Top Loading your Month

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Have you heard of top loading your month before?  Do you know what it means?  This is a new term to me, but one that totally makes sense in the Direct sales industry.  This is an especially important concept if you are trying to meet a monthly quota or goal in any given month.

Calendar Module and iCal data

Calendar Module and iCal data (Photo credit: m.gifford)

Top loading means you book all your parties/events in the first three weeks of the month and then you leave your last week open.  This way you have room to book people in if they have to cancel or reschedule or they contact you at the last minute to have a party.  By having the last week open, you are able to still fit them in and make that quota you are aiming for.  And if you have already hit it, then they will just be extra parties and money that you make.

Top loading your month can be especially important if you are just starting out or if you are having a tough time meeting quotas or goals within the month.  This is helpful for those that do not do a lot of events each month and may have a harder time controlling their calendar.

Another thing to consider when you are booking people is to consider how far out you are booking them.  I suggest only booking them a week or two from today’s date.  The reason is that people do not know what they are doing a month from now so are more likely to cancel on you if you press them into a date that far out.  But if you book them for next Wednesday, they likely know what they are doing and will have an easier time committing and actually following through.  They will have an easier time getting guests as their friends will know their plans as well.

By doing this, you can top load your month and as the month goes by, and your parties are holding, you can book out the last week of the month without any difficulty.  While you may have a hard time convincing people to book now instead a month later, you need to just make sure you stick to your policy of only booking out a month in advance.

At the beginning of the month you typically are feeling very positive but a cancellation can really depress you.  But if you have room to reschedule them within the same month, your month still looks good and you are able to make up those sales and make your goals.

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Referral Program

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If you are having a hard time getting parties, you may want to consider offering some sort of referral program for your customers.

For instance, I offer a program where any customer will get $10 product credit if they refer someone to me who books and holds a party. Each person they refer, they earn $10 and there is no limit to how many times they can do this. What you give your referral is up to you.

Sure, it costs me a little bit of money, but considering I am getting a party when I didn’t have one before, it is well worth the cost.

I got some nice cards printed at Vistaprint that specifically say that they are a referral card and how the program works. There is a spot on the back where the current customer can write their name and then pass it on to their friend. I give every person at my parties 3 cards for them to pass on.

I also let people know that they do not have to hold a party in order for the referral card to work. I recently had someone who used earned the credit by getting her sister to book a party. Win win for both of them!

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8 Incentives you can Offer to Increase Bookings

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8 Incentives you can Offer to Increase Bookings

Offer the hostess an incentive to get her to book may help you to fill up your calendar.  While you may not want to cut into your earnings, consider that no party means 0 dollars earned.

While the incentive may cost you $10 or $15 depending on what you offer, you should more than make it up by having a party.  You can also make the incentive dependent on sales hitting a certain level so that you know it pays for itself.

Of course, make sure you know what your calendar looks like and only offer incentives for times that you have a hard time booking or that you want to make sure you have a party on.

-          Extra incentive if they book on a weeknight

-          Book a community room somewhere and have multi parties.  Have several hostesses who invite their guests, but no one will have to clean house.  You may want to share the space with other consultants in the same company to keep costs down.

-          Offer your own home to have the party in.

-          Give the hostess something extra if they book another party within a certain time period

-          Offer a referral program

-          Get people to do catalogue parties – give an extra bonus for the hostess gift as these can be difficult to do

-          Do trade shows and promote yourself and your business

-          Have a mini party where you guarantee to be in and out in half the normal time.  Give everyone a free gift or discount if you don’t make it.
What do you find works for you and your business?

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Direct Sales Bookings

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With a direct sales business, you need bookings.  Without bookings, you have no business.  Need help getting those bookings?  These ideas should help you.

Planting Seeds to help you get Bookings

Incentives to help you get Bookings

Deal or No Deal Game

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*****Utilizing your Wonderful Hostess Program*****

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Great Booking Script:

Example of a script I love to use at the end of my show after I have created their need:
“ I know all of you ladies are really busy aren’t you? (They will say yes). Me too! I don’t know where the time goes. Let me ask you, what is your favorite department store? Someone yells Hudson’s. “IF I said I had a $100 Gift certificate for a shopping spree to Hudson’s for anyone who wanted it, how many of you would take it? (wait for a response) Now what if you had to find one night in the next 3 weeks to spend it, how many of you could find the time to spend it? (wait for the responses). Now we wouldn’t want your friends to miss the fun, what if you had to find 5-10 of your friends to go with you on this shopping spree, who could make that happen? (wait for a response)

Well Ladies, that in essence is what Company is offering. The Average Hostess has 10 orders and earns $100 or more shopping spree including FREE and discounted merchandise with a qualifying show! And what is really exciting is when you have 3 friends wanting a shopping spree; your shopping spree soars up over $100 more when their show qualifies.

(You can fill them in on the details when they set their date) I’ve got a few shopping sprees with me tonight (show host pack with $100 shopping spree written on them in big red letters) for the first three women that set their date TONIGHT and choose a *Star Hostess date I WILL ADD AN ADDITIONAL $15 FREE to your shopping spree.

Don’t give them too many details about the hostess program. Sell them on the ideas of booking a show. Once they book-hostess coach them with the details. Your goal should be to book a minimum of 3 people within 3 wks at every show. (Watch how fast your calendar will fill up)

(*Star Hostess is where you pick 4 dates in the next 3 wks (I normally make my week nights star hostess nights to free up my weekends) you’d like to work and put stars on them. When a hostess chooses one of those dates, she is a STAR HOSTESS and will receive an additional gift or whatever bonus you’d like to add)

Free Product
Get this (hold up a popular, higher priced item) _____ FREE when you host your very own Shopping Spree this month (or whatever dates you are promoting).

Buying Guest Credit

Here is our Most popular item. This item is regular $62 and when you host your shopping spree with only 10 guests’ orders you can get this for ONLY $21.70.

Hostess Exclusives, Monthly Specials, Booking Bonus
SHOW HOSTESS EXCLUSIVES, MONTHLY SPECIALS AND BOOKING BONUS ITEMS!
“Here we have the Exclusive Item, which is regular $79 and ONLY OUR HOSTESS can get it tonight for JUST $22 when she qualifies!!! (Go into details about why this item is so great)
This is our Product name, which is regular $24 and ONLY OUR PRIOR HOSTESS can get this when her 3rd qualified booking holds! Guess what she’ll pay for this one? FREE plus she will receive $50 from the catty FREE!!!

Here we have ______________ which is the special for ______(next month or whichever month your trying to promote bookings) and ONLY OUR HOSTESS CAN GET ALL OF THIS FOR ______(price)
(put all these items in a really nice basket so when you show it you can show it as a package for that discounted price)

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Judy Garey, aka the Party Plan Booking Queen, trained hundreds of distributors via company conventions and teleconferences in booking parties and hostess coaching. Her ability to book and hold unbelievable amounts of parties led her to being the top sales producer, earned her several trip promotions and invitations to serve on many leadership teams. She continues to serve the industry by providing training on understanding personality styles to increase sales, bookings, and sponsoring. You can find more information at http://www.judygarey.com

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Stack the Hostess Game

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There are some people out there that are visual learners, so this is a great way to show them the benefits to being a hostess.

You start by either asking your hostess to stand up or you can pick one of the guests.  Maybe you want to ask for volunteers.  Either way, you need someone to come up and help you.

Start by thanking them for coming up, get their name, and ask them if they have considered having a party.  If they say no, you can say why not?  Do you realize how much stuff you can earn for free?  Chances are they will say no, they don’t.  You then proceed to tell them that you are going to show them.

“This is what my hostess gets, just for having a party.  This is without sales or anything, no strings attached” and place the hostess gift in their hand.

“Now, when my hostess gets to (bottom level for benefits) she is going to get X of free product” Add this to her hand.

“But, that’s the bare minimum.   My hostess average is Y so therefore, you are going to get even more!”  Pile that onto her arm.  If your average is quite a bit higher than company average, you may want an extra step in here to show what company average gets and what your hostess gets.

“Don’t forget, when your sales get to Z level, you get an extra A or you get discounted B product”.  Continue piling up her arms.

Do a summary at the end.

“Do you see everything in Jane’s arms?  That product is worth C but Jane got it all for free for inviting me into her home and showing you this product!”

OR
“Do you see everything in Jane’s arms?  That product is worth C but Jane got it all for $10 for inviting me into her home and showing you this product!”

This presentation has to be modified for your program, but you get the idea.  Customize it to fit the wording you are comfortable with and your program, but it can be a highly effective presentation.

Note:  Figure out the items before hand, I don’t know about you, but my math skills aren’t that great on the fly!

 

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Getting your Business Going Again

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Nothing on the books?  No fear, here are some things you can do to get your calendar booked up!

-          Call past hostesses and customers to see if they are interested in seeing a book.  Don’t push the party right away.  Some might say right off the bat, you know, I was getting low on X and Y, and you can suggest having a party where they can get it for free.

-          Spend some time on advertising – I will be doing some articles on this in the near future.

-          Attend trade shows and promote your products.  You may get some sales at the event but focus on the benefits of having a party.  Network with the other vendors as they may be able to pass contacts your way.  I know I have had people ask me if I know someone who sells other types of products.

-          Create your FRANK list and see if there are any places you can get a booking from.  FRANK – Friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbours, kids (or people you know through your kids).

-          Have your own party and invite everyone you know – Offer incentives at it if they book their own party

-          See if you can setup somewhere and show off your wares.  I know here, different direct sales companies can setup at the hospitals for an afternoon.

-          Make sure everyone around you knows what you sell.  You never know when someone will say back to you, “I was just looking for someone who sold that product!”

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12 ideas for Theme Parties

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12 ideas for Theme Parties

For many people in direct sales, getting bookings can be difficult. This week I am going to focus on different things that you can do in order to get bookings and keep your calendar full.

Here are some ideas to get you going. Customize to fit your product line.

Pool Party – This is great if your hostess has a pool, or you could use a kid’s play pool, sit around it with drinks and do your presentation.

Wine & Cheese – A great theme for a wine party or an event that involves food.

Sports – This could be a party centered around a favorite game or team, or maybe as a way to boycotting the big game. Dress in the colours of your favourite team.

Birthday Party – It doesn’t really have to be anyone’s birthday, but why not pretend?

Ugly X Party – This would be great for a candle party or some home décor party. The person who brings the ugliest something gets a prize or maybe a discount.

Christmas in X Month – A great way to promote the holiday catalogue! Get everyone to dress in red and green.

Chocolate Lovers – Another great theme for a food party, or just an excuse to eat chocolate. Who doesn’t love this idea?

Cooking Class – This is a great idea for anyone who has a business that involves cooking items. You don’t have to teach a complicated recipe, but make sure you use your items to show how much easier they make the process.

Slumber Party – Have everyone come in their pj’s! This works great for any type of party as its something fun and different.

Mystery Hostess – This is a great theme to use when you are hosting your own party. Then you raffle off the hostess gifts.

Lunch Party – This is a great idea to use at the office. Have everyone bring something to share with the group and do a short presentation and take orders.

Budget Party – When doing this type of party, you would only show items that are under a certain price threshold. Of course, the full catalogue would be available for ordering. Each attendee could share their favourite budgeting tip.

Do you have a favourite theme for a party? Let us know about it in the comments!

Other booking seeds to use during your show.

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The offer is so Good not even YOU can believe it!

“I can’t remember the last time they ran a special this good!”

“They must have lost their minds to run such an AWESOME Special!  We have never done anything like this before.”

“I can’t believe it myself!”

 

Immediacy Factor:  People act when they feel a sense of urgency.

Create urgency by saying things like:

“I only have a few dates left open” or  “This offer will end in 2 wks” or “ This offer is only for those who schedule their Shopping Sprees TONIGHT WITHIN 3 WKS!” or on Star Hostess nights?

 

Testimonials:  Use Client testimonials to sell the idea of booking

“I’m so glad (prior hostess) is with us tonight! ______ just had a party with me 3 weeks ago, and how much did you get in hostess credits?” (She answers) “Not only did she receive ______ credits but tonight she will receive $35 FREE just for ________(hostess name) booking her show off hers.  And last week she got 65% off an item at her first party that was held off hers. (Then you can add-” AND in 2 wks her 3rd party will be held and she will receive an additional $50 more absolutely FREE plus a FREE booking bonus item!”  “Now how many people in here wished you was ______(prior Hostess) or _______ (hostess) so that you could be earning the FREE Shopping Sprees?”

 



Judy Garey, aka the Party Plan Booking Queen, trained hundreds of distributors via company conventions and teleconferences in booking parties and hostess coaching. Her ability to book and hold unbelievable amounts of parties led her to being the top sales producer, earned her several trip promotions and invitations to serve on many leadership teams. She continues to serve the industry by providing training on understanding personality styles to increase sales, bookings, and sponsoring. You can find more information at http://www.judygarey.com

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Keeping the Momentum in Direct Sales

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Now that you are going again, are all updated and ready to party, its important to keep your business going and growing.  This can be the easiest thing to do once you start getting parties, but if you are having difficulties, do not give up. It may take a bit of time to get your business growing and busy again, but it will happen if you keep at it.

Organize your Calendar

Make sure you know when you are available for parties and when you are not.  You want to be booking at least two parties at every event you do – one to replace the one you had and one to grow your business. Even if you cannot get a hostess to 100% commit to a date, if you can get them to tentatively commit and pencil that date in, chances are it will follow through.  But if they tell you that they will contact you, you likely will never hear from them again.

Following Up

If you called someone originally about booking a party and they were not ready at that point, make sure you put them on your list to call again.  I keep a spreadsheet of all my customers and who I have called and when.  If they tell me I can call again in a few months, I will make a note of call in September – new baby.  Then, when I call, I can ask how the new baby is which impresses them and I am calling when they asked me too.

Keep Up

One of the biggest things I always tell people is to keep current on all your communications.  If you have social media accounts you should be checking them on a regular basis.  If you have an email account, you should be checking it at least daily.  If you have voicemail, you should be returning calls within 24 hours.  I have had many customers who have told me that they contacted several consultants but that I was the only one that replied.  You want to be the first response as they will likely book/buy with whoever gets in touch with them first.

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