Tips for Running Successful Direct Sales Virtual Parties on Facebook

Holiday time is party time if you’re in a party plan business. Most consultants find that October through mid-December are their busiest months of the year. I actually notice a drop-off in traffic to this blog during these months, and nothing could make me happier. It means you all are stepping away from your computers and getting out there making money! That’s what it’s all about.

However I recently received a message from a direct seller who, due to some life circumstances, could not get out there and do parties.  Due to an illness in the family that required her constant attention, she simply could not leave the house to go to work.  Could she still work her direct selling business?

And so it got me to thinking (again) about virtual (book/internet) parties.  Now I’ve explored these on and off for years, and always retreated from them because I’ve never found them to make as much money as an in-person party.  Add to this the fact that the consultant does not have the opportunity to offer bookings or the opportunity (and the industry averages show us this is true), and they truly are not the best option for the direct seller.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Given the choice, do the in-person party.

But sometimes, you truly don’t have that option.  Sometimes it’s virtual or nothing.  So what can you do to more effectively run a virtual event?  I’ve decided to find out.  For the next two weeks, I’m hosting a direct sales virtual party, and I’ve got it listed as a public event in Facebook.  I’m working with a top-notch, director level consultant who is showing me some things already that I think are really smart.  As I work through this process, I’m going to share my findings with you.

Now this does NOT give you license to run an internet-only business.  You will make money and build a stronger team by doing in-person parties (are we clear on this?) But when you want to run that party for your sister in Toledo when you live in Nebraska, let’s explore ways to make it work.

For my first run, I’m only focusing on providing a link where people can order.  Down the line, we’ll talk a bit about other technology that can be used, such as a virtual demo.  But in the day that I’ve done this so far, here’s what I’ve learned:

  • If you set up the Event as Public in Facebook, it automatically posts that Event to your Facebook Profile wall.  Since you’re not posting identifying information such as your address or phone number for a virtual party, this is a good option.  Just be sure to include a link to the consultant’s website, and instructions for how to assign those orders to your party, within the description of the event.
  • Don’t limit yourself to the Internet.  Even though I asked for an online show, my consultant is still sending me catalogs and order forms so that I can collect orders in person from friends should I choose to.
  • I adore my consultant.  She really is SO SMART.  For every guest that orders, she sends a personal note to the guest thanking them for their order, providing tips on how to use the product they just bought, and asking their permission to add the guest to her newsletter list.  By starting her message with a value piece, she engages that guest, even though it’s virtual.  (Your value piece could be a recipe, a decor idea, makeup application tips, etc.) If they do have a question, they now know how to contact her.  Smart, smart, smart.
  • Another consultant shared with me that she posts tips and ideas, just like she would at her show, on the Facebook Event wall.  She also includes reminders when it’s coming up to the time the show will close.  (LOVE these ideas!)

So as you can see, the real key to success with this type of an event is the ability of the consultant to still create some kind of personal experience for each guest.  If a company has systems in place to facilitate the ordering and connection, all the better.  But even if they don’t, and the hostess is collecting the orders manually, be sure to get the emails from her so you can follow up.

My show is going to remain open until the 14th, so I’m sure I’ll have other insights to share with you as we continue.  And I’ll do a summary post when it’s all over, bringing everything I’ve learned together for you.

In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with online shows in the comments below.  What are your best tips and ideas?  What questions do you have?  Since I’ll be working on this for the next couple of weeks, let’s see what we can learn and answer together!

18 Responses to Tips for Running Successful Direct Sales Virtual Parties on Facebook
  1. sierra
    April 2, 2014 | 11:25 pm

    I just attended am online party that was so much fun I want to try it! But here’s the thing, the lady said she went by a script so were do you find the script for online /Facebook parties? I just started selling Avon and am working on 3 parties but none of them have gotten any sales :/

  2. Robby
    November 14, 2012 | 9:44 am

    I am a distributor for a online all natural & organic jerky company and was researching how to do an online party with the products. The reason I am looking into this is, I have had other team members ask me how to do them. Don’t know why, I have never done even a in-person party with it, but I guess they are asking me cause I am a computer/internet/web builder geek. I really didn’t see our products being able to sell through an online party without people actually being able to taste them. But that being said, I guess it would be just like any other products you order online without trying 1st. So, I am looking for what I need to do to set something like this up to even try online. I don’t even know where to begin. Any help would be great!

  3. Maree Pascoe
    November 2, 2010 | 7:34 pm

    Hi Jennifer,
    I am a direct sales consultant with Creative Memories in Australia and have been running “online” parties for the last few months. My last party was a HUGE success with over $1300 in sales and I chose a “Mystery hostess” to “win” all the hostess goodies.
    There was certain criteria and anyone who wished to be part had to order over $50 to be in the running. I only held it over a week with a start and finish date (really helped) and sent reminder e-mails etc out. The hostess was so excited when I delivered all her product and took a photo of her surrounded by all her “goodies” which really helped with the next party I did and showed everyone what she had won/earnt. She also wrote a short statement how excited she was to receive everything, that I used as well to entice people to my next real in-person (not virtual) Mega-party which I took over $2300 in sales, 3 bookings and 2 recruit leads – mostly from customers I had not heard from in a while.
    So the virtual parties done once every few months I find really beneficial. I am now working on a webinar type party with remote customers in the next couple of weeks so your blogs could not have come at a better time!! Will keep you posted with how that goes.
    Kind Regards,
    Maree Pascoe

    • Jennifer Fong
      November 2, 2010 | 8:29 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience here Maree! I sincerely appreciate it!

  4. Amy Haarbrink
    November 2, 2010 | 12:18 pm

    Hi Jen,
    I actually wept when I read this. Thank you SO much! I will be hanging onto every word, both from you and the others who share their wisdom…
    Amy

    • Jennifer Fong
      November 2, 2010 | 12:39 pm

      {{{HUGS}}} Amy.

  5. Melody
    November 2, 2010 | 12:01 pm

    I just had a customer ask me if she could have an online party so again your post is timely. Are you sure you aren’t reading my mind? Anyways even though I haven’t done an online party for quite a few years I said yes.

    Back in the day, when I attended and presented online parties they were actual events held in a text chatroom. This way the consultant can do a presentation, talk about the products, share the link to the website, plant booking seeds and mention the opportunity. The guests can ask questions, talk about their favorite products and interact. Games can be played to make it more fun too.

    We now have the option of making an online event more interesting, interactive and fun in a conference room like dimdim. The presentation can be done up in pdf form and shared with the guests while the consultant speaks. The website can be shared with the guests while they are in the conference room as well. Again the consultant can talk about the products, plant booking seeds and mention the business opportunity. The guests can ask questions, talk about their favorite products and interact by telephone or the computer if they have a mic.

    Tips:
    * Giving the guests gifts such as recipe sheets, tip sheets etc in pdf form ads more value at no cost to the consultant.
    * Write a master script for your parties, so you have something to follow and keep you on track. Of coarse you won’t want to read it word for word but this will ensure you don’t miss key points.
    * Remind the guests the day before, just like a real party.

    Just providing the guests a link to the website where they can order wouldn’t be as effective. Doing an actual presentation, even in an old fashioned text chatroom makes it a party! Inviting by email or evite, using Facebook as a reminder and holding the party in an interactive conference room is as close as one can get to a live, in person event! With all our new technology and tools, the possibilities are only limited by our imagination!

    • Jennifer Fong
      November 2, 2010 | 12:39 pm

      I love these ideas Melody! Thanks so much for sharing them.

      I, too, have done the chat room parties. I like to enhance them with even a simple conference call line. There are so many opportunities and options. The real key to success is making it fun for everyone.

      And you’re right, as much as you can bring the in-person experience to your guests, the better!

      I appreciate you!
      Jen

      • Melody
        November 2, 2010 | 1:03 pm

        You’re most welcome Jennifer, I hope they help others to have more successful virtual parties.

    • Dawn
      November 2, 2010 | 3:35 pm

      Melody,

      I love your tips! I’m new to the online parties so this helps me greatly, as I have my first online party going on now but I did the link to my website instead of what you have suggested. Thank you so much! :-)

      • Melody
        November 2, 2010 | 4:14 pm

        You are most welcome Dawn. If you decide to do an chat or conference room event do write up a script to follow, it’s a huge help and time saver!

        Good luck with your parties!

  6. Catherine James
    November 2, 2010 | 11:58 am

    I myself have been toying with the idea of having an online party . . . one because I do have customers throughout the US, but also because my team is growing quickly and I know that it will not be long before someone questions me about how they can do it, and I want to be able to provide comments from a first hand experience!

    CathyJELady

    • Jennifer Fong
      November 2, 2010 | 12:32 pm

      Cathy,
      That’s a very good point, about being prepared to answer questions from your team. But PROMISE me you’ll make sure they focus on in-person parties FIRST! It’s the newbies who are most likely to want to just focus on online, and then get disappointed and quit when they’re not making any money.
      Jen

      • Dawn
        November 2, 2010 | 3:41 pm

        I’m a “newbie” to the online marketing approach but had no choice in my current business to start off working strictly online, as we only had one car & hubby was driving it to work. In the time that I was “online only” I had made more money than “beating the streets” with my last business that was similar to the one I am in now. Besides, I can’t find anyone who “has time” to do a live party in my area.

  7. Mary Dreesen
    November 2, 2010 | 9:15 am

    I’ve actually just wrapped up an on-line party for a woman I connected with on LinkedIn. (She’s in Chicago and I’m in Tulsa) We swapped parties. I also posted the event on facebook, had catalogs in hand to share with people face to face and also sent invites via email to those not on FB with a link to the website and the necessary instructions. Both our parties were quite successful. I will definitely be doing it again. But I also agree that the in-person parties are the best way to grow your business. I’m excited to see what others have to comment on this topic and what you learn as you go through this process.
    Mary Dreesen

    • Jennifer Fong
      November 2, 2010 | 11:03 am

      Great ideas, and I’m glad to hear your parties went well. I’m looking forward to the sharing of ideas. When we put our collective heads together, we can make magic happen! Thanks for commenting!

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