Party Plan was all the rage when I was a young girl back in the 1960s and 1970s. I remember my Mum hosting a few parties and being invited to some in the neighbourhood. I absolutely loved it when she hosted a party. The food was always so good. Special party food. When I grew up, I started being invited to many parties too. It could've been homewares, jewellery, perfume, candles, just about anything. I always loved the social aspect of it too, especially since I became a stay at home Mum and found this was a great way to get out of the house and mingle with adults.
At every single party I ever went to, I always thought "I could do this". I could demonstrate these products in this type of social setting. I've never been afraid of public speaking or standing in front of a crowd and talking about things I liked. Such an opportunity presented itself to me at the end of 2014 when I was tossing up what I was going to do to support my children. Trouble is, there is quite a lot more to it then just getting up in front of a crowd and talking about products as I found out. Here are five things to consider before signing up to be a Party Plan consultant.
1. You are a salesperson
The particular product I was demonstrating really resonated with me. I love homewares and protecting the environment. What I was selling ticked all my boxes. The only thing was, not everyone was in love with the product as much as I was. As well as not getting off to a great start with party bookings, I discovered I had to 'cold call' prospective clients, bring up my sales 'spiel' in conversations with complete strangers, consider expos or events to drum up new clientele or just hit up family and friends to book a party. A salesperson I am not. You'll find most products being sold via party plan sell themselves but it's getting your foot in the door is the hardest part. Unless you have that 'sales' streak, party plan is definitely not for you.
2. Most people are time poor
Back in the 60s and 70s, or even up to 20 or 30 years ago, there were a lot more stay at home mums around who were craving to get together with other Mums to socialise and hear about products that ordinarily weren't available in shops. These days the majority of 'mums' are out there working and the last thing they want to do is organise a get together with other mums after a hard day's work. Their weekend time is just as precious, spending it with their partners and families. You might just be lucky enough to find a group of people who do still love this type of social event but my group of friends are all very busy. The last thing I wanted to do was hassle them to organise a party.
3. Party Plan companies develop a 'culture'
There's nothing better than feeling like you belong to a group of like minded people who are so positive, all the time. I found that sales leaders and their 'upline' are all very positive people who, at the end of the day, want you do to well because they will do well. There is a definite culture amongst these companies that promote rewards, bonuses, extra help and training to help you to succeed but at the end of the day, they will do well if you do well so they 'train' you to succeed. If you aren't a salesperson or you are finding it difficult to book parties, and if party plan isn't your 'thing', no amount of training will help you fit into this culture and do well.
4. You have to sell a lot to earn the rewards
Every month, the party plan companies promote special monthly incentives or end of year overseas trips, for example. Some of them are quite good but really, you have to sell a lot, you have to have a lot of parties booked and so many other conditions. Refer to points 1 and 2 above. It's hard work and if you haven't got it in you to really 'push' your product, you aren't going to realistically achieve these rewards.
5. Beware of underlying costs
You'll find the company will promote 'free to join' as a consultant at various times of the year. You only might need to pay postage to get your 'starter' kit. Little do they tell you that's it's really only the basics that they provide you with. If you want to sell the whole range, you have to buy it or receive it as a reward as mentioned in point 4 above. There will always be monthly specials brochures, order pads, clipboards, tablecloths, prizes to give out at parties, hostess rewards and gifts, petrol to and from parties etc etc. It would take a good couple of months before you started seeing any real monetary rewards if you factor in all these hidden costs.
I gave it a crack. I was good at getting up in front of the crowd. I proved that to myself but a salesperson I am not. There are those type of people who do have the 'gift of the gab' and good on them. It's a real craft but I'll stay on the other side of the room and continue to go to these parties, if I get invited. Hell knows, I still love to get out of the house and socialise with other adults.