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Three Steps to Eliminating Home Party Cancellations

 

Eliminating-party-cancellations

Last week I wrote about how to help your hosts fill up their living rooms with guests during this all important Fall selling season. I got a few questions about how (and why) to motivate your host so I thought I'd write a follow up post on that topic this week. 

 

In the home party plan industry, bookings are your business. It's not always easy to get them, and once you have them, it's often challenging to hold on to them. The key to making sure those precious bookings don't fall off your calendar once you add them is to make sure you set those hosts up, from the very beginning, with an intentional three step plan.

 

Before you offer these three steps, make sure you tie the activity associated with them to something of value. Some representatives offer an extra incentive gift to get their hosts committed, which is fine, but I've found that simply saying to your new host, "Let me tell you exactly what you need to do in order to receive all of the host specials, gifts, and goodies I talked about during the party tonight. It's really as easy as 3 simple steps" is usually enough incentive. That way, that host knows not only what to do, but why she's doing it (in order to earn all the goodies and have a successful party).

 

So, here is this simple 3 step process:

 

Step #1 – Have your host choose her date within 30 – 45 days

 

This is pretty simple if you're using party date cards to show them the dates you're available. Don't offer them any dates further than six weeks from that night. I've found that people generally take the path of least resistance if it's offered to them, and if you tell them "These are the dates I'm available," most will choose one of the offered dates. Believe me, booking more than six weeks out dramatically increases the chances that the party will cancel.

 

Step #2 – Let your host know you'll need to get a guest list and postage from them within 7 days

 

 This list solidifies their commitment to you and to their party. It's often the task they least enjoy doing, so the element of "eating that frog" and getting it over with will many times eliminate cancellations because they can check this task off their list. Plus, if you have the list and postage and are mailing their invitations out for them, you have an insurance policy against cancellations (because once you mail the invitations 7-10 days prior to their party, they're obligated to hold the party). This practice alone will increase the percentage of booked parties that actually hold more than you can imagine.

 

Step #3 – Set a date with your new host for the two of you to meet within the next week to plan her party

 

This meeting can happen either over the phone or in person, but it should be a solid date on both of your calendars and the host should be aware that you'll need her undivided attention for at least 20 – 30 minutes. Let her know she can bring her guest list and postage to this appointment (if it's in person) as well. This is non-negotiable. If a host won't agree to give you 20 minutes of her time within the next week, you have no business expecting her to put any effort whatsoever into her actual party. If she won't agree to this, my advice would be to pass on booking the party with her.

 

Three easy steps tied to the great value of all the host benefits and specials. It's that simple. The key to success in using this system is make sure you have your language for sharing these requirements clearly scripted out and practiced and that you use it with every single party you book, whether that's at a party or over the phone. No exceptions, every single time.

 

Ready for a fresh start in your direct sales business? Grab my "Direct Sales Starter Kit" to kick start your plan. It's yours for free when you subscribe to my mailing list. Already a member? My system won't add you twice, so go ahead and grab the starter kit anyhow. Click here to subscribe to my mailing list.

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Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific systems, language, and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.

 

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6 Fabulous Tips for Increasing Attendance at Your Fall Home Parties

 

Fall-attendanceIf you've been waiting all Summer to take your business seriously again, it's TIME! Fall is upon us and I hope your calendar is filled with bookings. Now to make sure those bookings are paying off for you. The thing is, a large part of your success from those Fall parties relies on the host having a living room full of guests. So the million dollar question is, how do you support your hosts to make that happen?

 

Here are six of my best ideas:

  1. Make sure your host chooses a theme. I always ask participants at my live events, "Would you rather attend a bread and water party or a Mexican Fiesta?" Get it? A theme says "Come party with me" not "come to my house and make sure you bring your checkbook."
     
  2. Get a guest list and postage from every host, NO MATTER WHAT! This not only assures that you'll a list so you can send out the invitations (it's pretty hard to attend a party if you don't have an invitation), but more importantly, it solidifies your host's connection to you and her commitment to the party. It's the task most people hate to do the most, so having her get it done first thing ("Eat that frog" anyone?) makes it more likely that she'll actually get it done. Plus (and this is the most important part), you'll have a virtual insurance policy against that party cancelling if you have the guest list and you mail the invitations.
     
  3. Create and send a fun, compelling invitation that features that theme. And no, your company's simple postcard invitations really don't count. Honestly, think of your reaction the last time you received a postcard invitation in the mail to another home party. How excited were you to attend? See what I mean? (You can download our "Margaritaville" themed invitation for free on our free tools page on the website here).
     
  4. Create a relationship with your host prior to her party. Host coaching is the key to success in your party plan business. Period. Your host will work hard at promoting your party and making it a success if she feels a connection with you and likes you. And a nice added perk to host coaching is that, if you're offering your opportunity to your host as part of that experience, you'll generally sponsor 1 out of every 8 or so hosts with whom you work.
     
  5. Give your host clear instructions. This is so important. I say all the time people won't open their mouths if they don't know what to say. And I've found that people generally do what they're told. So give your host a goal to make follow up calls at least two days prior to her party and do a little role playing that shares some enthusiastic language about how much fun the theme is going to be so she knows what to say. Some consultants even take on this task for their hosts. Just make sure it's getting done.
     
  6. Follow-up often. Believe it or not, your party isn't as big a priority for your host as it is for you. And you want them to understand that you're there to support them. So make a follow-up call about a week prior to the party, just to touch bases and share your excitement for her upcoming party. Then follow-up at least two days prior to the party to remind her to make follow-up calls, as well as the day before the party to make final plans.

What about you? What are some of your ideas?

 

Ready for a fresh start in your direct sales business? Grab my "Direct Sales Starter Kit" to kick start your plan. It's yours for free when you subscribe to my mailing list. Already a member? My system won't add you twice, so go ahead and grab the starter kit anyhow. Click here to subscribe to my mailing list.



WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE FOR FREE IN PRINT OR ONLINE

You may, as long as you do not alter it and include the following information (with active links as appropriate):

Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific systems, language, and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.

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E-mail Management for Direct Sellers

I'm addicted to e-mail. I'm not afraid to admit that, but I'm not proud of it either. I check it way too often and it has the power to completely derail my day if I allow it to. The only consolation is that just about everyone I know shares my addiction (and lately you can also add Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. to that addiction list, but that's a separate blog post).

 

I have tons of great direct sales training tools for managing my addiction, and when I apply them, I feel amazing and I'm productive as can be. So I thought I'd write a post and share some basic, easy-to-use tools to help you manage the volume of your e-mail and the time commitment you make to it. The key to these training tools will be for you to have the self-discipline to apply them (and I speak from experience). They’ll only work for you if you make the decision that you’re going to control your e-mail and not the other way around. And I'll just tell you up front, this post is a little long because I got on a roll, so you may have to save it and read it later. It's worth it though, so be sure you do that.

 

So, let’s start at the beginning – your e-mail program. You’re either using an online program (like Gmail or Yahoo Mail) to manage your business e-mail, or you’re using a desktop program like Outlook or Mail on the Mac. No matter what you’re choosing to use, the key is to become familiar with the management options of your program and to start to utilize them. I’d recommend that you take some time and just explore your program.

 

In Gmail and Yahoo mail, for example, in the upper right hand corner of the main mail page, there is a little sprocket that will open up your account setting options. That tab has simple to use tools for setting up a signature, a vacation response, and sorting your e-mails into separate folders as they arrive. If you’re using Outlook, go to the tools menu and click on options. Again, you’ll see several areas that allow you to customize Outlook to work for you. In Mac Mail, it’s the options menu. In both of these programs, you can create rules to presort incoming e-mails into separate folders which helps with your direct sales business. Just take some time and play around, try different functions and see how they work.

 

I recommend that you set up three main folders and then sub-folders within these three categories to automatically sort your e-mails when they arrive. If all your e-mails come into your main mailbox, it can feel overwhelming to open that box and try to sort out which ones to give your attention to first. If you have a set of folders and your e-mails are automatically sorted when they hit your system, you can go to the most important folders first and then work your way down to the least important. It will take you a little while to set up these folders (or create rules for each one), but once it’s done, it makes checking your e-mail more productive, faster, and easier because you can then choose which folder to look at first and prioritize how you’ll actually process through each folder.

 

Set up your three main folders using the “hot/warm/cold” concept (taken from my Get Organized and Take Back Your Life program and which I first learned from professional organizer Krista Clive-Smith).

 

Hot – These are the important e-mails that require your attention immediately. They are generally not “bulk” or generic e-mails, but a specific request or directive from a specific individual to you. These are also generally the e-mails that will be more income producing for your direct sales business. My hot zone includes e-mails from my business manager or our administrative assistant and e-mails from clients or joint venture partners.

 

Warm – These are e-mails that are of interest to what you’re doing now, often from your home office or direct sales resources that you need right away. These include newsletters and educational e-mails. For me, warm items are things like newsletters related to working or marketing my business, my Social Media folder (which signals me regarding social media activity), e-mails promoting educational calls in which I might be interested, and information about the online software that I use.

 

Cold – Cold e-mails are generally those I don’t even read before deleting. Things I can tell from the subject line I don’t need to read or “junk” mail that I mark as spam and delete. This zone can also include e-mails that you think you might be interested in in the future but don’t want to read right now. They would go into a folder for future reading.

 

Here are some examples of my sub-folders within each of the above categories:

  • Personal/Family
  • Customer Support
  • Social Media
  • Bills to Pay
  • For Follow-up
  • Future Ideas
  • Travel
  • Current Projects
  • Reading
  • Receipts
Using this system has supported me in shaving literally hours off of my e-mail commitment. It makes it easy to sort through what I want to read when and what is the best use of my time for e-mail.
 
Here are a few other tips for managing your e-mail habit:
  • Make sure the settings on your social media accounts are serving you. I’ll give you an example. When I first signed up for Twitter, I had alerts turned on for anyone who direct messaged or replied to a tweet. I was getting dozens of unnecessary e-mails each day that were simply cluttering up my inbox with information I didn’t need. So I went into Twitter and adjusted the settings so I no longer receive the notification. You can do the same thing with Face Book and LinkedIn. I do recommend leaving the LinkedIn alerts on, since activity in that account can be less frequent and it’s a good reminder to check it at least 2-3 times each week when you do get an alert.
     
  • If you have automatic e-mail checking and notifications turned on, DEACTIVATE THEM! These will pull you off track faster than anything else. You can be productive and working away and then your system informs you that you have an e-mail, you go and check it, and the next thing you know, it’s 45 minutes later and you haven’t completed the project upon which you were working. That’s how people get “overwhelmed” and behind.
     
  • Remove yourself from unnecessary lists. Many of my direct sales training clients have the option to join message boards and lists with other members of their companies. These can be a great resource, but they can also create stress with the volume of e-mails they generate and the amount of time they take to read. Many have the option to receive less frequent “digest” versions of the activity, with several e-mails on the same subject condensed into one digest version, so you still get the information but you don’t have to slog through ten e-mails to do it.
     
  • For some, opting completely out of one or more of these lists is what’s necessary. Even if you just need to suspend your membership for a little while until you get things “under control” I recommend that you do that. It will be worth it in the long run to get your e-mail box back to a manageable place and the information you’ll miss will still be there when you come back.
     
  • Don’t let your e-mail box become a junkpile, overflowing with garbage. I recommend that you clear out your Hot zone main box as completely as you can by the end of each day. That means reading each e-mail and either acting on it (if necessary) and deleting it, or moving it to a different folder for future action. Keeping items languishing in your e-mail box steals your energy because when you open it, you’re overwhelmed with what you haven’t done. Get it taken care of and get rid of it.
     
  • If you have a huge backlog of e-mails in your inbox (we had one client who had over 2000!), begin going through them once a day. Schedule a certain hour devoted to just doing this, and set a goal for yourself (clear at least 25 e-mails at a time, etc.). Most importantly, during this long term clearing out process, be sure you’re working hot/warm/cold system on any new e—mails you get so the problem won’t be repeated any more.
These are my best direct sales training tips for managing your e-mail habit. I can guarantee you, you can find hours in your day by applying these techniques and those hours can then be applied to your direct sales business and moving forward toward your goals. What are some of your best tips?
 
Ready for a fresh start in your direct sales business? Grab my "Direct Sales Starter Kit" to kick start your plan. It's yours for free when you subscribe to my mailing list. Already a member? My system won't add you twice, so go ahead and grab the starter kit anyhow. Click here to subscribe to my mailing list.


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE FOR FREE IN PRINT OR ONLINE?

You may, as long as you do not alter it and include the following information (with active links as appropriate):

Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, keynote speaker, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read more blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.

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