MLM Retention Tips: How to Increase Retention in Your MLM

Today, I’d like to provide my best MLM Retention Tips. My goal is to share some valuable information about how to increase retention in your MLM Business.

I believe that RETAINING your team is much more important than being a good recruiter. If you don’t know how to keep people “in the business” you will have a revolving door in your team.

Your real goal is to get them in, keep them in, and move them along.

Please know upfront that most MLM Companies have horrible retention rates. In most cases, 50 to 90 percent of your team will quit each year, regardless of what you do to help them.

Don’t let that scare you though. All jobs in the “selling” profession have high turnover. Just ask any insurance broker, sales manager, or real estate broker and they will tell you the exact same thing. The same holds true with small businesses. Just drive through your local community and look at all the closed down businesses. Most businesses don’t survive the first year, even if they have a ton of money and time invested in the business.

In addition, many traditional businesses have high attrition with customers and employees. There are tons of factors that can affect these things.

When it comes to network marketing, most people will quit, but some will stay. You can still build a huge business, even with a low retention rate. 

As a network marketing leader, your job is to minimize attrition in your organization as much as possible, and to keep recruiting new people. You won’t be able to stop attrition completely, but you can minimize it.

mlm retention tips

Your goal should be to improve the retention rate within your own team and to make your customer service to your downline a priority. It is far more difficult to recruit new people than it is to follow-up and follow-through with those you already have. ~ Street Directory

My Top 8 MLM Retention Tips

By following the tips mentioned below, you should be able to increase retention in your MLM business. Please keep in mind these tips are my personal views based upon my 20+ years of experience in the network marketing industry. Of course, individual results will vary.

Tip # 1: Help Your Team Members Launch Their Business Properly

My most important MLM Retention Tip is to help your new business partners launch their business properly. Sadly, most people who join our industry never get started right. It’s important to help your people start right, so they don’t need to start over!

It’s important that you help your people make their name’s list, schedule their first two Private Business Receptions, and contact their 20 best prospects right away. You have about 72-hours to do this before most people lose their excitement and drop out.

Most distributors never do ANY of these things. Basically, they sign their name to the distributor agreement and just dabble. You need to make “launching new distributors” a top priority in your business, or all of your time spent recruiting them will be time wasted.

When you launch someone the right way, they will sign up a couple of new distributors, get a quick check, and see “proof” that the business works. This helps keep them in the business. More importantly, by helping them get a few people sponsored quickly, if they drop out, you still have other people to work with.

Tip # 2: Provide a System

Systems are the key to success in any business. Businesses like McDonald’s and Subway work because they have good systems in place. They are system dependent, not people dependent.

Your network marketing business is no different. You need a system your people can follow, especially your new people. Your system should provide the training and motivation they need to generate leads, find customers and sponsor new distributors.

You must realize that most people joining your team have never owned a business before, they don’t have any sales or marketing experience, and they’re scared to fail. You have a lot to overcome.

You must tell your people EXACTLY what to do or in most cases they will do nothing at all. Your system should have some getting started training, tutorial videos, and a place to ask questions.

Have a duplicatable training system. We have created a simple team training site that every single rep goes through. This is additional to the company training and is specifically how our team duplicates. This way if someone is not recruited locally they can still get support and get the exact same training I would give my personals. A tool like this you can give any member of your downline so things stay consistent. This also prevents breakdowns in training communication and empowers representatives to succeed. ~ Ron Gelok

Tip # 3: Get People to Events

One of my best MLM Retention Tips is to promote events. Attend every event yourself and promote every event like your business success depends upon it. It does.

The more people you get to attend your company’s and team’s events, the more your business will grow. Events provide social proof. Events are where people build up their belief in the business and make the decision to build it big.

Have local events. Do a weekly call or webinar. Get together with your team a few times each year and have fun. Encourage everyone to attend the regional and national events your company offers. The more people you have at events, the more your business will grow!

Hold weekly training webinars. On these webinars, regularly bring out leaders in your team that are having success. Did you know that fewer people get excited over making money than they do getting recognition? Leaders know this very well. ~ Ray Higdon

Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not

Tip # 4: Recognition

Babies cry for it and grown adults die for it: RECOGNITION. Most people do not get recognized or feel appreciated at home or at work. Make sure you go above and beyond to recognize people. Don’t just recognize your top producers either. Recognize even the smallest of achievements. More people on your team can relate to those small achievements more than what your top producers do.

Have a distributor of the week. Recognize people for getting NOs. Recognize people for signing up their first person. Recognize people for being on auto-ship. Recognize people for contacting someone on their chicken list. Recognize people for attending an event. Get creative and recognize the things you want people to do.

Naturally you’ll celebrate every time you sell a big product or when you sign up new distributors for your business. But many experts also believe in celebrating the slow wins too. Remember that there are people who have managed to recruit ten new distributors in their first day, or even their first week, but there is a frustrated majority who haven’t even succeeded in doing that in a month.

This has the effect of dampening the spirits of those who are working just as hard, or even harder than those who have achieved success. You also want to celebrate a distributor’s first recruitment, or their first sale. Remember to celebrate these small things too.

Some successful distributors even recommend celebrating your first failure! Your new recruit has gone out to give their sales presentation. They had high hopes, and they believed that their customers were a guaranteed sale. But something went wrong, and they backed off, resulting in a no-sale. Now your new recruit is upset and disappointed.

But now is the time to give them a free coffee or treat, and celebrate their failure. It’s their first one! And chances are that they learned a lot during this process. And remember that without failure, there would be no success.

Of course you’ll still celebrate the big wins too, but look for stories that can also highlight how people in your business have taken a long time to get that first recruit as well.

~ Nate Leung

Tip # 5: Get Them Using the Products Right Away

You want people to have a positive product experience as quickly as possible, preferably their first week in the business. Get people signed up on auto-ship and using all of the company’s products. This will help give them a product experience, a personal story, and build up their belief in the products.

Assuming the company’s products are good, many people will stay on as wholesale customers, even if they have a change of heart about building a business.

When you look in most organizations, you will see a large majority of the distributors simply order the products each month, but don’t build a business. This is why it’s so important to find a company with great products at fair prices.

Remember this, if the products don’t make sense, the business won’t either.

As Jeff Roberti says, if the products don’t make sense, there is no step two.

Tip # 6: Help People Get a Check Quickly

The sooner you can help people make money, the better. Like I mentioned earlier, anyone can stay excited about the business for three to ninety days. After that, if they haven’t made any money in the business yet there’s a good chance they will fizzle out and quit.

If you can help someone build a small team and earn a check (any amount) they will be more motivated to stay, because of the fear of loss. When you first sign someone up, help them sponsor their first distributor and find their first customer within their first 24 to 72-hours in the business. This will get people excited and give them “proof” that the business works.

Tip # 7: Work in Depth

One of the best tips I can give you is to spend most of your time working in depth. After you have some people sponsored, start helping them build a team. Always work at the bottom most point of your organization.

Light a fire in the basement and watch everyone above them get motivated. Always work with the newest, most excited distributors at the deepest level in your organization.

Width will bring you profitability, but depth will bring you long-term security. If you want to increase the retention in your MLM business, help the person at the deepest level in your organization. This helps everyone above them. This is known as tap-rooting or driving lines.

Tip # 8: Have Realistic Expectations

My final tip is to have realistic expectations about your MLM business. Most businesses in the real world take a couple of years just to make a penny of profit and five or more years to be established and have a steady, predictable cash flow. MLM is no different.

Next, you need to realize that you will have to invest time and money building up your skills and attitude. Switching from employee to entrepreneur is a big transition for most people. Being a network marketing professional requires a certain skill-set. It will take most people at least three to five years of part-time effort to do that.

Finally, you get out what you put in. This is not the lottery. Success is not about luck. Success in our industry comes down to doing a few key activities over and over for a prolonged period of time. I think it’s vital you spend time getting your own thinking right and teaching your team members to have realistic expectations.

Retention is the single most important thing for growth

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are my top 8 MLM Retention Tips. Of course, most people will still drop out of the business, regardless of what you do to support them. However, if you do the things mentioned above, you will retain more people than you would if you didn’t do these things.

Remember this, even retaining five to ten percent more of your team than you normally would can have a HUGE positive impact on your bonus check.

What are your thoughts? What are your MLM Retention Tips? What do you do to keep people on your team? Just leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

Disclaimer: MLM Attrition will always be high. Even if you follow the eight tips I mentioned above, I can’t guarantee you will retain most of your distributors. Individual results will vary.

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Suggested Reading:
  1. MLM Money Tips
  2. Top 27 Customer Service Tips for Small Business Owners
  3. Focus On the People Who Stay On Your MLM Team
  4. How to Deal with Rejection in Your Business
  5. 34 Ways to Get MLM Leads
chuck holmes


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

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27 thoughts on “MLM Retention Tips: How to Increase Retention in Your MLM”

  1. Retention Tips for Customers and Affiliates

    1. Handwritten notes
    2. Develop relationships with customers and affiliates
    3. Get people using the products and introduce people to new products, product experience
    4. Get people to events (live events and webinar)
    5. Help your people do personal development
    6. Find out why customers and affiliates leave, exit survey
    7. Create a customer community (Facebook)
    8. Create a VIP Program for customers and team members
    9. Realistic expectations
    10. Help affiliates come up with a game plan
    11. Build depth under people, taprooting
    12. Help people get a check quickly
    13. Personal development
    14. Plug people into the system
    15. Create a strong team culture
    16. Contests and recognition
    17. Sharing stories and testimonials
    18. Be accessible

  2. Tips on MLM Retention

    • The real money in this business comes from retention, not recruiting
    • Residual commissions come from REPEAT orders, not one time orders
    • All businesses lose customers and employees
    • Even reducing your attrition by 10-20 percent can have a HUGE impact on your bottom line
    • People leave for many different reasons, some things in your control, some out of your control
    • Our job is to make sure everyone has a good experience

  3. Amazing tips and some I really didn’t consider. A team is as strong as their weakest player so there is a lot of truth in everything mentioned above. When you aren’t working on the same level as your team they will fall behind which will only hold you back.

  4. If a person follows all the tips you provided here Chuck, retention rates will most likely be lower. The most important thing is to not allow quitters to control your attitude. As has been stated here multiple times, network marketing is notorious for having doors that are always swinging. If we let the swinging doors to control our attitude, there is a good chance we will become the quitters.

    Thanks for the great tips Chuck.

  5. If you want better retention, get people making money right away. That is really the ONLY thing that will keep people around. At most you have 60 to 90 days to keep someone’s interest and help them get started. Otherwise they will quit.

      1. No matter what you do people are going to quit. Most people don’t have the vision, discipline, persistence or work ethic to succeed in a business. It has nothing to do with MLM, either. People quit everything in life, so don’t expect them to stick around in your business very long. You’re really just looking for a few key people.

  6. If you want to increase retention in your team, help your people make money right away. That is the only way you can get people to stick around. Help your newest distributors find 3-5 retail customers and then help them sponsor 1-2 distributors. After you do that, start working in depth as quickly as possible and light a fire in the basement of their organization. That is what I try to do with all my new distributors.

  7. Great article, Chuck. One of the best things I do to keep the retention up in my business is to get people ordering the products. If I can do that, I know that many of them will fall in love with the products and keep ordering them, whether they build a business or not.


    1. Alexis, this is one principle Quixtar (Amway) used when I was involved with them as well. If the distributors are not using the products, they are missing out on firsthand product knowledge, which is irreplaceable. Plus, honest enthusiasm and personal stories of use and results are great sales tools and are valuable in providing honest information to the customer. I can also see where this would keep the distributor more engaged in his business.

    2. That’s a great tip strategy, Alexis. There are few things I am more passionate about than getting my team members using the products. Not only does it create volume, but if the products are good there is a good chance the distributor will become a loyal product user, even if they never decide to build a business. Retention is always higher when people use and love the company’s products.

  8. I think the best way to improve retention in your MLM group is to have standardized training. You need a training plan in place that people can plug in to right from day one. You need a training manual, action guide or a training website that distributors can reference and know what steps they need to follow to achieve success. Of course, not everyone will follow this guide or do what you recommend, but you still need it!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Abe. Having a standardized training guide or system in place can really help out your team out. Some people will still quit, but you can reduce those numbers by training people, right from the beginning.


  9. I totally agree with building relationships being most important, with solid training and consistent support a close second. Help them problem-solve to get over humps, and encourage them. Also help them keep it real. I think that unrealistic expectations is a significant factor in many failures. I really liked your point, Chuck, about matching their efforts. You cannot work harder than they do at their success, and enabling poor work habits or lack of commitment only makes it worse. If there is no ownership and accountability, there is no success.

  10. Here are some things we do to increase retention on our MLM team.

    1. Host a weekly training call
    2. Host a weekly motivational call
    3. Get people to events
    4. Get people on auto-ship
    5. Help new distributors sponsor someone their first week in the business
    6. Work in depth as quickly as possible
    7. Help people earn a bonus check as quickly as possible
    8. Get people to set goals on paper
    9. Get people plugged in to their upline
    10. Make things fun

    Of course, you’ll never retain everyone, but all of these things do help out.

  11. I had no idea the numbers for MLM retention were so bad. If half your workforce is disappearing every year, how do you manage to keep your MLM business up and operating in the first place? This seems like just another entry in the long list of reasons why constantly generating leads is a necessity to success.

    1. Retention is bad in the MLM industry, but it’s also bad with many employers. The lifeblood of your MLM Business is the new person. You have to always work with the newest people in the bottom part of your organization. That keeps everyone up the chain motivated and helps improve retention.


  12. I can see why you said your first tip is the most important tip. Building relationships with those on your team is essential for the overall success of the business. People involved in the business need to feel significant and valued. Taking the time to get to know those within the organization and those you sponsor will demonstrate that you indeed value them as individuals and that you desire to get to know them so that you can have a close professional relationship. This will build trust and respect between you all that is always a benefit in the business world.

    1. Building relationships is important in every business, especially network marketing. People like to do business with people they know, like and trust.


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