Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Okay, What Now?

Okay, What Now?
Originally posted Monday, October 01, 2012 by Marilyn MacKenzie
As you probably realize, the home party business is mostly a woman’s business. That’s not to say that men don’t do well in the business. They do. I once met a man who was a top seller for Avon. In my own sales group years ago, there was a gentleman whose average party was over $400 while the rest of the district had average party sales of only $285. His secret? He could tease with the woman at the party in an entirely different way than the women sales reps. could. Still, it remains a business of interest mostly to women. And sales, at least at parties held in the home, are usually to women as well. (One noted exception to this is in the cookware line. Typically, men have sold more cookware, although they often did that one-on-one and not to groups of women or couples.)

Some companies have a requirement that you hold a certain number of parties, home shows, demonstrations, or whatever their term for a group sale, within a certain amount of time. One plan required five parties in three weeks. Some have dollar quotas rather than requirements for a certain number of sales. Make sure you are aware of these particulars. If you have questions about them, contact your recruiter or your manager.
With your requirements in mind, you need to set out to begin building your business. Most companies suggest that one have a show in your own home first. This works for many people as an excellent way to launch the business. For others, this isn’t a great idea.
Whether or not you do the first show in your home is certainly up to you, but there may be some benefits to doing so. First, you’ll probably be more comfortable holding your first demonstration in the comfort of your own home. Secondly, if you are acting as the demonstrator and the hostess, you’ll earn commissions for selling and free merchandise as a hostess. Any time you can get free merchandise, it’s a good idea to do so. Having more merchandise to show means you’ll sell more.
If asking your friends and relatives into your home for that first party is difficult, here’s a suggestion. Tell your friends that you have signed up with XYZ Company as a home party consultant and that you want their opinions on the products and whether or not the business is something at which you can succeed. People feel flattered when approached in this way. They know you value their opinions.
In my years as a regional director and home party sales trainer, I discovered that prospecting was one of the most frightening things to new recruits. It shouldn’t be.
Think of prospecting for gold. A prospector works for hours or days sifting through water and debris, hoping to find some gold hidden within. Prospecting for sales and recruits is similar to that, but not as discouraging.
The nice thing about all home parties is that they usually offer something free to the person who agrees to open up his/her home for the sales event. Each company offers different free packages, and knowing your own sales program is important.
They all offer some incentive to hostesses, though. So, rather than thinking that you are bothering your friends and relatives, know that you’re developing a win-win situation. Your friend receives free or discounted merchandise for having a party in her home, and you receive commission for demonstrating products.
After you’ve settled that matter in your own mind, that you’re not begging for business, but offering an opportunity to get free merchandise, sit down at your desk or table with a tablet. Put numbers down the side of the page from one to 50. That’s right, 50.
Now list each of your friends and relatives first. They’ll be the first people you’ll want to contact to ask to have a demonstration in their homes.
At this point, most people get anxious, thinking they don’t know 50 people. But most of us do.
List people you know from church, from your child’s school, from your work place, from your neighborhood. If you talk to the same bank teller each week, write her name down. Have a favorite hair stylist? Include her name. Even if you don’t know the names of people with whom you come into contact on a regular basis, write them down anyway. Write down the lady who walks her poodle each day at the same time that you walk your terrier. If you are married, write down people you know at your spouse’s work place. Soon you’ll have a list of 50 people to contact.
If you’ve sold before, or if you’ve at least been through minimal training by your recruiter or manager, you’ve probably been told to expect rejection. Rejection is a fact in any sales business, but you must not take it personally. There are lots of books and sales seminars that will give any number of “no’s” to expect before receiving a “yes.” Having a list of 50 people will give you the opportunity to book a good number of shows before you get started.
In the home party business, a final “no” is a rarity. When your friends aren’t interested in having a show in their home, you can often get them to collect orders and have a catalog show. If you can’t interest them in having even a catalog show, you can usually talk them into studying your catalog and ordering something. A “no” to all of those suggestions is rare, indeed.
Okay, now that you have a list of prospects in front of you, you’ll want to make sure the rest of the family is occupied while you make your calls. Even though you’re working from home, you need to be professional.
Arm yourself with a smile (people can tell!), and have your sales programs and a booking calendar in front of you as you start dialing. Since you are beginning your prospecting with individuals you already know, don’t feel awkward about telling them that you are new in the business. Don’t feel badly about having to refer to your training notes or to your sales aides. Do, though, have answers for your friends when they ask what the benefits are to them for helping you start your business. And, when someone says yes, be sure to help her select a date right away. Start filling up that calendar!
About The Author
Marilyn Mackenzie worked as a Regional Manager in the home party/direct sales industry for 15 years. She has been writing about home, family, faith and nature for over 40 years. Marilyn is an author on http://www.Writing.Com   which is a site for creative writers. Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/kenzie .

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