With the start of each year everyone in direct sales seems to 'start over' or at least it feels that way. The first few months determine who is able to regain their booking and recruiting momentum and who will falter. In terms of convention recognition, each year brings the potential for a game-changing line up of results. That is promising if you are the underdog. Everyone begins with a clean slate. However if you are the top dog, it can be scary.
During my early years in direct sales, the first few months of the year were always daunting. The hill to climb back to the top seemed very steep. Coming off of a 'holiday sales high' and then dealing with the lack of responsiveness from my booking and recruiting efforts was discouraging. It made me wonder if my success was pure luck. Could I fill my calendar back to the former strength -- plenty of home parties and overflow to share with my team? I had a bad case of the booking blues!
What I learned over time is that the answer is YES. However it takes more effort, sometimes extreme effort to get a full calendar of parties again. Once I resigned myself to the fact that it would take asking more people, generating more excitement, and booking in close the annual ramp up got easier. Why? I was mentally prepared. I realized that the holiday season was from October through February. Each of those months required extra hours -- both to grab all of the holiday sales and to rebuild in the aftermath.
If your calendar is not as full of home parties as you would like -- become new again by following these steps:
- Go back to basics. Pretend you are a brand new Consultant again. Have a re-launch party in your home. Use this party as a launching pad to get bookings.
- Line up 6 parties within a two to three week period. I recommend scheduling these parties either 2 parties a week for three weeks or three parties a week for two weeks. Because you are scheduling close together you will get back in a selling, booking, sponsoring (recruiting) groove. Bookings from those home parties can quickly fill your calendar and keep you going.
- Invite guests strategically from different groups so that you have possibilities to find new party chains. A party chain is a series of bookings within a group of people that are loosely or closely connected, for example, your bowling league, the motorcycle mamas, the women's auxiliary, and the card club.
- Go on an observation party. This is often what we do when our party plan business is new. However after your business have been up and running, you now will pick up tips and word choices that you have missed before. You are looking for different cues after you have experience.
- Take a Booking Class.Learn from someone who is a booking expert. Listen to their word choices. Make them your own. You can improve your percent of yes's that you get by developing word choices that flow effortlessly from your mouth. Booking experts have refined their communication skills to leverage their verbal and non-verbal messages, body language, tone and method for asking. Once you refine your style and skills to find your optimal booking system, with practice, you too will become an expert.
- Muscle up -- get more determined. Once you have experienced success and then get into a booking slump, it takes more determination to rebuild. As my mentor explained to me, "The more times you build your calendar from scratch, the more confidence you have that you can do it again if necessary."
- Change your path. Switch to a new dentist. Join a new group. Go to a different coffee shop. Travel a new route. If you want to meet new booking leads, change up the paths you frequently travel. With the mindset, "leads are everywhere"; you never know who you meet tomorrow that can change your business for you. Be open to meeting new people and the world opens up for you.