Should you Focus on Recruiting or Retailing in Network Marketing?

This is a great question and one we hear quite a bit. The short answer is both. However, when you learn the skill of retailing effectively, recruiting becomes easier. A solid foundation for business starts with customers. Then, to grow that foundation recruiting distributors is the goal.

Together, they are a powerhouse combination

We all want loyal customers in our business to provide retention and long term success. Therefore, if we do not have customers, we start to get into those situations that are similar to a house of cards. That is not how we want to build a stable network marketing business at all.

After all, that is the goal, right?

What is Retailing or Customer Acquisition?

Definition of Retail: The sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale. 

In the network marketing industry, retailing (or customer acquisition) is where you sell products at retail or preferred customer pricing to people without a business opportunity attached. Your customer may incur product points, coupons or savings — but they do not earn a commission.

Consider these people the heart of your business. They are men and women just like you who love the product and continue to purchase it (and others) month after month. And, how they are treated by you (the seller) could determine a couple things;

  1. How long they stay as your customer
  2. If they transition to being a distributor


Here’s what we know …

Customers are the source of the greatest referrals, they stay loyal and, should they transition they often make the best distributors.  You see, customers are passionate about a product. This may be more evident in some more than others but overall, they love the product. And, they share the product with others with one major factor.

Any guesses?

They do not receive any financial reward for sharing their thoughts or opinions about the product or service. In turn, there is no pressure for them to share it any differently than they would a new movie they saw or restaurant they tried. They are able to organically share information and reviews of products they love. Customers can be the greatest advocate of your product or service and they will share that information for free.

So, take care of them!

Get to know your customer;

  1. Which products do they like best?
  2. Is there a product they would love to try?
  3. Share promotions that interest them
  4. Offer a coupon or savings (in compliance with your company of course)
  5. Check in with them, follow up — and don’t save this to end of the month!
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for a testimonial or referral

Think about this scenario. You are a distributor in a health and wellness company. Your customer has been ordering an inflammation product for 3+ months from you at retail. They have sent you tons of their friends and family to check it out or even order.

retailing in network marketing

If you were to approach this customer and say ‘Maria, you’ve been ordering from me for months, thank you so much — if you ever want to earn income in telling people (like you already do) just let me know!’

And, leave it alone. Some customers want to be just that — customers. However, stats would tell us that many customers make the transition once they realize the income they ‘could’ have earned by sending referrals your way, etc.

Before all else they are your customer — and you are thankful for them.

Many compliant network marketing companies you will find, have a strong focus on retailing before anything else. It is often the sponsor (upline) who’s intentions are great, but put a greater focus on recruiting and the retailing model becomes lost.

Recruiting for Long Term Success

Now, recruiting is probably among the top ‘obstacles’ people face in their network marketing career. Why? Because they become a distributor and suddenly becomes a sales person.

Let’s be honest — no one likes being sold.

And, not everyone hates their ‘9-5’ either.

So, positioning and posture in the recruiting world matters.

Let’s assume your present focus is recruiting new distributors to grow your team. We know that a larger sales team can help bring you larger sales volume which can translate to more income, etc. Companies often offer promotions and rank advancement based on your team size as well, so naturally recruiting is an important part of the equation — however, it shouldn’t in our opinion be the whole equation.

There are many posts we have done on recruiting, and a few we encourage you to check out are here;

  1. Facebook Recruiting for Network Marketing and Direct Sales
  2. Prospect New People Daily into your Network Marketing Business
  3. Social Media Recruiting Strategies for Network Marketing

People become distributors for different reasons. They may be looking to accomplish different objectives. Some are enthusiastic customers who become a distributor to earn a commission, while others are opportunity seekers excited about the business opportunity.

The two ways a distributor benefits from their recruiting is from their sales, and their team sales.

An impressive sized network of distributors is worthless if the only activity new distributors do is recruiting new distributors. This isn’t a knock on recruiting, in fact it is an important skill to learn — however, this is where the retailing side comes in.

retailing and recruiting in network marketing

The above image was a comment on a poll created in our Facebook Community in response to where they are focussing their energy — retailing or recruiting. 

Fun Fact: At the time of this post, the poll results were 59% were focused on customer acquisition, 33% were focused on recruiting and the balance of 8% were focused on learning more about network marketing. We can almost assume a shift is happening …

Retailing and Recruiting Compliment Each Other Well

As we mentioned above, retailing sets a solid business foundation, so naturally we would want to create the same foundation for our new distributors. And, we know that the people we are recruiting will probably mirror what ‘we’ do. So being conscious of your own activity is imperative to long term success. By you reaching your own customer (or retailing) goals month after month, it is probable that your team will do the same.

Well for those who are working their business, like a business, of course.

Recruiting is a much larger numbers game than retailing. With people that join your team they are not only customers but ones who are setting out on a journey that may be foreign to them. If their goal is to earn an extra $500 a month residually, create a plan with them on a retailing and recruiting side.

For whatever reason, prospecting customers holds far less pressure than prospecting for recruiting.

Take the pressure of you and your team wherever possible. You might be surprised that learning how to effectively retail and recruit are a match made in heaven.

What are your thoughts on retailing and recruiting for your network marketing business? Is there one you find easier than the other? One you feel you need more help or support on? Let us know in the comments below! We love to hear from our readers. 

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retailing network marketing