Want to sell more? Throw a party! Direct sales programs have long used parties to get customers together and in a relaxed mood, ready to buy.
You may think that party plans only work for housewares, jewelry and cosmetics, but these days parties are used to sell a variety of products and services.
Traditionally, parties have been held by and for women. A customer serves as hostess and invites friends and family to attend. The sales consultant brings products to demonstrate and takes orders from the guests. The sales consultant receives a commission on sales, and the hostess receives free or discounted products based on the volume of orders placed by her guests. Refreshments are served, games are played and a good time is had by all.
Although long-time favorites such as Tupperware and Mary Kay still market through parties, today even doctors are getting in the act. “Botox parties” started appearing in 2002, after the Food and Drug Administration approved Botox injections for cosmetic use. And party plan marketing is not just for women any longer. The ProShop@Home sells golf equipment and accessories, and many of its customers and sales associates are male.
Could your business sell more by starting a party plan? The businesses that stand to gain most from this type of direct sales program are those selling products that can be effectively demonstrated in a sort-of-social setting. Jewelry, cosmetics, clothing, kitchen gadgets, home accessories, children’s toys, and more are all successfully marketed through party plans.
Selling consumables, such as cosmetics, can lead to repeat business. When customers try and like the products, they will want to buy more to replace the initial supply.
As shown by Botox parties, parties can be used to sell services, too. The social element was attractive to partygoers, because having their friends there provided support and fun around something involving needles. Other services that could do well in a party setting might include spa services, such as chair massage, facials, and manicures, or a home psychic fair where guests get astrological charts and tarot card readings.
Parties could provide lessons in how to do something. You might charge for the lessons, or they could be part of the fun while selling needed materials and supplies. Guests at crafting parties could learn ceramics, jewelry making or knitting.
If you sell to businesses, you might try a variation on party plans. Invite customers and potential customers to an event at your store or office, such as a seminar or networking event. Getting a benefit, such as information or new contacts, will make it worthwhile for them to attend. While they are there, demonstrate a product and make a special offer.
Try several parties to see if this is a profitable system for your business. Host the first event yourself, and seek hosts for future parties among the guests. Also be on the lookout for people who could become sales consultants. Often, the best direct sales people come from the ranks of customers.