Direct Sellers have been taught for years to “book in close” and keep your calendar full for the next two weeks. We use phrases like “21 up” and “3-2-1” to keep focused on the short-term goal of keeping this month’s calendar full.
It’s killing your business.
There are a number of good reasons to train new recruits with this technique. Because they haven’t made a long-term commitment to their business, this short-sighted focus keeps them engaged in the “now” of building their show calendar. If their calendar isn’t full for the next month, they shouldn’t be concerning themselves with adding shows three months from now.
For direct sales professionals that are building a long-term business, this short-sighted focus needs to change. By only focusing on the next two to three weeks, you’re creating extra work down the road in terms of more follow-up activities that don’t make you any money.
So you’re losing time and money. Not the best idea in my book.
If you’ve made a commitment to grow your business as your primary source of income, take a cue from traditional business models and start making a long-term plan for your business. This includes booking parties three to six months in advance.
One of my coaches once said to me that the biggest mistake a sales person can make is “selling in the month for the month.” Essentially if all the sales work you are doing is just to fill up this month, you’ve created no cushion for yourself.
What happens if “life happens” to you?
You end up with an empty show calendar. You’re out of business, and you have to start from scratch.
What happens if you talk with a potential host and she says she’d love to host a party, but can’t for a couple of months because of the holidays?
Chances are, you tell her you’ll follow up in a month, and then spend weeks playing phone tag to try and catch up with her.
A better approach is to book the potential host on the spot and use a host coaching plan to stay in contact to keep her on the books. This also resolves the dreaded “won’t she cancel anyway?” question I often hear from consultants that are leery about booking show so far into the future.
The simple fact is that clients are businer than ever, and it’s up to you as the direct sales professional to make it as easy as possible for them to say “YES!” to your offerings. Strike while the iron is hot and book the show now, while they’re interested. Then use effective host coaching techniques to keep in contact with your host during the intervening months.
Especially during the holidays, it pays to book early. Why not continue that trend into the new year and beyond by consistently staying booked solid 90 days out? Not only does it build a safety net around your business, it also establishes desire in your potential clients because you appear to be in demand.
“She’s so busy that she’s booked solid for the next three months? I want to have a show with her. She must be great!”
When you’re building a business, you have to look beyond the short term to establish a lasting, sustainable enterprise. Short term tactics are good for getting started, but they’re lousy for maintaining your business.
If you’re ready to make the transition, and when you have a solid host coaching plan in place, start working to book yourself solid over the next three months. Your business depends on it.
© 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.