You know the naysayers, right? Those people who think you’re in one of “those” businesses. Sometimes they’re friends, family or people we meet out and about. Sometimes they’re the people who write the articles about our amazing industry from behind a keyboard, thinking they know better than we do. If you know my story, you’ve already heard this, but I WAS A NAYSAYER. I was the one who told a friend, “Why would anyone do THAT? Why would anyone go to people’s houses and do parties?!”
But, if you know the rest of my story, you know that by 6 months later I was the #1 recruiter in the company, another year later I was the highest ranked leader in the company, and I’ve never looked back! Today, companies of all sizes contract my services to help create strategies, programs and training to meet the needs of our ever-exciting business model to grow faster and smarter. I can’t help them all, which is why I am writing this for YOU, the independent entrepreneur … the one in the weeds, doing the hard work, packing and unpacking your trunk every week to bring joy (and your amazing products) to hosts and guests! YOU need to believe in what you do more than anyone else, and when you do, you’ll be unstoppable!
As you know, direct selling is a business for people, by people and about people — rooted in relationship-driven marketing. No matter what advances are made in technology, people are the cornerstone of direct selling as it’s through their connections – either literal or digital – that the channel prospers. So it’s through YOU that your business prospers and through YOU that your company grows! Don’t ever forget how important YOU are.
So, why do you need to ignore the naysayers? Because, they will bring you down, and they are not worth our time! Let’s focus on the positive!
People buy from people they know, like and trust. They don’t want to feel “sold to” yet they want you to help uncover and solve for their needs, and in most areas of their lives they welcome a “trusted advisor” who has information or inspiration. If you’re in a company that sells through party plan, stand tall and embrace your opportunity knowing that what you do matters, and you can build a wildly successful business that can grow faster and farther than any point in the past! You have to build the KLT Factor — you cannot sell to people, especially in social media, until they know you a little, trust you a bit and like you a smidgen. If you’re not feeling the thrill of social selling success – in parties, in virtual events, in social media, it’s likely you’re going right to the sale and never building the connection first. It’s easiest to master in the party environment in person and then duplicate in social. Just in case you were wondering, I am a fan of virtual parties and leveraging social selling in a big way. I just believe that the party is the ultimate social selling environment, and when you’re good at that expanding is much easier and much more fun! If you’re looking to master virtual parties, you know who I trust most — Lynn Bardowski! Check out her Facebook Party Pro course!
Over the past several years, there’s been a shift brewing in the marketplace with a buzz telling us that “party plan is going away” or “we think the party is dead.”
Let me be the one to tell you this: the party is not dead. In fact, in my humble experience working with countless party-plan companies, consultants & leaders across the globe, party plan remains one of the most viable business models available in our direct selling industry. We’ve watched companies come and go, yet those that have adapted their party experience through the changing trends, stayed true to the magic in the model, and focused on building a strong community and avid evangelists have continued to prosper.
Often, it’s the corporate leaders who don’t know how to craft a compelling party experience that listen to the naysayers at their own conferences all mutually agreeing that changing times must mean the party is going away. Often, those same leaders have lost touch with what works and what doesn’t. Change is a constant, we have to ever-evolve; however, change doesn’t mean the party is not still relevant — IT IS A STRONG, SMART FOUNDATION. It takes careful thought, time and experience to create a party that aligns with what people are looking for today. Put 3 women in a room who have done a combined THOUSANDS of parties, and they can figure it out. Trust me, it’s been done over and over and over.
So, as you look toward the next season tell yourself this: It’s YOUR TIME to shine! It’s YOUR TURN to prosper, and the PARTY is a great avenue through which to do it!
Let’s talk through 6 Secrets You Need to Know About Party Plan to run past the naysayers and into a world full of like-minded successful, happy people.
Secret #1: The Party is Not Dead. It’s Actually More Relevant than Ever!
The experience economy. Have you heard of it? Way back in grad school, I remember reading a Harvard Business Review article talking about how “experiences” were the new expectations of consumers, that just buying stuff or having things done for you wasn’t what people wanted to spend their money on any more. They wanted to be a part of something.
Over the last two decades, the concept has become more and more the norm, and unless your party framework has evolved through the decades … your party may be dead, but that doesn’t mean THE party is dead, yours just may be on life support needing a new pacemaker. People want to gather for an experience that’s memorable, personal, edutaining and focused on them.
The companies who have worked with me to hone their party framework and have infused “experiences” into the party structure have evolved from selling events or traveling boutiques to a guest-focused event that uncovers needs, solves problems and inspires people to want more — more products, more parties and more information about the business opportunity. Experiences lead to stickier relationships, higher sales and more people talking about the fun the next day! When you layer smart selling skills on top of that framework, results skyrocket!
So ask yourself, “Is your party really an experience for people? Do they do something, learn something, explore something, have “aha” moments as they learn about the topics that relate to your products? Are they arriving excited to be there? Are you able to capture their attention right from the beginning and engage them throughout their time with you?”
If you’re not sure, maybe it’s time for a party-refresh or potentially an overhaul. It’s not that people don’t want to leave their houses, they just don’t want to leave their houses for boring sales pitches and high-pressure tactics. They also typically don’t want to participate in a party that feels like a bad bridal or baby shower. They want to be inspired and feel like their time was valued.
Does this mean that virtual parties are not viable solutions? Not at all! A smart virtual party strategy is a powerful part of a robust party plan, but at the core, the party with real people is full of magic that should not be ignored.
Secret #2: People Still Crave Real, Human Interaction
It’s easy to listen to the naysayers, especially if you have not found the level of success in your business you want or need for your family. When you look at your party calendar, and you think to yourself, “they’re right … no one wants to book a party or no one wants to attend a party …” what you’re doing is letting those that think they know better derail YOUR path to achieving your success and results.
Instead, tell yourself this: People still crave real, human interaction. They want to be invited. They want to be included.
Let’s learn from the teenagers and millenials on this one — it’s not that they spend all their time on technology to AVOID spending time together, it’s actually the opposite. They spend time in social media, on their Discord channels or in Skype chats collaborating, living and looking forward to the next time the get to be together. They enjoy living in each other’s pockets, but they love to come out and play! They also love earning rewards for telling their friends about things they love and competing to see who does something the best!
In party plan, to enjoy the real, human interaction, you have to muster the courage to invite the people to host. You have to gather up more courage to help your hosts invite their friends to attend. You have to find the words to help her understand that YOUR party is different … it’s not just a party, it’s an experience focused on (insert your short statement about what they get to do with you that they won’t want to miss.)
First YOU have to believe it. Then you have to convey it. Then you have to make enough phone calls and connect with enough people to book the number of parties that will get you on track to achieving your goals.
You can do it. It starts with believing in it yourself.
Right now, make a list of the top 5 reasons why people WANT to host a party with YOU this season. Then, make a list of your top 10 potential hosts – best customers, best past hosts, best friends … and CALL THEM.
Secret #3: The In-Person Party is the Ultimate Lead Funnel
Most likely you’ve heard the term “lead funnel” before, and maybe you thought to yourself, “what the heck does that mean?” In social media training, we talk about lead funnels all of the time. It’s the concept that to get sales, to create revenue, you have to do six things: Attract new potential leads, get them to engage, interact with them, convert them to a lead (like they give you some info), then personalize your solutions and finally MONETIZE the relationship. Whew! That’s a lot. It’s not simple, nor easy in social media with today’s tools and most direct selling companies’ technology.
But in a party plan business, the whole lead funnel is tucked neatly inside 2 hours at in-person events. Your HOST, who I like to call your most important business partner, generates the leads. SHE is a trusted friend, co-worker, neighbor or relative of the people who she invites. If you coach her well, she gets her people to come, then inspires them to bring their people — all already enthusiastic about the time they’ll spend with you! In marketing, we’d pay for that! Oh, wait … she is paid for that, in host rewards and in the fun experience you provide.
When you plan your party results and experience in mind, you see that first, you have to get the people in the party to ENGAGE. Rather than passively listening, the most successful parties get the guests involved. You can do this through a combination of hands-on activities and purposeful story-telling. Once they’re involved in an activity or conversation, you can INTERACT authentically with them. As you facilitate an experience for the party guests, they naturally begin to feel like they know you, trust you and want to do business with you.
It’s at that point that they’re open to listening to the solutions you have and the suggestions you’ll make. That’s when they actually fill out a drawing slip or write things they love down on a wish list. If you never connect, all you’re doing is pitching products to strangers and you missed the part where they need to feel valued, appreciated and warm up to you.
The best experiences take all of the potential decisions that the guest can make — to host a party of her own, to buy one of everything in the catalog or to explore the business — and make them PERSONALIZED for the individual. That’s the magic throughout the conversation and then specifically at the end of the party when you spend time 1:1 with each guest. That’s where it all comes together and you learn about what’s most important to her, what she loved, what she’s thinking and what she wants.
And finally, the experience is a wild success when you MONETIZE the heck out of it! Sales, bookings and new recruiting leads.
All of that … within the span of 2 hours at an in-person event.
When you think about the party as the ultimate lead funnel OR the ultimate SOCIAL SELLING experience, it requires you to embrace the idea that you, too, have to be social. So, if you’re living in a world where you feel confined by a scripted approach that has you feeling like you’re not yourself, ditch the script and step into the next party with a plan that allows you to facilitate an amazing experience that leads to greater results and more fun for everyone.
Then, IMAGINE how you can replicate parts of the experience digitally to expand your each and your audience far outside your local area through virtual experiences, too!
Want to WATCH me share all of these tips on Lynn Bardowski’s Social Girl LIVE show? Watch below!
Secret #4: When You Focus on Discounts and Inexpensive Products, You Devalue Everything You Have to Offer
One of the most important lessons you can learn early in your party plan career is that CHEAPER is not better. While people appreciate a great bargain, if you do a great job crafting a party experience and your company’s product pricing is on-target, there’s no need to offer discounts, free shipping, extra gifts or expensive drawings.
If you are spending money out of pocket on things other than essentials for your party experience, you’re likely making the business look harder and more expensive to run than it should — so you might be getting the sale, but losing the host or new recruit!
If your company has too many sales, it’s likely distracting you, your team and devaluing your full-price products. So, choose to be smart. Choose to focus on value first and price secondarily. If what you sell is of value to the customer, they will buy it. If you have to sell it at a discount to sell it, then it is overpriced or undervalued.
When you focus on cheapening the offers you have, you do just that. What you’re saying to the world is this: My products are not worth what the price is in the catalog, so I have to discount it.
Instead, I challenge you to create your product stories and activities around building a wish list that is 2-3 times what your average guest currently spends. Romance the products, offer gift-giving solutions, create the need for what you have to offer. Then, once they want it all, ASSUME they will pay for it at full price. Help them with their order, and IF they say they cannot afford it all, then offer solutions such as hosting a party to earn free rewards. Or, if your company is having a sale, use the sale to help them get closer to their budget. Worst case, keep a running wish list of the items your customers want and help them get them when they are specials, host exclusives or others. If you have a special program that offers discounts at special thresholds —- share those to inspire people to buy more — and build the desire around telling stories about products that take them well past that threshold.
Remember, people want to be given permission to spend. They want to be invited to host — not just for the discount or free products but also because of the fun. And, when you complicate the business, you turn people away before you ever get to ask them, “Have you ever thought about doing what I’m doing?”
Be proud of what you sell.
Secret #5: Recruiting is Simple, But Most People Overcomplicate the Process
Have you ever found yourself wondering why some people seem to naturally recruit more, while others don’t? Why can’t it be YOUR turn to be at the top of the recruiting leaderboard?
Well, it can. And, it’s simple. But, remember, simple doesn’t always mean easy. It’s simple, because to be an exceptional recruiter all you need to do is:
- Meet more people (parties are great for that)
- Ooze enthusiasm for what you do through stories (you can do that, right?)
- Have confidence in your company, products and business opportunity
- Ask everyone the very simple question, “Have you ever thought about doing what I’m doing?”
- Have a plan when they say: Yes, No or Maybe!
People come into the business for many different reasons.
• The love of products
• The challenge
• A sense of belonging
• The financial independence
• New friendships
• The adventure
• A yearning for recognition
• The desire to be in charge of one’s destiny.
The magic difference-maker is being able to create curiosity by telling YOUR story, the story of others and then helping the person you’re chatting imagine where they fit. If you find yourself telling people EVERYTHING YOU KNOW about your business, you’re likely scaring them away before they ever have a chance to think about what you’re saying. Instead, look at the recruiting process very simply. What do they need to know in order to make a decision? Not sure? ASK THEM. Once you’ve answered their question, it’s likely they’re ready to give it a try.
You’re not asking people to marry you or make a lifetime commitment. Just give the business a try for a month, do 4 parties and see how it feels! It’s really that simple. Unless your starter kit is extremely expensive, the only barrier to entry is their fear of failure, and when you pose it as “seeing how it feels” and “deciding how much you want out of a business after you feel the thrill of success,” most people have nothing to lose. And, if your company has a “host to earn the kit” option, trot that out IF the reason they are hesitant is due to the kit price. Otherwise, there’s no need to hold them back from immediate success!
People don’t always know what they want. So, rather than making the decision to join feel like they’re choosing a spouse or college to attend, make it simple. As you think about your business — why did you join? What were you looking for? Maybe, like me, you weren’t looking for anything. But, once you enrolled, I bet you found a whole lot more than you ever imagined — income, fun, friends, trips, conferences, products you didn’t even know you needed and so much more!
I’d also bet that at this point, you don’t just think of yourself as a rep for your company. It’s likely you feel a part of the company, like you’re part of the fabric that holds it together, intertwined in your life in a powerful way. People are looking for something meaningful in their lives, too. They just don’t know it exists in a business like yours, because they are not necessarily looking for a business. But, if you asked them if they were looking for more … it’s likely they’d say yes. People are looking for more meaning in their lives , more fun times, more flexibility with their schedule, and the ability to travel more. Quite frankly, some people are just looking for a reason to meet another adult for a beverage! Keep it simple. Keep it light.
And, remember this: You don’t have to know how to lead to become a top recruiter and start building. Recruit with enthusiasm and then learn how to lead later.
Secret #6: Great Leaders are not Born, They are Mentored, Trained & Nurtured
This is the most important secret as you imagine the growth you want to see in your business over the next year. Anyone has it in them to become a great leader at any time in any party plan company. Period. If you are willing to do the work that needs to be done, you can get there, too!
Rarely will you find a top leader in a party plan company that got there without a mentor/coach, specialized training and new strategies along the way to stay relevant and growing. They won’t necessarily admit it, but many top leaders are not exactly sure what they did to get there because they just kept doing, iterating and learning as they pushed forward paving a path for others to follow.
They real key to growth is mastering it yourself, then creating a DUPLICATABLE process for others to follow as the market changes and new strategies emerge. Staying a course that works is sometimes harder than shifting with the trends. The best of the best ALWAYS have a mentor who sees farther, knows more and partners with them like a lighthouse in a storm – as a guiding light.
I was fortunate to have the best guiding light for almost my entire direct selling career. I still call on her weekly for advice, especially when I need a barometer in the storm. (That’s all the ship analogies I’ll use!) Along the way, my tribe of trusted advisors has grown to be more like a strong basketball team with a full bench of support equal to the starting lineup. When people tell me that I am good at what I do, I imagine the late night chats, quick texts where I am able to drum up a whole slew of best ideas with just a simple question asking, “What would you do?” My squad is one of my superpowers.
When I was in the field, I was a leader without a leader. By the end of my first year as a leader, I was considered the best of the best. I was already #1 in recruiting, organization sales and leader development. Already earning a pretty significant paycheck. But, once I found a mentor who had been WAY farther than I had and had experience FAR deeper than mine, I was able to build and growth with confidence, efficiency and duplicatable. I honed my craft by adopting hers and adding my own twists. I was lucky – I was in the field for a company that hired my mentor. I didn’t have an upline, so even though she ran the company, she made time to mentor, train and support me. Most companies don’t have people at the helm who’ve built mega-million dollar downlines. If you’re lucky, you have an upline leader who has already paved the way and knows how to help you get there. But, sometimes even the best upline has a style that doesn’t mesh with yours, so sometimes you have to look for a mentor and training on your own. It’s about finding a fit AND taking action to grow.
Where can you find a mentor of your own? Well, that’s exactly what I do through the programs I offer myself or with one of my most trusted partners, Lynn Bardowski. I always say that I might not be able to fix all the challenges you face in your business, but in spite of them, I can help you become wildly successful, earning whatever paycheck you want for yourself and your family. If you are willing to work.
And, we’re excited that just this month we’re launching a BRAND NEW program — for Consultants who want to grow fast and leaders who do, too. It’s our Accelerated Growth Academy, launching in just a few weeks. It’s THE Leadership Course for direct sales, party plan people. If you want to learn how to build and grow a business that thrives, start with joining our Accelerated Growth Academy. Be sure to register for our Webinar coming next week where we’ll tell you all about the academy at the very end.
BONUS Secret: There aren’t just 6 secrets. So here are a few important links for you!
- You need to learn the basics of social media. Make sure you have your personal Facebook profile all spruced up, a business page and VIP group. Don’t leave those 3 stones unturned. Click HERE to get my FREE ebook delivered right to your messenger inbox: Social Media Savvy: 10 Fundamentals Every Direct Seller Needs to Know
- You also need an online presence outside Facebook. Join the NDSR – where you make sure you’re found fast, optimized online and have a robust simple profile to share. It is a difference-maker, why are you waiting?
- Time management is where everyone struggles. I created a free MASTERCLASS for that, and you can watch the video right on Facebook! Watch the Masterclass HERE. Get your Weekly Planner HERE.