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Surviving the J-Months (January June July)

25 Apr

January can be a letdown for some direct sellers who are coming off a busy Christmas season.  June is hard to get bookings with grads and dads. July can be just as difficult with summer heat and planned vacations. Because of the above mentioned challenges, successful party plan consultants often find themselves working harder during the J-months than any other.

It would be a mistake to take these months off. Some consultants have the attitude that if it is slow, they might as well just wait until it picks back up again before they start working.  The problem with that logic is that the party plan direct sales business requires constantly planning ahead.  Planning for the current month, in the current month isn’t going to be very fruitful.  The time to schedule June Open Houses or July pool or patio themed parties is in May.

November and December can be very busy months for direct sellers. They are also months when sales and bookings come much easier and don’t require working as hard to get them.  Because of the easier sales during the holiday season, it’s also the prime time to challenge yourself by setting up for January.

The J-months could require being creative or, in some cases, going back to basics to keep your business running at an even pace.  If you’re struggling it may be because you’ve veered too far off the simple system that your company has set up for you. Or just the opposite, sometimes it requires you to do something a little differently.  Figure out which adjustment is needed for your business.

Use the five ideas below to help prevent your J-Months from being a snooze-fest.

  1. Online Efforts – Fresh content is the key.  Whether you have a website or a blog, adding fresh content will keep your readers interested and can even help drive more traffic to your website. Updating a blog twice a week should be the minimum standard.  Anything less than that, and you’re going to see little to no results.
  2. Offer Special Promotions – many companies will offer additional hostess or customer specials during the J-Months because they recognize it can be a slower time of year. Take full advantage of these extra specials. If you predetermine that no one on your mailing list would be interested in the specials, then you’re doing a disservice to your sales business. Spread the word…
  3. Direct Mailings – Cold calling and soliciting is highly frowned upon by many companies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break into new markets. Why not mail some catalogs to a targeted audience?  Decide which market segments could benefit from your products. Depending on your product line, potential groups could be daycare centers, animal shelters, senior living communities, or apartment complexes. After a few days, you should call to follow up.

4. Product Displays – Do you know anyone who owns or works at a salon, boutique, or any other establishment that gets a fair amount of foot traffic?  Ask the manager or owner if you could set up a small display at their reception desk for a week or two.  Be sure to leave product catalogs and business cards too.

  1. Ask for referrals – If you’re not comfortable asking friends, family or other contacts for referrals of people they know who may be interested in your business opportunity or product offering, ask where they get their hair cut, or what vet their puppy uses or if they can think of any other business owner who may be willing to set up a display.

It doesn’t matter what month it is now.  Those slower J-months: January, June and July arrive at the same time every year.  Plan ahead and while your competitors are sitting idle and frustrated, you’ll be busy with your business.

Overcoming Objections

26 Feb

noA good way to overcome objections is by offering a solution before your potential hostess has an opportunity to make the objection.  One of two things will happen – either the hostess will appreciate that you have a solution and it’ll be win/win or, when you offer a reasonable solution, it’ll become evident that the hostess didn’t really want to have a party in the first place. Either way, you can move forward.

For example, the most frequently stated reasons people give for not wanting to host a home party are because they don’t want to clean their house, their pet would be in the way, or they don’t have enough space.

If you are building relationships and listening carefully, you’ll probably already know if one of the excuses above is likely to be given. If you see that coming, offer the potential hostess the opportunity to host a reverse party. Tell her that you’ll have the party at your house. She’ll still be the hostess and still earn the rewards, but her friends and family will just show up at your house instead of hers.

You can worry about the cleaning and snacks so she doesn’t have to, and you have enough space to accommodate everyone. She gets to reap the rewards without all the hassle. It’s also win/win for the consultant because you don’t have to haul your inventory and continually set up and tear down your party display.

Another common reason given for not wanting to host a party is that she doesn’t have any local friends or that her friends aren’t really party people. These would be valid reasons not to be a hostess if there were no alternative solutions. Many people still think of a direct sales party as sitting in a circle in a living room for hours while attempting to give your undivided attention to some consultant who drones on and on. When really they just want to place a quick order and be on their way.

To the person who objects because she has no local friends – online parties and social media have made long distance parties possible.  To the person whose friends aren’t party people – she could still do a catalog party. Give her associates a chance to view the catalog in person or online and then place orders the same way. She’d still reap the hostess rewards without actually holding a physical home party.

Take a minute to figure out why you think the person you want to ask to host a party would say no, then find a solution and offer it up before she ever gives you her objection.  Who knows, it just may help you fill your calendar.

What do you do to overcome objections?

xo

Debbie

Join Home Party Divas today for coaching, support, advertising and support for only $19.97 a month.

Debbie Shulman, Owner of Home Party Divas is a mom of 4 and a happy wife in a happy life. Lives in Florida. She loves direct sales and feels it is the best way to own a business without a large investment.

Overcoming Challenges of Booking Home Parties

3 Feb

women-party-1One of the most common challenges of being an independent consultant with a home party plan is the ability to get constant bookings.  If you can’t keep your calendar full, it’s difficult to have success in a home party business.  Below are three widespread reasons for less than stellar results in getting bookings. Keep reading, as it is also followed with solutions to overcome these challenges.

1.  The people you talk with aren’t the party-hostess type. It may be that simple. They’re just not into having people over while someone tries to sell them something. Have you ever tried to convince your grandma to try skateboarding? Or tried to sell someone who only buys products made in the USA to purchase a foreign car? There are times that no matter what you say, you will not cause a cat to change her stripes.

2.  You predetermine who would and would not be interested. You’ve decided in your head, “oh so and so wouldn’t be interested.” You don’t even give her the opportunity to consider it. You’ve already decided that her answer will be, “No.”  If you have these psychic abilities to read minds, this may be another career more suited for you, Oh Great Swami.

3.  Maybe, just maybe, the words and phrases you are using make those you talk with want to run! You may say the words “home party” but the person you’re speaking with hears “root canal and IRS audit.” Perhaps saying the same thing with different words may be more palatable.

The Fix:

If you recognize yourself in any of the above scenarios keep reading:

1.  Your direct sales company may permit you to sell in ways other than home parties.  Assuming you can, it may be a better fit for you to sell at craft shows or county fairs. More and more companies are allowing some degree of internet marketing; or maybe fundraisers might be your niche. If you’re getting nowhere trying to book home parties,  try some alternative methods before you frustrate yourself to the point of “this doesn’t work, I’m quitting!”

2.  Stop pre-qualifying everyone and give people a chance to say yes, no or maybe so. Under no condition should you ever, ever, use the word “favor.”  Your host wouldn’t be doing you a favor by agreeing to have a party. You would be doing her a favor by giving her the opportunity to earn free and discounted products. To think otherwise gives the message you’re representing a company that has nothing of value to offer.

3.  Rewrite your script. Omit the words Home Party from your vocabulary. Which sounds more inviting: “Do you want to host a home party and earn hostess benefits?” Or “Free (cosmetics, jewelry, kitchenware) for large orders” ?  Both are offering the same benefits. Maybe “Open House” might bring more favorable results.

If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting. It may be time to change it up a bit.

Join Home Party Divas today for coaching, support, advertising and support for only $19.97 a month.

Debbie Shulman, Owner of Home Party Divas is a mom of 4 and a happy wife in a happy life. Lives in Florida. She loves direct sales and feels it is the best way to own a business without a large investment.