Recruit & Sell
Keith Laggos, Network Marketing Business Journal
(Chapter from Laggos' book How to Recruit & Sell in an Over-commercialized Society)
In the traditional party plan there are basic components and practices. Lets start the
discussion with the company. The company, as in any direct sales/network marketing
company, supplies several business functions for the distributor. These include:
1. The products, which include product research and development, usually packaging, inventory
and shipping, as well as product literature. Most modern companies also have Internet support
and online ordering.
2. Accounting and compensation systems, which include product wholesale and retail pricing,
compensation structure and payment for yourself and your downline, order payment and
processing, as well as special accounting polices for party plans such as hostess points and
3. Marketing and training material such as: brochures, videos, CDs and tapes, newsletters,
books, Internet support systems, seminars and conventions.
4. Legal review, distributor rules and policies.
The above is just a general list of function and is not meant to be comprehensive. There are
other items that a company supporting the traditional party marketing method must supply
in addition to the usual items and functions listed above. These include:
1. Hostess gifts, often including a hostess gift catalog.
2. A party presentation guideline, often including a script and scheduling booklets.
3. Party favors including incentives for large orders or just to add fun of for certain behaviors,
achievements or games and contests at the party.
4. Samples and prizes.
The college textbook, Direct Sales An Overview, has a complete explanation how party plan
marketing works. Here, only a short narrative will be given.
The distributor starts by asking a friend of acquaintance to host a party. It is the duty of the
hostess to invite her friends, family and neighbors as attendees. The hostess also usually
supplies her home for the party and refreshments. However, it is very important that the
distributor does not strictly rely on the hostess to get people to attend.
Distributors should help send out invitations two to four weeks prior to the party with an
RSVP (a request to respond to the invitation one way or the other). A week prior to the party
a postcard reminder should be sent. The day before the party, the hostess should call and
remind each invited person. If transportation or baby sitting is required, the hostess may
even try to help accommodate by finding a car pool or setting up a group baby sitter in her
home. The distributor should help with these functions. However, because of the new do-
not-call (DNC) laws, it is best if the hostess initializes the call and then, if necessary, turns it
over to the distributor.
The company should have a hostess reward program where the hostess receives points or a
dollar amount to be used toward products. This can depend on the number of attendees,
future hostesses and parties booked, distributors recruited and the sales volume of orders at
the party. These points or dollar amounts can be used to purchase products or receive gifts
from a special hostess catalog usually supplied by the company. Sometimes, instead of
points or a dollar amount earned, companies offer the hostess various levels of discounts
based on company-established criteria.
A distributor often can earn $100 to $500 and book two to four more new parties in a single
evening. There have been numerous parties when the distributor has earned $2,000 or more
in a single evening party. Knowing this, it should be easy to understand why the average
distributor using the party plan method can earn more income faster than a company that
emphasizes individuals and override commissions.
The job of the distributor is to make the hostess job easy, fun and rewarding. Most party
presentations include fun activities such as games, contests, modeling, in which, the
attendees participate. This way the hostess will do another party and all of the attendees are
encouraged to host a party too.
It is the distributors or representatives job to conduct the presentation and manage the
meeting. The hostess usually makes the introduction of the distributor to the guests as they
arrive. The keys to success lie in the number of parties that can be booked and increasing
the average attendance. One cost-effective way a distributor can do this is to hold a special
contest at a party. Offer everyone who is willing to host a party a chance to win an
especially nice prize based on the most people who attend, plus double points for each new
party booked at their party. Everyone will work hard to win this special prize, making all of
your subsequent parties successful and you only have to provide one extra prize for the
As in any selling environment, upselling is very important. Upselling is when the sales person
or distributor encourages the prospect to purchase either a higher-quality, or more-
expensive item or more products. This, of course, increases the sales volume and
commission earned. In a party environment, upselling is easy. In some cases, you can offer
each attendee a special prize or gift or extra free samples for purchasing minimum sales
volumes. Some companies have a discount program built into the product pricing, so that
the moreyou purchase, the greater a discount you receive.
A good distributor can create a buying frenzy. Each time an attendee purchases something
or a prize level is achieved, an announcement can be made. This can even cause a
competitive drive to see whom orders the most. When someone orders one product, the
distributor can demonstrate another product that works well with it or looks good with it.
Often, you can use a puppy dog approach. Let an attendee try something on and/or wear it
for the evening and ask if they would like to continue to wear it by purchasing the item.
Often, they will not want you to take it back. They may even be willing to purchase many
times more than the value of an item to get the item that they really want for free. You may
be in a position to demonstrate to the hostess that if he or she can help encourage a few
more sales, she will receive a much nicer gift choice. You may be surprised to find how
much harder someone will work towards a free gift, than the equivalent monetary reward.
One area that few distributors take full advantage of is repeat sales. The first sale to a client
is always the hardest sale. Repeat sales are almost always easier and faster than the first
sale because the client has tried your product and knows the product story. The following
are some tips forall distributors to increase repeat sales and their income.
1. Call or e-mail your customers to ensure that they are using your products and know how to
use them. If they are not using your products, there is no reason to order more. If they are not
using your products, they will not be enjoying the benefits and will probably be reluctant to
2. Send product literature and product testimonials to reinforce their buying decision and to
encourage their continued product use.
3. Send samples or information on other products and/or new products.
4. Make re-ordering easy. Provide a Web site or fax number, so that customers can place their
own orders conveniently. Encourage them to get on an autoship program or allow you to
continue to order for them until you hear otherwise.
5. Set a specific time each month to check on their next order and to answer any questions.
6. Create a monthly product newsletter with order forms for everyone that is a retail customer. If
the company provides catalogs or product brochures, include them or your Web site
7. Send an e-mail or even a postcard to remind your clients to place their order. Include your e-
mail address and your phone number with the best hours to reach you and keep those hours.
Obtaining referrals is the most powerful marketing advantage that any sales person has.
However, in todays do-not-call and spam law environments, it is best to ask for personal
introductions. If this cannot be done in person, then obtain the phone number of the person
referring and their referrals phone number. The distributor should initiate a three-way phone
call. Dont put the burden on the person who is giving the referral. He or she is already doing
you a favor by giving you the referral. Besides, if you wait for him or her to initiate the
phone call, you could be waiting a long time, a very long time! Once he or she makes the
introduction, thank him or her and give him or her the opportunity to hang up or stay on the
phone. You, as the distributor make the presentation but do not hesitate to ask for a
personal testimonial from the person making the referral, especially if you knowthat he or
she is a satisfied customer.
You can also reach a referral using e-mail. However, 99 percent of emails from unknown
senders get deleted without being opened. Many spam e-mailers are using subjects such as,
as referred by a mutual friend (or a common name like Mike or Linda). Therefore, having
just an e-mail address will not do you much good. Ask the person providing the referral to
send an introductory e-mail and copy you. This way, you receive the prospects e-mail
address. The prospect will be made a ware of the fact that you will be e-mailing him or her
and will know your e-mail address. This should help him or her to recognize your e-mail
address and open it, instead of deleting it.
Referrals can be obtained at many stages. Never be shy to ask for a referral. If a prospect
does make a purchase, then ask if he or she knows of other people that would like your
products or services. If referrals are given, ask them if they would help you with the
introduction. If possible meet both the customer and his or her referral in person, otherwise
do the three-way call as described above. If the prospect decides not to purchase your
product, then ask if he or she would mind if you kept them up with new studies and
products. Either way, you should ask them for referrals too.
Whether you are a party or another situation, ask someone if they would like to host a party.
If a person says no, then ask for referrals for someone who they know that may want to
host a party. In fact, if you are giving out points to the hostess for newly booked parties
from their party, also offer points, but less points, for referrals for hostesses not at the party.
Sometimes the referrals are even better because they do not socialize in the same circles.
Every time someone re-orders, ask him or her for referrals. If the referrals purchase
something, give them a free gift. It would be wise to give him or her, as a gift, a product
that you think they may like if they tried it.
Sometimes asking for a referral can provide an opportunity to discover if there is a personal
interest in joining your downline. This is especially true when dealing with close friends or
family and you want to be very low key about pressuring them with the income opportunity.
Simply mention how well your business is going and that you need to find people who want
to start their own business and are willing to work with you as a team. Ask your friend or
relative if they know anyone that would want to team up with you. Then shut up. Most
distributors dont wait and let the prospect (friend or relative) have enough time to think and
way, Why not me?
Sometimes even asking someone for a retail sale referral will prod them into inquiring about
the product in order to understand the product well enough to know who to refer. This can
easily result in them realizing that they may want to try the product too. Thus, asking for
referrals can be beneficial on two levels. You can find additional new prospects. And,
secondly, by asking for a referral, you can tactfully let a friend or relative, whose personal
relationship you do not want to jeopardize, help lead themselves to a sale or distributor