Direct selling and party plan: Ways to sell

£20 ImageOnce you have your kit, talk to your manager about ways to sell your products. This will vary for each company. Think about who will use your products and where you might find them. According to the Direct Selling Association, about 85 per cent of sales are made in people’s homes.

Door to Door

Does the company encourage you to sell door-to-door and drop off catalogues? It can take time to build a round like this. Some people are always keen to buy, while others are never in. You need to slog round in all weather, and make repeat visits to collect catalogues, return to people who are out the first time you call, and finally to deliver the orders. Many companies require you to pay for catalogues, which gives you an extra incentive to get them back from people who are uninterested.

Selling to Groups

You can also sell by visiting businesses, social clubs or anywhere people gather. Do you visit toddler groups and nurseries, or could you leave a catalogue at local offices or schools? Look in your local paper and listings directories to see where other groups are held, and give them a call to see if you can attend. Visiting groups may not make great sales initially. Consider returning on a regular basis, so people know you will be there and remember to bring money to buy.   You can also make the most of the opportunity when visiting a group by recruiting people to host parties.

Practical details of selling to groups

When you visit a group, make sure you have worked out the practical details. People may not have money with them at the time. Will you take orders, how will you get people to pay up, and how will you get their products to them? Make sure you keep accurate records as you go, and always have a couple of ways to contact customers who have ordered in case they are not at the group when you return.

Party planning

Selling at parties can give you the opportunity to promote your range to a captive audience, made up of people who have come prepared to buy. Typically, around seven to eight people attend a party, and more than nine out of ten will order.

Finding hosts

When you start, write a list of friends and family who might host a party. Most companies offer a gift or incentive for the party host. Aim to recruit another couple of hosts from amongst the guests. Only six in ten parties booked end up going ahead, according to DSA research, so you need to find more potential hosts than you might think.

Get the party started

Ask the host to provide a glass of wine to start the evening off. You might do some activities to get people chatting and joining in. You will work out with a little experience just how many samples you need to get people interested. Your manager may be able to advise or help you out with your first event. An average party will generate a couple of hundred pounds worth of sales. There will, unfortunately, always be parties where no-one is interested in buying.

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