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Online Parties for Direct Sales May Not Work for You

Online Party for Direct Sales - Fail

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. What is my goal for the online party? Expect on average half the sales, bookings and sponsoring you might find in traditional home parties.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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8 Comments

  1. Sandy Kreps
    Follow me on Twitter: sandys_scents
    on March 11, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I totally agree, Karen. I have done online parties as a supplement to my business, but it is much easier to share the products and the opportunity in person.

    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      on March 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

      This is what I am hearing from others who try it too. OK, great to do once in a while, but they are SO much work and not a lot of payoff. Regular parties are so much easier! Thanks for the comment, Sandy!

  2. coffeediva on March 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I agree that the person-to-person physical contact with people is much more effective. I’ve always wondered how well these online parties did. Now I know. Thank you for this article.

    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      on March 11, 2013 at 12:16 pm

      I think if you have a loyal customer base and maybe you are introducing a new product line or something, it might work better but that isn’t what most people are using them for. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Amanda and Rachel on March 12, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Hi Karen! One of our fans shared your blog post with us about direct sellers/online parties and we can’t help but tell you about our experience! 🙂 We have a Facebook Party product that is yielding wild success! We train other direct sellers on how to use Facebook events to market their products and have found that Facebook parties are a much better alternative to the traditional catalog show nowadays. We don’t train on using these shows to replace a reps home show business, but we do find that people are encouraged since these are a way to enhance their party-plan businesses! Monthly personal sales are increasing, dates are being set for more Facebook parties and home shows and new recruits are being sponsored as a result of these glorified catalog shows!!!! We’d love an opportunity to tell you more! Let’s connect!!! – Amanda & Rachel, The Tag Team

    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      on March 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Helping consultants understand how these work, and that they are a small part of your business is great! What I see happening is people are jumping on the bandwagon and spending so much time and energy, neglecting making their phone calls and booking more “real life” parties and then are discouraged when these don’t have a high return. I say just like with catalog shows, it’s one of those things when your calendar is already full – not something to count on regularly but as a supplement. What I’ve seen unfortunately is often the bookings for more online parties or recruits that come from them end up disappointing as well, because the model they were “born” from isn’t super effective, and they try to duplicate it as the main way to ‘sell’. Booking a “real life” party from an online party is fantastic when it works out though! Let’s keep in touch and please share success stories!

  4. De Bolton on August 25, 2013 at 5:14 am

    I strongly disagree! A facebook ot virtual party is 1/4 of the time of a home show the attendees that are there are actially there to shop and it allows you to reach customers that are out of you reach!!! The initial prep is tome consumin but once you have a systems it is SO EASY and you can do 20 Fb parties a week that required no sitter, gas,etc (which saves you) AND you can now have parties where everyone is face to face with anytime meeting,skype,22social,google hangouts. And no they are not $1000 shows but $350 easy and for 30 minutes of work. If you are finding your online parties to be a waste you need to reevaluate your system and do more research. Its easy fast money. My goal is to do one (30 minute FB party per day) I make 50% commission so a $350 show for the 30 minutes of work that is $125 of easy money in my pocket daily! So, I have been successfull and would advice others to try again. Good luck!

    • Karen Clark
      Follow me on Twitter: mybizpresence
      on September 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Hi De! Can you please contact me via the Contact Us tab and let me know some hard numbers. I hear a lot of people saying they are going to do this but in reality it doesn’t work out consistently. I do think they have a place when you need to do a long distance party or some other reason prevents you from having an in-home party, and I do think using Facebook events is a great way to supplement an in home party (I have a webinar on this that I offer) but I have not yet found someone who can give me hard evidence that online parties work consistently over time for enough profit vs. time spent. They say the “fortune is in the follow up” but in most cases the vast majority of sales, sponsoring and booking are in the follow up, which is more than your typical “morning after call” but instead a series of touchpoints with each person invited and is very time consuming. If it is working for you please contact me and let me know specifics as I am open to changing my tune when I see that more than a few people are finding success with this. It has been a while since I wrote this blog post so it could be now is a good time to revisit this.

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