Be Customer Focused in Your MLM Business

I picked up a helpful piece of advice yesterday from a successful distributor with more than 200,000 people in his downline.

His advice was to be customer focused, not distributor focused.

I’ve written about this on my website before, but I would like to take the time to elaborate a little bit.

First of all, it’s a proven fact that most of the distributors you recruit will quit within 90 days or less.

And when they quit building their network marketing business (not that they ever started) they will stop ordering the products.

They will cancel their auto-ship and never order a product again!

Since somewhere between 50%-80% of all distributors quit their company each year, you will have a revolving door of sales volume in your organization.

This means you will constantly spin your wheels and have to be busy replacing people who quit, just to maintain your current rank.

On the other hand, when you focus on finding customers instead of distributors, something magical happens.

First and foremost, happy customers will keep ordering the product month after month, whether they ever build a business or not.

This keeps your volume constant and helps you build a residual income.

In addition, many of your happy customers will eventually upgrade to distributors and business builders.

They will fall in love with the products and want to get a discount on their purchase, and maybe even refer a few others so they can get their products for free.

Some of these happy customers turned distributor will become serious business builders in your team.

They will see the value in the products and business opportunity and want to build a business of their own.

And other retail customers will refer you to other people because they enjoy the products and appreciate the way that you treat them.

In all of these examples, it’s a win-win for you!

Furthermore, your target market is much bigger when you focus on recruiting customers rather than distributors.

Let’s face it; our industry has a bad reputation.

And most people don’t want to get involved in network marketing.

But many folks will be glad to use the products, assuming they are good quality and priced right.

I also believe it’s much easier to share the products with others than try to “convince” them to join your business opportunity.

Remember this, EVERYONE likes to buy, but most people hate to sell. 

Next, most compensation plans offer you more money per person if you have customers, not distributors.

In most MLM Companies you will make a lot more money if you have 100 retail customers than if you had a team of 100 distributors.

In most companies you will make several thousand dollars per month, or more, with 100 retail customers, whereas you might make $200 to $500 per month with 100 distributors.

Chew on that!

Normally, the commissions are higher from retail customers than your residuals from your team’s volume.

And a team of 100 retail customers can easily expand into 500+ customers (and distributors) if you treat them right, provide good customer service, and ask for referrals.

There are plenty of people in plenty of companies who make a nice $1k to $5k per month income, or more, just by having customers.

It’s also important to know that that is how our industry was initially designed to work.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Top 27 Customer Service Tips for Small Business Owners
  2. The Difference Between Leaders, Distributors and Customers in Your MLM Business
  3. How to Make Money When People Don’t Join Your MLM Business or Become a Retail Customer
  4. Top 10 Tips for Building Relationships with Your MLM Customers and Downline
  5. Be Accessible to Your MLM Team, Customers and Prospects

Back in the 1950s and 1960s when direct selling became popular, distributors were focused almost exclusively on getting customers.

And they built their teams from happy customers who wanted to upgrade to a distributor.

be customer focused in your mlm businessI think the advice of “be customer focused, not distributor focused” is very good.

If you haven’t had much success using the approach you are using right now, then maybe it’s time to take a different approach and try something different in your network marketing business.

You might be glad that you did!

And if nothing else, try to get a few more customers in your business ASAP, so you can generate some retail profits right away.

What would your business look like right now if every distributor on your team had 10 customers?

What if they each had 20 customers?

How much more money would everyone make?

The biggest takeaway in this article is that you should teach EVERYONE on your team to at least get a few customers before they try recruiting distributors.

I know that recruiting distributors is important, but as I see it, the only way to really earn the right to do that is to get a few customers first.

After all, how can you preach making money or financial freedom if you aren’t making any money yourself?  

Be customer focused and everything else should fall into place.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Do you think it’s a better idea to be customer focused or distributor focused?

Leave a comment below to tell me what you think about this topic.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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68 thoughts on “Be Customer Focused in Your MLM Business

  1. Nicole

    Much better to be customer focused because at the end of the day its about selling a product not an opportunity. Yes the company wants to build a huge sales team but they make most of their money by selling the products to customers. As you stated most distributors don’t stick around long and so you will never make as much money from them as you will from happy customers who love you and love your product. I also think you’re right when you say happy customers make the best distributors. They are already believers and have a better chance at becoming a rock star only if it is to get their products for free.

    Reply
  2. Diamond Grant

    Customers are the business; plain and simple. They are the ones who purchase what you are selling and if you don’t treat them well it doesn’t matter how many distributors you have, your business won’t go anywhere. Customers who are sold a good product by people who are attentive, kind, professional, and filled with integrity will boast and brag about you and more importantly, promote you. It is this sort of tell a friend model that has brought me numerous customers and it is my focus on people that has kept customers loyal to me.

    Reply
  3. Greg Boudonck

    I am in full agreement of this assessment Chuck. If the MLM has all distributors and few customers, it will fail for sure. I am back to a system you have wrote about…the 80/20 rule; or even 90/10. If we spend 80% of the time getting customers and 20% after distributors, success will fall in place.

    I have seen where some people just have customers and no distributors and they do quite well. It is keeping the main company selling products and that person is making money. If it works, don’t change it

    Reply
  4. s. conard

    Super advice for anyone in the business world! I like your comment, Chuck, about customers being loyal even after a distributor (who never really got started) has long left the organization. I think if we focus on our customers and then start to add to the downline that businesses will flourish. It takes customers to keep the product or service moving, after all. I enjoyed everyone’s thoughts, especially those who are doing home parties and door to door sales.

    Reply
  5. Alice

    Great idea, Chuck. I sell Avon products and I have over 200 personal customers. I earn several thousand dollars per month, and sometimes more, just from my customers. I only recently started building a team of reps, and that will provide additional income, but my primary focus will always be acquiring and keeping retail customers. Avon is really big on having customers and best of all it has a product that people want and can afford.

    Reply
  6. Martha

    I sell Mary Kay products and I spend at least 80% of my time getting customers. I know you can earn more by sponsoring other ladies, but I don’t feel comfortable trying to frontload a new distributor with $1000+ worth of products. I’d rather have lots of satisfied customers who order from me every month. At the moment I have 68 customers who order from me each month. These 68 ladies pay my bills and keep my business strong and profitable.

    Reply
  7. Destiny

    I prefer direct selling over MLM for this very same reason. If you only focus on recruiting you won’t make much money. Attrition is too high and only a small percentage of your prospects will ever join as a distributor. It is much easier to simply go out and get 20 to 50 retail customers and make an extra $1000 or more per month doing that. I sell Mary Kay and this is what I do. I sponsor a few people here and there from my customer base, but most women are just happy to have me take care of them as customers.

    Reply
  8. Eddie

    I’m in Amway and it wasn’t until recently that I started focusing on getting lots of customers. During the past four months I have acquired 52 new customers. Of those 52 folks, about 30 order products each month, which gives me a nice profit. The average order is about $75 per person, so I end up doing a couple thousand PV each month just from customers. Add that to my team volume and my business is growing leaps and bounds. For years, I only focused on recruiting distributors, but I can see I left a lot of money on the business table doing that. In Amway, if you can get 10-20 customers and build a small team that does the same, it’s very easy to get in Platinum qualification.

    Reply
  9. Peggy

    All I focus on is finding customers and I can tell you that this strategy works! Get customers who love the products and they will reorder every month, give you referrals and many of them will sign up as distributors.

    Reply
  10. Amy

    I teach everyone on my team to go out and get 10 customers before they every try to sponsor anyone. This advice really works, because once people have 10 customers they are normally making a few hundred dollars per month, they get their order for free and they end up sticking around longer.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      This is great advice, Amy. Teaching people to get 10 customers is a great idea. Sponsoring is great, but if you want to build a big team, you need to get your downline to get customers, so they can actually make money!

      Reply
  11. Stacey

    I have more than 100 customers in my Shaklee business and it provides me a VERY NICE monthly income: $2k to $3k consistently. I have a small team too, but most people who sign up as distributors quit within 90 days and then stop ordering the products. Over the years I’ve learned that having customers is much better than having distributors.

    Reply
    1. Diamond Grant

      Stacey,

      That is probably something most people figure out very early on. It is a lot easier to keep a customer than it is to keep a distributor, so focusing on good customer service is essential. This means operating with integrity, being respectful, and consistently providing a great product that customers will return for. Once a customer feels slighted in some way you run the serious risk of not only losing them but also ruining your chances to gain new customers too.

      Reply
      1. chuckholmes Post author

        Treat your customers well and you won’t have to worry much about attrition. Most businesses suck at customer service. If you can figure that out, people will be happy to do business with you. My grandma had loyal customers in her Avon business who ordered at least once a month for nearly 30 years!

        Reply
  12. Debbie

    This is really a great tip, Chuck. If more distributors simply had a few customers, they could have a profitable business and at least get their products for free. Most distributors are only taught to sponsor and I think that is a big mistake.

    Reply
  13. gabriel

    I’d bet that 95% of all MLM distributors do not have any customers. In most cases, the products are priced too high at the retail price and no one in their right mind would pay that price for them when they could get the products on Amazon or ebay for a fraction of that cost.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      I agree that many products are overpriced. That’s why you need to team up with a company that has good products at good prices. You also need to focus on the benefits of your product line.

      Reply
  14. Debbie

    This might just be the most important tip on this website, Chuck. If more distributors understood the significance of getting customers and retaining them, more folks would make money. It isn’t rocket science. Without sales, you don’t make money!

    Reply
  15. Ross

    Chuck,

    This is some great advice. I wish every distributor would do this and teach their team this valuable lesson. If every distributor had three to five customers ordering each month they could get their products for free and even have some money left over. Customers are so important, especially in MLM.

    Reply
  16. Lucy

    My advice is to find customers, treat them well and upgrade them into distributors. That is how I build my business.

    Lucy

    Reply
  17. Will

    Being customer focused is really important. Without customers you will spin your wheels and not make anywhere near the the type of income that you could. At a minimum, try to find five to ten personal customers so you can get your products for free and have some money left over to market your business.

    Reply
  18. Annie

    I really like your idea of being customer focused. This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to make money in MLM. When you have retail customers who buy from you every month, or on a regular basis, you can make some serious cash. Most companies have a 20-50% retail markup so if you make a $100 order you would earn $20 to $50 profit, plus you would get paid for the volume. Try doing that with a distributor on your team.

    Reply
  19. Jennifer

    I like your advice, Chuck. I spent a few years in Amway and not once was I told or mentored to get customers. Instead, everything was all about recruiting. Knowing what I know now, I would have just focused on getting customers. I could have made more money and not had to buy any the overpriced business support materials.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Me too, Jennifer. I spent 2.5 years with Amway and everything was about recruiting and getting people plugged into the system. That is totally the wrong approach, except for the Diamonds making all the tool money. When you have customers you make money! And that’s the point of any business. Business education is also important, but it shouldn’t wipe out all your profits.

      Reply
  20. Dakota

    This is so true. During my time in MLM no one in my upline ever told me about the importance of having customers. I wish they would have.

    Reply
  21. Leanne

    Great advice, Chuck. I try to teach all my new distributors to be customer focused. If everyone could find just 5-10 customers they could have a nice $200 or more profit each month and get their products for free. I think it’s a must do for any new distributor.

    Reply
  22. Billy

    Your approach to be customer focused is spot on. Just because you recruit people to join the business doesn’t mean you will earn anything at all. Unless people are buying stuff, you won’t make anything. That’s what makes customers so great. You get the retail profit and you get paid on the volume. It’s the best of both worlds.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      People forget this important message all the time Billy. But it’s important to remember that companies pay you based off your GROUP VOLUME. If you aren’t creating volume it doesn’t matter what you do, you won’t make any money.

      Reply
  23. Amy Skalicky

    Edward, I was part of Amway as well, back when it was Quixtar, and I had the same experience. At the time, I had no knowledge base to evaluate my approach and did what my up line told me to do. Focusing on sponsoring completely kicked the great products out of the way, which is unfortunate, because they have some really good products. Like you, I can look back now and see that a focus on products and customers would have made a difference.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Having customers would have much a huge difference. During my time in Amway, I didn’t have any customers either. All we were taught was to recruit. I think that’s because the tools and system money was the most profitable thing for the successful Diamond distributors. They could make 5 to 10 times more by having people buying the tools than by distributors selling products to customers. Just my two cents.

      Chuck

      Reply
  24. Amy Skalicky

    It’s easy for me to see customers of Avon deciding to work with the company. Avon is a company, Destiny, that offers a lot of value to its customers, with quality products at reasonable prices, top-notch customer service, and extensive selections for women, men, youth and kids. They are also strong supporters of some very worthy causes, and they contribute substantially to all of them. Avon, anymore, sells itself to customers and distributors.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Good points, Amy. I think Avon is the best company in the direct sales industry for people who want to get customers and make money with a retail business. Their products are good and the price point is spot on.

      Chuck

      Reply
  25. Betty

    Most MLM Companies aren’t designed for people to get customers. The products and services are SO expensive at the distributor price, let alone the retail price, that no one in their right mind would purchase them. I think companies like Avon and Oriflame really have their act together because their prices are good for customers too. If you’re going to join a company, make sure the products offer value to the customers too. Or, you won’t make any sales.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Good point, Betty. Most of the MLM Companies I’ve noticed sell products that are 10 to 20 times higher than something you can buy at Wal-mart. Personally, I don’t think that’s a very good business model. You don’t have to have the cheapest priced products around, but they do need to be competitively priced. Otherwise, no one in their right mind will buy them.

      Chuck

      Reply
  26. Destiny

    Great advice, Chuck. I sell Avon and this is my only approach. Everyone I have ever recruited into the business was a customer first.

    Destiny

    Reply
  27. Ben

    Being customer focused is a wise move. I have 23 Herbalife customers in my business. They all order between $50 and $200 per month worth of products. From those 23 customers, I make about $1k per month in retail profits, plus I get paid off the volume. I think it’s easy money because most of my customers order right off my distributor website.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Good for you, Ben. I spent some time in Herbalife and I know they have a great wholesale retail markup, especially at the Supervisor level. At that level, you make $2k in sales and earn a $1k retail profit (50%). If you treat your customers well they will lead you to other customers and some of them might become distributors. Keep getting more customers and watch your business and profits grow.

      Reply
  28. Edward

    I spent three years in Amway and we were never taught to get customers. All the focus was on sponsoring. Looking back I definitely should have been customer focused like you mentioned, Chuck. It would have helped me make more money in my business.

    Reply
  29. Keith

    Great post, Chuck. I am currently a Mona Vie distributor. I’ve sponsored 7 people into my business and have a team of 46 distributors. Only 2-3 of those 46 are pretty serious and do anything on a consistent basis. But where I make my real money is from my 73 customers. During the past 14 months I’ve really focused on getting customers. Since doing so, I earn more than $3k profit per month in my business. If I didn’t have any customers on my team, I would probably make about $500 per month. I hope everyone who reads this learns that lesson. Get customers. Focus on getting customers. When you have customers, you don’t need a big team to make a nice income in your MLM Business.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Good for you, Keith. What you just wrote proves my point. Get customers and everything else will fall in place. Let your sponsoring be a byproduct of getting customers, not the other way around. Keep up the good work.

      Chuck

      Reply
      1. Amy Skalicky

        I can attest to the focusing on customers-first from a different perspective. I am a firm believer in the average person and business, especially small businesses, having access to legal support, and so I signed up with LegalShield. The services and resources for small businesses are so incredible, I decided to market it as well. Theory in practice.

        Reply
  30. Amy Skalicky

    I think the customer-focused approach makes sense. After all, customers are the backbone of any business, and you could have several people on your team, but minimal sales because the priority is recruiting. You need both, but obviously not in equal measures. If you look at a potential distributor’s point of view, it is best-advised to try a product before deciding to join the company. From a personal standpoint, I don’t think I would want to recruit someone who does not have that product knowledge that best comes from experience.

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      I’ve built network marketing businesses both ways and I can tell you that customers are much better than distributors. Customers stick around longer and you make more money for having a customer than a distributor. Any many customers will become distributors within a few months, assuming they like the products and you treat them well.

      Chuck

      Reply
  31. Angela

    I really like the idea of getting customers first. It’s so much easier to share the products or services first, than it is to lead with the business opportunity. If you truly believe in the products, they are easy to talk about. Most people are receptive to try a new product, but want nothing to do with one of these “business opportunities.”

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      It’s so true, Angela. If you approach people about the products you get less resistance. Once you start pitching money making ideas to people their spider senses start to tingle and the red flags go up. Yet, when you talk about the benefits of the products most people will at least lend you a listening ear and let you share your message. And getting people to try out the products is half the battle. In most cases, a happy customer will upgrade to a happy distributor.

      Reply
  32. Georgia

    I sell Avon and have been doing so for several years. I have over 200 personal customers and make a very nice income with the company. Yes, I’ve recruited a few women into the business in the past, but all of those women came from my existing customer base. Customers are so important for every business. Without customers you don’t have anything!

    Reply
    1. chuckholmes Post author

      Good for you, Georgia. You’re doing things right. In fact, that’s what our industry was designed for: direct selling. Back in the day, distributors were focused on getting customers. Not so much anymore.

      Chuck

      Reply

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