I’m a big believer in “walking my talk,” so a couple of times a year (at least), I throw my own home party for one of my favorite direct sales reps here in my hometown. I’m having a CAbi party this month (that stands for Carol Anderson by Invitation, for those of you who aren’t familiar with CAbi. The clothes from this company are, hands down, my favorites in my closet). I’m excited about the chance to get together with my friends (whom I don’t get to see often enough) and have some fun.
As I sent out my “save the date” e-vites last week (and just to be clear, I told them I’d be mailing an invitation soon but that I wanted to give them a “heads up” so they could save the date – and I will be mailing out actual snail mail invitations this week because I’m a huge believer in that practice), I made sure to choose a theme for my party (chocoholic, which is my favorite and in my opinion, the one that gets women out to my parties more than any other theme). The front of the e-vite referenced that theme and nothing else. Once they opened the e-vite, at the bottom of that page, I told them that the party was also a CAbi party.
Within about 2 hours, over 1/2 of my guests had responded with an enthusiastic “will attend.” They were all excited about the chocolate, more than the clothes. Of course they’re all aware that they’re attending one of “those home parties,” but they’re also excited about the fun aspect of my theme.
It just really brought home to me this fact: when you send out an invitation to a home party that doesn’t have any sort of theme, it’s basically like inviting someone to a “Bread and Water” party. And, worse than that, indirectly saying “and make sure you remember to bring your checkbook.” You might as well put a headline across the top of that invitation that says, “Hey, come on over to my house next Wednesday and spend some money!” I don’t know about you, but that’s not the best way to get me excited about attending a party! If you make it about the theme instead, everyone will enthusiastically show up and the product portion of the evening will flow seamlessly and be much more comfortable for everyone.
So, no matter what else you have your host do, make sure she chooses a theme for her party. I’ll be asking my guests on the actual invitation they receive in the mail to bring their favorite chocolate to share (candy, cookies, brownies, cake or whatever). I’ve found this increases excitement even more, because the only thing women are more passionate about than chocolate is sharing with other women! Plus, I really just have to open a few bottles of good red wine (easy to find in the Walla Walla Valley), put on a pot of coffee, provide some non-alcoholic beverages, and bake my mom’s famous Lemon Brownies to share, and I’m set!
So bearing all this in mind, what do you have to say about themes and theme parties? And if you’re using them, have they increased attendance at your parties?
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Julie Anne Jones is 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 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.