MLM Prospecting: Old-School Belly-To-Belly VS Online Attraction Marketing

By | May 23, 2022

MLM prospecting is a hotly debated topic among network marketers. What is the best way to prospect? Is the old-school, belly-to-belly, three-foot-rule style prospecting the way to go, or is new-school, attraction marketing and lead generation more effective for quickly building a large organization?

Let’s break down MLM prospecting

Prospecting is literally “the search for precious metals or gemstones, a physical labor that involves traversing, panning, sieving and looking for signs of mineralization”. MLM prospecting is very similar; It’s the search for people of value – you traverse, pan, sift and literally look for signs of a good business partner.

There are many ways you can do your MLM prospecting just like you did during the gold rush. The vast majority of prospectors set off with a pickaxe, shovel, and a pan of gold and got to work. These small operations were sometimes successful – educated guesswork and a little luck could definitely pay off. For the most part, however, success has been limited. There’s only so much ground you can cover with your pickaxe and shovel alone.

Consider this method your old-school MLM prospecting method. You set off, armed with business cards, brochures, and CDs, determined to share your opportunity with anyone within a meter of distance and a heart beating. You approach people, distribute your brochures, introduce your company and look for potential business partners or product users, and out of the 30 people you speak to that day, three sign up. Great success right?! Hmmm… let’s take a closer look.

The problem with old-school MLM prospecting

First off, I’ve been generous with the numbers – most marketers can’t talk to anywhere near 30 people in a day. Most accountability calls with top marketers only require three looks a day, and even that is a struggle for most people. I’ve also given a sign-up rate of 1 in 10…that’s extremely high for our industry and it’s estimated that 4% is closer to being accurate across the industry.

At that rate, if you searched for new customers every day for 30 days, you’d get 3.6 new signups – we’ll round up and say 4. Still, one a week isn’t bad. But then why aren’t more people successful with this form of MLM prospecting?


It’s sad but true – people don’t like being “sold”. Just think of your own reaction when a telemarketer calls or someone shows up to “calculate your energy bills”. You don’t like it, do you? And 9 times out of 10, you will do whatever you have to do to avoid the situation altogether. And if you can’t, either hang up or listen politely until you find an excuse to get back to what you were doing before the uninvited interruption. And all the while a feeling of tension builds inside you… “What are they trying to sell me now?”

You don’t like being pitched and neither do others. And the truth is, not everyone is as polite as you and I when it comes to saying no. I don’t care how thick your skin is, being laid on and having doors slammed in your face sucks…I know I’ve had it done to me…many.

Does Old School MLM Prospecting Work?

Apparently it does for about 3% of people. I’m not going to tell you not to use these methods – there are many very successful marketers who swear by them. But if this is going to be your strategy, I strongly recommend growing a thick skin – you’re going to need it.

New School MLM Prospecting – What’s the Difference?

Going back to our gold panning analogy – let’s say that instead of pickaxes, shovels and a pan of gold, you go out with a metal detector and a magnetic survey device. You would dig a lot less initially, but you would also save yourself a lot of time by digging in the wrong places. Let’s say you bring an excavator – you’ll do a lot more digging, a lot faster, right? It’s still just you – just you on steroids.

This is what attraction marketing, lead generation and automated email campaigns do for your MLM prospecting. It can still all be done by one person, you can simply use technologically advanced tools to make your prospecting task easier, faster and more effective.

The New-School Edge: ZERO REJECTION

What Makes New School MLM Prospecting So Attractive? A complete lack of rejection. Seriously. If you do this correctly, you will only engage with people who have specifically requested information from you. The people who don’t want what you offer will either not request information at all or will unsubscribe from your list. But they’ll never ask why you’re calling them…they know who you are and what you do well before the first call.

New School MLM prospecting by the numbers

Using the same 4% sign-up rate, let’s see how the numbers evolve. A well-crafted attraction marketing system can bring in unlimited leads—literally unlimited. But for our purposes, let’s be conservative and say 10 leads a day. That’s 300 leads and 12 registrations over 30 days. Over a one-year period, this equates to 144 new distributors joining your organization, as opposed to old-school methods that required 48 new sign-ups per year.

So who wins? Old-School or New-School MLM Prospecting? In my humble opinion, old-school marketing makes no more sense than going to the mountains with a pickaxe and pan of gold. That’s not to say it doesn’t work, just that as technology advances, there are faster and easier ways to achieve the same result.

Learning how to do it either way requires a learning curve — you just have to decide where to spend your time. Will you learn how to mine like 1848, or will you harness the power of technology right at your fingertips?

Thanks to Dawn Marrs | #MLM #Prospecting #OldSchool #BellyToBelly #Online #Attraction #Marketing

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