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All the World's a Stage


Itís almost time to go out on stage and perform. The job of a home party sales rep requires that you leave your problems at home and put on a happy face. If youíre shy, make sure you get your first experiences with people you know so that when youíve booked your first party with a stranger, youíll be ready.

Make sure you have complete directions from the hostess about how to find her house. Find out, too, where you should park. If you are selling bulky products, make sure she understands that youíd like to be as close to the house as possible.

If there will be children at the party and the hostess is not providing a baby-sitter, bringing along your own teen or neighbor might be a good idea, even if you have to pay them a small amount.

Make sure you have catalogs, order forms, a table and tablecloth if you need them, a calculator, sales literature and your samples loaded in your car.

Plan on leaving your house with plenty of time to spare, and plan on arriving at the hostessí home at least 30 minutes before the party is scheduled to begin. Forty-five minutes is probably better, and if you have an elaborate display or an abundance of samples to show, it isnít unreasonable to arrive an hour before the party. If the hostess is still running around in her robe or still making refreshments, let her know that she doesnít have to entertain you. Go about setting up an attractive display.

Spend a few minutes, if you can, going over the program one more time with the hostess. Discuss how soon youíd like to have all the orders turned in. Some hostesses like a few days after the party to get catalog orders collected, or to get orders from the friends who decided at the last minute that they couldnít attend. Explain the importance of starting on time to the hostess. Also suggest that she serve only liquid refreshments when the party begins and to refrain from serving messy foods until your demonstration is over. (You can only suggest this. The party is in the hostessí home and she can decide when to serve refreshments. Be flexible.)

When the first guests arrive, try to be finished with your set-up, so that you can help the hostess welcome them. Remembering names is good for business, so pay attention to introductions.

At the scheduled time, begin the party. Even if only a few people have arrived on time, their time is valuable and they shouldnít be made to wait for late arrivals. As late guests arrive, you can acknowledge them and continue talking.

Introduce yourself and tell a little about yourself. You might want to tell how long youíve been with the company and why you joined.

Give prizes to guests who brought friends with them, if you have decided to do that. Give the thank-you gift(s) to the hostess.

Play a game or games and award prizes.

Pass out catalogs, order forms, pencils and clipboards, if you have them.

Then, begin your demonstration. Every company has different guidelines about how to do a show or demonstration. Follow the instructions given to you by your company. If they have provided you with a flip chart that gives a history of the company and explains the companyís programs, use it. If not, have a checklist handy about these programs so you donít leave any important information out.

Explain what benefits the hostess receives for having a party in her home. If your company offers bonus buys or some incentives to guests be sure to explain them as well. Suggest that if anyone wants a flexible, fun, part time job, that they should talk with you after the demonstration.

When you begin doing home parties, itís hard to focus your attention around the room. But as you become more adept at demonstrating the products, you eyes can glance around the room as you talk. Be on the lookout for a guest who just loves a product but doesnít order it. It could be that the guest cannot afford to purchase the product. That guest could be a good candidate for a party in her own home, so she can receive free gifts.

Watch for guests who seem to love everything about the products, or ones who ask lots of questions about the programs. They might be interested in becoming a sales rep.

As you demonstrate your products, let your passion for them show. If youíre showing a teddy bear, pick it up lovingly and hug it to your chest. Talk about how soft it is. As you hold each product, youíll want to mention its name, item number, price, color and size. If youíre showing a musical, wind it up and let the music play so everyone can hear. Pass around small items that need to be observed close at hand.

Once youíve shown all the items in your sample kit take out that catalog you marked showing the items youíve seen but donít have. Have the guests turn to the page in the catalog with you and look at the items as you talk about them.

Close your demonstration by asking if anyone has any questions. Be prepared to give answers to questions, but be honest if you donít know. Offer to get back to a guest about a question and do so as promised.

After the questions have been answered, suggest that some guests look closer at the items on display while others get refreshments. Tell the guests that you have a calculator and will be glad to add up their orders when they are ready. Then fade back into the background. Most people donít like having a sales rep hovering over them, but they do want you to be close enough to answer more questions if they have them.

As the guests finish ordering, total their orders. Make sure you adhere to the guidelines of your company about the collection of money. If your company asks that the hostess collects money, just slip the cash or checks into an envelope for the hostess. If guests are paying with credit cards, make sure you follow those procedures.

Most order forms have multiple parts, so that the demonstrator, the guest and the hostess get copies. Give the appropriate copies to the guests and the hostess.

After about 30-45 minutes, begin packing up your merchandise as the guests visit and complete their orders. If all guests who plan on ordering have done so, make sure the hostess has copies of the orders and the payments, or that you have the payments, depending on how your company works. Most companies do insist that orders be paid in full before being shipped. Explain to the hostess that you will contact her on the day youíve already prearranged to close the party. At that time, you can give her any further instructions needed to finish the party. (It is suggested that you not let a party stay open more than three days past the event. If the hostess has not collected all the outside orders she wanted to, suggest that a separate catalog party be done with those orders. The people who attended the party expect their merchandise to arrive in a timely fashion, and that wonít happen if the party order forms arenít sent to the company.)

Thank the hostess for allowing you to have the party in her home, pack up your car and head for home. The play is over and you can take a bow. Youíve survived. And hopefully, you had some fun as well.

Submitted by:

Marilyn Mackenzie

Marilyn Mackenzie worked in home party sales for 15 years. Marilyn has been writing about home, family, faith and nature for over 40 years. She is an author on http://www.Writing.Com which is a site for creative writers. Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/kenzie.





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