No matter the size of your home party plan business, the local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with vital support. They will also give you advice and services that help ensure your business is the success that you want it to be.
Why Home Party Plan Consultants Should Join Local Chamber of Commerce
If you have recently started a home party plan business, it is recommended that you join your local chamber of commerce. Your local chamber of commerce provides small businesses with the necessary advice and tools to ensure the business grows.
In the last decade there has been a significant rise in the number of people starting a home party plan business. They are particularly popular among stay-at-home moms or rather work-at-home moms.
A home party plan business suits work-at-home moms as this type of business typically has flexible working hours and demands the kind of creative skills that moms have. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated as a serious business.
Many large successful businesses started at home, businesses like Mary Kay, Avon, Pampered Chef, 31 Gifts and Tasteful Treasures to name a few. But none of these businesses would have grown into the successes they are today without assistance from the local chamber of commerce. A home party plan business should be treated with the same level of professionalism.
Party Plan Business Try Small Niche Chamber of Commerce
If your “official” local chamber is above your party plan business budget, then you may also consider some of the niche chambers if they are appropriate. Most metropolitan areas have smaller chambers that services smaller specialization markets. You may have as Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and more that you are not even aware of. You do not necessarily have to be gay or Hispanic to join these groups. (They will take anyone’s money.) When you join a niche chamber the important thing is that you are welcoming to that niche. As long as your business is willing to serve the gay and lesbian market (and it is a big one) then it would be appropriate to join.
Of course chamber events provide many opportunities to network and in addition can be a vast source of advice to suit your needs. Both the main chamber of commerces and the niche groups provide the small business owner with a range of additional services including legal and accounting services, financial services, design and print services and office supplies.
They will also have services that will help you to devise a home party business plan which helps point you in the right direction and make sure that your home party plan business is a successful venture and not a party flop.
Whether you’re a full time or part-time direct sales professional, you’re in business to make money. Direct sales professionals know that more customers mean more sales. One of the best ways to more customers and more sales is through hostess programs and home parties.
Hostess programs reward your hostesses with incentives such as discounts or free merchandise when the party sales level reaches a certain amount. In addition to a great rewards program, do your best to ensure your hostess has a terrific party experience all the way around.
Share your enthusiasm about the party with your hostess. A happy hostess is an excited one. Show her all the impressive items she can receive for hosting a great party. An enthusiastic hostess will spread her excitement to her guests which can mean a larger turnout and more sales for you. Her enthusiasm will also help her stay focused on her goals of having a successful party.
Set goals with your hostess so she can take advantage of the best that your rewards program has to offer. Help her set manageable goals so she doesn’t set herself up for failure. Too large an amount may be unachievable, but help her set a large enough goal that it’s a challenge she can reach.
Go over the party plan and contact her at periodic intervals to make sure she’s on track with her goals. A prepared hostess is a happy one. Create a party plan that outlines the steps you both will take for a successful event. Go over any activities you have planned and any questions your hostess may have.
Coach your hostess. Create an easy-to-follow checklist that you can give her to ensure she has a successful party. Review the checklist often and answer any questions your hostess may have. It’s best that the checklist is short so it won’t seem overwhelming to your hostess and dampen her excitement.
Be flexible. If your hostess has her eye on a certain product that isn’t part of the rewards offered create a way for her to receive that item through her party anyway. She’ll love the fact that you went out of your way to help her. And be sure she’ll tell others what a great consultant you are!
Before the party, review the goals you and your hostess have set. Contact guests to remind them about the party and invite them to come be a part of the fun and games you and your hostess have planned for the evening. Encourage them to bring a friend to make the time even more enjoyable.
If your hostess has invited people who can’t attend, offer them the opportunity to order online or provide her with a catalog to gather outside sales. Your hostess will appreciate you going the extra mile to help her reach her desired sales level.
During the party emphasize how your product fits the needs of your hostess and how it will fit the needs of the party guests as well. Treat the hostess’s guests with respect. Listen to the questions they ask and answer them politely. Remember they are the friends, relatives, and coworkers of the hostess. Consider a party game that allows guests to win discounts or free merchandise in addition to what the hostess earns.
Direct sales professionals want happy hostesses for a number of reasons. Happy hostesses tell their friends about their great party experiences. Other party attendants are more likely to host a party with you because they see how much fun their hostess had and the great rewards she received. Word of mouth will spread about your products, but more importantly about your rewards and the great experience you offer your hostesses.
After the party ends, it’s vital that you follow up with your hostess. Within three days of the party, send her a personal note thanking her for hosting a party and remind her of her gifts for being a hostess. You can also send a little reminder that if she has any friends interested in hosting to pass your information along to them. Following up with your hostess shows her you care about her, not just your sales, and it gives you a chance to see how she and her friends likes their products.
The key to a happy hostess is great rewards, outstanding customer service, easy and efficient party set up, dynamic follow-up, and of course great products backed by a terrific money back guarantee. Work with your hostess and provide her with one on one personal service tailored to her needs for a successful home party for your direct sales business.
With some direct sales businesses, home parties are the fastest way to success. When you have three or more people who come to a home party, you’ll get a lot more orders than if you contacted prospective customers individually.
With your presentation, charm, and ability to answer questions, people will feel more comfortable placing an order at a home party and they’ll continue to order from you in the future. Trust is a huge factor in direct sales.
Remember, too, that you probably wouldn’t have contacted these particular people had it not been for the party your hostess set up for you. You could end up with a new recruit or a valued customer from a successful home party.
An important question comes to mind, when you think about home parties, is how do you make a home party successful? Here are some things to consider.
1. Book the Right Day
Consider the time and date you plan for your party. You don’t want to host a party in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday unless the people who will attend are free during the day. Also consider holidays and the time of year you hold your parties. You might think a weekend best, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes a Tuesday or Thursday evening is better because people like to have their weekends free to relax and do family things.
2. Send Invitation Letters or Postcards
After you set the date and time for your party, offer to help your hostess invite her friends and family. When you offer your hostess letters or postcard invitations to send or hand out, she will have better results in getting people to attend. Some people have a hard time calling people to invite them, so giving them a letter or postcard might be exactly what they need.
You can send another postcard three or four days prior to the party as a reminder. People are busy so they can use every reminder possible! You can even offer to call your hostess’s guests yourself if you feel comfortable doing that. The second reminder really does make a difference.
3. Use a Hostess Checklist
Create a checklist that helps your hostess remember everything she needs to do prior to her party so she’ll be successful. A successful hostess means a successful direct sales consultant!
Include sending out invitations, phone call reminders, getting catalog orders in advance to boost her sales, and a wishlist of products she wants to earn. Your hostess may be a little nervous about having people in her home, so offering her all the help you can will make her feel more at ease. Create a simple list that can be printed and given to her at the time her party is scheduled.
4. Call Your Hostess to Confirm and Remind Her
A confirmation call a week before the party and a reminder call one or two days prior will be helpful to both you and your hostess. Confirm that she’s still planning for the party, verify the invitations and reminders have been sent, and ask about any questions or concerns. Address anything that may have come up with your hostess and ask if there is anything you can do to make her planning easier.
Home parties are a great way to build your direct sales business. They off you a room full of prospective customers regardless of the type of direct sales business you have. Home parties can be very successful for your business if you follow these tips.
One thing that isn’t often mentioned by direct sales trainers or home party plan consultants is the need to give a decent presentation during a home party. You must inform and entertain your audience so they will believe what you say about your products and be enthused enough to buy them from you!
This is such an important aspect of a successful home party plan business that it’s surprising there’s not more discussion about it. In an effort to fill the void for presentation training information, here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your next home party product demonstration.
According to Peter Urs Bender in “Secrets of Power Presentations,” there are five key components to delivering a successful presentation. They are:
1. The Speech: This is the actual presentation itself, the language and words you use. Your verbal expressions. How well you write and/or communicate your message.
TIP: Write out your script, or at least some notes, on 3″ x 5″ index cards so you can stay on track with what you want to say during the entire presentation. Include an introduction, a word of appreciation to your hostess, the story of how you came to be a consultant, games, product demonstration, business opportunity, questions and answers, order taking and anything else you need to say.
2. Body Language: This is how you stand, the gestures you make, whether or not you make eye contact with your audience, and even how you dress. This can include underlying fear, over-confidence, and other perceptions that come through whether consciously or subconsciously.
TIP: Look your best and you’ll be more confident. Wear something you like, in a flattering color that looks good on you. Navy is a good color for a more professional appearance, red will make your audience “stand up and take notice.”
Keep your make-up to a minimum, hair well-kempt but not overdone. Wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be standing for awhile. And above all… SMILE! It does wonders for your face.
Also, don’t overdo hand gestures, don’t fidget, and don’t whisper. A well-modulated, well-controlled voice in a pleasant tone is ideal.
3. Equipment: This relates to the kind and type of audio visuals you use, overheads, microphones and even helpers, if applicable, and how well you use them.
TIP: If you use posters or placards, be sure they’re laid out in order before the demonstration starts. Jot down notes on the back of any visuals you use so you know what they are and can show them without having to “peek around” or turn them over to explain.
4. Environment: This involves the choice of location for your presentation, the lighting, room set-up, temperature, noise level and other aspects of the physical environment where you’ll make your presentation.
TIP: Arrive early to set up your display table and products. Be sure to take a table of your own, even if the hostess offers one to ensure you have enough space, and include a tablecloth for added appeal.
Ask your hostess to adjust the temperature if needed so that guests don’t get too warm and fall asleep, or too cold and want to rush out the door. Also ask her to hold refreshments until after the demonstration so guests can focus on you and the products.
5. Preparation: This, of course, if how well prepared you are. Whether or not you’ve studied your script, prepared handouts, rehearsed introductions, presentation speed, and anything else associated with advance preparation.
TIP: This is the portion of your demonstration that you have full and complete control over. Dedicated preparation will make a huge difference in the success of your presentation.
Practice everything you will say and do until it becomes second nature. Practice does make perfect. And while the first demonstration may feel stilted and uncomfortable, if you hang in there, the fifth or sixth will be much easier. By the tenth, you’ll feel like an “old pro.”
Presentation skills can be learned. This isn’t necessarily something you’re born with, though “natural talkers” will–by nature–be more at ease presenting in front of a group. But even those who are naturally shy can learn to put on a good demonstration and present their products in the most favorable light in order to increase their home party sales.
Keep these ideas in mind as you prepare your next home party product demonstration. Planning for each aspect will help ensure you come across as a knowledgeable professional and will give you the confidence you need to make your next–and each following–home party a tremendous success.
You’ve searched long and hard and finally found a direct sales company you want to build a business around. So you signed up as a new consultant, got your starter kit, and you’re ready to go. Now what? You need to get busy, get some sales and some bookings to build your momentum! Here are 10 things you can do right away to get your new business off to a great start.
1. Order business cards. If the company you’ve chosen doesn’t provide them, order from a local printer or VistaPrint, but don’t neglect this important marketing tool. Once you have your cards in hand, pass them out everywhere you go. There’s a reason people have been using business cards for decades: they work!
2. Create a flyer. Include a product highlight or an offer for a free catalog, along with your phone number, email and website address. Print a bunch or have them copied onto colorful paper and post them everywhere you can. Many businesses around your town will have bulletin boards for this very purpose. Make the most of them and get the word out.
3. Buy a plain muslin tote and applique paper for your printer and create your own personalized tote. Or have one made. Be sure your logo is big and your website address is included. Then fill it with catalogs, brochures, samples and order forms and carry it everywhere you go.
4. Does your company offer a fundraising program? Then call your local PTA, clubs, churches and other groups who could use your services. You could become known as the fundraising gal and make a business just doing fundraisers! If your company doesn’t have a fundraising program, create your own. Offer a discount so groups can make a profit, design a flyer outlining the program and get busy making those calls.
5. If you’ll be doing home parties, create a list of everyone you know and book as many parties as you can during the first three weeks. Call family, friends, neighbors, teachers, co-workers and anyone you “used to know.” Offer an added incentive to anyone who books one of your first shows.
6. Ask for referrals. Ask every one of those people you called to book a party if they can refer three people who may be interested in doing the same. Assure them you’ll treat those names and phone numbers like gold and not SPAM or abuse the contact. Then begin to call your referral list and offer the same booking incentive to each of them. You should be well on your way to a full calendar by now!
7. Join a local business leads or networking group (or start your own). These groups only allow one representative from each industry, so any referrals for what you sell would be directed to you. Read up on business networking to make the most of your efforts. Finding the right group can give your business a huge boost in sales almost immediately.
8. Send out a press release. If you can’t write a professional release, hire a writer to do it for you. It needs to be well-written, not a sales letter, and it needs to address a unique aspect of your business. Done properly, a press release can generate a tremendous amount of free publicity for your new business so it’s worth the effort and small cost it may require.
9. Write an article (or two) about your industry and submit it to article directories, ezine publishers, print newsletters, your local newspaper, and webmasters. Be sure to make it entertaining and informative so readers will want to learn more from you. Include a link to your website or a contact email address at the bottom and add a free offer to generate the greatest response.
10. Create goodie bags to hand out to people you meet. Place a business card, coupon, sample product, brochure, piece of candy and anything else you think will work inside a zipper bag. Place a label on the front with full contact information and hand them out all over town.
Use your creativity and the excitement you feel when your business is new to generate quick sales and your business will start growing immediately. That, in turn, will add more excitement, which will bring in more business. You’ll be a successful direct sales business owner before you know it!
Old Catalogs Will Help Find Party Bookings
What do you do with your old catalogs?
Here is a tip on how to recycle old catalogs and use them to find home party bookings. Create a sticker that says something catchy similar to these catchy one-liners:
- “Like what you see? Have a show and get something FREE!”
- “You invite your friends and I provide the food & fun!”
Be creative and create a catchy phrase that will grab attention. Follow it with your name and phone number and a call to action. Such as “Call me to schedule a show or get a current catalog!” Then print out the stickers or labels and place them on the front of the old catalogs.
Find Party Plan Bookings All Around Town
You can find bookings by distributing the catalogs all over town. Put them everywhere that people are waiting in queue or for their turn. Go to medical and dental offices, hair salons, mechanics, garages, nail salons, the bus and train station, etc. Put them everywhere and anywhere that people sit and wait. This is just one of many bookings tips that will bring in new business. It will not fill your calendar but it will add a booking here and there.
Deb Bixler provides party plan seminars and training that teaches systems to create consistant cash flow from your party business. Using all the sources of finding bookings available to you will ensure that you have a full calendar. Deb Bixler’s tele-seminars provide an unlimited opportunity to find bookings and create party plan systems. Check out this sample of the FREE seminars with the FREE ebook for home party plan games that create more bookings.
When you are planning your direct sales online party, you need to make sure you use your time to the fullest during the party to attract more sales. You will have the potential there at the party so implement the following tips to convert more sales.
4 Tips to More Online Party Sales
I know most of us have held our own online party, been to one, or at least read about them. Many of the materials online are general, and the average online party (for individuals) has around 5-10 guests at the most. Maybe more, maybe less, depending on several factors. But really for those that do not belong to party groups, and are holding their first party the attendance is going to be very low.
After some thought, I realized the way we are holding these parties is wrong. In a previous article we talked about stepping out of the wahm zone, and searching for your specific customers. When looking for guests for your online party, it should be no different. Instead of mass submitting party invites to wahm groups, let’s take a step back and see what should be done FIRST.
1. BUILD a newsletter
Before you have your next party or even start to plan it, set up a newsletter. This is something you should have already for your business, no matter if it’s an informational newsletter or one that lists your specials – you NEED a list of potential customers. If you haven’t started to build one, start now! I could go into detail as to HOW, but newsletters are an entirely different subject of their own.
2. USE your newsletter list
No I don’t mean take advantage of them, but I do mean send your party notices to your list. Your list is the most important, targeted sources of free advertisement you have!
3. Give good REASONS to attend
Simply saying “online party – join us” isn’t enough. Not even saying “games and prizes” is enough anymore. Get creative and have a good reason for having your party. Such as announcing a new product not released yet, giving away free items (be specific in your email!), or featuring a specific type of product on your website. Informational chats are good as well, such as one that explains what a certain non-familiar product is.
4. Make a SCHEDULE
If you have monthly parties introducing or featuring specific products, the attendance is going to be better than if you just have them at random. Weekly is the best for repeat guests, but you also do not want to burn your guests out offering them the same products. Monthly would work best, since it’s not as often but still creates that habit. Make sure you have it on the same day every month (such as the 1st, 10th, 15th…something easy to remember).
Don’t forget to get creative with your parties! With so many offering online parties today, you really need to make yourself stand out. Granted if you do follow the first two steps, you WILL have a much better response since instead of just other wahms you will have a targeted group that may not be familiar with online parties. Even still, there is always room for improvement. 😉
Good luck with your next online party!
Kara Kelso & Anita DeFrank are two busy wahms, and the owners of Direct Sales Helpers – DirectSalesHelpers.com
Manage Your Inbox
Is your email out of control? Does it take you longer to sift through your inbox than you have time to spend in the office? Don’t be afraid to turn your computer on! I did a tele-seminar a few months back on time management. During the call we spoke very briefly on managing your email system for better productivity. Recently at a live seminar one of the attendees said that she incorporated my inbox management system into her office routine and has streamlined her daily email operations.
Check Your Email Daily
I get a ton of emails every time I turn my computer on. The first secret to this system is going to be a very simple technique. Make a habit of checking your email at least once a day, preferably twice. This alone will make a huge impact on the manageability factor in your inbox. I am always amazed at how many entrepreneurs go for weeks without ever checking their emails. Your email is a revenue generation system. It may not be easy to physically see the cash flow from checking your email, yet prompt attention to your inbox will increase your ability to produce income. Anyone in business needs to check the email and respond daily. Just yesterday, Thursday, I had an email from some one who wants me to speak to her company’s national conference in the Spring. She planned on making a decision on the following Monday in regard to whom she was going to hire. Had I not checked my email daily, I would have missed this opportunity to create income. Systematically checking your email reduces the enormity of it and generates income. If you are in business to make money then, check your email daily.
Delete all irrelevant messages before beginning the review process. When you first open your email on a daily basis, start at the top, and highlight the first on in the list that is to be deleted. Holding the control button down, go down the column and highlight each one to be deleted. When you hold the control button down, you can just go down the column and touch everyone that you want to delete. You should be able to tell by the subject bar which ones those are. Also highlight all of the ones that are forwarded. A little discretion can be used here although not much. It is pretty safe to say that it is a rare email that has been forwarded that is worth keeping or that needs your attention. Do not mess with forwarded email, spam, social games or any rubbish. This is a really quick process, just hold the control button down and touch each one to be highlighted. You will have a column of blue highlighted emails, then just push delete. And Wam! They are all gone! This morning when I hit delete, a huge column of emails went off the page, and zip………it went down to only 6 that needed my attention. The deleted ones probably numbered 30 or more. Later on in the afternoon when I checked back, I did the same thing and zip……only had 3 to attend too. You will be thrilled at how well this technique works.
Deal With It And Move It
Deal with each email as you have the time. After it is taken care of, responded too, printed out, etc. you can either file it or delete it. If it is an email that you want to save move it to a pre-set up folder on the side. You can have as many folders as you want under your inbox. For example, publicity, direct sales consultants, tech adviser, potential hosts, opportunity leads, etc. If you do not have time to take care of something, maybe it will take more time than you have at the moment, then just leave it in the inbox. Your inbox is only for incoming mail and mail not dealt with yet. What is in your inbox should all fit in one view pane at all times. Once it is taken care of either delete it or move it to a folder for future reference. If you send a reply back and you are waiting for a return reply, then keep it in the inbox so that you do not forget about it. The folders at the side are like filing cabinets for future reference. Deal with it, delete it, or move it to a file. Pretty simple, huh? This system really works and frees you up to generate income.
Email Tips For Business Owners
- Keep your email for business. If you are a social emailer, then have two identities. Don’t clutter up your office or your time with personal emails.
- Don’t forward junk. Don’t forward at all. If it is important, save it to a file and attach it to your own outgoing email.
- Keep you outgoing emails clean. If you are replying, then delete what is irrelevant, in the reply and change the subject bar to a new subject.
- Keep emails brief. If it fills a page or takes up more space than the window then maybe you should be talking in person.
- Be professional. You are conducting business and your business deserves to be represented professionally in print. Do not fall into the casual mode of no caps, and poor spelling or cute abbreviations.
- Beware of email addiction. When used correctly email is a tool that will compliment your other business tools. When used incorrectly it can become and obsession and an excuse not to provide real customer service.
- Did I say check your email every day?!
You will be amazed and impressed at how easy it is to keep your emails manageable with these simple strategies. And don’t forget to check your email every day! It only makes good business sense.