Are you in a business that requires you to sell products through shows or parties? Whether or not your company requires it, Independent Representatives often find parties to be among the best ways to generate income. By following a few basic guidelines, you can host a successful party and maximize your sales.
Get the ball rolling
Many representatives believe that they have to wait for a customer to express interest in hosting a party before they can begin having sales parties. You do not have to wait around for a customer to agree to book a party! Find a house—it can be your own, friends, or a relative—and book your own first party. This is a great way to jump-start your business.
Weeks Before the Party
1. If someone has agreed to host a party, it is best to have a pre-made host or hostess packet that will help them understand how the party will work, as well as what they will be gaining from hosting the party. If your company does not supply a hosting plan, you can easily make your own.
a. First, make a document that will explain to them the party process. You will want to include items such as what they are responsible for, what you will be doing, and helpful tips regarding speaking to guests.
b. Second, you will need to devise a host/hostess award plan. Decide whether you want the host to receive an automatic benefit just for agreeing to host a party. Perhaps they will automatically receive a 10% discount, or a certain amount off of their order, regardless of how successful the party is. Next, you will need to decide what the awards will be for the sales. For instance, if the party results in $100 of sales, they might win a certain product or discount. The awards would continue as the sales increased. Feel free to throw in extra benefits for incredibly successful parties.
2. Regardless of who is hosting the party, you will want to think about how many guests you want to attend. If you want 7-10 guests at your party, be sure to invite at least twice as many as you hope will attend. Send the invitations out at least two weeks in advance, and call them on a phone shortly after sending out the invitations to invite them personally and discuss the party. If someone else is hosting the party, you can offer to take the chore of sending out invitations off of their hands.
3. Call all of the invited guests the night before the party to remind them.
The Day of the Party
1. The day of the party, set up at least one table to showcase your products. Buy a tablecloth at your local dollar store — the tablecloth will help draw attention to the table. Additionally, spend a little bit of time organizing your products to ensure that they are displayed in the most appealing manner. Color coordinated balloons make great accents and help create a fun atmosphere.
2. If possible, place overstock on your table. Instead of just displaying what they can order, consider actually offering overstock (cash-and-carry) products at your party. This will allow the customers to take home the products that they buy immediately. The customers that are not planning on placing an actual order might be more interested in buying products that are readily available.
3. Do not go to a lot of trouble with food. Unless you have specifically decided that your party will be a potluck or a dinner (or your party is focusing on food sales), you do not need to go out of your way with food. You will want to provide a couple of snacks and a couple pitchers of a beverage of your choice, but there is no need to spend a lot of money.
During the Party
1. A great way to start off the party is with door prizes. As your guests enter the room, hand them a ticket or have them write their name on a slip of paper and drop it into a can. Tell them that you will be drawing for prizes later in the evening and they have to be present to win.
2. Games are a fantastic way to keep your crowd interested while also promoting your products.
a. The Purse Game
i. If your guests are mainly women, the purse game is an easy game that everyone enjoys. Call out an item that would commonly be found in a purse — cell phone, wallet, paper clip, pen, etc – and award a point to the first person to produce that item from their purse. Repeat this several times. The person with the most points at the end of the game can win a prize. The prize could be a percentage off of their order, a special coupon, or an actual product that you have in overstock.
i. Trivia games are a fantastic way to introduce your company and test your guests’ knowledge regarding your products. To create a trivia game, you could simply create a multiple choice ‘quiz’ with questions related to your company and products. The person who answers the most correctly wins. Or, if you want to have a more interactive trivia game, you could turn it into a jeopardy game.
c. Right/Left Game
i. Devise, or locate on the internet, a poem or story that uses the words left and right frequently. Place an item (or a coupon) in a bag and staple it shut. Have all of your guests stand in a circle and hand the bag to someone. As you read the story, have the guests pass it right every time they hear the word ‘right’ or pass it to the left when they hear the word ‘left’. The person who is holding the bag at the end of the story gets to open the bag and keep what’s inside!
3. Don’t forget to talk about your product and showcase your company’s information. Provide each guest with a catalog and order form and give them time to talk amongst themselves while looking through it. Be prepared to answer any questions they might have and feel free to offer advice and tips regarding your favorite products.
After the Party
1. Tally up the orders and let your hostess know the tentative total so that she can have an idea of what sales reward mark she reached. Let him or her pick out the rewards (if applicable).
2. Unless you feel strongly otherwise, you should collect all of the money up front. That way, you can leave the filled orders with the host or hostess and allow him or her to distribute them to his or her friends.
3. When you get home, place the orders as soon as possible. Because this was a party, your new customers will be anxious to receive their orders. When the orders arrive, organize them and make certain to include your contact information in each order so that the customers can contact you again if they wish to order in the future.
4. Deliver the orders to the host or hostess and thank them, again, for hosting a party.
Sales parties are not only incredibly effective but also a lot of fun for everyone who attends. The outline and ideas found above are just a starting point and can be expanded upon to fit your individual needs. Even if you only have a few parties a year, the revenue earned from the sales parties, and the customers you can gain, can have a huge impact on your business.