How to Host a Successful Online Direct Sales Party, Part 5

(Continued from Part 4)

8-Run Your Parties like a Business
Remember that in-person parties are fun, but online parties can be the secret of your ongoing success in direct sales. Therefore, view them as a real business with the potential to make substantial profits through repeat sales from happy customers.
If there are any customer service issues, follow up promptly with either a return policy (though it will probably not be worth it to have the item sent back to you, or a partial refund of their order, which you can issue from PayPal.

One other thing to keep an eye out for from PayPal is people who pay via their bank accounts. This can take 2 to 5 business days to process the transaction. Do not ship the items until you have the money. Also do not forget to check your PayPal account every day for transactions. Some will be processed directly. Others will need to be accepted manually. You will need to fulfill all orders that are coming in, so be sure that the customer’s name and address are mandatory fields in your PayPal account or your PayDotCom interface.

PayPal is a great way to process transactions online, but if you want to keep track of an extensive catalog of items, use PayDotCom if you can afford their $1 per transaction processing fee on top of PayPal’s percentage. (Hint, offer bundles or gift baskets of lower priced items or buy one, get 1 50% off deals in order to create one larger but still cost-effective price to make the most of the $1 fee.)

If you’re unsure how to host an online party, consider attending a few first yourself. Take notes as you go along about what went well, and what could be improved upon. Then start planning your own party. In this way you can learn as you go without any pressure, and this can help your host your first successful online direct sales party whenever you feel you are ready.


How to Start a Successful Direct Sales Business (Business Basics)

How to Market Your Direct Sales Business Effectively (Marketing Matters)


How to Host a Successful Online Direct Sales Party, Part 4

(Continued from Part 3)

7-Following Up
Be sure that whatever links you send them to will give you credit for the sale. Also be sure to provide your contact information in case people have questions later. Create a plan to follow up with attendees a few days later, possibly in the form of a survey or just further chances to ask questions. You might want to create an email list of the attendees in Aweber to make this easier, or add them to a live events customer list.

Send them a thank you note and maybe a coupon or discount on a future order.  Use coupon codes for each event, such as LE020212 for a Live Event that took place on 02/02/12 or OE for Online Event. This will help you track the lifetime value of these participants and help you know whether continuing with online events is a worthwhile way to spend your time.

Then start planning and reminding them of your next date. Plan different or even better games, spot prizes and so on.

Follow up also in the form of every order that you send out. Again, they should be able to use coupon codes so you can track the sales and they can get discounts for what they order.  Getting them to pay by credit card or PayPal will be cash in your pocket up front, rather than having to chase party attendees for the money for orders that they placed.

(Continued in Part 5)


How to Host a Successful Online Direct Sales Party, Part 3

(Continued from Part 2)

4- Be the First to Arrive at Every Event

Make sure you log into your online party ahead of schedule. You will then be able to make sure everything is working and you can chat with the early birds until everyone gets there.  If possible, have a helper online who can assist in managing the technology, such as the webinar presentation you will be giving about the different lines. Have a list of FAQs at the ready as well so that you do not need to lose focus or waste time and can spend time having fun and getting to know your participants.

5-Be Professional at All Times.
These events can be really fun, but never forget that you are WORKING, and that direct sales is a multi-BILLION dollar global business. You will want to act in a professional and honest manner at all times and not say or do anything inappropriate online that could come back to haunt you. Remember that what you might think is a joke or a harmless phrase can be misunderstood online, or by people who do not speak English as their first language.

Remember also that any sales you make will need to be mailed out to the recipients, so be far but firm in your insistence that participants and winners need to be from your own home country. In this way, you will avoid any issues with postage and above all customs and excise. If you know any Canadian or Mexican direct sales reps, then perhaps you can reciprocate on orders being fulfilled, but this can get complicated in terms of payments and collections, so it is probably best to simply refer them directly to those sales reps and their online shopping carts.  If they do the same for you, then everyone wins.
6-Finishing Up
Make sure to finish the party on time. As you are playing the last game and then wrapping up, ask if there are any questions. Make sure people know how to place orders online through your website or company link, and any great bonuses they will get for having attended and placing an online order.
You might want to give them a fast-acting bonus incentive such as a free X, valued at Y, if they place their order within the next 2 hours, and so on.

Also, don’t forget to tell them to pencil in the date for your next live event, and to invite their friends. Let them know that the prizes and game will be even bigger next time, with more chances to win.
(Continued in Part 4)


How to Host a Successful Online Direct Sales Party, Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)
3-Prepare Well Prior to the Event

Good preparation is key for any event, but really knowing your inventory and product lines are essential for a successful show. You will want to make sure that you have everything ready to go before the party.

Important items will include your product pictures, promotional materials and links to buy. You will also want to have activities for attendees that will enable them to participate and win prizes.

What can you do online in a chat room? You can play guessing games, or you can have a raffle and give away prizes. One fun game is to have people hunt for an object in the online product catalog. Give hints, and the first person to find the object wins that prize.

Since this is an online event, you will have to be prepared to mail out any winning items, so be sure that the things you plan to give away are light-weight and can be packaged easily with little concern for breakage or damage.  Have supplies on hand for these mailings, including inexpensive cushioned envelopes, or the free Priority Mail flat rate envelopes and boxes. Have return address items printed up with your contact information and URL of your online direct sales storefront.

You might also consider creating handy sheets like make-up tips for women with various complexions, how to create certain eye make-up looks for various occasions (smoky eye, day time eye make-up, and so on) and perhaps a list of your top 10 bestsellers, with details, so they do not have to hunt so much online.  Any chance you get to be in someone’s mailbox inexpensively is a great offline opportunity. Also encourage them to pass along the information to their friends (be sure your URL and contact info is on everything you send out) and to invite them to come to your next online event.

We recommend you schedule one per month for three months in a row to get people excited and also enable anyone who misses one to have a follow up chance to attend another one. Announce the second one at the end of the first event, and so on. One sales event is great, but continuity, that is, regular customers buying each month, will be crucial for creating a steady income from your direct sales business.
(Continued in Part 3)


How to Host a Successful Online Direct Sales Party, Part 1

Online direct sales parties are growing in popularity. Direct sales professionals love them because they don’t have to leave home to make money. Customers love them because they are fun, and everyone loves shopping online.

If you have never considered marketing your online sales business in this way before, there are a few things you will want to do to ensure your online direct sales party is a success.

Here are a few suggestions:

1-Plan It just Like a Party

Impromptu parties rarely work. That’s true online and off. In order for your online direct sales party to work well and create a successful sales opportunity, you need to plan it in a similar manner to any other direct sales party you would hold in the real world. There are essential for both that you need to remind yourself of. These include:
* Making a list of the people you want to attend.
* Choosing a date and time  that works well for everyone (remember the different time zones in the United States and aim for a time that suits everyone.
* Send the invitations through a variety of means, including social networking.
2-Decide where to hold the virtual party.
Instead of someone’s living room, you have a variety of virtual rooms to choose from. These can include a chat room or webinar meeting site. You can also host it on a social networking site. Skype is fun if everyone has Skype but it can also be a bit chaotic. You want to be able to showcase your products, have a little fun and socialize online all at the same time. The more visual the presentation of your products, the better.
(Continued in Part 2)