There are key factors to building a strong network marketing business and one is how the product is introduced. The most common model is the “home party” which has been around since the 1950’s and started with Tupperware. This elicits for us an antiquated image of women homemakers across America getting excited about containers, storage, business and perhaps unfortunately plastic, but it started one of the most effective models for moving a product through the market. Part of the innovation of this model was introducing products via word of mouth, free of paid advertising which really enabled the company to pay more profits directly to the distributor. Online sales has also enhanced network marketing, but the home party gets people excited, connected and strengthens a network community which helps produce revenue. It also makes it so much fun.
This method is still being used today 62 years later and has enabled so many people to earn a living from home on a part time basis. Jim Rohn, one of my most inspiring teachers, said that with network marketing, one can earn a living by day, and build a fortune in their spare time. Being successful with home parties means you have to learn the Art of Inviting and how to build your business event to event. The basic repetitive activity of scheduling home parties or business reviews will force you to learn this art. I call it an art because it involves intention, clarity, enthusiasm, and most importantly, skill. We are not talking about a regular party, so it is important not to disguise it as such. Hiding the fact that you are introducing your business and product gives a message of ambiguity, lack of belief in what you are doing and why, plus it is deceiving to your guests. This was an old Amway ploy that gave Amway a bad reputation. Being clear about your intentions tells your guests you are proud of your products, believe in yourself and what you are doing, and models for them the possibility that they too could believe in either the business or the product. Having a disguised party camouflages the fear of people telling you no. Anyway, I think people are more than happy to support their friends rather than large corporations.
In this industry, it is important to be able to allow people to tell you no. it is important to ask them directly if they are attending, so that they can give you a clear answer. That is the fair thing for both of you. I had many parties in which I thought people were attending who never showed up and I would like to elucidate why.
Why has it become impolite to tell someone honestly you don’t really want to come over or you aren’t interested. In most circumstances, human nature in our society today does not like to dissapoint because of the way we think people will perceive us. It isn’t really that you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings like most of us would like to believe. I would welcome an honest and straight answer rather than dancing around excuses for why someone can’t come over. The problem lies in the fact that we have been taught that saying no is equivalent to rejection and indicates how much lack of boundary we have with each other. For this reason, I try to convey to the invitee that it is perfectly fine to tell me no and my feelings will not be hurt. I understand that they really may not be interested in said product or business at this time. If they are able to tell me no, then I ask if I can keep them in mind for the future and if they say yes to that question, then I know that their no is a soft no or an I don’t know kind of no. Of course, all of this is done by actual conversations because emails and texts will never convey your actual feeling and energy.
Let’s address the people who say ”sounds great, I’ll try to make it”, “ sounds fun”, “thanks so much for inviting me”, “ we have such and such planned, but we’ll come after that”, or “I look forward to it”. I can only say they are more than 95% sure of not showing up. None of those responses were, “I’ll be there” which by the way usually gives you a 50% chance of attendance. If I want to know if someone is coming to said event, I have to painstakingly, flat out and directly ask if they are coming to the party. Where I live, this is a difficult task because in Seattle no one ever says no. It just isn’t done…. If I do not get a clear yes , but some vague response then I can also assume they are not coming, no matter how much my wishful thinking has convinced me that they are coming. When I do get a clear yes (jumping mental cartwheels!!!), there are things to do to follow up with that yes so that I am not craning, which refers to the phenomenon of going to the door right before my party and looking back and forth out the door saying “ I know they said they were coming.”
A successful party is one in which you really do know exactly who is attending and that they are interested in being there, not just doing you a favor ( although sometimes those end up becoming interested once they have learned about the product). The way to ensure this is to take certain steps to find out their interest level. Once someone has told you,” yes I will be there”, you must get some form of information to them that is not coming directly from your mouth to help them understand what they are coming to hear about. Some people need to hear or see something 8 times before they can make a decision about it. I often meet with people who say yes for a one on one to show them a few things and to connect. I do not “sell” at this meeting. If they can’t meet , I send them a webinar, sizzle call, or website to peruse. Doing this helps avoid the phenomenon of having people at the party going home “to think about it” which then influences other guests. People do what other people around them do, so you want your guests arriving with the intention of getting on board and having already “thought about it”. That will have a positive influence on those who have not done any homework.
Another form of insurance is making the reminder call the day before. Asking questions like, “I am checking in to get a clear head count for refreshments, are you coming/” or “ I am calling to remind you about the party, are you still planning on being there?” will allow your guests to give you a clear yes or no answer….or not, but you will then know. Any vague response to those questions means, THEY ARE NOT COMING.
The final phenomenon that often happens is the last minute cancellation which may have even been premeditated, but the only way someone knows how to say no. This is the most frustrating of all, but if they have the decency to at least call and say why they aren’t coming, there is certainly reason to know they care and could possibly be interested. I even call the no shows the next day to let them know they missed a great party, to ask if they want to be included in the next one and to let them wallow in their own guilt about not calling even though I bought refreshments, brochures etc.
Finally, having a thick skin and learning not to take these things personally will go a long way to building your business. it isn’t you; it is the way people are and the faster we all learn this, the easier it will be to see the signs and invite well.