There’s one philosophy of network marketing that says, “Sign up anything with a pulse.”  This is the throw-them-against-the-wall-and-see-who-sticks approach. The hope is that SOMEONE amongst those raw recruits will emerge as a leader.

I see two problems with this strategy.

First, it’s bad for the network marketing industry. Why? Let me give you an extreme but true example.

I know a network marketer who enrolled 2,000 new recruits into his organization in less than two years. And not just any old recruits. These folks all purchased his company’s top starter pack.

He made quite a bundle on pack commissions, as you might imagine. Naturally, everyone wanted to know how he did it, and he became quite popular as a speaker for a while.

Later, I learned that his retention rate was a measly 10%. Surprise, surprise! He just didn’t have the time or the resources to work with all 2,000 of those people to help them succeed.

Okay, 10% of 2,000 is 200. That’s still a lot of people.

True, but let’s turn that around. It means that the other 1,800 people, who paid a lot of money for those starter packs, got their dreams shattered and are now probably telling their friends and relatives that network marketing is a hype and a scam.

Is it any wonder MLM has a bad reputation?

The second problem with this super-enroller approach is that it’s bad for the business of the person doing the recruiting. How can that be?

I’ll answer that very simply: Lack of duplication.

If you’ve been doing network marketing for longer than five minutes, you know the importance of helping the distributors in your organization learn to do what you do and duplicate your efforts.

I doubt that many of the 200 surviving team members recruited by the mega-enroller were able to successfully copy what he did (which come to think of it might be a good thing, considering the negative impact his type of method has on the network marketing industry).

Unless he changes his approach, he’ll never reach a solid, residual income that will enable him to retire.

By contrast, here’s a completely opposite approach some friends of mine are using. In their system, a distributor finds ONE and only one new business builder per month, every month. No more, no less. (Product users, on the other hand, can be unlimited.)

Each new enrollee makes a commitment to do the same, and becomes part of a small team. Team members support one another and hold each other accountable to meet their one-a-month recruitment goals.

One a month. Hmmm. If you were doing it this way, you would have plenty of time to interview prospects, get to know them well, learn their strengths and weaknesses, and pick the ONE person among them who is most likely to succeed – the individual who will take her commitment seriously and continue the process of working with the team and finding ONE new person each month herself.

But one new recruit per month – can you really build a successful business this way? Let’s crunch some numbers and see.

If everyone does what they’re supposed to do, your organization will double in size each month. Starting with the first month, there would be two people – you and your first new recruit. The second month you would each find another new distributor who would commit to following your lead, and there would be four people on your team. The third month there would be eight.

I know that so far this sounds really lame compared to recruiting 2,000 people. But get out your calculator and see what happens if you keep doing this for twelve months and everyone else does his or her part.

You’ll end up with 4,096 active distributors in your organization. Compare that with the 200 distributors the mega-recruiter was left with after the 1,800 disgruntled recruits dropped off his team.

Of course realistically it’s not very likely that you’ll end up with a perfect 4,096 team members after a year because there will always be a few dropouts. But what if you’re only half that successful and end up with 2,000? You’ll still have lots more active distributors than the mega-recruiter, and your numbers will continue to grow. What’s more, you’ll have achieved that success without destroying the trust of masses of innocent people in the process.

Now I certainly haven’t studied the compensation plans of every network marketing company on the planet, but I’m guessing that anyone with an organization of 2,000 – 4,000 business builders is making a pretty good income, regardless of what they’re selling. And it all comes from personally sponsoring just twelve new people – one per month.

The most important point is this: If you want to be successful in your MLM business, be a responsible sponsor. Take the time to select your business partners carefully, and support and train them so they’ll have the best possible start in their new venture.

In the long run, it will pay off for both of you.

Liz Monte writes on a variety of network marketing topics. She finds the new one-a-month approach to sponsoring to be very intriguing and has dedicated a section of her website to writing about it. Find it at