Whether you are working with your first hostess or your thousandth, you are the “expert” in how your party is conducted and it is your job to help your hostess understand how she can be successful. Of course, her success will be yours as well. She will earn her hostess rewards, while you earn your sales commissions. You are partners in success. Here are the essential steps to being a good coach to your host.
1. Get to know her.
It’s all about relationships, but here, it’s quite important for you to know her motivations and how you can help her have a successful party. How does she like to be contacted? Phone, text, email? What time of day is she available? Find out her “why” – why did she book a party? Is she looking to have a fun time with friends? Is she working towards a special or certain product in your line? Encourage her to create a “wish list” of products she would like to earn for free. This will help her feel more invested, when she knows exactly what she is working for. Perhaps she’s trying on your job by getting a closer look at what you do. Expand on what she has in mind so she can see the “big picture” of what her successful party will look like (and perhaps what her place on your team may look like as well). The more you know about her, the better you will be at helping her get what she wants.
2. Have a system in place for host coaching.
This keeps you on track and ensures you don’t leave out an important piece of the tasks involved for your brand’s style of show or party. Create a host packet to use consistently. Some things you could include in your packet: catalogs, order forms, the current host special and a letter thanking her for hosting and giving her a bit of what is to come. When you provide the packet or during your first contact call, go over the contents of the packet with her so she knows how to use each item you have included. If you share that the order forms are for orders before the party you will help prevent her handing those empty order forms back to you when you arrive for her party. Keeping a file and a checklist for each host will help you stay on top of every step of your system.
3. Teach her how to invite her guests.
Whether you are conducting a home party or an online party, guide her through the exact process to invite her guests – whether this means sending paper invitations, texts, calls, email, or Facebook messages, and then how to follow-up with her guests for the RSVPs. When doing online parties, coach her to personally invite no more than 50 guests. Online parties should replicate an in-person experience as much as possible – which means personal and exclusive invitations.
4. Contact, contact, contact.
Don’t wait for her to contact you. Stay in contact with her regularly. Schedule these times in your calendar backwards from the date of the party making sure you have at least 3 opportunities to chat. Send her “happy mail” in her mailbox including success tips and how excited you are for her party (that’s snail mail with a stamp on it). Everybody loves getting something fun in their mailbox! Use your tracking checklist to stay on top of answering her questions (even the questions she doesn’t know ask) and you’ll be keeping her excited about her party. At the conclusion of each contact, set the time for the next contact. Scheduling an appointment shows her you are a busy Direct Sales professional (no matter how full your calendar may actually be) and keeps you from having to track her down.
5. Set Expectations.
If your party is best when there are more than 10 people in attendance, she needs to know that and you need to help her invite at least 3-4 times that many people in order to have a successful party. Help her create a varied guest list. If she only invites people from work and all her co-workers know she’s had a party, the likelihood of booking another party within that group is small. If her friends and family and some neighbors are included, they will be more likely to feel good about booking and inviting people from their circles. Does she need to have beverages and a pan of brownies set out and ready before you arrive? If so, let her know. If a great host already has 5 orders before you arrive, she needs to hear that from you. If she’s hosting a virtual party, help her understand that inviting 500 of her closest friends on Facebook will not result in a great party. Help her with how she can host the best way for the best results.
6. Give her everything she needs.
Mail invitations for her if appropriate, or provide a text invitation and coach her on how to invite online, give her scripts for texting or messaging. It sometimes takes a bit of coaxing to help a host understand that multiple invitations to each guest is not “bothering” people, it’s making sure that busy people know they are invited because not everyone pays attention to the same channels. One person may read their email faithfully, another may like communicating on Facebook but never looks at email and yet another only pays attention to text messages. Provide or describe an outline of what your party will be like. Even if she attended a party before, she may have never been the host. Even if she’s hosted before, this time she’s hosting with you and you may do things completely differently from the last consultant she worked with. Remember there are consultants and companies she may have worked with before who are not good at coaching their hosts. If she’s had some bad coaching previously, you want to show her the best way to have a successful party. And again, her success is your success.
7. Make her feel special.
She should feel like she is the most important person on your calendar. She may become the next person to join your team. Give her the best experience possible and encourage and praise her for the steps she has taken as a host even if it’s poorly attended. At the party thank her at the beginning of your presentation and give her a thank you gift for inviting you into her home. You’ll be showing your appreciation to her but you’ll also be showing her guests the special treatment they will receive when they book with you and it’s their turn to host.
Your partnership with your host is one of the most important relationships within your direct sales business. When you do your best to help her have a successful party and make her feel special, you’ll have success yourself with higher sales, more bookings, repeat hostesses and hostesses who decide to join your team.
Bonus Step #8!!
Your hostess wants her party to succeed just as much as you do! And it can be frustrating to invite your friends to a party and not be able to help them when they have questions. If you’re hosting an in-home party, make sure your hostess knows the directions to the address so she can help guide her guests there. For online parties, make sure your hostess is comfortable using your favorite party platform, and give her plenty of time to learn it. Sqweee is a wonderful platform for holding online parties with fewer distractions than other social networks.
Working on your direct selling marketing strategy, and want reliable information to help untangle all this? Join me and my team in my new and free group Social Marketing for Direct Sales with Brenda Ster. See you there!