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.
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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.