What is the three foot rule and is it a business technique that has merit?
In many sales-oriented networking books and course, people are taught that networking is a selling tool and part of that lesson is what’s known as the Three Foot Rule: “Anyone within three feet of you is an opportunity to make a sale.”
We feel that not only is this bad advice for the networker, one that seriously decreases the chance for quality connection (many “3-Footers” mysteriously find themselves unable to get within three feet of anyone in a very short period of time), but that it also creates a negative feeling to the whole concept of business networking in the minds of others.
As a result, people begin to avoid any event or activity labeled “networking” because they neither wish to participate in this hard-sell technique, nor do they wish to be exposed to it, especially in a concentrated form. In doing so we all lose out on valuable opportunities for service, connection and growth.
So, in the true spirit of connection-based networking (adding value to interactions in order to create and strengthen our connections with others), we hereby present our own Three Foot Rule, and hope you’ll join us in finding ways to make it our mission for the future of networking:
“Every person within three feet of you is an opportunity to serve.” Dr. Ivan R Misner