One of the most frustrating parts about building a successful home party plan business for new consultants is creating a referral program that consistently brings in a steady stream of new leads.
It’s actually not as difficult as it sounds, and the sooner you put these simple techniques to work for your home party business, the quicker your business will begin to grow.
Here’s how to get started:
First of all, think of the last time that you experienced truly excellent customer service. What do you remember about the experience? What did the salesperson or representative do that made it stick out in your mind? Sadly, getting excellent customer service has become such a rarity these days that when we do find someone who understands what it means and practices it in their business, we do remember it – and so will your customers.
Creating an excellent customer service program will also help to generate new leads and referrals to your business, because people will not only tell their friends, family, and contacts about you (usually without you even having to ask), but they’ll also be happy to send referrals your way when you do ask them to.
Start with your own customers. You’re going to create a “Preferred Customer Program” and let your customers know that they qualify for extra special services. What’s wonderful about this is that it will make your customers feel special, and it’s not expensive or time consuming, as long as you stay organized.
Create a simple database – either on your computer, or do it by hand using recipe cards and a card box. Under each customer name and contact information, include the personal information that you have – for example, birthday, anniversary, spouse and children’s names, hobbies, likes, etc. Then, add additional information relating to your product line. If you sell cosmetics for example, what is your customer’s skin tone? Facial shape? Best feature? What are her preferred colors (warm/cold, summer/winter, etc.) What products does she buy all the time? Favorite fragrance? Add this information based on the products you sell and she likes.
For first time customers, put together a simple one page survey or online survey. Invite your customers to fill it out – and tell them that you’ll be happy to let them know when sales of their favorite products are coming up, so that they can save money! And then follow through. Your customers will be delighted, and as you build trust and respect, you’ll also notice that your sales continue to grow.
Every month, go through your list of birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions for the next month, and add them to your calendar. Taking the time to send an email, postcard, or greeting card lets your customers know that they are important to you – and that they mean more than the money they spend with you. Pay attention to what’s going on in your customer’s lives, and be ready to ask questions, congratulate special occasions, or comfort during times of trouble. Because almost no one takes the time for these little extras any more, you – and your home party plan business - will be remembered.
Set up a Customer Referral Program. Make it fun and reward customers who refer other customers, hostesses, or recruits your way. For example, you could offer monthly contests, with a product or special prize to the winner. Or offer a special discount or reward program so that customers can earn gifts, products, or discounts on their next purchases. One popular method is to use a points system, where points can be accrued over time – and the more points someone has, the bigger or more expensive prize they can earn. Set up a point system for things like referring a new hostess, or someone who is interested in becoming a consultant, or hostessing a live, online, or catalog party.
One caution – create a system that is easy to use right from the beginning, and preferably one that is automated, to save yourself lots of administrative time down the road. You want to be able to stay on track with your referral program and keep it organized, or it can quickly become a nightmare! Include information about your referral program in all your hostess kits and other marketing materials.
Train your recruits to recruit. Don’t forget to take the time to teach your recruits your recruiting and referral methods, too. Remember that their success helps to build your own. Share your methods with them, and provide ongoing training and support.
As you can see, with a little bit of time and effort, your business sales and success will be soaring thanks to the simple techniques that will increase your leads and customer base!
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