The Basics: How to Build a Large, Successful Multi Level Marketing Organization by Don Failla Book Review

I recently read the book “The Basics: How to Build a Large, Successful Multi-Level Marketing Organization” by Don Failla. This is a classic book written nearly 30 years ago that is still very relevant today. It’s a great network marketing “101” book and will surely help any newbie or experienced network marketer have a better understanding of our great industry.

I learned about Don Failla a few years ago when I was surfing YouTube. He had several informative training videos that really caught my attention. His “napkin presentations” and “Own Your Own Life” training were absolutely incredible. This inspired me to visit Amazon and pick-up a copy of his book.

UPDATE OCT 2015: I’ve been part of Don’s MLM Team for about 18 months now.  He is my upline mentor.  He is a great teacher and friend.  He’s had more than one million people join his team and he’s been involved in the industry for almost 50 YEARS now. He is one of the most respected leaders in our industry.

The Basics by Don FaillaI read “How to Build a Large Successful Multi-Level-Marketing Organization” in just one sitting. It took me about 2 hours to read it.  I’ve read it at least 20 times now and I’ve probably given away close to 50 copies of it to my friends and team members.

Looking at my personal copy of the book, it is now highlighted and underlined throughout the book. The information was very helpful, inspiring and informative. Many of the things he talked were complete game-changers for me.

His book is organized in 15 chapters and has about 120 pages. It sells for $11.00 online. I ordered a used copy for approximately $2 or $3 on Amazon. Here are some of the best lessons I learned in his book:

# 1 You should never work with more than 5 people at a time.

My Take: Most companies, businesses and organizations (even the military) have people supervise five or fewer people.  People can only effectively lead so many folks at once.  Five seems to be the magic number and still maintain your leadership effectiveness.  Network marketing is no different.

If you personally sponsor to many people at once, or try working with too many people at once, you won’t be able to help them get started right.  As a result, you will have a huge retention problem in your business.

Think of your new distributors as young children who need to be loved, taught and nurtured their first three to nine months in the business.  You will have to do a lot of hand-holding and coaching to help them get started right.  Your goal is to transfer your knowledge to them, help them get started, and be supportive UNTIL they are INDEPENDENT of you.

Of course, you’re going to have to sponsor more than five people to find your five serious people. But once you’ve found your five serious people, slow down on your personal sponsoring and focus on helping them.

# 2 There’s a big difference between sponsoring someone and recruiting someone.

My Take: When you bring someone into your business you are making a commitment to help them and work with them.  Most people who come into our industry get left behind by their sponsor once they are signed up.  Don’t make that same mistake.  Sponsor quality people and look at the sponsoring process as a life-long commitment you have to help that person. If you just focus on recruiting, you will have a huge retention program.  People will quit just as fast at they join.  There will be a revolving door in your business.  The sponsoring process BEGINS after they are signed up as a distributor and continues until they are trained and independent of you.

# 3 100% of your time in the beginning is to sponsor people.

My Take: When you first join a company, your goal is to sponsor 10-20 people quickly, or until you have five serious people who want to do something with the business.  You need to work hard to sponsor reps, so you can identify your key people and start working in depth.  In the beginning, you must build width, so you can later build depth.

# 4 When you sponsor 5 serious people you should spend 95% of your time with them, and the other 5% of your time with customers and finding new recruits.

My Take: Spend most of your time working in depth, once you have five serious people sponsored who want to build a big business.  It’s much easier and much smarter to work in depth than it is to constantly go out and sponsor new people yourself.  The big money and long term security come from working in depth anyway.

# 5 You have to have realistic expectations. This isn’t a get rich quick industry.

My Take: Many folks who join our industry have the lottery mentality.  They think they can sign their name to the distributor agreement and have overnight success.  This industry takes hard work and commitment, just like any other business.  If you are building your MLM business on a part-time basis, it will probably take you a several months to get profitable and three to five years to replace your current job income (depending upon how much you make in your job). Most businesses in the real world take a couple years to get profitable and minimum five years to get established.  Learn more about realistic expectations.

# 6 The two most important words in MLM are sponsor and teach.

My Take: Most folks think our industry is about recruiting and selling.  You don’t want to do that.  The most successful people in our industry are teachers.  You need to sponsor (not recruit) a few serious people into your business and then teach them what you know.  Once you do that, you help them do the same thing and you keep repeating this process over and over in depth. Focus on building depth rather than width.  Learn more about sponsoring and teaching.

# 7 The more distributors you have between you and the company, the better.

My Take: You don’t want to be one of the first people to join a company.  Not only do you not know if the company will make it or not, but you won’t have a good support team in your upline to help you succeed.  Look for an established company and then find a group of distributors in one “leg” that are successful and willing to help you succeed.

I could go on and on, but these are some of my favorite lessons from the book.  What I like most about the book is that it is really easy to read and understand. He takes complex issues and makes them really simple so that even a brand new distributor gets it. Best of all, Don has done what he teaches.  Overall, I give the book a 10 of 10 and consider it a must read.

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling in network marketing, or simply want to take your business to the next level, you should really check out “The Basics: How to Build a Multi-Level-Marketing Organization” by Don Failla. It’s a great investment in your business education.

Since learning about Don Failla, I have joined his team.  He is now my upline mentor.  If you would like to work with the two of us, give me a call or send me an email.

What are your thoughts? If you’ve read the book before,  leave a comment to tell us what you think about it.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Have a great day.


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Chuck Holmes is an author, blogger and network marketer. He is a top producer in his network marketing company. He is happily married and lives in Florida with his beautiful wife, Rachel.

4 thoughts on “The Basics: How to Build a Large, Successful Multi Level Marketing Organization by Don Failla Book Review

  1. This article summarized the key points of “How to Build a Large Successful Multi-Level Marketing Organization” by Don Failla. I really like how this advice addresses complex issues with simple solutions. It is nice to be reminded to not despise small beginnings. In order to be successful –personal or business- a foundation has to be built from the ground up.

    • Don Failla’s book is one of the best books a network marketer can read.

  2. I think you are absolutely right, people come into things with a lottery mentality and end up spinning their wheels focusing on the wrong thing. Spending time sponsoring quality over quantity and functioning as a supportive teacher obviously seems to be a better approach in terms of long term quality and success but it requires long term commitment and planning, and I think the lottery mentality you mentioned makes it difficult for people to focus on the long range plan instead of the quick fix. I would think that also underlies over recruiting, to where one doesn’t have the time or energy to really focus on depth. Good food for thought for me on my own marketing efforts – thanks.

    • The lottery mentality gives our industry a bad name!

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