From Jen: I’ve spent a lot of time lately researching Virtual Parties, working to identify the techniques that bring the best results consistently to those in direct sales party plan companies. And since many direct sellers are running Facebook Parties, this is one area I’ve spent a lot of time. That’s how I came upon The Tag Team. Another direct seller, seeing my research, asked if I’d heard of them. I had not, but took some time to review their materials. I thought they had a lot of great techniques (and even more personality!) 🙂 Since they’ve spent a lot of time refining techniques for Facebook Parties that have helped them double the sales in their jewelry businesses, they’ve certainly figured a few things out. I invited them to share some of their best practices here with you, and I’m delighted they accepted!
Wrestling With Online Virtual Parties?
Guest Post by The Tag Team
Online virtual parties are becoming more and more prominent in the direct sales industry. Much of this can be attributed to the busyness of life, the convenience of online shopping and the ability to make connections like never before. When conducting these virtual online parties, it is important to consider the following factors.
Social media has created a platform for direct sellers to connect with their hostesses and customers like never before. As a result, the traditional catalog party pales in comparison to virtual partying because often there is a lack of connections made between the consultant and customers. It is so much more enjoyable for customers and hostesses alike to experience the one-on-one interaction and service provided through the virtual party.
The most common social media platform for virtual parties is Facebook. We suggest setting Facebook party events to “invite only.” By making it a private event, the direct seller is creating a more personal shopping experience in a virtual setting. Many consultants set their events to “public” thinking they will get more exposure and in turn increase their sales. However, the complete opposite may occur. Events set to public create spam and as a result, people end up “un-friended” or “hidden,” a result that is almost irreversible.
We are seeing many direct sellers hosting extended online virtual parties with little success. These lengthy parties often consist just of instructions on how to place orders from the company’s online catalog. This is not a party because there’s little interaction, no fun factor, and often times very low sales. The solution is to set a day and time and then invite the hostess and her guests to an event that will last 30 minutes with live interaction and service.
We do not recommend linking your company’s online catalog to the virtual party. Clicking on the link to the online catalog takes customers away from the event page and they often don’t come back. Another problem with online catalogs is that they can be overwhelming. Remember, these events should only last 30 minutes so it’s important to have a smaller, more manageable album of products for customers to look through. Another key factor with the custom albums is to make the price point $40 or less because guests are more likely to make purchases when the prices are under $40.
There’s a fine line between pushing your product and sharing it. People want to discover the product on their own and receive amazing, personal service. When relationships and connections are made, and good service is received, sales will increase. It is so important to remember this when creating your virtual party atmosphere. If a guest sees the representative hard selling the product, they are less likely to attend the event than if they are learning about the product through a series of fun posts prior to the party.
It’s through trial and error that we’ve found these practices to be successful. Although virtual parties should never replace home parties, they do provide a supplement to the traditional catalog party plan.
Amanda Holland and Rachel Perry, both current direct sellers, were frustrated with the lack of communication and personal touch that traditional catalog parties yielded. So, they took catalog parties to Facebook. After months of trial and error, they finally figured out the formula to successful virtual online parties. The Tag Team currently trains representatives from over 50 direct sales companies. Their dynamic personalities bring a sense of freshness and excitement to the direct sales industry. You can check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tagteampartypeeps.