1. The party is NOT over. Human beings are social animals. We are wired to connect. The more we are connected electronically, the more we crave live human interactions. Opponents of the home party plan concept always say, “I don’t need a home party to get together with my friends.” True, yet a home party prompts that gathering to happen in much the same way that inviting company over to our home gets the house cleaned. We have a goal.
2. Booking in close works best. Booking in close means scheduling events within a short time, usually within 3-10 days. By booking in close, people know their schedule and they either attend or don’t. People usually attend home parties if they have nothing better to do; that means no work, school, or children commitments that have a higher priority. For many people, especially working women, the opportunity to get together with the girls is a luxury that gets wedged in between work, kids, and family.
To build attendance when booking home parties in close:
a. Be sure to get the cell phone number of your friends.
b. Send them a text with the invite information. Here’s an example of a short and sweet invite sent on short notice:
We (the Hostess and I) also made personal phone calls, emailed a PDF invitation to guests, and posted the party on Facebook. Most of the phone calls went to voice mail, which is normal. The point here is that in today’s busy world, multiple methods of inviting are key to getting a good turnout.
If you want to take one more step you can use Eventspot or Eventbrite.com to create an invite and track RSVP’s.
3. Parties can be held in public places. Retail establishments are looking for creative ways to bring customers through the door. Just the other day, I went to a local grocery store, The Market. They had a cafe filled with people, a live band and a wine bar. The atmosphere was more like a festival than a supermarket. Who would have thought a supermarket could evolve into be a local hangout? The store had figured out what we in direct sales have known all along. The best way to bring people together and pleasantly shop was by throwing a party.
As I started to book my test parties, when I was met with resistance about having a party in one’s home, we started brainstorming options. Several of the parties were held at locally owned, independent restaurants.
It was a winning combination. The ‘home party concept’ brought in guests who didn’t normally patronize that restaurant. The Hostess was relieved of having to open up her home and the guests were more likely to bring friends that the Hostess did not know because of the less personal turf for the party.
Holding a ‘home party’ or direct sales party in a public establishment has a few unique twists to consider:
a. Set up the partnership with your venue in advance. Share the benefits of collaborating to bring in new potential customers for both of you.
b. Determine in advance who is buying the refreshments and communicate what is being served. It is a fair expectation to ask your Hostess to serve something. This communicates it is her party and builds her commitment.
b. Beyond the refreshments being covered by the Hostess, offer guests the opportunity to order whatever else they want, just mention it is Dutch Treat (meaning everyone pays their own way).
c. Explain to the server in advance how you would like the bill to be handled.
d. Discuss with your venue the need to set up a display.
In my case, the Hostess agreed to order appetizers or serve the guests pizza and a pitcher of soda.