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Online Holiday Shopping Parties

The holiday selling season can be the busiest for direct sales professionals. It can also be difficult to pin down a date with potential hosts. Your hosts may complain that everyone is travelling, or that it’s too difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time to host a party.

One possible solution: hosting an online holiday shopping party.

Online parties are similar to offline parties, in that there’s a host, a presenting consultant, and guests. Beyond that, though, online parties can be very different – and maybe even a little complicated for a host or even a direct sales consultant to figure out. They can also be an incredibly lucrative source of additional sales from a party, so it is worth your time to learn more about online parties.

Here are a few tips for understanding and using online parties during the holidays:

1. Online parties still require a “location”. Chat rooms, webinar, and video streaming sites abound. Use a reliable provider as a central location to bring all your guests to one “location” for hosting the presentation. Prepare any slides, pictures or video content in advance of the party and test your equipment to make sure everything is functional before your event. Chat rooms are basic, text-based, and the most popular style of online party. Webinars and video are quickly gaining popularity because people can talk with and sometimes see each other, which helps in the rapport building process.

2. Understand the similarities. Like an offline party, your online party should have a start and end time, as well as an order of events. Begin with a welcome and introduction, just like you would an offline party. Before you end the party, be sure to plant your booking and recruiting seeds, and close with a strong call to action for placing online orders.

3. Understand the differences. Online parties will require multiple reminders – especially if they’re sent via email or social media. The good news is that you can use social media to attract impulse buyers to the party that may not have been part of the original invitation list. Another difference is that you can’t demo your products the same way you would at an offline event. It becomes even more important that you “romance” your products. I use that term to describe speaking about your products in a way that creates desire. Make sure any images you use in your presentation are very crisp and clear. There’s no point using an image so blurry or small that your clients can’t see it.

4. Follow-up is critical. The “know, like, and trust factor” of an online party is not as high as an in-person, offline event. As such, it’s even more important to follow-up after the party ends. Everyone that places an online order needs an immediate acknowledgement, and it’s important to contact everyone and thank them for participating in the event. The follow-up goes a long way to reassuring technologically fearful clients that they’ve made a great decision in doing business with you.

5. Book early and ship out on time. Be sure to host online parties in plenty of time to have products shipped out before the holidays. There’s nothing worse than using technology to close your show and then have to apologize when product isn’t delivered on time. If you don’t plan to close the party the day of the show, be sure to let clients know when to expect delivery of their products.

The next time a host complains that everyone is travelling, consider an online party. Understanding the basics to running your own online shopping party will help you not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. These basic tips take the guesswork out of navigating your next (or first) online party.

© 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.

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