The “Home Party Plan” business is booming! Are you one of those consultants who struggle for bookings—or do bookings fall into your lap? Getting bookings from your parties is easier than you think; all it may take is a change in your thinking.

When you began your direct selling business, you probably started out the way most consultants do: by begging your friends and family to help you get started. Perhaps you felt insecure as you did your first few parties and came away with a few bookings, but not enough to replace those you’d held. Perhaps you found yourself at a dead end and had to start over again, calling more prospects for new bookings…only to arrive at the same spot and repeat the cycle yet again.

Even top sellers find themselves in an occasional dry spell. But if you are continually having to make calls to drum up new business, you may want to analyze your presentation style. Cold calling for bookings should be used for increasing your percentage of parties, not as your principal method for keeping your business alive.

At every party you hold, you have an average of five to ten guests in attendance. Are you booking at least one third of those guests in attendance, or do most (or all) of the guests leave without booking a party?

I’m not sure when we first began calling our business “Party Plan,” but whoever coined this description knew what he or she was talking about! I have done extensive research, both on my own and with the help of others, and have found one major ingredient lacking in a lot of home parties: fun! I have spoken with hundreds of guests who have attended parties over the past year; the main complaint was that the presentation was too long and too boring. Even some of the consultants I interviewed felt their presentations were not enough fun.

Where did the misconception come from that our parties have to be sophisticated, educational and boring?

When I began my business, over 25 years ago, I knew very little about my product, but I did know a lot about having fun. I began holding my parties and demonstrating my product while playing games and joking with the guests in attendance. I had fun! I booked more parties than anyone else in my area and began earning monthly recognition in my first year for being number one in sales. Funny thing was, I still didn’t know everything about the product.

I played booking games with the guests and teased them about having a party. I would tell them all the exciting things they would get for having their very own party, and the last thing on the list would always be, “…and you get me for another two to three hours! Isn’t that exciting?” Guests would tell me they booked because “you were so much fun.”

Are you leaving your fun side at home when you do parties? Do you believe you have to be serious to be professional? Are you ready to learn a few ideas to help you party on? If you’re ready to have fun, these tips will help:


1. Forget About Educating and Start Entertaining.

If Holly Hostess called to invite me to a class where I could learn all about XYZ product, I’d probably pass and stay at home with the family. However, if she called and said, “Come on over Thursday, I’m having an XYZ party, you’ll learn about the product and we’ll have a lot of fun,” she could count me in!

Let’s face it: we’re all busy. We’re all overloaded! Your guests don’t want to have to sit and listen for an hour or two while someone teaches them about a product. They want to relax, enjoy and have fun. And yes, they will buy—even if they don’t know everything about the product.

Forget about holding classes to educate: start holding parties to entertain.


2. Move Out of Your Comfort Zone.

I know not everyone is as wild and crazy as I was, but you can still have fun. Stretch a little. Let yourself have fun. I encourage you to use fun games that will produce results.


3. Learn People Skills.

Sincere, warm interaction with your guests before, during and after the presentation is a must!

If you have never been in sales before, you may have never worked consciously on developing your people skills. Don’t worry; let this be fun, too. Learn how to meet and greet the guests at your parties. Never underestimate the power of a smile and a handshake. Adopt the motto, “guests who arrive as strangers will leave as friends.”


4. Tell Stories.

Educate about the products by telling stories about them instead of using long, boring descriptions and explanations. I guarantee a lengthy, detailed explanation won’t stay in my overloaded head for long, and it won’t stay in your guests’ heads either—but a funny or inspirational story about a product will.

Forget about “just the facts”; use picture stories to describe a product. Share stories of past successes previous buyers have had and demonstrate how the product will make a difference.

I encourage you to take a look at yourself and your presentation from the perspective of the guest. If you’ve been a stuffed shirt in the past, it’s time to lighten up and party on!


KAREN PHELPS is a member of the
National Speakers Association and has been involved in
direct sales for 22 years.