In the direct selling industry, November is the number one sales month of the year. Active consultants consistently have a better November than any other month, due mostly to customers’ increased holiday purchasing and gift giving.
But what if your booking calendar is as barren as the Sahara Desert?
If you’re not brand new, there’s probably something amiss in your approach to doing business – especially during the holidays. When consultants are programmed to book two weeks out, that can backfire during the holidays. Here are seven reasons that might be why your calendar is empty – and ways to fix it.
Seven Ways To Get More Bookings – Especially During The Holidays
1. You waited to book – now people are swamped. Don’t be afraid to book early – even 6 months out. With a good follow-up plan, you can make sure these shows hold. During the holidays, it’s even more important to give clients plenty of advanced notice for booking. While it may not help you book for December, there are still people looking for something to do the last week of the year. And let’s not forget all the amazing after-Christmas sales in January. Most direct sales companies have clearance items and merchandise that they offer at discount pricing. Host your own clearance show, and clear out the discontinued products in your inventory. Use that opportunity to re-book hosts. Some hosts ONLY book during January, so that their family and friends can get great deals on your products. But don’t wait to book these folks, or someone else will already have them on their calendar!
2. You didn’t plant the seed. You don’t just walk out into your yard and expect there to be a ripe harvest of yummy edibles just waiting for you on any given day. You have to plant seeds in order to have a bountiful harvest. And any good gardener will tell you that you’re planting different seeds at different times of the year. In essence, you’re always planting something. Don’t just hit someone over the head with a booking request. Warm them up to the idea by planting seeds everywhere all the time. You should be planting at least three booking seeds at each show, plus several booking stickers inside your catalogs to stimulate a “subliminal” seed planting. But if you’re only planting booking seeds at your shows, then you’re only working your business when you’re in show mode. Be sure to plant seeds all the time – not just at your shows. That doesn’t mean being pushy or irritating. It means planting the seed when the moment is right.
3. You didn’t ask. Plant the seed, then harvest it. If you just leave the fruit on the tree, eventually, it rots. When you plant, you must also harvest. Don’t just plant seeds and assume people will jump on the opportunity to book. Ask them. Assume the answer is yes, but you’ve still got to ask them.
4. You didn’t follow up. Direct sales is not an “if you build it, they will come” scenario. Even in that old saw of a Kevin Costner film, it took one player telling another player (and so on) before anyone came to that field of dreams. If people said yes, but you didn’t stick to your host coaching schedule – or worse, you don’t have one – then you are not working your business in a professional manner. Develop a follow-up plan and stick to it. The top two reasons hosts cancel are because they didn’t do their inviting, and because they didn’t hear from their consultant enough to be sure the party was still on. BOTH of these are within your control to manage. So manage them. ‘Nuff said.
5. You made it too easy to say yes. This sounds silly, but it’s true. Offering all kinds of incentives will bring out the “trick or treaters”, “tire kickers”, and “kitnappers”. It’s hard to build a thriving business on those kinds of people. Make your incentives strategic, make sure they make financial sense to you, and be a bit discriminating about who you choose to work with. If you make it too easy for people to say yes to booking a show, then everyone will book, but few will hold.
6. No confidence – either in yourself, your product, or your company. For whatever reason, you’re not confident enough about who you are or what you’re doing. That lack of enthusiasm means you’re not sharing your opportunities with people who are probably looking for you. If someone was standing right next to you with the answer to your biggest problem, and they didn’t share it with you, it probably wouldn’t mean much if you never found out. You’d just keep right on struggling. But what if you later found out that they held the key to solving your dilemma? You’d probably be mad and kick yourself for not asking them. Here’s the kicker, though: it’s not your prospect’s job to ask you about what you do. It’s your job to find out what their problems are and figure out how you can help. Stop thinking about “selling stuff” and start thinking about helping people solve their problems. Then, whether you have something for sale or not, you’ve got an approach that endears you to people, instead of making them run screaming for the hills every time they see you coming.
7. Fishing in the wrong pond. If you’re trying to catch sword fish in an inland lake, you can fish all day and you won’t catch a thing. Likewise, if you fish in a pond filled with carp, you’re sure to catch something, but you won’t want what you’ve caught – it’ll be more trouble than it’s worth to even bother fishing in the first place. In direct sales, we’ve often taught to offer the opportunity to everyone and not prejudge. That’s helpful information to a small degree. You shouldn’t prejudge. You SHOULD pre-qualify. Know your target market, know where to find them, and entice them with the right kind of “bait”. When you become intimately familiar with the needs and wants of your target market, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
What about you? What are you struggling with in your business right now? What’s working great for you? Share your comments below!