I’ve seen a lot more people lately talking about how to do online parties or Facebook parties for their direct sales/home party sales business. At the same time, I do not see a lot of people saying they are wildly successful doing this! Why?
It is EASY to generate excitement about an online or Facebook party because of the viral nature of social media. When you post something about your party, others see it and may even like or comment on things. Any time you post about a product, your network and your attendees’ networks see it. So it “seems” like these are very active and successful! If you are friends with other consultants in direct sales, you may even be getting invited to these online parties, and that further reinforces that “everyone is doing it,” so it must work, right?
The reality is that for most people online social media parties are NOT working. You do not hear about this because no one wants to go online and talk about how something bombed!
When you have a traditional home party business that results in $350-$1000 or more in sales per party, why would you settle for a Facebook party that results in $100-$250 in sales and requires twice as much work!?
Yes there is a place for stand-alone online parties. I know someone who had a successful traditional home party business and was suddenly bedridden. She is doing online parties to keep a trickle of sales going so she can continue to get team bonuses. I know someone else who lives in the hills in West Virginia where it is very difficult to meet people and network enough to get and keep a party chain going. She has turned to online parties as a way to keep up her sales enough to receive a discount for her own use.
Some in the industry believe that online parties are the future of direct sales. I personally disagree, at least not with the options we have today. I believe that nothing will replace seeing and speaking with people in person, and demonstrating face to face with the chance for customers to get their hands on our product quality and to see your eyes light up when you describe what the business opportunity has done for your family. Nothing digital can replace that. Ever.
However, with the advent of social media technology, consultants are meeting people all around the country and sometimes around the world. There is a need to serve customers at a distance and thus an online party solution may be necessary as a supplement, not a replacement, for traditional home parties. Given the limitations of the technology, and the relatively poor results compared to live demonstrations, there is no reason why an online party should be a priority for most people. There’s no systematized way (yet) within the industry to logically and effectively lead the participants through your sales funnel to a sale, a booking, or joining your team, without a lot of extra steps.
If you do find that you need to supplement your business with an occasional online party, ask yourself these questions:
- Do we have enough of a contact base to work with (you or a hostess)? Traditional home party training suggests inviting 4x as many as you expect to attend a live party. Online this is double. Only count contacts who are personally connected to you, know you, and trust you. Not random Facebook friends who have never interacted with you.
- What is my goal for the online party? Expect on average half the sales, bookings and sponsoring you might find in traditional home parties.
- Do you have an e-newsletter that you can add contacts to? This will give you a chance to stay in touch long after the online party, especially with those who did not buy/book/sign up. When setting up your online party, create a registration form, online drawing slip or other “lead capture” where you can gather all attendees’ email addresses for this purpose. Company newsletters such as those produced by IMN Party Pulse allow you to then manually input or import a spreadsheet of those leads into your monthly newsletter.
- What do I want to model for my team? Remember that everything you do is duplicated. If they see you doing a lot of online parties and posting about them frequently, they will naturally assume this is the way to run their business, as well.
What are your thoughts? If you have had consistent success over time with online parties, please comment and let me know. I am open to learning what is working, as long as it is proven over time. It is quite easy to do one or two among your own customers and call it successful. It is another thing to do them on a regular basis, with people who are new to your product.
I will always support those who wish to do these as a supplement to their business, or for example to serve those who are remote from them, and I do believe that when realistic about their effectiveness, they have a place.
If you would like to learn about how I DO feel success is possible with online team meetings, opportunity night events and virtual rallies, try my WOW Webinar: Online Meetings, Opportunity Nights, Rallies and Parties for Direct Sales.
If you would like to find out how to successfully integrate Facebook with in-person home parties, to help increase attendance and stay in touch with guests, try my WOW Webinar: Secret Social Media Strategy.