteen will be left after one-year in the business
  5. Ten will still be around after five years

Find 3 Who Find 3 Who Find 3

Some MLM Trainers and leaders in our industry teach the power of three. They teach people that their job is to find three people and then help them find three people and then help those new people find three people. Keep repeating this process over and over in depth and you will eventually build a HUGE organization.

While this sounds great in concept, and does sell a lot of books, this business NEVER works out that way. To find three serious people, you’ll need to sponsor AT LEAST 50 people, and maybe more. From those fifty people, forty will do nothing and quit, ten will do something, and one to three of those ten people will be serious.

I like to tell people this upfront, because if you just assume that you can sponsor three people, sit back, and your team will just duplicate and grow, you will end up disappointed. It never works this way.

What’s the Secret, Chuck?

After reading this article, you might be wondering, “what’s the secret to the numbers in MLM, Chuck?” There are FOUR things you can do help you be more effective and more successful in your network marketing business.

# 1: Work the Numbers

First, you MUST talk with new prospects every day. As a hobbyist you should talk to at least five prospects per day, five to six days per week. As a part-time rep, you should talk to ten prospects per day, five to six days per week. As a full-timer, you should talk with 30 to 50 prospects per day, five to six days per week. Anything less than that, and you won’t hit your business goals.

# 2: Find & Develop Leaders

This is a leadership business. Reps and customers come and go like the common cold. Your real job is to become a leader first, and then to find and develop leaders. It makes more sense to FIND leaders than develop them. It takes a lot of time and energy to develop leaders, and much less time to find them.

# 3: Have a System & Training for Your Team

You need a system and training for your team to follow. Even if you do things differently yourself, you need some type of game-plan and support system for your new people. This could include a weekly call or weekly meeting, a getting started guide and Facebook group for your team.

# 4: Work on Your Skills

You must take the time to master and develop your skills. This includes leadership, communication, prospecting, and lead generation. Just like any other profession, network marketing has some fundamental skills you must learn. Read daily, talk with your mentor, attend events, and listen to tapes and CDs. Make it a goal to improve daily.

Mastering these four concepts is vital for your long-term success in the industry.

Everything in life is a numbers game

Tracking the Numbers in Your MLM Business

Today, I want to talk to you about tracking the numbers in your MLM Business. Earlier we talked about “working the numbers.” Now you will find out why tracking your numbers is also important.

Let me start by telling you that I am analytical. I love analyzing numbers, studying trends, and looking for things I can improve in my businessThe numbers never lie. If you know your numbers, and you work the numbers, you can be successful in this business.

The Formula for MLM Success

There is a formula for MLM Success. This is the secret formula to success, as I see it.

X contacts = Y appointments = Z presentations = AA new distributors and/or customers

In other words, if you contact a certain number of people, it will lead to a certain number of appointments, which will lead to a certain number of presentations, which will lead to a certain number of new distributors and/or customers.

When you are just starting out in your business, you might have horrible numbers. You might need to approach one hundred people to schedule twenty appointments to show ten presentations to sponsor one new distributor.

However, as you IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS (by continuing to work the numbers) your ratios will improve significantly, because you will learn the right people to approach, what to say, and how to follow-up and close effectively.

What You Should Do

Starting today, I suggest you track your numbers in your MLM Business in these four categories (contacts, appointments, presentations, new customers/reps).

Use a regular piece of paper or a spreadsheet and track how many people you prospect, how many appointments you set, how many people watch a presentation, and how many people sign up or buy.

Create a tracking system for the month and whenever you complete one of these four things, put a check mark in the respective box to keep track.

As the month progresses, you will have a clear idea about your success ratio and figure out what areas you need the most help with.

Whey People Struggle

If you are struggling with your network marketing business, I can 100% guarantee you are NOT working through a large enough pool of prospects. You’re not putting the MLM Numbers Game to your advantage.

Show me your calendar and tracking sheet and I can predict how well you are doing in the business.

You must talk to new prospects daily and you must keep track of your numbers in your MLM Business so you can see what is working and what isn’t working. Do it for a month and you will be surprised with your lack of activity.

Most people in our industry spend most of their time on BUSY WORK, rather than on INCOME PRODUCING ACTIVITIES. Plus, they don’t track their stats and results in their MLM Business, so they don’t know what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

One Simple Tip

The final tip I have for you is to work on your personal development. Do something daily to improve your skills. Develop your people skills, communications skills, prospecting skills, and leadership skills.

Be a student of your network marketing business. Learn what you can about the company, its products and services, and the network marketing industry. Make a commitment to be a network marketing professional.

For your business to grow, you must grow. Your business is a direct reflection of you, so make sure you are focused on your personal development.

When You Know Your Numbers Your Business is Predictable

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are my thoughts on the MLM Numbers Game. Selling is a numbers game. Business is a numbers game. Dating is a numbers game. Just about everything in life is a numbers game. If you follow the advice in this article, there is no doubt in my mind your network marketing business will grow.

What are your thoughts? Do you think MLM is a numbers game? Why or why not? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thousands of people in this business ‘kid’ themselves into believing they’re actually doing this business, when in all reality…they are doing almost nothing.  Then…they roam around complaining about how “network marketing doesn’t work or didn’t work for them”.  The truth is…they didn’t work for network marketing. Pure and simple. ~ Todd Falcone

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chuck holmes


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

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1 thought on “MLM Numbers Game: Is MLM Success Really About the Numbers?”

  1. Yes true I agree with you that Network Marketing business is a numbers game most especially when you are new. But when you have been around for a while it’s more of experience. The reason I am saying this is because during my early days in this industry, I was recruiting many people but I wasn’t really seeing any results. Looking back I’ll say I lacked experience then.

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