Get the aims straight first, and then with those fixed in mind, I think you'll be fine. First you want them to order. Then you want them to pay (so decide whether they may today for later pickup or pay on pickup or pay and take today or a mixture that suits you). Then you want someone (ideally 2-3) to host a party FOR you. They may need an incentive to do that; e.g. "If you book a party today for before Christmas, the hostess gift will be a basket full of my products in your favourite fragrance from my range. If you book it for after Christmas, the hostess gift will be.... [a gift voucher or something nice, but not quite so desirable]" Also if it works for you, I'd try an "over $200" sales incentive hostess gift. I've seen parties where it does, and some where it definitely does not. (Of course you can use another dollar amount - but make it worth your while; maybe estimate how much you WANT to earn from one party, then add $50, and use that dollar amount!)
If it was me I'd be doing a bare skeleton (tupperware style)for the first few, and then adding extras only if needed. Here's how I'd work:
Meet at door with clipboard with the price list - doubling as an order form - on it (actually 2, copies with pencil carbon between them), pen, and a tiny sample of something wrapped with a 'thank you' gift tag. (I'd make sure the gift tag and the price list and everything given out has contact details on it, and don't forget that every piece of paper has 2, sides and if it's put face down, the reverse needs to work just as hard in getting the message across!).
Seat the guests (I'm assuming in own home for the first couple and then get 'parties' booked by the guests and it would -hopefully!- explode from there) where they can easily see the 'display stand' - a card table with a few boxes built up on it to form a tiered display. Covered/draped in a nice PLAIN PLEASE cloth that falls to the floor and hides all the packing boxes and other paraphernalia. On the top of the cloth, artfully displayed, the products- but not clumped together. Tupperware seem to do
this and it makes me cross. (with Tupperware, you have to move stuff to see/get to the things you want). I'd treat each piece as if it were a precious jewel and display it accordingly. Then PICK IT UP and HANDLE it in the same way! (sorry for the caps, but it is so often the case that the customer picks up vibes about the products from the way the demonstrator is handling them - I do lots of demonstrating with Encaustic Art, and feel qualified on this subject LOL!) If the demonstrator acts like it were worth a million dollars in the way s/he picks it up and handles it, then so will the customer. And then they'll be amazed at the incredibly low price for such a magnificent product!
Rather than let customers get their (possibly less than hygienically clean) hands into the samples, I'd have plenty of q-tips/plastic scoops/knives/whatever on hand so that each guest can sample the products from a clean/unused source. Presumably the sample products would be carried around between one party and the next, so it's
important that they not be contaminated with anything that will have time to proliferate!!
As each sample is given out, (and this is important) I'd MAKE EYE CONTACT with the guest. Don't ask me why it works. I've heard tons of theories. This doesn't have to be done in silence, else it takes on ritualistic overtones - rather, I'd keep up chatter about the product, the reputed/possible benefits (virtual bow to the FDA)and also
importantly, how long each jar/bottle can be expected to last with regular use. Cos you can bet that the first thing they do after rubbing it into their skin and sniffing or whatever, is to check the price. So by talking about the lenght of time it will last, the customers get some idea of value for money - and this, together with their experience of the product, the visual appeal of the product and what the demonstrator says/does, together with whether they think they or someone they know
will use it, forms the basis of the buying decision at a party. If the actual delivery date of most of the products is something like 1-3, weeks into the future, then the fact that their purse is currently empty is not right up there in importance, as 'by the delivery date' they will have had access to a bit more money and will put some aside to pay.
So, going round the circle, there wil be some who are rubbing/sniffing, some who are price checking (and hopefully writing down how many they want to order) and some anxiously awaiting their turn to have a try. When they've all had a sample of the first product, (and I'd make this one which is somewhere in the bottom third of the price list, so they have to LOOK at nearly all the different products before they find it...) then I'd make a production of packing it away, saying that they might like to check their price lists in case they want to order any. I would not tell them upfront where in the price list to look for the product - I'd be very busy putting the first sample away, returning the q-tips to their place, whatever. If someone shouts out where is it on the price list, I'd grab 'my' copy and have a look for it. (and then that's what most of them'll do too - and so they have another look at the products).
Rather than just stand there like a talking head when going on to the next product, I'd start involving the guests (dunno if anyone remembers a movie with Sally Field and I think Tom Hanks where she is a stand-up comedienne - she didn't cut it until she started involving the audience in her routine). "Now this is my FAVourite moisturiser. Anyone love using moisturisers? What do you look for in a lotion? Well, THIS product is fantASTic in that it...." and on it goes. It does need to be said
though, that if the audience gets asked questions like that, you gotta listen to the answer and incorporate it in the speech. "Oh, you prefer a lotion bar? Well, I have one here that's going to be PERfect for you. But meantime let's just take a quick look at this moisturiser. You know, some people have a combination skin and don't need quite so much lotion...." etc.etc.
If you're finding this hard, just look at em all and imagine they're sitting on the can, next to each other. You'll smile, and it will start to get easier. In addition if they have stuff in their hands, they're going to start talking about it, to the person sitting next to them or across from them. After a while it's necessary to raise the voice a bit
to call for quiet rather than feeling like the audience is critically hanging on the demonstrator's every breath.
Now if you have a lot of different fragrances for the one item, say 6, different fragrances of lip balm, you can make the process shorter by giving out a sample of say, vanilla, or another good seller, and then handing round little squares of hard plastic, each with a dob of balm on it, so they can smell the different fragrances. They don't need to have a sample of *each fragrance, cos they tried one and they all feel the same but they smell different. Whilst those are going round, the point that these are really inexpensive and can be given as sets rather than singly, can be made. It can then go a step further by saying "if you order a full set today, you get one free" (or other bonus offer).
Regardless of your decision on when to ask for money and when to deliver the goods, I'd have some for sale and taking home Today. This will mean that those customers who absolutely *must* have something today can do so.
So, following the above pattern, I'd go through the whole range of products. I'd practice the delivery first, and try and keep it to around 1/2, to 3/4, an hour to talk about ALL the products. You can bet that once in front of people, and messing about with q-tips and giving out samples etc., that time can easily be doubled. After about 1, and 1/2, hours max, it's time to break for coffee etc. (make sure your soap is in the washroom! Plus your handcream and anything else relevant! - these can
also be 'hostess gifts', but set up in advance of the party) Make sure that before you break, the guests know exactly what they have to do to order (fill in the form, wait a week for the products, go pick them up and pay on the day, for example). Don't forget the space on the form for " 'Yes' I want to host a party myself "!!
The break is time when you need to seem to switch off and be mates, rather than pushing for the sale. Maybe announcing just before the break that you're taking names to go on your newsletter mailing list for new products and special prices through the year would do it - then guests can come up to you during the break individually and talk to you about their concerns. This allows the other customers a very important time to themselves to decide if they're going to order and what and how many. They don't want to feel the demonstrator is hovering like a hawk (or a vampire LOL!) watching and waiting for each mark of the pen on the price list!
If no action seems to be happening (i.e. nobody's picking up the products, or re-handling the little squares of plastic, marking their order forms etc) and it seems a bit flat, you can do the 'Oh, I forgot to say' routine. "If you order (xxxxx) today, you get (yyyy)". Now xxxxx may be $50, worth of products. It could be as small as two lipbalms of the same fragrance (note the *same* fragrance. This practically guarantees the second one will get given away. More exposure to potential customers). The important thing is to get the customer to start putting marks on the order form. You could have several addenda here; the second time things fall flat you could talk about booking parties and the wonderful hostess gifts etc that are available. The third time you could give out some little cards with your contact details on one side and space for today's date and the name, address and phone number of the guest on the other side. Say that when you get these back from customers you will send out a gift to today's guests to say thank you for passing on your name to a new customer....whatever.
On the home stretch now... Don't forget to get the top copy of all the order forms. Easiest method is probably to collect the clipboard (don't forget the calculator for adding up!) total the order, keep the top copy and give the second copy to the guest, with a date written big and circled for pickup if they aren't taking the order in full away today. After the last clipboard is returned, total the order forms, work out the hostess percentage and offer the hostess a choice of items based on the amount sold today. Some guests like to stay and see this as a performance - makes it worth while them ordering something extra so that their mate can get this great gift, etc. and their reward is to see her face as she realises just how much she's getting. Others may think it's a con to get them to order more and leave swiftly. You need to decide just how much you are going to play up or down this particular aspect of the party. I'd say play by ear and watch the reactions of everyone to tell you when you have gone far enough... some guests are considering having parties themselves for you and will want to know how real the rewards are.
The key to success starts with properly coaching your hostess. Talk about what they can earn by hosting a show. Maybe set some goals. Ask them what night they think will be the best for maximum attendance. Suggest 18-20, in attendance, which will require at least 40, people invited. Suggest she keep invitations in her purse to hand out. Possibly offer a small prize to everyone bringing along a friend who wasn't invited. Mail her the invitations at least two weeks before the show, if possible. Make a couple of follow up calls to see how it is going for her. Suggest that she call everyone the day before or on the day of the show to confirm that they are coming.
Compile folders with an order form, possibly some generic information on the superior ingredients in your products, a slip for a door prize drawing that includes name, address, phone #, if they are interested in hosting their own party. (This creates an instant mailing list for you. You can take it one step further and create a card file with the names and what they ordered. Then a few months down the road, you can make calls, asking if they have enjoyed their product and would they like to order more. You might even offer a "special" on the product of their choice to encourage a re-order).
Always arrive 30, minutes before your show starts. This gives you time to get completely set up and iron out any bugs before the guests arrive.
I had the opportunity to go to a workshop by the #1, consultant for Pampered Chef. She has sold over $600,000, in the past four years. This tip is from her. Always have the hostess pass out the order folders. NEVER do it yourself. The reasoning is that whoever passes out the folders is asking them to buy something. You are just a stranger, but the hostess is their FRIEND! She also said to never start the show yourself. Let the hostess welcome them and introduce you herself. Same idea, she is their friend and introducing them to you. She was very adamant about these two items, and I do think they make sense!
I think I would start the show with a brief, but entertaining, history on personal hiegyne. Maybe tell them how you happened to get started with your business. If you can explain that you wanted a higher quality product than you felf could be purchased. You also may or may not want to go into the fact that all the soaps, cosmetics, etc. are made by the same few manufacturers and just have a private label slapped on them. (If you haven't checked out the book "Don't Go To The Costmetic Counter Without Me," do so, it is pretty interesting. You might pick up some nuggets that will help to sell your product.
Show your products and let people sample them. Melanie covered this really well in her posting!
Make your show FUN so others will want to host a show. Follow through on bookings. The first thing you should say when they request a booking is THANK YOU. Then ask why they want to book a show, and what they hope to gain by booking a show. This gives you an opportunity to get her thinking about products she can earn through sales at her show.
Now this may or may not interest you. I think a party where the women can color and scent their own bath salts and oils would go over big! It takes a lot of preparation before the show (and preferably you would need to have the hostess get orders before the show so you had exactly what they wanted to make), but I think it could do very well! I got the idea from a couple of women here in town who do that very thing with the gourmet vinegar bottles. They have everything pre-ordered before the show, and everyone is given a "kit" of the ingredients they will need for each bottle. They also bring extra stuff so that if someone decides they want to make more, they can. They charge $8.50/bottle, and are really raking in the bucks! (After the show, a friend and I purchased some empty bottles from them and made
more for gifts. They averaged us about $4.00, each to make. Anyway, if this idea appeals to any of you, e-mail me privately and I will give you more information!). Anyway, the point is, almost everyone likes to be able to say they made something really pretty or special. This is an easy way to do it, and at this time of year, they would be great gifts that they could say, "Yes, I did make that myself, just for you!" Anyway, just a thought.......
You need to think about compensation for your hostess. I would give a unique gift (something you can only get by hosting a party. Have it displayed on your table and make a big deal about presenting it to your hostess.), just for having the show with five people showing up. Maybe you could offer 10% of sales in product for over a $150.00, show, bump it up to 15% for over a $300.00, show and 20% for over a $500.00, show. You would have to look at your pricing an see how this fits in, but I think the more you sell, the more you can afford to give up to your hostess. Offer her the opportunity to take outside orders.
I would definitely take product that can be purchased that night. It's more fun to be able to take something home with you than having to wait! Offer special orders with customs scents and colors (if that doesn't seem too overwhelming to you). I would definitely get payment on anything ordered that night. You would hate to make a big expensive batch of something and then have them tell you they have changed their mind!
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me privately. Susan Hancock
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