Also known as "ABC calls" (where your upline is A, you are B, and your prospect is C), three-way calls are time-proven as one of the most - if not the most - effective methods of positively moving a prospect to the next step. They are where the prospecting rubber meets the business road.

The Power of the Three-Way

For some reason, we human beings tend to give less credibility to those we know then to total strangers. It's almost embarrassing to have to write that, but it's true.

If you have a child, you know first-hand that the sage advice you offer will be totally dismissed - only to be repeated back to you, virtually word-for-word, after your child has heard it from a different source. The people in your organization are no different!

Thus it follows: your prospect, who has perhaps known you years, or weeks, or even minutes, will perceive you to be less credible than someone they have not yet met. Should it be that way? No. Is it that way? Absolutely. You can fight that principle and lose out on a wonderful business-building mechanism - or embrace it and gain from it.

Rational Self-Interest

Sometimes people don't take advantage of this powerful process, fearing they will "bother" their upline. Hmm. If you felt that your three-way call would also help your upline, would you do it then? Of course. Well, guess what? It does! That's the beauty of network marketing. One only helps oneself by helping those within one's organization.

You have a rational self-interest in your best distributors calling you for three-ways, too: that's helping to grow your business. Make sense? Likewise, do you see that the best thing you could do for your upline is to "bother" them as much as possible. Good! Bother them. They want you to.

The Power of Edification

Here is where a lot of people get stuck. "How do I get someone to agree to a three-way? My prospects say, 'No, thanks, I don't really need to speak to anyone else - I already understand enough.'"

How do you make a natural transition from a conversation to suggesting a three-way call? Here's one way that works consistently: set up the idea of your three-way right from the opening words of your initial presentation. Here's how.

To "edify" means to build. Once you've decided with which upline person you want to do the three-way, begin to edify that person. Verbally build up your upline to your prospect from the very beginning of your conversation. Edify your upline consistently throughout the conversation, to the point where the one person in the world your prospect would ever like to meet is...your upline. (Key point: this must be done with honesty and sincerity - which is why it is so vitally important to develop and cultivate upline relationships.)

Now - The How-To

In your follow-up call, as you review the reasons why your prospect is interested, again, edify your upline. Then - and this is important - interrupt yourself in mid-sentence and say something like, "You know what, and I think I can do this for you. Hold on just a moment. I'm gonna see if I can possibly get (your upline's name) on the phone right now, real quick, to say hello to you. Hold on just a second." Wait just a moment, then press your "flash" button and initiate the three-way.

What have you just done?

You transitioned into the three-way invite as though it were an afterthought, which takes the pressure off of your prospect, because he doesn't think you have methodically planned out a "double-team gang attack" (which is how some prospects may see it). Then you phrased the invite in a way that you are doing it for your prospect, not for you.

Next, you did not ask permission. Asking for permission leaves it up to your prospect - but in fact, he doesn't yet know why this call is so important to his future. You also left some room for doubt as to whether you could even pull it off. And you then used what I call "quick language": "on the phone right now, real quick to say hello to you. Hold on just a second."

Finally, although you didn't ask permission, you also certainly did not force or coerce your prospect into the three-way call. You left enough time for him to refuse before you put him on hold - that's important - but at the same time, you set it up so that your prospect must make a conscious and active decision to say "no," as opposed to making a decision to say "yes."

Double Edification

Once your three-way is connected, the fun part starts. This is where you get to edify them both, then let your upline take over and do the work for you.

When you click them both on the telephone and it's confirmed that they are both there, you first edify your upline, which fits right into what you have told your prospect up to this point. Then - and this is powerful - edify your prospect.

"Jane, I've only known Steve for a few weeks. He's a very successful business owner and a real leader within the community. We've discussed (name of company) a couple of times. I've gotta tell you, I'm very impressed with him. He's done everything he's said he would do; a person of his word. I could see him really 'tearing up' this business. Jane, Steve; I'm gonna sort of step back and let you two get to know each other."

From this point, let your upline take over. Completely! That means you do not interrupt or try to "save" or "help" her by jumping in and filling in any key words or information "she forgot." Just relax; trust that your upline is doing what he or she does best: edifying you and the business to your prospect. Pretty soon you will be the "A" and your current prospects will be the "Bs" - and you'll get to do the same thing for them and their "Cs."

Bob Burg is author of Endless Referrals and Winning Without Intimidation,
and a free weekly e-zine ( on networking.