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Hostess Coaching

The key ingredient to a successful direct sales business is hostess coaching. Unfortunately, not many people can define it or teach it. In reality, hostess coaching is very abstract because it is simply relationship building. The more connected you are to your hostess, the more willing she is to sell you and your product.

Hostess coaching can take many forms because we all see relationships differently. However, one thing is the same for all of us: We have to have contact in order to build the relationship. There are many ways to cultivate this relationship in today’s technological age. The form it takes for you is not as important as the fact that it happens.

You want to have at least five contact times with your hostess:

1. The first contact happens when you schedule the party. If you schedule the party in person, you should use this time to go through the hostess party planner with your hostess. If you schedule it over the phone or online, you can mail her a hostess party planner and schedule an appointment to call her to go through it over the phone.

There are several key items you should include in the hostess packet.

  • First, make sure she has a catalog. It will facilitate her in several ways including making her wish list and getting outside orders. Even if your website is very user friendly, make sure you give her a catalog.
  • The second item you should include is a minimum of five order forms. Be sure to tell your hostess that, if she gets five preorders, she has laid a good foundation to getting the most out of her hostess rewards.
  • You should also include a brochure about the opportunity with your company. Remember that your hostesses are your best prospects for recruiting.
  • Include any hostess and customer specials your company may have for that month.
  • Include a wish list for your hostess to fill out. Even if you will do most of your coaching through email or facebook, you want her to have a piece of paper where she can write down the items she likes as she peruses the catalog.
  • I also include a checklist that details what she needs to do and what I will be doing for her.
  • Last, but certainly not least, if you mail out invitations, you need to include a guest list for her to fill out. Again, you may want her to send you this information through email, but it will help her to have some idea of the information you need. Make sure there is enough space for her to list 30 names at a minimum.

I want to stop here to encourage you to mail out the invitations for your hostess. If you do your hostess coaching online, you may not have invitations to mail, but if you do, do not leave this step up to the hostess. Remember that this is your business; the more control you take, the more control you have over the outcome. If you mail out the invitations, there is less likelihood that the party will cancel or postpone. You will also have an idea how many people will show up to the party. Mailing out your hostesses invitations keeps you from “flying blind.” These should be mailed about 10 days prior to the party.

2. The second contact should be a confirmation of the booking. You could call her, send a facebook message, or mail her a handwritten thank you card. Make sure you let her know the date and time of the party. It is very important to make sure you keep this contact light and fun. Let her know how much you are looking forward to her party, and give her some tips to keep the party simple (you do not want her preparing a gourmet meal for her guests as this will discourage her guests from booking because it looks too hard to have a party). Make sure you bring the conversation back to her and what a fun party she will have.

3. The third contact should take place about one week to 10 days before her party and is simply to remind her that the party is coming up. It can simply be something like, “Hi Susie, I just wanted to make sure everything is in order for your party next week.” This will give her a chance to brag on herself if she has done a great job or a chance to get into gear if she hasn’t. Again, it should be a light and fun contact with the topic coming back to what a great hostess she is. If you choose to do a mailing rather than a phone call, you can include the time and date of the party, remind her to keep the snacks simple, and encourage her to get her outside orders on top of inviting everyone she knows to her party. You can also include a few more completed invitations for her to hand deliver to any last minute additions.

4. The fourth contact takes place two to three days before the party. In this contact you want to get a head count, see if she has any outside orders, and ask if there is anything you can do to take some pressure off of her. Reassure her that the party will be great even if it is just the two of you there. If nothing else, you will be able to further develop your relationship with her.

5. The fifth contact is the party itself. Try to get to the party in plenty of time to set up your display and still have some time to visit with the hostess for a bit. This is when she gets to see what you do behind the scenes. This is the best time to show her how fun and easy your job is, so keep it simple. Once the party is over and all the guests have placed their orders, see if you can sit down with the hostess and talk about her total at that point, discuss any further outside orders, and discuss the hostess rewards. You can also use this time to see if she can refer any other hostesses or recruits for you. After the party, you may also want to send her another personal message thanking her for opening her home to you. Be sure to compliment her on her home and to tell her what a great time you had.

Hostess coaching is the best way to make sure your party is a success and to increase your party average. You can have four parties a week on your calendar, but it won’t do you any good if none of them qualify for the minimum hostess rewards. As you increase your party average, you can schedule fewer parties to lighten up you calendar, or you can keep as many bookings as you like and just make more money. That is why we are in this business, after all!

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How Do I Get My First Bookings?

If you are just starting out in direct sales (or maybe starting over after your business has stalled out a bit), the best way to start getting bookings is to ask for them. I have listened to so many posts on this topics that I can’t tell you where I heard this, but suffice it to say the information I will present is not original to me.

Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and start writing names of people you know. You can use the FRANK method to make it easier: Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors, and Kids’ parents. Do not judge as you write. You may think of someone and decide not to put her name down because you don’t think she would be interested. That is judging. You should not decide FOR her. Write her name down on the list, and give her the choice. Try to get your list to 100 names.

Once you have your list made up, go through the list and put a star next to each name that belongs to a “party queen” (someone who loves to host parties), someone who LOVES your product, and someone who would love to help you succeed in your business. Then go through your list again and circle each name that belongs to someone who could use a little extra money every month and someone who would be great at this business. Now you can use this list for three different things. You can use it as your guest for your own launch party, you can use it to contact people about hosting a party, and you can use it to contact people about joining your team.

When you call your potential hostesses, tell them that you have just started your business (or you have learned some new things for your parties) and you need a couple of people to practice on. Would she be willing to help you by hosting a party and earning some free and discounted product in the process? This is a great way to get your first parties because most people really want to help others succeed. Your next step will be to do great hostess coaching with her so she will want to host parties for you over and over again. Hostess coaching will be the subject of the next blog.

You really need to have 4-6 parties on your calendar BEFORE you actually do your first party. If you can have 4-6 parties within the first 30-60 days, you will be off to a great start!

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The Company Incentive Trip

Most direct sales companies offer their reps an incentive trip to motivate them to sell and recruit. So how do you make sure you are one of the deserving reps on the trip? You must set realistic, attainable goals.

The first step is figuring out what it is going to take to achieve the qualification for the trip. For example, Miche is currently offering an incentive cruise for two to the Bahamas. It is important to break the information down so you can look at it in chunks.

  • The qualification period is through October 31st. It is the beginning of March. That means there are 8 months to qualify for the cruise.
  • The rep must accumulate 26,000 points to qualify for the trip. That means 3,250 points per month.
  • With Miche, $1 in sales = 1 point, so the rep should strive to sell $3,250 worth of retail product per month.
  • There are other ways to accumulate points, though. You earn 1,000 points for every recruit who reaches $1,000 in sales during the qualification period; you earn 500 points every time you or one of your recruits moves up a level; and you earn 500 points when your team sales are $50,000 in a month. If you achieve one of these goals, you have just created a small cushion and relieved a bit of stress.

Now, the most controllable of these methods of qualification is personal sales. If the rep wants to sell $3,250 in retail product per month, it is important for her to figure out what the average party sales are for the company. For instance, if the average sales at a party are $400, then she needs to schedule at least 8 parties in a month (that is just two parties a week).

This could seem daunting to some who just don’t have the time to do 2 parties a week. In that case, the rep should try to raise the average party sales. This can be done through great hostess coaching, a subject for a future blog.

So if your company is offering an incentive trip, break the information into manageable pieces in order to conquer them one step at a time. The incentive trips are not gifts, they are earned, and they come with a double reward. If you meet the qualifications to earn the trip, it means you have made money along the way!

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