The Network Marketing Product Lifecycle: The Four Stages of Building a Downline

Most products, whether they are tangible goods or intangible services, go through predictable stages during their natural life. This is generally known, in marketing circles, as the product life cycle. These stages are (1) Product development, (2) Introduction, (3) Growth, (4) Maturity and (5) Decline.

Your network marketing business will behave similarly, that is, it will go through several stages as you work towards your financial goals. As I would like to have a positive view, I will not consider the possibility of a “Rejection”. Instead, I offer four stages your downline will go through as you build it to success, what I call the Network Marketing Product Lifecycle: (1) Introduction, (2) Development, (3) Growth and (4) Maturity. .

1. Introduction. This first stage is when you are new to the business and have not yet developed the skill set necessary to be successful in MLM. You may not have developed the “gut strength” necessary to overcome some initial setbacks. If you have not been involved in a network marketing program before, you are probably making mistakes and hopefully you are realizing that you have a lot to learn. You also need to be wary of well-meaning people who will tell you that you will not succeed, particularly family, friends, and co-workers.

During the Introduction, you are trying to develop a track record of success that you can draw on when you encounter resistance. Many new network users quit because they listen to all the naysayers instead of keeping that burning desire to get through tough times and stay the course.

If your sponsor hasn’t worked with you to put you together for success, then it is up to you to arm yourself. Hear advice from some of the giants in this industry: David Butler, Jim Rohn, Bob Schmidt, Sherman Unkefer, to name a few. They will teach you the skills you need to give you the confidence to keep going.

2) Development. Congratulations. You have cleared the first stage and are building a downline. Now, be a good sponsor by showing your downline how to be successful. Your goal here is to help them recruit their downline. If you’ve done it right, you should start to see business builders emerge. Hopefully you have a few who share your vision and you can start working with them on a consistent basis to build momentum.

In the Development stage, you should see people entering your downline that you don’t know. These are your personally sponsored distributors bringing their personally sponsored distributors. Now is the time to make sure your people are teaching your people how to be successful – that is, they are being good patrons, too. At this point, you should have the feeling that the business is beginning to take shape, that it has a chance to grow on its own.

However, you must beware of complacency. This is the most important time because you need to build an organization that can grow on its own. The vast majority of people who quit network marketing do so during the first two stages, so don’t give up on your downline. Keep working with your builders so they don’t go out of business.

3) Growth. At this stage, your checks should start to look much larger. Your builders are growing their downline and you may have several successful legs emerging. You may have hundreds, or even thousands, of distributors in your downline, and your business creators are making bigger salaries, too.

Congratulations again. If you’re at this stage, you’ve shown that you have the ability to teach business builders how to recruit and develop their own business builders, and the downline has definitely taken on a life of its own. You feel pretty good about yourself and you have every right to do so.

However, here too you should avoid complacency. You can make a good living in the growth stage, but you are not home free yet. You have to advance to the next stage if you really want to create wealth.

4) Maturity. Your organization has reached maturity when it no longer has to herd its growth. In other words, no matter what you do, you can’t stop it from growing. It has taken on a life of its own, and even if you step out of active involvement in the business, you can depend on a steady stream of residual passive income for the rest of your life.

Isn’t that why you got into this business in the first place?

Reaching maturity is rare. Many downlines approach this stage, but fail because the leader resigned too soon. Remember, if you don’t nurture your downline, if you don’t give them a track to run, if you don’t build their confidence, and if you don’t arm them for success, you won’t reach the Maturity stage. Rather, your organization will likely fail somewhere between the Development and Growth stages, and reaching the Maturity stage will be nothing more than a pipe dream.

Make it your goal for your downline to reach all four stages. When your personally sponsored distributors believe they have reached the stage of maturity, you can be sure that you have reached that stage. Otherwise, your organization may never reach its full potential.

For your success!

Bruce Bailey, Ph.D.

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