As the Holiday selling season rolls into full swing, I hear from clients even more about the biggest fear most direct sales consultants face: being pushy.
With your hosts being busier, it becomes even more important to stay in contact with them. Yet, time and again, consultants come to me asking about the best way to do it without appearing pushy.
Here’s the thing, hosts need you to stay in contact with them. You may be booking parties further out (and I hope you are!), which means if you want shows to hold, you need a contact plan to keep your hosts on track.
This is where most of you will fall down. It’s
In direct sales, the phrase “host coaching” has an ominous cloud around it. Frankly, a better word for it is host training.
I’ve learned in life (and in direct sales) that you train people how to treat you by the behavior you tolerate from them. Expect better to get better.
1. Book the show early. During the holidays, you’ll be more likely to book 4-5 weeks out, because holiday schedules are jammed. In all honesty, I’ve had better results all year long when I book 4-5 weeks out, but host training is the key to navigating a calendar booked that far in advance.
2. Have a plan for contact. Contact points can cause interruption in the host’s day, which is what makes you “feel pushy.” If you have a planned a series of contact points, hosts will feel like they’re getting just enough contact from you, but not too much. For best results, direct sales consultants should plan on no more than 5-6 contacts in a 2 week period, using a variety of contact methods (phone, facebook, email, direct mail). As you’re booking further out, plan on about 10-12 contact times in a 30 day period. That’s about every 2-3 days, which is why you don’t want every contact to be a phone call. Plus, by reaching out in different ways, you’re more likely to show up on her radar. If her email’s down, or her phone is off, you can still catch her via regular mail.
3. Communicate the plan. Each time you reach out to contact your host, let her know when and how you’ll be reaching out to her next. In your email, tell her you’ll be calling in a couple of days. On the phone, let her know you’ll send her a message on face book next. That way, she’s expecting to hear from you, which holds you accountable, and gives her “warning” about your next mode of contact.
4. Use an “Early Warning System”. I have a firm policy in place that keeps me from having too many open dates on my calendar. My Early Warning System has two “red flag” devices that keep me in control of my calendar. One of them is the guest list. Hosts have three days to return the guest list to me. If they mail it, it must be postmarked within three days. If the guest list isn’t received by day three, a call is made to remind the host that the show will be rescheduled if I don’t have it by day six. On day six, if there is still no guest list (or contact from my host), I call to reschedule the show. Simply put, this red flag lets me know how serious she is about hosting. If your host won’t call you back to let you know when to expect the guest list, she’s more likely to flake out. This way, you’ve only lost 6 days, and if you’re booking 4-5 weeks out, you can still fill that open spot during one of you upcoming shows.
5. Make your host part of the team. For a truly profitable and successful show, direct sales consultants need to stop looking at hosts as an employer. Your host is your business partner for the duration of the time between the booking and closing the show. Treat her as such, and expect her to act as such. Train her on the proper words to say when someone’s RSVP is “unable to attend”. Be honest with her about why you want guests to bring friends – more people means a more successful show for HER (and you!). The more she can see behind the veil, the more she’ll realize what’s in it for her.
Bonus tip: Close the party the night of the show. This isn’t just a holiday tip, but one you should implement in your business throughout the year. Every contact with your host should help increase your bottom line, and going back to the scene of the party to close the show at a later date will end up costing more than you’ll earn. Besides, if you’re training your hosts all along, they’ll be ready to close the show when it’s party time.
© 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 http://www.homepartysolution.com.
This article is an excerpt from the training you’ll find in Direct Sales 101: Consultant Excellence. If you don’t have at least $5000 in sales, 9 new shows, or 3 recruit leads each month, you owe it to yourself to learn more today.