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A new look at the 3 foot rule for network marketers.

Anyone using the 3 foot rule is outdated, seems to be the advice of network marketing experts. Is it the method or is it the way that the method is used? Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart had a 10-foot Rule he practiced his entire life. Here is what Sam had to say about this rule, “I learned early on that one of the secrets to campus leadership was the simplest thing of all: Speak to people coming down the sidewalk before they speak to you.”

Before we take a new look at the 3 foot rule watch this short video demonstrating why the 3 foot rule doesn't always work for network marketers.

What  did you see in the video?

First, I saw myself before I learned the importance of asking good question. Thanks to my good friend, Jeff Zalewski for helping me to see the importance of asking questions.  Network marketing is a relationship business, and asking questions is the most powerful tool for improving relationship.

Second, the marketer was focused on enrolling the woman in his program.  One of the most critical problem with this approach is, it focuses on pitching one's business opportunity. Network marketing is sales, and sales is about helping people solving their problems. The focus of the conversation should not have been on making the sale, but on whether there is a sale to be made.

View the 3 foot rule as a reaching out method to make a contact, then; discover if there is a sale to be made. This same principle applies in Social Networking.  If you would like to know more about Natural Selling for Network Marketers click here. I am not an affiliate, but a satisfied customer.

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{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Nile March 7, 2012, 11:49 am

    Talk about in your face. and just over peppers…lol. Rather than engaging more before even considering to sell, the guy just blasted her away. Also, he sounded creepy and desperate. Definitely not a good way to sell.
    Nile recently posted..Repurposing Versus Republishing Blog PostsMy Profile

  • Sheena Prailleau February 22, 2011, 11:22 pm

    great blog post you discussed valid points. I agree with you about net workers abusing the 3 foot rule
    Sheena Prailleau recently posted..5 mistakes to avoid when closing prospectsMy Profile

  • rebecca russell November 8, 2010, 9:48 pm

    Thanks Perry for the great blog post.

    Love the video…and some people are like that, they do not get it, I see it on Facebook all the time. I do not like to talk about my primary when I do not know them a bit first…
    throwing up all over them does make a good impression.
    rebecca russell recently posted..IS SUCCESS EVERYTHINGMy Profile

  • Krista Abbott November 6, 2010, 2:06 pm

    I love this video! Unfortunately, the techniques used by the “company man” are used by so many networkers. The key to good networking is building quality relationships with people and offering value that keeps them coming back. Residual income is created from return customers. If all of our customers wanted to be business partners, then eventually the company will implode. This happens every single day with companies that focus on the opportunity over the products. We need both to have a successful networking business. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dr. Erica Goodstone November 4, 2010, 11:51 pm


    You are so right. I have often avoided local networking events for exactly this reason. I actually feel almost attacked by someone “selling” me their product or service that I have no need for. It just happened last night at a local LinkedIn meeting. Someone used the information I shared – that I am a relationship therapist – to attempt to sell me his financial product, which I don’t need because I am already set up with one. When I told him that, he continued to try to persuade me by saying that his product charges less. Then, today I received an email from him asking me to check out his web site. No interest shown in what I do, what I need, or what I really want. It was just annoying to me – not the way to build a business relationship.
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..The centenarian’s secretMy Profile

  • Natasha Nassar November 3, 2010, 12:07 am

    Perry- That video is a hoot! I’ve always hated the 3-foot rule, mainly because I don’t believe in the premise that everyone is your prospect. Not everyone wants to be a business owner…and unfortunately, all too many network marketers just assume everyone wants to be their own CEO, and so they try to make people “feel bad” for not wanting what they want. Which is actually a little selfish. It’s interesting to know about Sam Walton’s 10 foot rule- although I doubt he was badgering people about his store- and instead was just being friendly.

    Looking forward to reading more from you!

  • belinda cunningham November 2, 2010, 3:59 pm

    Sorry didn’t finish the above comment. I am not comfortable with approaching people about a product full stop when it is one that I want to market because I think the potential customer is going to react like that one, even if I build the relationship first.

  • belinda cunningham November 2, 2010, 3:56 pm

    Loved the video, very vivid reminder of how not to do it and how to turn people away.

  • Howie Perks October 26, 2010, 1:13 pm

    Hey Perry,

    Funny video! “I’ll sign you up for lettuce auto-ship” LOL

    The 3 foot works but it’s all in how you do it. I made the same types of mistakes when I first got into the industry. So excited, I ran out and started “verbally vomitting” on everyone I met.

    I then got trained and learned the F.O.R.Ming process. After learning that I was able to met people, get to know them and get their contact info in a very short period of time. It’s all about asking questions!

    In Success,
    Howie Perks
    Howie Perks recently posted..Magic Submitter Reviewed – How Magic is It ReallyMy Profile

  • Laura Morris October 17, 2010, 3:36 pm

    Hi Perry

    Fantastic post!! What a perfect illustration this video is of the WRONG way to go about 3 foot prospecting. I have seen many good people in my career fail miserably because they go about it this way. The message is where you put your focus. Was that guy’s focus on himself “getting a sign up” or was it on serving her? Clearly it was on himself! This is where part of the failure is in our industry. I think people are too focused on “signing people up” and then can end up with a weak downline with very high attrition. If time is spent serving the person in the beginning, say, finding out if they are more suited to being a customer rather than a distributor, then a stronger organization with solid residual is built. Asking questions is the key! Of course a one hour training could be added to this alone!!
    Thanks Perry

    Laura Morris
    Laura Morris recently posted..Tapping Into The Power of Your MindMy Profile

  • Linda Thomas October 17, 2010, 2:27 pm

    Hi Perry,
    What a doozy of a video that one is! LOL!
    I had something that made me feel like that yesterday when I was returning something at RadioShack. In order to get my money back, I had to give her not only my phone number, but full name and address. I was not happy, but she said that if I wanted my money back, then I had to comply.
    All I could think of what how much junk mail and sales phone calls am I going to get! Hopefully that won’t be the case.

    Great points about 3-foot rule. People need to be trained before they do something like this.
    Happy marketing!

  • Mike Pedersen October 15, 2010, 5:38 pm

    This is an interesting topic, as I’ve been “hammered” by other NM’ers and their pitches. As much as there has been advice and guidance not to do it, people still do..UGH!

    I’d like to know why?

    Also, when people put phrases in their bios for both FB, Twitter and other social networks, that talk about earning 10K a month; having freedom; etc, in my opinion it’s a huge turnoff.

    Why not be a real person, with real hobbies and let that be public first, not the opportunity? Facebook and Twitter are littered with these type bio’s.

    Just my 2 cents worth 😉

    Mike Pedersen recently posted..Pay It Forward If You Want SuccessMy Profile

  • Dave and Dawn Cook October 13, 2010, 2:09 pm

    Hi Perry,
    I haven’t seen that video yet and it was very funny and sad that for many the focus is not on their prospect and what they need.
    In my opinion, if you don’t have enough time or it’s not convenient for your prospect to do a proper approach (getting to know them and their needs first) then don’t even bother.
    You can’t help anyone unless you ask questions and give all your attention to their needs.
    Very good post, Perry! Thanks for making this point in such an obvious and funny way!
    (Dave) and Dawn
    Dave and Dawn Cook recently posted..LifeLock Reviews – Identity TheftMy Profile

  • LeeAnn Townsend October 12, 2010, 10:39 am

    Oh my gosh! I could not help but laugh out loud! I have actually seen people work this way…and I actually run from people like this. There are soooo many people out there that really need to see this video!!! Such a great post, thanks for sharing this! 🙂

  • Rob Franta October 12, 2010, 9:59 am

    LOL I love that video… Toooo Funny…

    But very true, most people do put the focus on themselves and come across very needy. we need realize it’s not about us it’s about helping others. Once I realized this in put this to work for me, my results changed big-time.

    Thanks for sharing this great video.
    Rob Franta recently posted..How to Retire EarlyMy Profile

  • John Gaydon October 11, 2010, 4:18 pm

    Hi Perry,

    Fascinating. I only have a few thousands in my network marketing businesses, and I did it by finding people interested in what I was offering, then building relationships with them. for me, the major mistake network marketers make is focusing on pitching the opportunity, before they have any connection with the person they are approaching. If you want me in your business, you have to get to know me first and convince me that working with you will be productive for both of us! Just my thoughts.
    John Gaydon recently posted..Is It Better To Build Your Home Business Part TimeMy Profile

  • Andrea Goodsaid October 10, 2010, 6:47 am

    Hi Perry –

    Maybe you should be a Natural Selling affiliate 🙂

    Just wanted to let you know that I would have Tweeted or liked this post on Facebook IF there were an easy way yo do that.

    I’ve linked to MaryKay’s recent post re. the Digg Digg plugin (in commentluv below) that should help you achieve retweet icons and such if you’ d like some of your very own 🙂

    Hope that helps!
    Andrea Goodsaid recently posted..How To Set Up The Digg Digg Plugin On Your Wordpress BlogMy Profile

    • padjr October 11, 2010, 11:56 am

      Andrea, thanks for your suggestion. Something that I have overlooked.


  • Bill Cowan October 8, 2010, 7:49 pm

    You’re right. Thanks for the reminder about what this business is really about.
    Bill Cowan recently posted..Can You Eat Healthy At A RestaurantMy Profile

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