How to approach duplication and retention in MLM
One of the more persistant and common marketing techniques utilised by the MLM industry today is the idea of ‘duplication and retention’.
‘Hi, I’m so and so and today I’m going to share with you how I achieved MASSIVE success in my company.
By putting together a team of four or five people and showing them how to duplicate your results, you too can be on your way to riches!’
This type of mareketing spiel I’m finding is increasingly common and most likely for one very good reason:
The idea of ‘duplication and retention’ adresses the need to recruit other people and keep them in your business, without actually saying so.
Recruitment is a dirty word in the MLM industry. Tell a lead they need to recruit to achieve success and more often than not they’ll ask you what it is you actually sell.
That’s usually when the conversation stops.
Tell them they need to duplicate your success after you show them how however, and marketers might just find the conversation lasting that much longer with a much higher chance of conversion.
But what exactly does ‘duplication and retention’ really mean?
Literally, the ideas are simple. Duplication is the act of ‘repeating something’. In the context of MLM, this could mean selling products at a retail level or recruiting others to the business and developing a strong downline.
When somebody throws the duplication and retention marketing line at you, what you need to do is take a look at how it’s been used. And furthermore, what exactly is it you’re being asked to duplicate?
Is the person trying to market the business opportunity to you, or the products they sell?
If it’s the products, did they start off marketing the products or merely include them as an afterthought (or because you asked about them)?
Take a step back and analyse what their doing. How confident they are, does what they are doing appear to be difficult? Are they nervous or confident…?Do they look desperate to make the sale or recruit you?
These are all questions that should be running through your head, as by asking you to duplicate their results – you’re most likely looking at exactly what you’ll be asked to do should you join the business.
Retention on the other hand is a little easier to guage. Simply put it’s the amount of people you can keep either as customers, or below you in your downline.
The easiest way to guage retention rates if someone is telling you it’s part of a success equation is to enquire about their own retention rates.
Sure, everyone’s experience in an opportunity is going to differ but at least it’s a ballpark figure and gives you something to work with.
If you’re feeling confident about the business or products being pitched to you, you might even go so far as to ask to see some company wide retention rates and membership statistics – if available.
Naturally with a higher retention rate you increase your success at a retail level by having more customers to sell products to. In a downline sense, obviously the larger your downline the more you make from any compensation plan – such is the nature of the MLM industry.
As such, duplication and retention go hand in hand when we’re talking success in MLM and that’s why the two are often paired together in a marketing spiel.
What matters though is what exactly it is you’re being asked to duplicate, and the easiest way to ascertain that is to think about how you yourself were approached (or if the marketer is good at what they do, how you approached them).
If it’s just a recruitment opportunity and you’re most likely looking at solely getting others to join the business under you, think about what that means and the liklihood of your future success.
Are you comfortable doing it? What if someone calls you out on the fact that recruitment is at the heart of your business? Does it sound like a long term solution to prosperity?
If you were approached on a retail level, then what about the products themselves. Can you see yourself effectively marketing them. Are they useful or even relevant to your success in the company?
Being pitched MLM on a retail product level is a good start and shows that by duplication, you’re not just going to have to worry about recruiting others to the business. Following on from this a strong retention rate should naturally follow as an emphasis on retail products indicates there’s real value in the products themselves and more importantly, a demand.
The next time someone pitches you the ‘duplication and retention’ line, stop to think a moment and ask some of the questions I’ve mentioned in this article.
Duplication and Retention is a call to action, and that’s before you’ve even committed yourself! Like any call to action though, you need to assess whether it’s the right call of action for you and whether or not you’d be comfortable (and therefore much more likely to be succesful) doing it.
Only then will you know if you’ve potentially found the right MLM business opportunity for you.
The problem basically is most MLMs are marketed the WRONG WAY.
MLM, after all, is about selling things or services. Recruiting is a distant secondary concern. MLM company is about selling things. Albeit, they decided to offload a bit of the profit and all of the marketing costs to you. If you recruit the right sellers (i.e. your downline) you share their success (get some commission based on their sales).
However, most MLM pitches concentrate on the 2nd part (get commission based on your downline’s performance), not enough on the first part (sell stuff and profit). Why? Because the 2nd part is “get $$$ for doing nothing”, and 1st part is “hard work” and “sales”.
That’s Truth #3 in my little article here:
Your comment makes no sense. Yes MLM is about selling goods or services and yes you get paid a commission based on your sales. BUT if you have a 1000 people in your downline doing the same sales value as yourself you get paid 1000 times more. It is for this exact same reason why estate agents employ sub-agents and companies employ sales staff, the key is leverage of your time.
Why is it wrong for MLM people to “employ” people but not for brick and mortar businesses? And if you think having a 1000 people in your downline and you then have to do nothing and get paid, you make a huge mistake and don’t understand the MLM business model.
If blogging is your thing then you are limited to how many articles you can write per day, but if you employ 5 more writers and have them do the same you increase your income, nothing wrong with that.
“Hard work” like you say is not always rewarded in any other business, who works the hardest in a company the cleaning staff or the manager on the golf course? Who gets paid the most?
MLM is the only industry where all involved have the same to gain, if you do the work you get rewarded accordingly and no you don’t have to be on top to earn the most, just do the work and you will get paid, or that is how the company I am involved it remunerate it’s distributors.
MLM is a business and needs to be treated like that, there are no easy money to be made, it takes hard work to be successful. It might be simple to do but it is not always easy and I get upset when people try to sell an MLM opportunity as an easy way to make money fast.
I enjoy reading the articles and comments on this site and agree on most what is said here.
I think you’re missing the point. In an MLM, distributors recruit other distributors who recruit other distributors. Few actually sell to external customers. Most earn money off internal consumption via autoship and membership fees from recruiting distributors. Every webinar, opportunity call, or sales party focuses on making money and pyramid growth, not the product.
Your real estate agent example is not the same. Agents join with a broker for the training, infrastructure, leads, and access to professional support such as legal & title services. Brokers aren’t recruiting other brokers (like MLM distributors recruit other distributors).
Companies employ sales staff to sell their product to external customers. If an MLM company had a competitive product they would either be able to sell through normal distribution channel, or hire direct sales staff and pay salary & commissions on sales.
The only reason companies use MLM is not to sell product, but to sell the opportunity, where revenue is made mostly from internal consumption and high margins of a product that is otherwise not competitive. For example, read the recent insider stories on Nu Skin.
Now nothing that I say above is news to anyone who is involved with MLM. But there is cognitive dissonance to accept the truth.
MLM is a thing of the past, like door to door salesman. Seriously, what benefit is there to the retail consumer of having layer upon layer upon layer of uninvolved middlemen taking a cut if their expenditure?
What can an MLM company deliver to the retail consumer that a real company can’t deliver far more efficiently?
The point I responded to is that MLM people must focus on sales and not recruiting. I say recruit and sell.
Regarding my estate agent example, training and support is also given in the mlm setup, if not get out and join a decent group or company. I agree there are many that just recruit and leave the people to fight on their own and that is irresponsible. How dare you tell someone that this is a good business opportunity and then the moment he joins you leave him to figure it out by himself. One of my pet hates!
@Al There are more middlemen when you buy a Coke than when you by from a network distributor. Regarding your question :
Personal service, better to buy a product from a person than off the shelve at a store, obviously product depended. The shelve will not advise me on how to use the product and why it is different to the other products/brands on the shelve.
If an mlm company succeeds in selling many of it high quality products and have happy consumers, why must it be a problem if it is not external clients? Products sold = Happy Company and Agents and the Customers/consumers are happy with their purchase, what is the problem?
Is the objective of business not to have happy companies and consumers and make some money in the process?
@ Jimmy, there are MLM companies out selling your normal distribution channels, what do you suggest, “guys lets cut back sales because we are selling to happy consumers who are also distributors, let us rather put it on a shelf and have them buy the products there?”
Why? Because it is an opportunity for a happy customer to receive a commission by telling other people about a great product he is using? How many customers did you refer to the movies, a website, a restaurant, a store? Did you get paid for sending business their way? I am not sure about you but I am not working for free anymore!
There is place for both mlm and your brick and mortar business models in this world. Yes there are some mlm companies and individuals that give the industry a bad name, and I leave it up to you to expose them! lol!
BTW English is not my 1st language so please forgive any spelling or tenses mistakes!
If a downline occurs organically on the success of the sale of a product, then I have no problem with it.
When it becomes the focus of a business and a selling point in and of itself, then we have a problem.
I agree 100%!
I have been reading your posts on Zeek, if the company I am in go bust today, I will only lose my $35 paid to join the company, and that is it, obviously my sales commissions will also stop coming. For me that is one test if it is a Ponzi or not. (Bit off topic)
Koos has described a most powerful point when merchandising MLM products, and that is that the distributor can (and SHOULD) give personal service to their customers.
“Personal service, better to buy a product from a person than off the shelve at a store, obviously product depended. The shelve will not advise me on how to use the product and why it is different to the other products/brands on the shelve.”
Customers Retention will be at an all time high when the Product is one that is EFFECTIVE, GIVES VALUE and HAS A DECENT PRICE POINT along with PERSONAL SERVICE.
This is a Relationship Business both with Customers AND Distributors. One cannot be successful Without Cultivating relationships within BOTH these groups.
I’ve qualified for many company trips because of my relationship with BOTH customers and distributors on my Compassionate Marketing Teams. Without the relationship and Investing each group in what you want to accomplish, you will not succeed.
I have been called a Marketing Dinosaur because I cling to old fashioned values. If you want to claim and RETAIN success in the marketplace, you should too.
The problem with most MLMers is they take the shortcut… they employ CULT TACTICS (recruit people and use coercive persuasion to keep them in and keep buying up ****) to drive their sales, instead of actually finding people who genuinely WANT the product (that’s real marketing).
And when they are moderately successful in that, they think that’s the ONLY way to run network marketing, and that’s who gave network marketing a bad name.
Here’s 2 hours sales training found on Faith Sloan’s TelexFree website (Success Tools) = 2 videos from a seminar with ‘Big Al’ Schreiter. It is sales related rather than TelexFree related.
I listened to them 2 weeks ago, while I continued doing some other work. I have placed it under “theory” rather than under “TelexFree” for obvious reasons.
Video 1 is mostly about how people make decisions, that most decisions are made using the ‘programs’ we already have in the back of our heads. Decisions are based on those programs rather than on information.
The decision comes first, based on how those programs immediately starts to recognize a situation. Information is only used to support the decisions they already have made.
Video 2 is mostly about some methods to avoid resistance from those programs, by making minor changes.
“Could you be interested in …?” is almost guaranteed to create immediate resistance. It should be replaced by “Would it be okay if …?”. 5 small words replaced by 5 other words can make a huge difference.
It was also about some other words, and how to combine them into a sales dialogue. Here’s the few notes I made from the second video:
The last point there is about that most people prefer viewpoints relatively similar to their own = viewpoints that immediately can be accepted by the programs in the back of the head.
I have already indicated that I wasn’t interested enough to WATCH them, only interested enough to listen in the background and make a few short notes. It wasn’t the TYPE of information I was looking for when I found it, so I didn’t want to spend 2 hours watching it.
The methods have most likely been designed for specific types of sale, e.g. if you want to present some new ideas to someone and will need to avoid some immediate resistance. Ideas like that may potentially be useful to someone.
Personally, I don’t like the idea of using “sales methods” like sales scripts and similar methods. They are typically designed for very specific types of sale where you will need to repeat the same method over and over again. I like vague ideas much better.
I will post 2 or 3 posts. This post identified ONE sales method or idea. The next post will contain another type of idea = Tony Robbins’ first sales experience and how he interpreted it. The third one will be a conclusion to the two others = that ideas and methods only have some limited usefulness.
I watched a video a few years ago where Tony Robbins told about HIS first sales experience, when he just had started to work for Jim Rohn selling motivational seminars. He was sent out to visit a big company to “close the deal” about a seminar.
TONY ROBBINS’ STORY
The story mostly revolved around his own experience of it. He was driving an old car and was feeling very little confident in himself. He used self motivational techniques to “pump himself up” before the meeting, to “charge himself with the energy” he felt was needed.
His story was vague about the details about the sales meeting, other than that his motivational methods had worked and that he closed the sale. That was the main point in his story, “motivational techniques can be useful to build up self confidence”.
Tony Robbins’ story will indirectly REFLECT some of the theories from the previous post, e.g. “people have ALREADY made decisions, based on the programs they have in the back of their heads”.
Tony Robbins’ focused on his own lack of self confidence, e.g. the old car he was driving and how that factor contributed to reduce it.
He interpreted the sales job to require “personal energy and self confidence”. Some of the details in his story reflected that he would have preferred a small company rather than a big one. He also interpreted the sales job to be about “convincing” the potential customer, i.e. he needed energy enough to convince them.
The SALES MAN clearly made hundreds of decisions here long before the actual sales process. Customers do the same.
Most of his decisions reflected HIS reality rather than THE reality, e.g. he created some problems in his own mind and he also came up with some solutions to them = motivating himself.
THE reality vs. HIS reality
Jim Rohn had most likely interpreted the situation from his own viewpoint, and had picked out a “training sale” HE felt was relatively easy. He didn’t SEE the same problems Tony Robbins invented in his own mind.
THE reality here is probably that the customer ALREADY had made decisions about buying a specific type of seminar from Jim Rohn. At that stage of a sales process, “closing the deal” shouldn’t be about “convincing people” or about “personal energy”.
It should normally be about getting all the details in place for WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and HOW (what type of seminar, when and where, and some other details). The customer had most likely already decided THAT they were interested, WHY they were interested and WHO they wanted to do business with.
People have most often already made decisions, based on the “programs” they have in the back of their heads rather than on the information you give them. ‘Big Al’ Schreiter may have a point there. Avoiding to trigger “resistance mechanisms” may be valuable tools in some types of sale.
Tony Robbins’ would probably have managed just as well WITHOUT his motivational training in his first sale. It was probably that factor which made him overfocus on some “problems” and gave him very onesided ideas.