How to Build a MLM Pipeline: And Why You Need One

In today’s post I want to talk to you about how to build a MLM Pipeline, how to use it, and how to keep your pipeline filled with new prospects. This is a very important subject that every network marketer needs to understand, but most are clueless about.

None of this is rocket science. Anyone can create their own MLM Pipeline in less than 24-hours, with a little bit of work and a decent game-plan. It is not complex and shouldn’t be. I’ll do my best to share my experience with you so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.

mlm pipeline

What is a MLM Pipeline?

The easiest way to think of a MLM Pipeline is as a group of prospects who are currently at some stage in the recruiting process. It’s a group of people you have introduced to your products, services or business opportunity at some point in time.

These people initially expressed an interest in learning more about what you do. They either watched a video or webinar, listened to a three-way call, or met with you face-to-face, or want to at some point in time.

You followed up with them, but for some strange reason they did not get started in the business or purchase your products or services right then and there. As a result, they stayed in your pipeline.

I like to think of your pipeline as a HOLDING TANK for prospects. It’s a list of people you must continue your follow-up process with UNTIL they are ready buy or join.

Why Do You Need a MLM Pipeline?

Here’s why you need your own MLM Pipeline. Most people you share the business opportunity or products with will need MINIMUM 7-20 follow-ups before they join or get started.

Most of the people you talk to will NOT sign up on the spot. If you show someone the business presentation and they don’t get started right away, the last thing you want to do is forget about them or write them off as not being interested.

Most people need multiple exposures and multiple follow-ups before they buy or join anything. 

It’s just human nature. People procrastinate. That’s why television ads work so effectively. After you see the ad 20 or 30 times you OWN the item, and then wonder why you even purchased it. You bought the item because of repeat exposures, good marketing, and good follow-up.

Once you understand human nature, and that most people struggle to make a decision of ANY kind, you will realize the importance of having a good follow-up system.

When I look at the people I sponsor in my business, the average person takes two to six months to join, from the time they first watch a presentation until they sign up or buy. During that time, they probably received 20 to 30 follow-up emails from me, as I walk them through my recruiting process.

Why do people take so long to make a decision? I wish I knew the answer to that question, especially since investing $50 to $500 isn’t a MAJOR decision.

People don’t really NEED to think about it. In most cases, they just PUT OFF thinking about it, unless you stay in touch with them frequently, walk them through the decision-making process, and ASK them to buy.

How Do You Build a MLM Pipeline?

There are several ways to build your own MLM Pipeline. At the end of the day, you must find a simple system that works best for you. I will share a few examples with you, just to get you thinking. Pick the one you like best or feel free to modify them as needed for your own unique situation.

# 1: Auto Responder

Without a doubt, my favorite way to build a MLM Pipeline is with an auto-responder. This is what I use myself. The reason I chose an auto-responder for my pipeline is because it is 100% automated. Once you create your follow-up messages and set a frequency for your email delivery, your follow-up emails get sent out automatically. There is nothing else for you to do, except wait for your prospects to call you or email you with questions (or sign up on their own). A good auto-responder series will have minimum 20 to 50 emails, each scheduled for delivery two to three days apart. Create an Aweber account.

# 2: Excel Spreadsheet

You could use a simple Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet to track your leads in your MLM pipeline. You would simply have the person’s name and contact information, and then have another column in the spreadsheet where you could keep track of what step of the follow-up process they are currently in. You could write down notes about each conversation you had with them, and write down the next scheduled follow-up date.

# 3: Index Cards

I used this method myself for a long time, and still do it with people I meet face-to-face. I just buy some index cards and an index card holder at the Dollar Store. I put 12 tabs in the holder, one for each month of the year. When I talk with someone who isn’t interested in joining my business right away, I write down all of their key information and notes about our conversation, and then I file them away for a future date, so I can follow-up with them in another three to six months.

add new people to your pipeline daily

How Do You Use Your MLM Pipeline?

Your pipeline keeps you organized. If you are reaching out to five to ten new prospects per day like you should be doing, you will build up a pipeline of several hundred people within a month of two, and several thousand prospects within a year. Your pipeline keeps you on track so you know WHEN you need to follow-up with each person.

Could you imagine having thousands of leads without being organized? You wouldn’t know where to find your leads. You wouldn’t remember key information about each lead. And, you wouldn’t know when to follow-up with each person.

That’s why you need your own MLM Pipeline. You can use any of the three examples I mentioned in the previous section and you will be very organized. This lets you work smart.

If you only have five to ten prospects you don’t need a pipeline, but if you are someone who is serious about your network marketing business and you have hundreds, even thousands of prospects, you need to be organized.

How to Keep Your MLM Pipeline Filled with Prospects

In this section, I want to share some simple ideas about how to fill your MLM Pipeline with prospects.

We all know that leads are the lifeblood of our business. Without a steady flow of fresh leads coming in we have no one to sell our products and services to. Therefore, I want to share a few things you can do to get more leads in your pipeline. To keep the article short, I will share 12 of my favorite marketing tips.

1. Postcards

Without a doubt, this is my favorite paid advertising strategy. Postcards are cheap, and quite effective at generating new business. You can create and mail 1,000 postcards for about $500. Best of all, most people check their mail every day. While most people delete their email messages before reading many of their emails, most people at least go through their mail and read it before they throw things out.

2. Networking Events

You can participate in networking events, such as the BBB or local Chamber of Commerce. You can connect with other entrepreneurs who can use your service/product or refer people that can. You can join sites like and find activity groups that interest you. The options are endless.

3. Public Speaking

If you enjoy public speaking (I do) you can volunteer at some business events/conferences in your community and share your expertise. You can speak about your products or services or a similar subject. For example, if you sell weight loss products, you could give a speech such as: “The Top 10 Myths About Losing Weight.” You could collect business cards at the event and then follow up with people at your convenience.

4. Writing

If you enjoy writing, you can write articles for publications, newsletters, trade journals, article directories and for your website. This will position you as an expert in your industry. Most of these publications will let you include an author bio at the end of your article, where you can share your contact information. If you’re a good writer, these publications might even pay you to write for them.

5. Business Cards 

Make your business card a “direct response” card, like a drop card. Put a catchy headline, a few bullet points about the benefits of your product or opportunity, and a call to action on it, so it reads like a mini-advertisement about what you do.

6. Blogging

Blogging is a wonderful way to generate new leads for any type of business. You could add a blog to your website and write 2-4 posts per week about issues concerning your target market or customers. If you’re busy, you could even hire writers to do the writing for you. I get most of my leads (about 20 to 50 a day) from my blogs and different articles.

7. Flyers & Door Hangers

These are great, low cost tools to get your name out there in your local area. Just make sure you check HOA and soliciting laws first, so you don’t get in legal trouble. You can even hire someone to put these marketing materials out there for you.

8. Cold Calling

Some people hate this marketing strategy, and others love it. That’s okay. You don’t have to do it yourself. You could hire someone on commission and pay them for each appointment they make or each sale they make via cold calling. Personally, I’d rather pull out my fingernails than do this strategy.

9. Fish Bowl

The Fish Bowl strategy is a great way to get endless leads. Basically, you team up with a local mom and pop business. You have a contest and put an empty fish bowl near their main entrance. People put in their business card or fill out a simple form to be entered into the raffle. You then pick a winner and have a bunch of other leads you can follow up with.

10. Coupons

You could mail or email out coupons to all leads, former customers, and current customers to spark up more business. Offer people a discount on their next purchase.

11. Buying Leads

You could buy leads from a trusted lead company and contact them through direct mail or telemarketing. This strategy does work. I use it myself.

12. Create a Referral Program

You could create a referral program to compensate people who refer others to your business. This might cost you some money upfront, but it’s probably cheaper than advertising.

Additional Insights

I think the key to success is to pick two or three lead generation strategies and focus on them with maximum effort. That way you can concentrate your efforts and get better results.

I also recommend you test your efforts by starting small and working your way to a big roll-out. Also, anytime you get a new lead or customer, ask them how they heard about you so you can track your advertising.

the person who generates the most mlm leads wins

What I Do

First off, I only have ONE goal for my business each and every single day. That goal is the number of people I want to add to my MLM Pipeline that day.

I know that if I constantly add new people to my pipeline each day, I will always sponsor new people each month. I personally sponsor 10-30 people per month, on average. That might sound like a big number to most people in our industry. Honestly, I’m not the best recruiter. I just have a pipeline filled with thousands of prospects. If you have a big, bursting MLM Pipeline, it’s not that hard to recruit lots of people.

When you have thousands of people going through a SYSTEMATIC follow-up process, you will sponsor lots of new distributors. I use an auto-responder myself (Aweber). I generate leads from my blog and capture pages and my email auto-responder takes over from there. People start getting my emails until they buy, unsubscribe, or die. I send out emails three to five times per week to people on my list.

These emails pre-sell people on what I have to offer them. At some point in time, the timing in their life becomes right and they become interested in my opportunity. When that happens, they either reach out to me by phone or email or go and sign up themselves. That is the power of a great MLM Pipeline.

Just because someone tells you NO today does not mean they are a NO forever. They are sitting in your prospecting drawer waiting to be closed at a later date. I can’t tell you how many people that have told us NO that have later said YES! The reason they eventually said YES is because we prospected them and they were sitting in our prospecting drawer.

This business is all about timing for people but unless you fill your prospecting funnel you will NEVER have an ongoing amount of people enrolling in your business that you personally enroll. ~ Tyler and Mimi Ford

Conversion Rates

I can’t make any guarantees or speak for anyone else. I can only talk about my own experience. I typically sign up about 1 in 40 people who enter my MLM Pipeline. This number might not sound overly impressive, but when you factor in how many leads I generate each day, it leads to a lot of new sign ups. Your conversion rate will vary based upon your offer, the quality of your leads, the company you promote, and the effectiveness of your follow-up.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, this is just about everything you need to know about a MLM Pipeline. I hope you found the information helpful and I hope you will create your own pipeline starting today!

What are your thoughts? Do you use your own MLM Pipeline? If so, do you use an auto-responder, index cards, a spreadsheet, or something else? Leave a comment below to share any tips or insights you might have. I look forward to hearing from you.

Suggested Reading

Here are a few books I suggest on this topic.

  1. The Parable of the Pipeline
  2. No B.S. Direct Marketing
  3. Managing the Sales Pipeline
  4. How I Made My First Million On the Internet
chuck holmes


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

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