The Reality of Online MLM

online mlm sponsor speaking with prospectI was talking to a couple of friends who attended the “No Excuses Summit II” in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. If you’re familiar with this event, you know that a lot of top names in MLM and network marketing were speaking, and teaching the secrets to their success.

I watched most of the NES II presentations via live feed throughout the weekend, and my friends were fortunate to be there in person to interact and mingle with the presenters during the breakouts and evening social times. There was much discussion off stage about the current state of “online MLM” and where the industry is heading. Some of the insight from the leaders who attended this event is interesting and well worth noting.

Over the last few years, there has been a trend toward “doing it all online” in MLM and network marketing. Many MLM gurus have developed elaborate and effective sales funnels for prospecting, capturing leads, and leading them through a sales process that ultimately results in lots of signups. However, there has also been an alarming trend associated with this – serious attrition, along with a high percentage of people signing up and achieving nothing, despite all the videos and other training resources that stuff the back offices from wall to wall.

What has happened?

Over time, a very simplified model of online MLM has been created and touted as “the answer”. It goes something like this:

You can do it all online! Just plug into our training and lead capture system, and you’ll be a success. Millions of people are coming online every year looking for home business income, and they are just waiting for you to sign them up!

In the wake of this, there has been considerable de-emphasis on working with “warm market” leads, as well as less focus on the human side of network marketing. You know, the need to talk to people and make that personal connection?

As part of the process, many have been taught to use online advertising and pay per click methods to attract leads into a sales funnel, with the ultimate goal being to either sign them up in your business -or- sell them another product. It’s often called the “funded proposal” approach.

Whatever you want to call it, it’s an online MLM system designed to build big businesses as hands-off and automated as possible. Just pay for the system or advertising, turn it loose, and watch the enrollments come in while you sleep.

According to my friends who attended the No Excuses Summit II, many of the top earners at the event confided that the online MLM model as fashioned over the last few years has proven to fall short and not be feasible and duplicatable for long-term success in the industry.

The major reasons, per these pros? The de-emphasis on personal connection and contact, and a lack of teaching the reality that warm market activity is essential to success for most people. It’s not that anyone will build a huge business entirely offline in their warm market (although some do through referrals and so on), it’s that the warm market is where skills are learned and the ability to present and communicate your thoughts effectively is sharpened.

If you are unable to talk about your business and present to warm market prospects face to face, how much more success will you have trying to recruit in the cold market entirely online?

Food for thought. Always remember that people like to work with other people who can help them achieve their goals and dreams. They don’t like to join business opportunities.

Did you get some value from this post? If you did, I would really appreciate you sharing it with others! And, your comments are welcome below!

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Eldon Beard, Home Business Success Coach

If you have a home business and are happy, that's good. If you are looking for the right opportunity, the right mentor, and something you can build online, I would enjoy the opportunity to share what I'm doing. Click here and let’s explore the possibilities.

About Eldon Beard

Making money with a home business should be fun! I help others create a profitable global business from anywhere using an Internet connection and a phone. Send me a message and let's talk! Connect with me on Google+.


  1. Eldon, I have come full circle with this. I was working off line and was not building as fast as I wanted. So, I tried online and yes I thought that this was the end of my difficulties. I leaved a lot by using MLSP. I kept that system for quite some time, learned how to blog, do article marketing, social network etc.
    I then joined a company in the Text Marketing industry and my focus changed to local businesses. When Google changed their local search format that became another opportunity for local businesses.

    The bottom line is you need to be online and offline then can really complement each other. We still need that personal touch like you said.

    Thanks for this post,
    Kathy Sammons

    • Eldon Beard says:

      Hi Kathy,

      There is tremendous opportunity working with local businesses to help them use higher tech ways to advertise and build loyalty – text marketing is one excellent example. The local search thing is powerful too, and most smaller businesses don’t have a clue how to get into this. They need you. 🙂

      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. I certainly agree with you here Eldon. Through experience, I found that the face to face approach is so much stronger. What I mean here is that there can be face to face on facebook, and other channels. It’s starting a conversation with someone, Asking them what they are interested in. Long story short, to try to walk in their shoes and be giving. Then you make a personal relationship and Bingo – you become trusted to one another. I feel strongly that that is the backbone of success. Well, that’s my two cents!

    • Eldon Beard says:

      Hi Donna,

      Well said! Why online network marketing fails for so many – they try to sell their opportunity first. You have to get out there and meet people, establish credibility and trust, then the good stuff starts happening.

  3. Eldon,
    I bet this is very revealing to a lot of people. It has become almost sin with the new model to work your warm market.

    I believe some points of attraction marketing but when it’s made to be a big secret as to what our primary is???? What???

    No you don’t flaunt in people faces but you also don’t hide it in a deep secret cave and bring out when someone happens to ask. You may have had the answer to their problem you had all along but they went somewhere else.


    • Eldon Beard says:

      Steve, you’re right. There is a balance between being professional and not “in your face”, and being totally secretive about your opportunity. In the warm market, “notification” is good. Let them know what you do, and if they are not interested right then, back off and stay in touch. Circumstances change, and the interest might be there later.

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