As a work-at-home mom, I have to admit that I don't get out often enough. I'm constantly focused on everyone's needs but my own. So when I do get a night off and I get to go out with my friends (often times to a direct sales home party), I want to cut loose and have fun. And I'm not alone. You get a group of women together, especially those who need a break (and what woman doesn't), and sometimes they get a little out of control. Add alcohol to the mix, and it can get downright ugly. Many direct sellers who do home parties for a living struggle with "control" at their home parties because they're dealing with large groups of "chatty" women who refuse to give them their attention. Since I provide direct sales training, I'm sure it won't surprise you that I have some thoughts on this subject as well as some direct sales tools you can use to gain control of your home parties.
Make sure you give your guests permission to get involved and have fun.
I actually told my guests at the beginning of my parties that my number one rule was that they had to have fun. I invited them to "play" with me by getting them involved with my product (if that's appropriate for you), my presentation, and generally starting with the expectation that this was going to be an interactive experience.
Use a "fun" reference everyone can relate to to get them involved.
For me, that was asking the question, "How many of you have ever done the Hokey Pokey?" I guarantee everyone in the room raised their hand because we've all done that at some point in time (and if you're in my generation, you did it on roller skates). Then I asked what the last verse of the Hokey Pokey was (in case you can't remember, it's "you put your WHOLE SELF in."). That reference was how I invited them to participate in our home party – it was a "whole self in" involvement that night and I needed them to interact and create the experience with me.
Set up a clear rule about negative behavior.
I told my guests right up front that they weren't allowed to say anything negative about anyone or anything for the entire evening (one of my rules). Then to back it up, I appointed a "party cop." My party cop got a squirt gun and was instructed to squirt anyone who broke the negative behavior rule. That kept anyone who was inherently negative in line and turned responsibility for keeping things positive over to the guests (and believe me, they take this job seriously). If you don't want to use a squirt gun, use a police car with a siren on the top or some other attention-getting device.
Let them know up front that you'll have a few "commercials" during the course of the evening.
Let your guests know that these commercials will be part of your presentation. I promised my guests that these commercials would be kept short and sweet, and that it was information that they wanted to hear. Tell them you're fine if they want to chat with their neighbor or get a cup of coffee throughout your presentation, but during your commercials you'll expect them to listen. Then, when it's time to talk about bookings or your direct sales business opportunity, you simply have to announce "time for a commercial" and the whole room magically quiets down and pays attention. Really!
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