I have always had (as readers of The Zen of MLM know well) an aversion to what in sales and network marketing is called “The Three-Foot Rule.”
If your interpretation of that rule is, as Scott Allen put it when I interviewed him in 2006 for Networking Times, “Anybody within three feet of you is worth getting to know a little better,” then you and I have no argument whatsoever. However, if it is more like the classic version, “Anyone within three feet is fair game for me to pitch my opportunity to, whether they ask for it or not,” then we have issues.
Seth Godin recently put this beautifully in his blog. Seth isn’t talking here about network marketing, but my oh my, it fits like a glove:
The end result of spam (email spam, blog spam, Twitter spam, Squidoo spam, comment spam, phone spam, politician spam [or prospecting spam—JDM]) is that it eats away at your brand. If you don’t have a brand, you might make some short term cash, but it gets tiresome creating annoyance everywhere you go. If you do have a brand, you don’t notice the brand erosion . . . until it’s too late.
Here, it’s simple:
You can contact just about anyone you want. The only rule is you need to contact them personally, with respect, and do it months before you need their help! Contact them about them, not about you. Engage. Contribute. Question. Pay attention. Read. Interact.
Then, when you’ve earned the right to attention and respect, months and months later, sure, ask. It takes a lot of time and effort, which is why volume isn’t the answer for you, quality is.
That’s a great way to get a job, promote a site, make a friend, spread the word or just be a human.
The bottom line here is your brand. In network marketing, no matter what company you’re aligned with, the core of all your activities is that you are either building your brand, letting your brand coast (read: atrophy), or ruining your brand. Make the three preceding paragraphs your personal brand bible, and you’ll build it.
Do you remember the hullabaloo a few years ago surrounding possible legislation that might hamstring a network marketer’s ability to prospect? In case you missed it, the concern was over proposed FTC rules that would require the disclosure of comparative information so extensive that it would bury even the most casual prospect with pounds of intimidating paperwork, effectively crippling the process.
Well, good news. The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that the “New Business Opportunity Rule” proposed two years ago, in April of 2006, has since been significantly revised.
According to the FTC notice, “The Business Opportunity Rule would still cover those schemes currently covered by the interim Business Opportunity Rule, and it would expand coverage to include work-at-home schemes.” Most significant to our businesses, the FTC goes on to say, “the revised proposal, however, would not reach multi-level marketing companies or certain companies that may have been swept inadvertently into scope of the April 2006 proposal.” (emphasis added)
Within the revised new rule it goes on to streamline the required discloser information by “eliminating requirements to disclose the number of cancellations and refund requests that a business opportunity seller receives or the litigation history of sales personnel.”
We don’t know who influenced this shift towards common sense, but for whomever it was, we have a message: Thank you.
(Thanks also to Art Jonak for alerting us about the notice.)