To succeed in the party plan business, you need to have bookings. Everyone knows that. Yet a recent survey I conducted showed that most consultants continually struggle to keep their calendar full.

Why is it that a few consultants can book and hold 15 to 20 parties a month, yet the vast majority keep convincing themselves that “no one likes to have parties”?

My survey found that 33 percent of consultants felt uncomfortable asking for bookings. Most of them cited this reason: “I don’t want to appear too pushy!”

Here are some ways that I found to increase the bookings at your parties.

1. Change Your Thinking About Bookings

I constantly hear consultants say, “I hate to ask for bookings.” Often this has to do with how they’re doing the asking.

When you ask, “Would you like to book a party?” you have opened yourself up to rejection. As soon as you get a “No,” you have nowhere to go without appearing too pushy—which is exactly why most consultants give up at the first “No.”

Instead, try asking this way: “I’d love to offer you the opportunity to receive free and discounted products by inviting me and a few of your friends for a fun-filled evening at your home!” Then be quiet and wait for an answer. I know, sometimes the silence can get to you—but when you wait for the answer you will either get an “Okay” or an objection, which can be easily overcome when you know what it is.

2. Memorize Your Company Hostess Program

You need to know this frontwards, backwards and inside out. Learn exactly what a hostess will earn, based on the amount you want to make your party average.

For example, let’s say you currently have a party average of $300 and you average one booking per party; you would like to increase this to a $500 party average and three bookings per party. Use the hostess awards for a $500 party and three bookings in your demonstration. If someone asked you, “What could I earn as a Hostess?” could you rattle it off?

3. Plant Booking Seeds Continually During Your Presentations

Begin planting seeds in the introduction by explaining what the average hostess earns.

Every time you come to a “hostess only” item or an item that is a popular higher-ticket item, explain that one of the benefits of being a hostess is that you don’t pay full price for everything. Most companies have several parts to their hostess program that will allow you to show the savings they will receive by hosting a party.

And by the way, make sure you explain how much they will save, too. For example, if a hostess receives $300 in product and only has to pay $75, her savings is $225, which is 75 percent off! I know that when I go shopping, I love to come home and tell my husband how much I saved us. (I avoid telling him how much I spent!)

4. Have Fun at Your Parties!

No one comes to be bored to death. Over the years, I have found that the more fun I had, the more bookings I got. Have your own party every time, and invite everyone else to join in.

Forget about being a control freak at your parties. There will be side conversations going on; all I can tell you is, get over it. You are not in a classroom, you are in the hostess’s home—and everyone came to have fun and hear what you have to say. The more engaged the guests are, the more bookings will come from the party. So I’ll say it again: Have fun!

5. Book Now—Not Later

Here are some interesting numbers: 66 percent of the consultants who took part in my survey said they wanted to hold three or more parties per week, yet 59 percent had fewer than two parties booked for the next two weeks. And 56 percent of these consultants, I learned, date their bookings for three to six weeks away when they make them—even when they have closer dates available.

I always encourage consultants to use the “Open Date Card” instead of their calendar and offer something special for a “quickie booking.” This could be bonus credit or an additional free item. I’ve spent as much as $50 for someone who books a party the following week and has a minimum of a $500 party.

The way I look at it, you can stay home and make nothing or go out and make something. I prefer to make a “little less” and go out to work! When deciding on a special offer, ask yourself what it would take for you to book a party next week.

Keeping a full calendar is crucial to your success in any party plan business. No matter what level you are at, if you want to keep a strong central group, the way to do it is to hold parties each and every week. Your weekly parties will help you find new consultants as well as provide on the job training. Heaven forbid you should have a new recruit wait for two weeks until your next party before you train her!

Even as a Regional Vice President, I always averaged three to four parties per week for over 22 years. I loved it— because every time I went out it truly was a party.

You know what they say: When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!

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