The Three Foot Rule in Network Marketing

The Three Foot Rule is a very common method of building a MLM Business.  New distributors are taught to strike up conversations with anyone that comes within three feet of them, and then to introduce their business opportunity to them. Hence, the Three Foot Rule.

Some distributors, who have outgoing personalities, can meet new prospects this way. But most distributors will achieve horrible results following this advice. And most distributors won’t want to do this. I can’t say I blame them either!

The reason I don’t like the three foot rule is because it is (1) unprofessional and (2) very ineffective. The major reason it is a waste of time is you aren’t reaching your target market. You are simply talking to anyone, rather than talking with people who contacted you about what you have to offer, or even expressed an interest in what you are doing.

In most cases, the other person is not interested in what you have to offer. After all, who wants to be bothered by an unsolicited salesperson; especially while you are busy running errands or simply enjoying your time off from work?  Do you like when people do this to you? I doubt it.  Neither do I.  And if you don’t like it, why would you do it to someone else?

If you are going to use the three foot rule to meet prospects, I definitely wouldn’t say anything about your business opportunity or products right away. Instead, I would be casual, ask the person some questions and be a good listener. If you “hit it off” simply exchange business cards and follow up with the person two to three days later.

On a side note, the three foot rule does work for some network marketers who take massive action. If you are the type of person who will go into the middle of city and talk with several hundred (or thousand) people each day, you will get some good prospects and new distributors for your efforts. If you are truly committed to working those types of numbers, you will achieve success.

But most people won’t do that. And this approach isn’t very duplicatable with your downline either.  Therefore, you need to learn better prospecting and lead generation techniques that allow you to leverage your time, money and efforts. There are many ways to do this, but that isn’t the purpose of this article.

Final Thoughts

The Three Foot Rule for prospecting has been used in network marketing for almost 60 years now.  Using the Three Foot Rule is better than doing nothing at all, but it is far from being an effective way to build your business.  The major problem with the Three Foot Rule is that most people you talk to aren’t part of your target market and they aren’t interested in what you have to offer.  Rather than spend all day chasing people at the mall, I think it’s much wiser to learn how to be the hunted, not the hunter.  If you want to learn how to do that, pick up a copy of Magnetic Sponsoring.

What are your thoughts about the Three Foot Rule in network marketing?  Leave a comment and let us know.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional

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4 thoughts on “The Three Foot Rule in Network Marketing”

  1. There is nothing wrong with taking a genuine interest in other people. My wife does this all the time when in a line; especially if they have a child with them. If the person happens to be in line behind you, you are totally in control. Remember the acronym, FORM.

  2. In my opinion this is the same as spamming people.

    I agree with you. Usually, if you just strike up a casual conversation, people will say something that will allow you to go into the pitch. “What do you do for a living?” or “Do you live here?” are great opportunities to explain your MLM and give them a reason to join.

    If someone comes near me in certain locations and starts pitching an “opportunity” I am apt to be very skeptical and if in the wrong frame of mind, I feel very sorry for them.

    Great post Charles.

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