MLM - The Pledge
In every Multi-Level Marketing company there is a strong emphasis on recruiting. The company knows that they have an average per agent volume, and they believe that if they double their team size, they automatically double their volume. If done correctly, this is true. The problem comes when the company neglects to set expectations for both the recruit and that recruit's sponsor. I have witnessed recruitment drives that resulted in a doubling in team size and a reduction in sales volumes. Why is that?
The reason is that the company’s premise is wrong. Doubling your team size is meaningless. What is required is to double the size of your active, trained and motivated distributors, and that is not easy. It requires a strategy for onboarding, training, motivating and developing the newly recruited agent. Getting them to sign up is simple. Making them active and effective is not.
The company needs to establish the rules of engagement. What do you expect from a sponsor and do they know it? If they fail to live up to these expectations, how does the company respond? Are there mechanisms to hold the distributors accountable and how do they work? Who is responsible for training the recruit and how is this physically achieved?
As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, you have 6 weeks to lock a recruit in. In this time, you need them to gain product and system knowledge, make sales and earn commission. Before they recruit a new member, they must be able to do the business themselves. If not, you have a case of the blind leading the blind.
There is no more damaging an activity than recruiting a person and leaving them to their own devices. The recruit will have a terrible experience with the company and will make a quick exit. What is far worse is that their attitude towards Multi-Level Marketing will be tainted and that is bad for the industry.
It is therefore essential that you train your people to be responsible and effective when sponsoring a new member and then hold them accountable.
There is nothing more demoralising for the company management and the team members than to sanction someone for a lack of performance. Let’s say you have a member that has recruited 10 people and none of them are trained, making sales or attending the meetings. What do you do? Do you call them in and drag them over the coals? In theory, you should! They are dragging your company’s name through the mud! The problem is that if you do this, they will simply leave and that is a terrifying proposition for most Multi-Level Marketers. Most companies, therefore, turn a blind eye to this and pretend it’s not happening. They will use the ‘horse to water’ analogy to make themselves feel better, but they are not doing themselves or the poor people who have been suckered into their network any good. In my opinion, they are doing their business and the industry irreparable damage. The truth is that in reality, you can't haul your delinquent distributors over the coals - that would be a disaster. They are volunteers and not employees and they need to be treated very carefully. It is therefore essential to develop an automated and unbiased mechanism to hold the sponsor accountable. The first step in this process is to set expectations. If a person does not know what you expect then how can you hold them accountable?
When a distributor recruits a new member into their team, I get them to sign a pledge. The pledge clearly defines the roles and expectations of both the sponsor and the recruit. On the pledge are five pledges and a notification that the recruit will be asked to rate the sponsor after 4 weeks.
These rules will differ from company to company, but the principle will remain the same.
Multi-Level Marketing Sponsor Pledge
Select five key activities that you would like the sponsor to pledge to. These could be anything but here are five that I use.
1. I pledge to teach you how the business works.
2. I pledge to teach you how to find prospects.
3. I pledge to teach you how to present the product.
4. I pledge to come with you on your first 2 sales presentations.
5. I pledge to help you sponsor your first team member.
Your network can only make this type of pledge if the company has taught them how to do it in the first place so don’t ask them to pledge to something that you have not done for them yourself.
There is an old saying “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. It is therefore essential that you establish expectations for the recruit and to continue the analogy: “If the horse does not want to drink then it is better to find a new horse”. Don’t recruit people who are unaware of or unwilling to do what is required. You will waste your time and their money and get a bad reputation as an added bonus.
Don’t be afraid of getting the recruit to make a pledge. If they are not even prepared to pledge to do what is necessary to succeed, then what are their chances of success. ZERO!
Here is an example of the recruit pledge:
1. I pledge to attend all sales and training meetings.
2. I pledge to apply myself to learning about the business and the products.
3. I pledge to contact my prospect list to set appointments and work with my sponsor on the first x sales presentations.
4. I pledge to do x presentations on my own.
5. In 4 weeks, I will rate my sponsor's performance fairly and honestly.
As you can see, this pledge establishes the sponsor’s and company’s expectations. As I said before, if this scares them off then they were destined to fail anyway and you are better off without them.
The rating mechanism needs to be automated and autonomous. If the sponsor's rating plunges it must be their fault and free of company bias. In the same way, any sanction should be automated to ensure that the company cannot be viewed as prejudiced.
Here’s how I like to do things…
Both the sponsor and the recruit sign the pledge. I get them to memorialise this by taking a selfie while holding up the pledge. Both the sponsor and the recruit know that there is going to be a reckoning in 4 weeks. If the sponsor does a good job, they will get a good rating. If they neglect their responsibilities, they will get a bad rating. I allow the sponsor to see their average rating but not who was responsible for the rating.
If the sponsor receives 5 ratings and their average drops below 50%, their account is suspended and they are required to attend and pass a reboot course. On successful completion of this course, their account is reactivated. This entire process is automated:
1. The system sends the recruit a link to rate their sponsor.
2. They click on stars next to each question and then save their rating.
3. The rating is only open for 1 week. If the recruit does not rate the sponsor during this period they do not get the chance to rate the sponsor again
If the sponsor's rating falls below the 50% threshold:
1. Their account is suspended and they get a message in their Backoffice that they need to complete an online reboot course.
2. They receive an email informing them that they need to attend the reboot course with a link that takes them straight to the course.
3. The course is conducted in an online eLearning environment.
4. They are required to do a multichoice test and pass it with 80% or above.
5. As soon as they pass the course, their rating is reset to Unrated and they start the process again.
It is essential that your messaging is positive e.g. We see you are battling with recruiting and we would like to help you. Creating this type of messaging is not my strength but I am sure your copywriters will come up with a positive and inspirational message!
Training a leader
If you want your people to honor their pledge then they first need to be able to do the work themselves. If they are unable to call a prospect and get an appointment, then how on earth will they be able to train someone to do it. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure that the existing team is correctly trained. In the posts that follow I will discuss training in more detail.