5 Reasons People Leave MLM

5 Reasons Why People Leave MLM

One of the things we do at LaunchSmart™ and ServiceQuest® is research, lots of research.  It’s something we like to do, it’s essential for helping our clients in the very best ways, and it helps make a lot of confusing parts of this wonderful and whacky world of MLM much more understandable.

As a leader, whether in the office or in the field, you need to know why folks leave your group.  Between David any I, we talked with close to 500 people last year, and asked them one question: “why did you leave network marketing and your company?”

Now realize that these questions were asked in the context as a third-party research firm, hired by companies to find this out.  So, folks did not hold back.  The names came from different kinds of companies, with varying cultures, varieties of products, and cool compensation plans (though very different from company to company).

We often got an earful, as you might imagine . . . (smile) . . .

Knowing these 5 Reasons will help you lead your group and build a company that anticipates what lies ahead, giving you a chance to peek into the crystal ball.  In the end, you’ll build a company that keeps more customers and distributors.  That’s what we expect will happen.

Over the course of the year, some glaring similarities popped up.  These answers give you a peek right into the brains and heart of those that dumped their company.  Some respondents were almost hostile toward their upline and company, and others were simply moving on.  Take what you will from these, and use the information to your greatest advantage as you start and run an MLM company.

5 Reasons Why People Leave MLM…:

1.  “Lack of Results” (a/k/a “unmet expectations”)

Nearly all whom we interviewed said that “lack of results” was a driving force in the decision to leave.  Some said they didn’t see expected product results (a few admitted that they had let themselves dream of unrealistic product results), and most said that they “worked hard” and yet saw no financial results.

A notable number said that deep down, they expected a lack of results—almost a self-fulfilling prophecy of their failure.  Negative expectations that might have been corrected with caring, insightful training from the start (or not).

When asked if they felt they had give it a 100% effort, less than 25% said “yes.”  More than 50% admitted that they truly had not tried.  Some expressed frustrations over bringing people into the business who did nothing more than sign up as asked.

When we probed as to lack of results tied to lack of consistency, more than 50% conceded the direct connection.  (CLUE!)

2. “Lack of Support and Training.”

Respondents stated that they never received the support they should have received (60%).  Others said that they didn’t hear from their upline once they signed up (30%).  Whoa!

•    40% said that they never did a 3-way call with their upline, and more than 50% said that they never set up a call or requested help.

•    70% said that they felt that they should have received more hands-on guidance at the very beginning, being trained on a personal basis.

•    90% said that the lack of support was one of the key factors in leaving.

•    All said that lack of leadership was significant reason, as well.

SECRET: Lack of support is simply evidence of lack of commitment.  And from all our years working in and around these wonderful people, we know that these problems can always be traced to either ability (or lack of ability) or motivation (lack of motivation).

3.  “Misrepresentation.”

More than 50% said that they felt they had been misled in either product explanations and promises, and/or earnings opportunities, especially how they had been promised what kind of support they would receive.


The heart of this problem is truly a lack of leadership focus.  Leaders do not misrepresent.  They know too well the dangers and ultimate price of any kind of deception.  Integrity is essential, and there exists NO EXCUSE for intentionally misleading in any way.  Character is a cornerstone of successful MLM builders.

4.  “Lack of Belief.”

When people do not experience results, they feel they have been misled; add this to the nature of people to be fearful and doubtful, and lack of belief becomes a driving force for defection.  What’s interesting is that people WANT to believe.  They WANT to follow leaders with vision and integrity.  And belief must be fueled with competence, nurturing, information, communication, support—all in an environment of integrity and caring.

•    “I just stopped believing.”
•    “I lost the belief in what I was doing.”
•    “I quit believing the promises that were not kept.”
Leaders build and reinforce belief.  Systematic belief-building should be at the core of the company-sponsored training and support, and then perpetuated through the field leadership ranks.

KILLER SECRET:  Check in on your OWN belief system, your own beliefs.  Do you find deceit?  Deep-down, are you fearful or lying?  Confront these, eliminate these, and get on solid ground.

5.  “Life Changes.”

“Things in life suddenly changed, and I had to back off my networking.”

Although this theme occasionally popped up, it comprised about 15% of the true reasons for departure.  But that means the other 85% of reasons can be positively affected through planning, caring, attention to detail, creation of good systems, and sheer action—consistently.

Excuse or Reason?

Many had reasons, but some seemed to simply use a generic “life happened” as an excuse to get out of something they weren’t willing to follow through on.

So, this leaves us to ask about timing.  Timing is significant in MLM and Party Plan success.  Timing may take someone away, and you can’t do much.  But timing also is a factor in where a person is on their scale of progress.  CLUE: if you start by understanding why a person is getting involved, then take them where they are, create an environment for them to thrive wherever they are on that development scale, and be found keeping your promises (product promise, commission promise, and service promise), one by one, individuals keep moving on their progress line, at their pace.  And if you nurture and accept and support, they have their very best chance of success.

BONUS REASON: “Ongoing negative influence from family, friends, peers . . . even the newspaper.”

Some actually admitted that they were “shown the light” by people making $30,000 annually at their “job,” that nobody can make $100,000 in MLM or Party Plan.


Sadly, folks listen and get sucked back into mediocre culture and programming.

CONCLUSION: Take a deep look at your opportunities to improve, then build a company and culture that give more reasons for STAYING with you.  THAT’s true leadership when starting and running a successful MLM company.

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