You’ve just signed up as a party plan independent consultant, and you’re excited and eager to get going on what you hope will be a lucrative career in direct selling. You’re impressed by the business plan and believe in the income potential that could be yours in exchange for hard work and determination. You’ve probably invested some money in the products you’ll be selling, in marketing literature, and in product training. But what do you really need to know during those first, few critical months to help you establish a solid business in direct sales?
Here are ten ways to become a successful party plan consultant:
1. It’s essential that you like, believe in, use and be seen to use the products you’re selling.
If you don’t, then you’re never going to convince potential customers to buy and, more importantly, to keep buying and recommending the products to others.
2. Prepare thoroughly for your first party presentation.
Write out your presentation, practice delivering it, and think of all the questions you may be asked. Pay particular attention to any aspects of the product that may attract negative comments or difficult questions and have answers ready.
Try and make your presentation as natural as possible and use personal anecdotes if you can. Write prompts on cards and keep them close to you at the presentation. A properly prepared presentation will impress and give you confidence.
3. Achieving a successful party requires stamina.
Many new, inexperienced party plan consultants can be so relieved to get their presentation over (especially if it went well) that they forget that the following hour or so of the party is a critical period, requiring just as much (if not more) energy and enthusiasm as the presentation itself. It’s during this period when orders are taken, and future party hostesses are recruited. Pace yourself and prepare for this period. Keep cool, confident and enthusiastic. Try and spend time with all party attendees and don’t let mental or physical fatigue lose a valuable customer or opportunity.
4. Your product display is your shop window.
It’s important that your products are spotlessly clean and presented in an attractive, tempting manner. Practice laying out your display at home. Invest some money in attractive fabrics, quality artificial flowers, and other suitable props to make your display unusual and tactile. When you’re happy with your display, take a photograph of it and keep it with your products. Use the photograph as a guide to help you set up your display quickly and confidently at the party. Remember to theme your display according to the season and any upcoming festivities.
5. Rejection hurts in any sphere of life.
Be realistic about the fact that, as a party planner, you will receive your fair share of rejection. Learn coping techniques early on and try and keep positive. Try to adopt a ‘bell jar’ mentality that will allow any negative comments or rejection to ‘bounce off’ you. Always remain polite, even in the most difficult circumstances. Remember that almost all successful business people have faced rejection at some point in their lives.
6. Your direct selling company will hopefully provide training.
Discipline yourself to go to all training sessions and participate fully in them. There’s always something new to be learned and networking with other consultants can provide you with fresh ideas to help you improve your business.
7. Before every party, ask the hostess about the people who will be attending.
Try and find out as much as possible about their ages, lifestyles, interests, careers and other useful information. Plan the party around this information. For example, if most of the attendees are going to be young mothers, then identify which of your products will appeal best to this target audience and base your presentation and sales pitch around them.
8. Prepare for Christmas early.
Like all other retailers, this is your best selling period. Get Christmas themed parties booked as early as possible using product offers or extra hostess gifts as inducements. Your small monetary investment in securing those bookings will be rewarded when you have a full party diary for the festive season. Recruiting new consultants is an important aspect of the party plan business, and you should be aiming to do this as soon as possible.
9. Recruiting new consultants is an important aspect of the party plan business, and you should be aiming to do this as soon as possible.
However, many new party plan consultants find this very hard, and some even give up trying. To be a successful recruiter requires research, preparation and a lot of effort. Don’t try and recruit anyone unless you are fully versed on the company and its business plan. Compile a list of all the benefits and support you are going to provide a new recruit with and remember that you must sell yourself as much as the company itself. Nobody will invest their time and money in a new business venture if they have little or no confidence in their new manager.
10. A successful party planner will always be looking for ways to increase their knowledge of the product they are selling and its field of reference.
For example, if you are selling kitchen equipment then learn as much as possible about cooking in general. Find out about top chefs, recipes, and new cooking techniques and talk about them at your parties. This will give you that extra edge and hopefully lead to more sales and future party bookings.