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.

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.

You followed up with them after doing so, 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 need to continue your follow-up process with UNTIL they are ready to make a decision.

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 5-20 follow-ups before they join or get started.

99% 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.

mlm pipelineMost people need multiple exposures and multiple follow-ups before they buy or join anything.  It’s just human nature.

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 all the people I sponsor in my business, the average person takes two to twelve weeks 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-ups from me, as I walk them through my recruiting process.

Why do people take so long to make a decision?  Gosh, I wish I really 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 have to 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.

# 2 Excel Spreadsheet – You could use a simple MS 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.

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

This is where most people struggle. Most people in our industry suck at getting leads.  In essence, there are only two ways to keep your pipeline filled. You can either get good at prospecting, so you can meet new people.  Or, you can get good at advertising and marketing so people learn about you.  Both strategies work great.  Neither strategy is right or wrong.

Ultimately, you need to come up with a lead generation strategy that makes sense to you.  You could use direct mail, buy leads, cold call, set up at local events, blog, make a YouTube channel, podcast, use drop cards, utilize the three-foot rule, or hundreds of other strategies.  I suggest you choose no more than TWO marketing strategies and focus on those exclusively, so you can focus your efforts and work smart.

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.

I personally sponsor 20-30 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 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 an email every other day 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.

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, and the effectiveness of your follow-up.

Final Thoughts

There you have it folks.  This is just about everything you need to know about a MLM Pipeline. I hope you found the information helpful and I really 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.

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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

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