The Problems with Recruiting MLM Reps on the Internet

Today, I want to talk to you about the problems with recruiting MLM Reps on the internet. I should start out by telling you that I am a big fan of online recruiting, if you do it right. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Most people have turned to the internet to recruit new reps into their network marketing business because they think it is fast and easy.  Most people want to build their business online so they don’t have to talk to people face-to-face. Most people try to recruit online because they want to avoid rejection.  Most people think the internet is the “magic solution” to all of their recruiting problems.

As I see it, there is a difference between leveraging technology and relying on it exclusively. There is also a huge difference between network marketing, affiliate marketing and internet marketing.

Network marketing was never designed to do 100% online. That works fine for internet marketing and affiliate marketing, but network marketing is very different. This business comes down to sponsoring people AND building long-term, rock solid relationships with those people. You can’t do that 100% online.

Even if you recruit someone online, you still have to build the relationship with them, if you want them to stick around.

Thinking you can build a long-term business by sending out email blasts to thousands of people is foolish. Yeah, you might recruit a few people that way, but you won’t build a sustainable, long-term business doing it.

The Problems with Recruiting MLM Reps on the Internet

The Problems with Recruiting MLM Reps on the Internet

In my opinion, these are the most common problems with recruiting MLM reps on the internet:

# 1 Most Companies Have Strict Internet Marketing Policies

Do yourself a favor right now and read your company’s internet marketing policies in the distributor agreement. In most cases, you will discover that you can’t mention your company’s name in your online advertising. You can’t have a blog with the company’s name anywhere on it.

You can’t talk about the products and how they have helped you. Some companies won’t even let you build your business on Facebook or by email. As crazy as that might sound, it is a reality. Some companies are more “internet friendly” than others, but most companies have very strict internet policies.

# 2 No Personal Touch

Hands down, the biggest issue with the internet is that there is no personal touch (in most cases). Just communicating with someone on Facebook or by email is not a recipe for a solid, long-term relationship.

It’s a great way to meet people, but it’s hard to get people to know you, like you and trust you if you don’t communicate by phone, SKYPE, or in person (after you meet them online).

# 3 High Turnover

If you think the turnover in traditional MLM is high, you ought to see what online recruiting is like. People come and go like the common cold. The average rep I recruit online doesn’t even stick around 2 months. And by that time, they’ve already been in three or four different deals.

The Internet Gives People Shiny Object Syndrome

# 4 Lots of Shiny Objects to Compete With

Another big problem with recruiting on the internet is that you are competing with TONS of shiny objects.  Most people looking to make money online get minimum 10 to 20 emails per DAY with the next greatest SHINY OBJECT. By the time they have signed their name to the dotted line on the distributor agreement with your company, they have already quit and moved on to the next thing. It’s a sad reality.

Putting It In Perspective

These are just a few problems I can think of with trying to recruit new MLM Reps on the internet. Once again, it can be done, but there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it.

What is the right way to recruit on the internet? It’s simple. You meet someone online, but you take the relationship OFFLINE as quickly as possible. Once you meet someone, you start building a relationship with them via SKYPE, direct mail, the telephone, and in person. That is the key to your long-term success.

To be quite frank with you, I can’t name ONE PERSON who has built a long-term, successful network marketing business by doing everything strictly online. Can you? Sure, there have been some short-term success stories, but all of the giants I know of in our industry still focus mostly on OFFLINE things. To me, that speaks volumes.

It’s just something for you to think about. If you do decide to leverage technology, that’s great. Just make sure that you do the little things as well, in order to cement your relationship with your new distributors. If you aren’t willing to do that, you’re really wasting your time.

leverage the internet to meet people

My Story

I’d like to share a personal story with you about online recruiting. Over the past ten years, I have averaged about 20 emails per DAY about different business opportunities. The competition is fierce. In addition, I’ve also received, on average, five to ten calls per day from auto-dialers and people pitching the next shiny object.

But get this; in the past ten years I have only been prospected ONCE face-to-face by another network marketer. It’s absolutely crazy. Now that everyone is recruiting online, I think offline recruiting is even more appealing.

The same thing with direct mail. Many marketers have stopped direct mail because the internet just looks so sexy. Face to face and direct mail recruiting are extremely effective in this digital world.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is don’t think the internet is the answer to all of your troubles in network marketing. Don’t think the internet is the “magic sauce” that will let you build your business on auto-pilot. Don’t think there is some “easy button” you can push that will build your business for you. None of those things exist.

Yes, this is a marketing business UNTIL you recruit someone. But there are many ways to market a business, and the internet is only one of those methods.

What are your thoughts? Are you a fan of online recruiting or not? What type of success have you had sponsoring new distributors online and what type of attrition have you had with those people? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Phone: (352) 503-4816 EST (my office)

11 thoughts on “The Problems with Recruiting MLM Reps on the Internet”

  1. I agree with your post. I am not really a fan of online recruiting. Why? I think you can’t really get to know someone like that. I know this is kind of a far off comparison, but think of it like online dating. You meet someone you’re interested in online, and what do you do? Try to take the relationship offline as soon as possible, so you can get to know that person better.
    Honestly, I think that the less online recruiting you can do, the better.

    1. Yes, good point. A lot of folks meet people online and get infatuated or obsessed with them. Sometimes they can even talk for hours on the phone. But when the two people meet, if there isn’t some type of chemistry everything falls apart. Nothing beats face to face.

      1. Chuck, I agree with both you and Kristen!

        The internet makes it easy for a person to hide who they really are. You can get someone who says they are really interested in the business and seems like they are going to be the best person for the job, but their actions will soon prevail. All they have are actions…

        When you recruit someone you know personally, hopefully you know them well enough to know if they will work out. Meeting someone on the street you are able to see their body language, if they have a professional tone, etc. It is still a gamble, but you have a little more knowledge about the people then if it was from the internet only.

        1. Good points, Kara. You can still recruit online, but you have to go through a lot more people to find quality people. People get bombarded with “pitches” for the next greatest thing when they are online. I get pitched on the newest shiny object at least 50-100 times per day via email, online ads, and auto-dialers. Sometimes, you sign someone up and before you get the chance to talk with them, they are already on to the next thing. It’s crazy, but it is the internet age we live in.

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  3. I am in complete agreement with this perspective Chuck.

    Network marketing has tons of competition. In many cases, people that join these things are looking to make quick money, and if they don’t do it fast, they will jump to the next shiny object that pops up on the internet.

    It is a whole lot different when you get to know a person face to face. There becomes a sense of trust, and they won’t be as apt to abandon a new friend. On the internet, it doesn’t seem like the people are people, but avatars that you can just shut off.

    Yes, building off line is much better than on line if at all possible.

      1. You had mentioned SKYPE, and if online is the way you gained some of your down line, SKYPE is a great way to have a closer to face to face discussion. Firefox also now has a program that is similar to SKYPE; it is called Firefox Hello.

        Another great program is Go To Meeting where several people can meet all at once via the internet. There are some circumstances where online is the only choice, but I recommend the off line method. Retention rates are much higher. The internet is just too impersonal.

          1. Yes, Skype is a great way to get close with people without actually being face to face. I know I have mentioned them before, but when you want to meet with several people at once, go to meeting is a fantastic program. This would be a great way to have prospects meet up-line. I have also noticed for anyone that uses Mozilla Firefox as a browser, they have added a great program that is similar to Skype. Personally, I am a Firefox lover.

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  5. Chuck, before this am doing my prospecting via online. But the result got too slow. It takes a lot of time and effort until I get only 1 reps in a month! Very sad.. I have to change my plan. I tried to do it by offline. And the result was shocking! I got few reps sign up just in a month.. Lastly, I realize that myself do better in this way. So am agreed with you Chuck on this article.

    I’m still continue doing online just to collect their email addreess that in the future they might be my potential downline sources.. 🙂 Sorry Chuck for my broken english. hehe..

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