Most successful networkers agree that three-way calls are the single most powerful and effective business-building tool we have.

Three-way calling is a service you add through your local phone company that allows you to be talking with one person, then call and add a second person into the conversation. It costs a few dollars a month. If you are a networker, you cannot live without it, period.

Here’s how it works. You’re on the phone with a person. You press the “Flash” button on your telephone (or, for those phones with no “Flash” button, you simply press the “Talk” or “On” button). Your three-way calling service now puts your first call on hold and gives you a fresh dial tone. Dial the new number you wish to reach, then press Flash again—and you are now on a live, three-way call.

To disconnect the new call, simply press Flash again and it disconnects your second caller…

Or did it? It should—but it doesn’t always. And here’s the first of three common three-way calling mistakes.

The Dial-Tone Double-Check

Let’s say you’re making dials to your prospects with your sponsor on the line. You hit Flash, go dial a prospect and forget to Flash back to your sponsor, who is now still sitting on hold. You get the prospect’s voice mail and leave a message, then Flash back to your sponsor…and proceed to have a conversation, perhaps talking about the very person you just left a message for—and suddenly hear a “beep” that says, “Your recording is complete.”

What happened?

Because you forgot to flash back to your sponsor after you connected, you connected the three-way when you thought you were disconnecting it—and didn’t realize you were still leaving a message!

Here’s a variation of this scenario: You place your three-way, get the voice mail recording, Flash back to your sponsor (you remembered this time!), and then leave your message. Now you Flash again to disconnect the three-way, go back to your conversation with your sponsor—and after another minute or two, “Beep! Your recording is complete.”

What happened? Sometimes, when you hit Flash to disconnect, the third line stays connected! Oops.

Here’s how to guarantee that you never make this mistake.

First, after you dial the three-way call number, immediately press Flash and say to your sponsor, “Back,” and wait for her to say “Back” as well. Now you know you’re together on the line.

Then, once you’re finished with the three-way—regardless whether you got voice mail and left a message, or connected live and had an actual conversation—press Flash again to disconnect you from the prospect’s line. Then, press Flash yet again: you should hear a dial tone. That new dial tone confirms that you are disconnected. Hit Flash once more, and you’ll be back alone on the line with your sponsor.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has called my home with a prospect on the line, only to unknowingly leave a message on my voice mail talking about me! It’s hilarious—and a mistake you definitely do not want to make.

How to Use Your Upline

The most common purpose for three-way calls is to create a sense of “third-party validation” by using your upline.

You’re on the phone with your prospect, who has already reviewed some information about your company and responded favorably. You say, “Jim, can you hang on for a second?” Of course he’ll say, “Sure.” Then, press Flash and dial your upline’s number.

Now pay close attention: this time it’s a little different. Once you reach your upline, instead of Flashing right back to bring the parties together, take a brief moment to bring your upline up to speed as to who you have on the line.

Here’s how I do this. I dial my sponsor, and if she answers, I say, “Susan, this is Todd. You got a minute? I’ve got a prospect on the line who just listened to our 20-minute live call. He says he’s an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. He has a background in sales but has never done network marketing. He sounds sharp. Can you do the call?” She says, “Yes,” and I say, “Great, hang on,” and then I press Flash to bring the call together.

Note that the prospect had no idea I was bringing on my upline—and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter: it’s not for him to decide.

Here’s the second crucial mistake people make: asking permission to do the three-way call. Put that idea out of your head. You don’t need to ask; you are in control. Don’t ever ask for permission to do a three-way.

Now I bring back my sponsor on the line and say, “Jim, you back with me? Great! Listen, I was able to grab a business partner of mine who’s hugely successful in this business. This is a woman you’ll be working with as well. She’s a top earner and trainer with our company and one of the most respected people in the entire profession. Susan, this is Jim—Jim, this is Susan.”

The Key to a Successful Three-Way

And then?

Then I shut up. I don’t say a word—I don’t make a peep.

Here’s the third crucial mistake people make: interrupting their upline in a three-way call. When you do, you blow the entire upline edification process.

You introduced your prospect to an upline you’ve built up as an expert. The expert knows what to say and do. All you need to do is sit back, listen and learn, and marvel: you’re tapping the amazing leverage of the three-way call.

TODD FALCONE is a Networking University
faculty member and has been a successful field
leader for over a decade. He is also a public speaker,
trainer and personal coach to several top-producing
network marketers. He lives in Seattle with
his wife Carla and son Gianni.