Direct Sales Success: Lessons From The Mayflower Madam

While researching the content for Direct Sales 104, I stumbled upon an old book that laid the foundation for my early direct sales success. “The Mayflower Madam”, by Sydney Biddle Barrows is an autobiographical book that spells out some strong business wisdom for anyone willing to listen. As I flipped through the pages, I was reminded of another book by Barrows, “Uncensored Sales Strategies” which was co-written by marketing legend Dan Kennedy.

For those that would scoff at taking business advice from the world’s oldest profession, allow me to quote Barrows:

“The challenge of running an escort service is the same kind of challenge your business and every business faces: creating a unique Experience for the customer, one which your target market really wants and, ideally, is willing to pay a premium price for. The fewer people there are who provide a similar Experience, the more you will be able to charge.”

Now, more than ever, in an age where nearly every product can be bought or sold online, people look to direct sales home parties as an experience. Simply put, they won’t come if they’re not interested. So what can you do to make your parties the kind of events that people crave? Here are a few tips:

1. Glorify your host. Make the entire event about them. Focus on their needs, make the guests jealous enough to want to be a host. Make the host feel special enough to tell her friends how amazing it is to be one of your special hosts. Each host will have different needs. The key to a successful party is to match their needs with your objectives, so that it’s a win-win for everyone.

2. Short and sweet. Your presentation should never run more than 30-40 minutes at most. The evening may run several hours, but your presentation should be short and minimal. The focus should be on the positive experience your guests and host are having.

3. Demonstrate the WOW! You don’t need to present every product in your catalog. Highlight the products that will make the biggest impact during your presentation. If you have a skin care product that produces immediate results you can feel, focus on it. Avoid using products that are too noisy or take too long to produce results. If you have a multi-step system that you can’t demonstrate in 30 minutes or less, show a before and after photo, and explain that you’ll be happy to demonstrate the system in the privacy of the client’s home on another date.

4. Be unique. Do something different at each show in a party chain. If clients know everything to expect, it takes the excitement out of the party. consider playing a different game, or making a “show only” special offer that is only available to clients in attendance. Give people reasons to come to your show over everyone else.

5. Use themes. Theme parties are still a blast to host and attend. Pick a creative theme, and send out coordinating invitations.

These are just a few of the ways you can create a memorable experience that your clients and hosts will talk about long after the party has ended. They more they talk, the better your referrals will be.

© 2010 Lisa Robbin Young.



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Lisa Robbin Young offers direct sales coaching and training to direct sales professionals looking to grow their business like a real business instead of an expensive hobby. Sign up for her free weekly ezine at