Party Plan Success

Party plan is one of the most common ways of direct selling, started by the infamous Tupperware! Who doesn't have at least one piece of 1980's Tupperware in their cupboard? As a 3rd generation Direct seller, I have learned the art of Party Plan from my Mother and my Grandmother and I'd love to share my experience with you.

Everyone is different and has a different style so I'd love to hear your own tips and ideas in the future so that I can make this training module even more robust. 

Effective Time Management

Keeping a diary

A diary is the most important tool a party planner can have! Managing your time correctly will help you to manage you party plan business without it getting in the way of family life. Carrying it with you will allow you to take bookings at any time. "I'll check my diary when I get home" is a sure fire way of losing a potential party host! 

 

The importance of blocking off

Blocking off is a technique I find really helpful when beginning the party planning journey.  One of the benefits of being a party planner is that you are self-employed and able to work your business around your family.

It is important that you involve your family in this process, sit down with your other half and go through the diary blocking out any family engagements, birthdays, weddings, holidays etc. Consider your partners shift patterns, if they interfere with your party availability block that time out too. What about dance classes, swimming clubs for your children etc? 

Once you have blocked out your commitments you should be left with a number of "free spaces" This is where you can put your party availability. Put a thick line around 2 -3 hour blocks where you are availability and label with "free for party", it is a good idea to use small sticky note page tabs to mark the available dates so that you can find them easily. 

Involving your family goes a long way to making sure that they understand your work commitments. 

Take your Diary EVERYWHERE!

Having a diary is brilliant, blocking off is even better, but it's not much use if you leave it at home. Taking it with you to work, on the school run, to the gym etc mean that if you get into a conversation about what you do and by some chance the person you are speaking too has a date in mind that they'd like to book you can take the booking right there and then. I'm not suggesting that this will happen every day, however, it won't happen at all if you are not prepared.  

I would recommend always carrying a bag with your diary, a couple of brochures and a couple of samples with you. This way you are always prepared.

Who should you involve in your time management process?

  • Your old college lecturer
  • Your boss at work
  • Your family
  • Your dog

Booking your first three parties

Host you own

Hosting a party of your own is an absolute must for all party hosts!  You can't possibly expect someone else to do something you aren't prepared to do yourself! 

More importantly, though, hosting your own party and inviting friends around will allow you to test out your new skills in a friendly environment, but be sure to ask for honest feedback from your guests.

Ask a friend

The next step is to ask a friend to host a party, again this is a practice ground where some of the guests will be people you know and some might not be, so it's easing you in with a little bit more pressure than holding your own one. 

When you host the party at your own house, why not offer one of your friends a special prize incentive if they book one of their own. Even if you have the same circle of friends, the chances are they will each have their own circle through work or social activities. 

Approach a social circle

Okay, this one takes a little bit more courage but I know you can do it. By approaching a social circle, I don't mean go to a high school and scope out the plastics (mean girls reference, if you don't get it, go and watch the film) there are a number of social circles that you can tap into, mother and toddler groups, book groups, sewing clubs. You can usually find their information online with their chairman listed, send out a few emails offering to attend one of their meetings with your products to do a demonstration and offer a prize incentive in return. The likely hood is with this one you are going to be faced with a room full of strangers which is fantastic, you can properly test your skills with people who are most likely going to give you frank and honest feedback. 

Why should you host your own party? (2 correct answers)

  • Because you really shouldn't leave your own house to do party plan
  • Because you shouldn't expect people to do something you aren't prepared to do yourself
  • Because it gives you a chance to practice in front of friends
  • Because your dog likes the smell of candles

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

The Elavator Pitch

Anyone who is or has been in business will know the importance of an elevator pitch, if you aren't in business you may not know what I'm talking about, but it is worth learning because the same rules apply to an opening pitch at a sales party.

Wikipedia has a fairly succinct description of an elevator pitch here. But in short it is thought that you should be able to describe your value proposition in the time it takes for an elevator ride (30 seconds to 2 minutes) and do it in a way that would lead the person sharing the lift to either carry on the conversation once you get out or take your card to discuss further.

In essence what you are doing is getting the information that you need to get across without the waffle of normal conversation. And the key to a good pitch is planning it! What are the key elements that you need to get across, how can you relate these elements to your customers and what do you want to gain from your pitch. 

In the case of your party opening pitch, there are 5 key things to get across
  1. Who are you
  2. What are you selling
  3. Why are you selling it
  4. Why should they buy it
  5. When will they receive it

I would thoroughly recommend taking your time and writing this, reading it out and practicing it over and over again until you can say it confidently. 

 

Prepare your display

Your product display can make or break your sales party, it is important to have a planned layout for your display. I would even recommend asking your hostess what kind of table or worktop the display will be placed on so that you can visualize it and even practice. 

Think about sales parties you have been to and the displays there, what did you find appealing about them? What didn't you like? For me personally, the thing I like least on a display is bright luminous price tickets! Nothing screams cheap market tat than a bright coloured handwritten price tag! Remember that what you are selling is quality luxury goods and your display should represent that. 

Printing and framing a price list is a great touch and can be displayed at the side of the table. I would also recommend elevating certain products. This can be easily done without having to go and buy fancy pedestals. If you are using a table cover (which is a good idea) you can put boxes underneath it like small shoe boxes or even candle boxes. 

Try to find a balance between having too much stock and not enough, you don't want the table to look bare and empty because then it looks like there isn't a great choice, but you don't want to over-fill it and have it look like a jumble sale. 

In essence, the idea here is to think carefully about the message you are trying to get across and make sure that your display fits this.

Prepare your host

The pre-party preparation of the host is almost as important as the party itself. If you have ever held a party of your own you will know that it is very difficult to get everyone available at the same time, sometimes people cancel at the last minute or don't really want to be going to a party but would still like to be involved.

Giving your host a pre-party pack will allow her to share the brochures, deals and sweepstakes with those who can't attend the party, this can lead to the party starting with some sales already in.

The pre-party pack should be given to your host 7 days prior to the party and should include

  1. A letter to the host - In the letter, you should thank the host for agreeing to host a party, outline the potential rewards she can expect to receive and the level of sales required to qualify for them.
  2. Brochures 
  3. Order Forms
  4. Special Offer Leaflets
  5. Some samples
  6. A sweepstake shee

 

What is an elevator pitch?

  • A discussion you have with the lift to let it know which floor to take you to
  • A raised piece of ground that you can play football on
  • A short description of what you have on offer and why a new consumer should purchase it

The Perfect Party

What makes a perfect party for you

Well, I don't think it's too difficult to work out what makes a perfect party for the rep! High sales and high earnings are the simplest answer. However, money isn't everything. You have to enjoy yourself too, because if you aren't enjoying yourself, not only will it feel like more of an effort, but it will come across to your potential clients and actually affect your sales negatively.

So really a perfect party for you is when you have a good time, your guests have a good time, the hostess had a good time and everyone spends loads.

The key to achieving the perfect party for you is to focus on creating the perfect party for your hostess and her guests. 

What makes a perfect party for the guest

One of the most important, in fact, I'd go as far as to say vital, elements of a sales party for a guest is a relaxed atmosphere. It is a party after all, no one should feel under pressure to buy something just because "that's how it works". You want the guests to make a purchase because they fall in love with the product. 

If you create an expectation that a purchase will be made you will simply find guests going through the brochure to find the cheapest item they can get away with and buying that, just so that they feel like they have performed to the expectation.

As part of your introduction, it is important to get across that you are there to introduce these guests to Darceys, to get the name out there and let them know what a fantastic product range is available. Using words like "If" you wish to make a purchase as opposed to "when" you want to make a purchase makes all the difference. 

The truth is most people will make a purchase just because "that's how it works" it is like an unwritten rule, however, it is up to you to take that pressure away and make it fun.  

Now that you have a relaxed atmosphere in mind, what else can we do to make it a fantastic party for the guests? So fantastic that they want to book a party of their own!

Party games are always a winner and there are plenty to choose from including Darceys Bingo, The left/Right game, a raffle, sweepstake and many more. 

It's a good idea to have something available only for the night of the party, an extra special offer that you have put together just for them.  It makes them feel special and also encourages them to place an order on the night to avoid missing out on the deal.

Another thing to consider is putting together a party bag for each guest which contains a brochure, a special offer leaflet, a sample and a leaflet with details about booking a party with you in future. Guests at a party don't stop being your customer when they leave. 

What makes a perfect party for the host

Believe it or not, the Party host may just be the most important guest at the party! 

She has kindly agreed not only to let you use her house to display your products, she's agreed to open up your offering to her friends and those close to her which, itself is a stellar recommendation from her. How she feels will absolutely reflect on how her guests feel so making her happy should be a priority.

Your pre-party prep is a big part of this, keeping in touch with your hostess to make sure that everything is in order and make sure she feels assured that you have everything planned. This has to be done without putting too much pressure on her, it needs to be clear that you are giving her an opportunity to increase her own reward by offering the pre-party pack and not just trying to line your own pockets.

Arrive at the party in plenty of time and have your display set up before the guests arrive, it looks a bit messy setting it all up in front of them. And always arrive with a bottle of wine or some chocolates, or both! 

Ensure that you show your appreciation for the hostess to the guests too, when closing the party, thank the hostess and announce what a great job she has done and what she will receive as a thank you. This does two things for you, it shows how appreciative you are and it also lets the other guests know what they could potentially earn by hosting their own party.

When you arrive at the party, what should you always hand the hostess?

  • Wine/Chocolates/Gift
  • An invoice for fuel
  • A Pre-Party Pack

Hostess Gifts

What Darceys offer as a Hostess Gift

At Darceys we like to show our appreciation to those who agree to host parties in their home. Although we expect the representative to offer an additional gift, we feel it is only right that we make an offering too. 

Each month we have a different hostess gift available,  usually a large candle or a reed diffuser which the hostess receives if their party sales exceed £150 (£112 reps prices). Occasionally we will have a party push month which sees us running extra incentives and a tiered Hostess gift package. 

To claim the hostess gift for your party, just put a comment in the comment box when you are placing your order and include the name of the host and date of the party. If you host a party in your own home you are also eligible for the gift.

(Facebook parties also count but that is a whole other training module)

What you can offer as a Hostess Gift

The most common thing to offer a hostess gift is 10% of party sales to spend in the brochure. This is a great way to incentivise the host to get those extra sales in before the party because; the more she brings in, the more free stuff she gets. It also means you still earn commission from the items you are giving the hostess. 

Some reps will have stock held that they can give as extra incentives, however, the 10% spends and the Hostess gift from us is quite sufficient to boost sales.

A bottle of wine or a box of chocolates is always a nice touch though.

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An added bonus for future party bookings

The best way to get party bookings is at a party! If you pull off a great party, you will have guests who want to host their own and earn their own hostess gift. 

To give you a help along, you can offer the host an extra incentive for anyone at her party who books their own on the night.  This doesn't have to be much, a box of melts would do it. 

Take the Test

Pre-Party preparation of your hostess can lead to an increase in party sales

  • True
  • False

If your party brings in sales of over £150 Darceys will provide a free hostess gift

  • True
  • False

Using brightly coloured price tags is a great way increase sales

  • True
  • False