Looking For Your Next Hostess?
Hostesses are the people who help you the most when it comes to profiting from your direct sales business since they’re the ones who schedule your parties. Hostesses do a lot of work when they hold a party for you.
The hostess is the one who sets up for the party, sends out invitations, calls her friends and family and opens her home to guests. Pretty much all you have to do is set up your products, show them off, and collect the orders.
So make the most of your hostess package to let your hostess know how much you value her help. Something small can often make all the difference in the world in helping your hostess feel appreciated. Here are two suggestions for you.
Your hostess wants to know she’s getting something out of the party, too. Inviting her friends and socializing with them is great, but typically, not enough. Show her you care by offering her something free or at a good discount on her personal order.
Most direct sales companies offer hostess specials, but if you offer something above that, she’ll know how much you, personally, appreciate her. She’ll also tell her friends and be willing to hold more parties for you.
Offer to help your hostess, either by hosting the party at your home or arriving early and helping her set up. Sometimes busy moms have trouble getting ready for a home party and just the help alone may be the deciding factor in getting her to book a show.
As direct sales business owners, do what it takes to make a party happen. Even if that means going to someone’s home to help them set up the chairs and the food!
Finding hostesses can be a challenge. Here are some ideas that will help you find new hostesses or bring your former hostesses back for another show.
• Hold your own party
You play the hostess and invite your friends and family members. When you show your attendees all the perks that come with being a hostess many of them will consider it. Show them what to do and how to do it and they’ll see that it’s not as hard as they might have feared.
• Networking events
A lot of communities hold networking events once a month. Attend these events and see what you can do about finding people who are interested in your products. Make sure you talk to people about their business and their lives before you throw your own business out to them.
If your community doesn’t have one of these type events, consider hosting a networking event of your own. You’ll have full control of who’s invited and how it works, and be able to run it the way you want.
• Schools or grocery stores
When you’re waiting at the school for your children, strike up a conversation with another mom and see what you can do about getting her interested in holding a party for you. You can do the same thing when you’re standing in line at the grocery store. Make sure you have business cards and flyers to hand out.
Also, write down her name and phone number if she doesn’t’ have a card to give you in return so you can contact her later. And write down the place you met and any other important information that she shares with you for future reference.
When you call, you can mention some details in your conversation and your new friend will feel more comfortable holding a party because she’ll “know” you.
Finding hostesses can be challenging at times. But if you’re creative and use the tools available to you, you’ll find it’s easier than you may have thought originally. don’t be afraid to ask people you meet if they would be willing to hold a party for you. Some people may say no, but you won’t know until you ask. And you may find some of your best hostesses that way.
Increase Direct Sales Through Happy Hostesses
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.
Holding Your First Direct Sales Party
The popularity of having parties at home continues to grow and direct selling home party companies are a very lucrative business. Whether you like to sell food, adult products, dishes, toys, books, purses or jewelry there is something out there to satisfy everyone.
Once you have your niche and are enrolled in the company you’ve chosen, you’re ready to hold your first party. Having your first party can seem a bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Ask your direct sales leader for help and ideas. Invite plenty of family members and friends. Having people you know and that you’re comfortable with attend the first party especially, versus complete strangers, will give you added confidence.
Invite two to three times as many people as your guest list is made out for. This will fill your meeting space even if you have some no-shows and hopefully land you some new customers as well. Be sure to invite anyone you’d like to recruit for your down line, too.
Life gets in the way and we all have other obligations. Sometimes guests won’t be able to make it. By inviting an additional guests you won’t have to worry about short-falls on your guest list.
Be sure to give your guests advance notice of your party. Doing so will help them to plan their schedules accordingly and you’ll have a better chance at a full house. If you give someone a month’s notice, they’re likely to forget. Giving two to three weeks notice is plenty of time for them to pencil in your party date.
Be sure to follow up with a phone call since you want to make sure everyone got their invitations. A good time to call is a few days after sending out the invitations. Then call again a few days prior to the date of your party to remind everyone and get an idea of who plans to attend.
Talk about your products to everyone. In direct selling, many companies push the phrase, “The Power of Three.” Every day venture out and talk to at least three people about your product. Show excitement. Let everyone know how wonderful your products are and how happy you are to be with the company.
Hand out business cards and invite people to a home party. If they’re unable to attend, give them a catalog so they can be ready for future parties and orders.
Serve light refreshments at your party. Most home parties last a couple hours. So make sure your guests are comfortable. Keep it simple and basic. Tea, coffee, bottled water, and soda allows something for everyone and isn’t too much work.
If your direct sales party requires cooking then your food is already taken care of. For others, it’s nice to have a snack for your guests. Again, keep it simple. A cheese and cracker tray or a vegetable and dip tray, or a pan of brownies are great.
Providing games is a fun way to increase sales. Start off with a “Get to Know Me” game. Doing so will allow you to customize products that are most beneficial for your guests. Games like Bingo and How Well Do You Know your Hostess is a nice way to offer product samples and everyone enjoys that.
The main thing to remember is to have fun. Enjoy yourself and your guests are sure to do the same. That will lead them to want to come to your next direct sales party… and even host one of their one!
Coaching Your Direct Sales Hostesses
Having a good hostess is one key to a successful direct sales business. It’s your hostess that your customers will deal with and ultimately, your hostess who will sell the product. The hostess has a stake in sales, too, since she’ll benefit from bonuses, incentives, and lower costs for getting sales.
Every hostess needs a good motivator. Being a hostess can be a tough job sometimes, especially if someone is doing it on a regular basis. Here are some tips for coaching your hostess to ensure that she’s always smiling, always ready to host a party, and always ready to sell your product.
Getting your hostess ready to sell will begin the first time you meet her. Make sure you give her with some good words of advice and support, and a packet of things she’ll need when talking to people about her party. This packet should include catalogues, some order forms, forms for collecting addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses, and a wish list for her to start compiling a all the bonuses and incentives she wants to receive.
An unprepared hostess will feel uncomfortable because she won’t have the materials to help her when dealing with customers. Customers will pick up on this and won’t be confident in your company or products. So arming her with a simple starter packet will relieve tension and stress on her end, and give you peace of mind that the right information is getting out to customers.
From the first meeting with your hostess until the big sales event, it’s important to coach your hostess and give her the support she needs. Set gentle deadlines for her to have things such as her guest list confirmed, her wish list filled out, and a party checklist completed. These deadlines will give your hostess a clear-cut outline to follow and will make her feel more confident as she’s going through the party planning process.
During the party, collect contact information, order forms, and other important information from your hostess for each of the guests if you haven’t already. Once the hostess has completed a few events with your help, she’ll know to provide you with this information, but ensuring you ask for this information will help to ensure she doesn’t forget to give it to you.
At some point during the party, be sure to thank your hostess in front of the guests. Being a hostess is great and has its perks but it’s also hard work. Your hostess needs to feel appreciated so she’ll want to throw another party. Letting your guests know that she has worked hard for this party and that you appreciate it will go a long well to helping your hostess feel motivated.
While thanking your hostess, mention any free gifts or discounts she received for hosting the party. This might interest one of the guests to host their own party and you might just find yourself coaching another new hostess soon.
When you get a new catalogue or new products, you can hold a Hostess Appreciation Party at your home. This party would be just for previous hostesses and would be a great way to show them just how much you do appreciate all their hard work. Hostesses are your contact with customers so treat them just as you would want to be treated.
Set out samples of your new products and allow your hostesses to feel, smell, touch, and look at them. Getting your hostesses “up close and personal” with new products will give them a good knowledge and encourage them to have another party for you.
And any knowledge your hostess has will be passed right along to your customers. At the end of the party, make sure you have a small gift for each of them to show your appreciation in a tangible way.
Hostess coaching may take some effort, but it’s not difficult and the results you achieve will be well worth your time and energy when your sales continue to grow from successful home parties.
10 Tips for Successful Hostess Coaching
Making your hostess happy (and keeping her that way) will help tremendously in ensuring stronger bookings, more and better parties with larger attendance, and ultimately higher sales. Hostess coaching may not come naturally to every direct sales consultant, especially a new one, but it can be learned.
1. Book your parties within two to three weeks maximum. Booking farther out tends to encourage more cancellations since most people don’t keep their calendars that far in advance and many things can come up. This will give you and your hostess plenty of time to create a guest list, get invitations sent out and (hopefully) get another booking or two from your hostess’s friends.
2. Give each hostess a packet filled with information to help her prepare for her party. Include:
• At least 3-4 catalogs
• About 10 order forms
• A sheet for her to begin a “wish list” of the free and discounted products she wants
• A guest list with room for complete contact information for the guests she wants to invite
• Information on your business opportunity
• Any other information you think may motivate her toward a better party
• A thank you card to let her know you appreciate the booking
3. For best results, ask your hostess to return the guest list to you so that you can send out invitations rather than leaving the task to her. This has proven to bring much greater success and more guests in attendance at parties. You can then send a postcard invitation to each guest and follow-up with a phone call the days before the party.
4. Encourage your hostess to get as many outside orders as she can since this will greatly increase her party sales, thereby increasing her free products and discounts (not to mention your sales!).
5. Follow-up with your hostess one week after the booking to be sure she has everything she needs and to answer any questions she may have. Also call her one to two days before the party to re-confirm and cover any last minute details. Ask if she’s gotten any outside orders, and how many guests are planning to be there.
6. On the night of the party, recognize your hostess and publicly thank her for inviting you into her home. Give her a free hostess gift just for holding the party, and offer a free gift right then to anyone who books a party off hers.
7. A day or two after the party, call your hostess and thank her again for all she did. Send her a postcard or note card in the mail to say thank you more formally. You could include a business card magnet so she can call you if she has questions, needs anything, or for when she’s ready to rebook.
8. Collect all the outside orders your hostess collected and finalize her party as quickly as possible. After all money is collected, be sure her order arrives on time and intact. Communicate with her often to deal with any issues that may arrive such as damaged products or delayed shipments.
9. Call your hostess after all orders have been delivered to be sure she and her guests were pleased with their products. Ask her if she knows anyone else who may want to book a party or join your team. Encourage her to call you if she has any questions at any time.
10. Call your hostess again about four to six months after her party and invite her to book another. Tell her about any new hostess products or incentives you have to offer and give her an added discount such as 10% off any one item for being a repeat hostess.
Hostess coaching may not come naturally, but it can make a world of difference in the success of your direct sales parties. Do all you can to coach your hostess to success and you’ll be building your own business success in the process.
5 Secrets to Making Happy Hostesses
Happy Hostesses mean more guests invited to your home parties, a more relaxed atmosphere during the party itself, and better party sales. The key is how to make a Happy Hostess and how to get her motivated to have a great show.
1. Offer added incentives.
Many direct sales companies provide gifts designed solely for hostesses, but you can become known as the consultant who offers more to her hostesses. Add a small gift that no other consultant offers.
This could be an added 10% discount on product, a surprise product that you bought on clearance and wrapped in a pretty gift bag, or even a complimentary book of tips (that you wrote and published yourself) on ways to use your company’s products more effectively. Whatever it is, giving your hostesses a little something extra will let them know you appreciate them and the part they play in building your business.
2. Publish a monthly newsletter or ezine.
You can easily create a monthly newsletter filled with hostess coaching tips, product information, discount coupons, ideas for using company products, contest drawings and more. It’s a great way to keep in touch with prospects and past customers. And if you send it out by email, it only costs some of your time.
Be careful that you do more than sell products, though. No one needs another sales letter, but most people will gladly accept some soft-selling “commercials” in the midst of an informative publication filled with ideas they can use.
3. Send greeting cards or postcards.
While you can use e-cards to keep in touch–and that’s okay!–think of the impact a physical card would have on a customer’s birthday or anniversary. Or think of how she would respond when you send her a postcard saying “Thanks for hosting your party with me!” It still only costs a few cents to mail a postcard or greeting card, but the impact on your hostesses may be priceless.
4. Become a good motivational coach.
While it may take some training to learn how to coach your hostesses well, making the effort to learn will pay off tremendously over time. Learn to recognize different personality types and discover what motivates each one. Then make the most of each hostess personality type to encourage them in ways that matter to them, individually.
If a hostess wants recognition, seeing her name published in your monthly newsletter will make her feel special. If she likes rewards, giving her an added gift will do the trick. Build on what motivates your hostesses to keep them as happy as you can. They’ll reward you with loyalty and word of mouth referrals to help you grow your direct sales business in record time.
5. Support your hostesses.
If a hostess receives an order that’s wrong, do your best to make it right. Even if the product is shipped to her directly, step in and help her resolve the issue. Offer to call the company for her. Offer to replace an item. Give her ideas for what to say to friends whose orders were late when they expected their orders to be on time. Go the extra mile to do whatever you can do to support your hostess. It’s called customer service and it’s what a good business is built on.
Offering added incentives, keeping in touch through newsletters, greeting cards and postcards, being a motivational coach and supporting your hostesses may seem like a lot of added work. But practicing these strategies will help turn you–as a direct sales consultant–into one with a good, strong reputation for caring for your hostesses and not just someone who wants to make a buck.
Ultimately, the number of parties you host and your sales will increase, but they’ll do so through word of mouth marketing and quality referrals. Let serving your hostesses and your customers become your business priority and they will build your business for you.
Creating a Helpful Hostess Packet
You can never put too much time or effort into training your hostess. And while many direct sales managers coach on the topics of increasing sales and recruits, few focus on what it takes to make a hostess happy and how to increase your direct sales success through hostess coaching. Those who do may neglect the importance of a standardized Hostess Packet in communicating with your hostess.
Communication is a huge factor in keeping a hostess happy. Communication involves a variety of factors. Letting your hostess know what is expected of her. Letting her know what you’ll provide. Informing her of any changes in agenda, schedule or format. Staying in touch through encouraging emails and phone calls. Basically… communicating with her!
It’s easier for a hostess to do a good job if she knows what to expect and what is expected of her. Communicate both messages clearly and you’ll make your hostess happy, which will, in turn, increase your sales and hostess staying power. And a ready-made hostess packet is a tremendous way to communicate consistently.
You can create a standard hostess packet that includes the following features inexpensively and in a minimal amount of time. Make up a few to have on hand and keep them in your car so you can share one as soon as you book a show. A standard packet of materials will make communicating with your hostess much simpler, almost routine.
• Welcome Letter
Thank your hostess for booking a show with you. Confirm the date and time as well as the location. Remind her of your hostess rewards program and what she can earn for hosting a show. Provide her with full contact information for you including your name (she may forget), phone number, email, instant messenger if you use it, etc.
• Catalogs or Brochures and Order Forms
Give your hostess a catalog or two and a few order forms so she can take advance orders. You’ll both be on your way to a more successful show.
• Invitations and Address Labels
If your company provides post cards, give your hostess as many as she thinks she’ll need to invite all her guests. You can also provide address labels to make her job easier. Or even offer to address and mail the invitations for her! That’s a service that a lot of hostesses will gladly accept. And one which ensures invitations go out on time and with all the correct information.
• Business Cards
If your company offers the ability to tie online sales to a particular show, you can increase your pre and post-party sales by providing your hostess with business cards that include your website address for easy online ordering.
Encourage your hostess to give a card to everyone, whether they plan to attend the show or not. That way, even those who think they’ll be there can order online if they have a schedule change and can’t make it. Give your hostess a code that friends should use when ordering online to ensure all orders are credited to her show.
• Hostess Rewards Planner
Create a one-page sheet that includes all the ways your hostess can earn rewards from her show. Include one in every hostess packet.
• Potential Guest List
Also create a list of all the types of people your hostess should consider as possible guests. Include such folks as friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, parents of her kids’ friends, teachers, church friends, etc. Encourage your hostess to fill this form out completely and plan to over-invite. Doing so will ensure a larger group of guests and a more successful show.
• Successful Party Tips
You might also want to include a list of tips to help your hostess on the day of the show. Include such things as keeping the refreshments simple, calling friends on the day of the show to remind them, finding someone to babysit, etc.
• Plan What You’ll Say When Coaching Your Hostess
Though you never want to sound like a robot, having a script to communicate various aspects of your hostess coaching session will make the job seem less like a chore while still flowing smoothly. Jot down some notes on what you’d like to say and practice until the conversation seems to flow and you remember to cover all the topics of importance.
Remember that your hostess wants to succeed! By hosting a successful show your hostess gains more in the form of prizes, free products, discounts, etc. Helping her succeed will create a happy hostess. And a happy hostess means one who earns more for you. It’s definitely a win-win situation for all concerned!
Helpful Hints for Hostess Coaching
Coaching your hostess to do her best job in preparing for her direct sales party with you will help you both. A successful hostess means a successful party and that means more gifts for her and more orders (more money!) for you. Spending the time required to ensure your hostess does well is in your own best interest, but it will also make a better experience for your hostess, which means she’ll be more likely to book with you again – and encourage her friends to book with you, too. It’s a win-win situation all the way around.
Here are some ways to coach your hostess to ensure her party is successful:
• Encourage your hostess to call her prospective guests as soon as she books the party to get it on their calendars. This is especially important if you host a party with limited seating, or if you need to bring specific supplies such as in a scrapbooking workshop or a cooking class.
• Tell her how important it is to over-invite, since some guests could have something come up at the last minute that would keep them from showing.
• Encourage her to call each guest again on the day of the party just to remind them. People do forget – even if they wrote it down – and this can double or triple her attendance.
• Ask for contact information for each confirmed guest so you can call them as well. Have your hostess tell them you’ll be calling. Assure them you’ll only take about five minutes of their time, but that you’d like to touch base. Introduce yourself, find out if they are familiar with your product line or if they have questions about anything. This will help you and the guests to feel more at ease with each other during the party itself.
• Stress that she keep refreshments simple. Most successful hostesses serve only soft drinks or tea and cookies. Discourage your hostess from ordering pizza, making sandwiches, or cooking a full meal. You want the guests’ focus to be on the party and the products, not on the food. And ask your hostess to plan to serve refreshments after the show.
• Have your hostess plan in advance in what room she’ll hold her party. A well-lit area with plenty of seating is ideal. Depending on the type of party, suggest the dining room, living room or den. But ensure her that you’ll work with what you have. You don’t want her to feel stressed because she doesn’t have the “right kind” of space. Be flexible.
• If your hostess has small children, encourage her to have her husband or someone else entertain the children elsewhere for an hour or so. She’ll want to suggest this to her guests, too, since children can distract from the show. Stress that it’s not that you don’t love children, but the fewer the interruptions, the sooner you can finish. And since most of us are very busy women, our time is valuable. Remind her that even mom needs a little time for herself once in awhile.
• Be sure to give your hostess an order form and a couple catalogs or brochures to help her get orders before the party. Not everyone she invites will be able to attend. Getting some outside orders can tremendously increase her sales so encourage her to get as many as she can.
• Make sure she also has complete contact information for you, including email, cell phone and anything else she can use to contact you. You want to be available for any and all questions she or prospective guests may have.
• Let her know that you’re looking forward to the party and that you you’re going to do your best to ensure she and her guests have a really good time.
Regardless of the number of guests she has, tell her how much you appreciate her and give her a small thank you gift just for booking the show. Her efforts matter, and showing your appreciation will build her loyalty, which is a key in building your direct sales business through home parties.
Help Your Hostess Help YOU Make Money
If you’re just starting out in a new direct sales business your shows may not be what you need them to be as far as sales go in order to reach your income goals but, what can you do? Get your hostess to help you out.
Helping your hostess make the sales for you not only helps you make money, but also makes her show a success! Below are some tried and true “tricks” that have been proven to increase sales. These are ways you can help your hostess help make YOU money!
Getting the hostess benefits (FREE STUFF) is why she booked her show in the first place.
This is the greatest incentive there is when working with your hostess to increase sales. Encourage outside sales to boost her total party amount. Call her a couple of times before the show to see how many outside sales she’s gotten. If she doesn’t have outside orders before her show, hold the show open a few days and let her collect enough outside orders to help her reach her sales goal. Keep in mind that she will have some sales at her show as well.
Another thing your hostess can do to boost their sales is have their guests bring a friend. Offer a small gift to the person who brings the most friends and be sure to tell your hostess to tell her guests! Write in on the invitations. More guests equal more sales!
If your product is skin care or personal products, encourage your hostess to use the product and wear it to work or church or wherever she goes! She probably already does this, so when people compliment her on how she looks or likes the fragrance she is wearing, it’s a great conversation starter for telling them about her show coming up and inviting them or getting outside sales. So remind your hostess of this so she can look for open doors of opportunity.
Remind your hostess to tell her guests, friends and family about the hostess gift she is working toward. Most people will make a purchase simply to help their friend or relative reach their goals.
If your product is home décor or kitchen appliances or cookware, encourage your hostess to point out what products she uses or has in her home during the show. When people see how useful something will be to them, they will be more likely to purchase.
Encourage your hostess to talk about, and be excited about, how the product has helped her or has been useful to her before the show and during the show. If your hostess uses and loves the product, she will be a natural spokesperson for you! Remind her to let everyone she talks to know about the party coming up. Some people will make an outside order or commit to coming to the party just because of her excitement and enthusiasm. Ask the guests at your shows what products they own and how they use them. You might be surprised how someone’s great idea can bring you a sale.
If your product is some type of home organization system, have your hostess talk about how unorganized her home was before she started using the system. Showing before and after pictures would also be a great way to show how well the system really works! This is true for skin care products as well!
Your hostess is the number one way to increased sales! Be there for her and encourage her every step of the way. Make the show about her, and not about what you’re going to get out of it! You can never go wrong when you invest time, energy and money into helping someone else being a success and reaching their goals!