I have recently had the opportunity to host a few direct sales parties. Now if you’ve been in this business for any length of time, you know the formula: the goal is to get 8-10 people to the party. In order to do so, your hostess needs to invite 30-40 people. And in this age of Facebook, that seems like a no-brainer, right? Just set up an event, invite your friends, and you’ll have a living room full of people, right? Wrong. Every host who thinks that a Facebook invite alone will get her friends to come to her party is usually disappointed.
And the reason goes back to the who concept I’ve discussed here before of communications styles. Different people are most comfortable communicating in different ways, and this holds true for your direct sales party invitations as well. Here’s what I did for my invitations:
- I sent out an evite for my email-loving friends. I kept track of all the people who said they would come in the evite system, adding their “Yes” no matter how it came in, so I had a head count in one place.
- I sent out a group Facebook message to a group of women I hang out with who have an ongoing group conversation going on there. It was set up months ago for a specific night out, and we’ve just continued the conversation there. (You should ONLY use this method with people who are personal, in-person friends…don’t spam the world with group messages.)
- I set up a Facebook Event (but only 1 woman responded “maybe” and she didn’t wind up coming.)
- I texted several friends privately.
- I spoke personally to several women while I was out and about, and they added it to the calendar on their mobile devices while we were talking. If they didn’t have their calendar on their phone, I gave them a paper invitation.
I think, all told, I invited maybe 40 people, and wound up with 9 people at my party. Most of the people came from my group Facebook message, but we also had contact via text and personal contact leading up to the party. (You must still emphasize the importance of personal contact…that hasn’t changed, despite technology.)
Notice there wasn’t a single phone call in the invite process. Why? I just don’t use the phone to communicate with my friends all that often.
As you coach your hostess, it’s important to ask her how she and her friends communicate. She might need only a handful of paper invitations to keep in her bag while she’s out and about. An evite might work best for her. Or perhaps she needs you to give her some texting language to invite her friends. Once you know how they communicate, you can better assist her in the best possible language to ensure attendance.
Direct sales companies need to re-evaluate their host coaching training. If you’re still teaching your consultants to tell hostesses to call, you may be creating an uncomfortable situation that could negatively impact attendance. Instead, find out how the hostess prefers to communicate, and then equip her with tools to use those tools to her advantage.
How do you tell hostesses to invite their friends? Which invitation methods work best? Would love to read your experiences in the comments below.