Glossary of Direct Selling Terms

Whether you are a new social influencer, brand ambassador, or a successful business builder, we're sure you've had a time when you heard a direct selling term you didn't know the meaning of or weren't sure if you were using the word correctly.

Here is a comprehensive glossary of industry terms used in the direct selling, multi-level marking (MLM), influencer marketing, and networking marketing industries to help you sound like an expert from day one.

If you found we missed a term, please let us know here!


Stacking is the unauthorized manipulation of a compensation system and/or the marketing plan in order to trigger commissions or cause promotion of a downline member in an unearned manner.

An example of stacking is when a sponsor places participants under an inactive downline participant (who may not know or have any relationship with the clients) to trigger unearned qualifications for commissioning.

Target Audience

A target audience in marketing is fully qualified individuals who are likely to buy a specific product or service from a particular company. The company approaches its target audience through targeted advertising techniques like videos, ads, and publications. The company can dictate the target audience according to age, gender, income, and location.


The meaning of 'training' in MLM is divided into two types known as sales management training and product sales training. The former deals with how a sponsor can manage his salesforce. The latter deals with information regarding a product or service and the necessary skills required for a distributor to make a sale.

Uni-level or Unilevel

The uni-level compensation plan is a business model in which all the sponsored members or distributors are placed at the same level or the first level. A particular distributor's pay structure or commission depends upon the number of levels she has beneath her and her rank. The higher the rank, the more the levels beneath, and more will be the commission.


In MLM, upline is a sponsor who recruits new members or distributors in an organization and any person above her. In the MLM business model, an upline receives a commission on her sales and those of her downlines.


Volume refers to the number of sales a company or a distributor makes in a particular amount of time. Volume can be calculated based on a product sale's price or point value.

Warm Prospects

Warm prospects are individuals who have been receptive to a company's marketing or sales outreach but haven't shown any interest in buying a product or service yet. They aren't as likely to become consumers as hot prospects but are definitely in reach compared to cold prospects.


In MLM business, wholesale is the price of products provided to the distributors at a lower price to be sold to the end consumer at retail price.

Word of Mouth Marketing

The definition of word-of-mouth marketing is simple; it's when the consumers talk about a company's product or service to their acquaintances, friends, and family. It is closely related to referral marketing and is one of the most effective advertising forms.

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