Direct Sales Tips: Embrace The Possibilities Of Parties
Each year, as the fall colors appear and the air takes on a bit of a chill, certain direct sellers begin their day with a fresh sense of anticipation and excitement for the opportunities that await them. What’s their secret?
While many are pleased with the dazzling new products their companies debuted at summer convention, that’s not the only cause of their renewed enthusiasm. And although you can sense a collective sigh of relief as millions of direct selling moms get their children settled back into school and prepare for a productive day – it’s not that either. What is creating the renewed excitement is the knowledge that in addition to “Back to School” and cooler weather… “Tis the Season To Hold Parties!”
No matter what you call them; in-home shows, product demonstrations, workshops or parties, the truth of the matter is, the weeks between September 15th and December 15th represent a plethora of opportunities for direct sellers to sell more products and accumulate more personal and group volume points than any other time of year. What makes this season even more exciting is that as consumers move into the season of full-throttle spending, millions are also looking for additional streams of income to fund their traditional holiday spending.
As a direct seller you have the opportunity to provide them with the answer to their financial woes by showing them how to generate immediate income from a home-based business. And while their intention may be to generate “holiday cash” and then head for the hills, the odds are in your favor that a good percentage of your new recruits will catch the spirit of the business and remain with your company long after the holiday decorations are packed away.
With that said, it is important to note that not all segments of the direct selling industry have traditionally embraced the “party approach” to selling products. In fact, some network marketers have been known to look down on this “old fashioned” method of moving goods and services, opting to stick to their tried and true, one-on-one method of selling and sponsoring.
Yes, one of the benefits of being a home-based entrepreneur is that you decide how to build your business. In fact, it is true that many network marketers have never even attended an in-home party, let alone received any guidance from their upline on how to conduct one. So it only makes sense that you stick to the way you’ve been building your business – right? You are selling all the products you want and signing all the new recruits you can handle and don’t have time to explore something new. What’s that? You wouldn’t mind making some additional sales? You say you might be open to stepping outside your comfort zone and trying an additional approach? That’s the spirit!
Being open to new ways of improving your business is the mark of a true leader. So lets put aside those preconceived notions and turn off the judgment and look at “the party” from a new perspective. Let’s begin with some statistics that will further your resolve to explore the possibility of offering your products through parties or group settings.
In 2002, the party plan segment of the direct selling industry reported $7.2 billion in sales. This represents an 8% increase in its representation of the total direct selling market over 1996. We are also seeing a resurgence of interest in the party plan concept, both in and outside our profession with perhaps the most notable stamp of approval coming from financial guru, Warren Buffet, who made a bold move when he acquired Pampered Chef. Even future trend expert, Faith Popcorn, reports numerous social and economic trends that support the promise of a bright future for direct selling and specifically, party plan. Finally, party plan selling results in something that every distributor is looking for… “immediate income.” A well-planned party that results in $500 in retail sales puts anywhere from $100 to $250 in the distributor’s pocket (less related expenses). This keeps distributors motivated and happy – something every leader and company executive wants.
Now do we have your attention? Great! Let’s look at what needs to be in place “to party.” One important element that needs to be in place is the person we refer to as a hostess or host. This is someone who is motivated to gather a group of their friends to see a brief demonstration of your products.
The hostess is often driven by one of two motivations:
1) to earn free products in exchange for introducing you to her friends and endorsing your products, or
2) to help support you and your efforts to build your business.
Understanding “WHY” she is holding the party is crucial to your success, as it influences how you motivate her toward a successful event. Secondly, you’ll need a location. While successful parties can be held in some of the most unlikely places like a park, a clubhouse or the grandstands of a child’s sports event, most parties are held in the hostess’s home or office. It is worth noting that Lunch Hour shows and After Work parties are on the rise as direct sellers go to where the consumers are – at work! With that said, our research shows that the majority of parties are still being held in the homes of hostesses. Whether their motivation is to earn free product or support your business, it is wise to offer some sort of hostess incentive as a way to thank them for their time and effort.
Since some network marketing and person-to-person companies don’t offer incentives, the DSWA provides some simple guidelines for designing one of your own. The simplest of incentives offers only a percentage of sales in the form of free products. While this is the easiest to explain and calculate, it misses the opportunity to motivate your hostess toward results other than sales. For example a good hostess incentive rewards hostesses for having a minimum number of guests in attendance, a minimum number of orders (to entice outside orders) and encouraging guests to schedule a party of their own (called bookings). Last but not least, your hostess incentive should offer a reward for helping you find your next team member.
In conclusion, with a room full of happy, engaged customers, it makes sense to offer incentives to help you maximize your results. While there is truly an art to holding a successful home party, adventurous novices who have never ventured down this lucrative path can explore the possibilities with just a little time and effort. By combining the three elements above with frequent communication with your hostess prior to the party and a presentation that is both informative and fun, you just might discover a new way of selling and sponsoring that you truly enjoy. After all, the men and women that hold a place in the direct selling Hall of Fame achieved their success not because they just did the “right thing,” but because they did the things outside their comfort zone that pushed them toward greater results.