Over the years home parties have evolved from the Tupperware presentations to an evening out with friends, for food, munchies and coffee. Making an evening entertaining with light food and drink, your chances of having a successful home party will increase. You can use the Home Parties to introduce others to the program of selling personalized books. Those who attend may wish to consider this meeting a sales meeting so they may join you in selling the books at their office on a commission basis. In this case, the guests won't be your co-workers, but your peers at other offices or businesses. And they won't necessarily be buyers, but future agents of yours to help you expand your business.
How it works
Contact some of your good friends and neighbors and invite them to have a Home Party in their home. Make sure there is a gift for the host and give her a percentage off her order if her guests purchase over a specific dollar amount of merchandise. Be prepared with a speech about your products and a demonstration of how the process works. This means that some inventory, your computer and printer should be there to complete the sale.
It might be a good idea to recommend that their children not be present during the book fair. If they are buying books as gifts, then they will want to keep the books a surprise until time to give the gift. Some parents would relish the idea of an afternoon or evening off from child care.
There is no need to take every book expected to sell at the party. Most people are used to ordering at a party and then waiting two to three weeks for their orders. Take a variety of books so your customers can examine for themselves the quality of the Create-A-Book products.
Be sure and take plenty of order forms. Use the customizing feature in the software to generate a specific brochure for each host who holds a party. Make the host feel special and thank her for her hospitality.
Develop a lively atmosphere and attitude. The more enthusiastic you are about the product the more contagious your enthusiasm will be. Point out the benefits of our books over non-personalized and/or school text books. This is a lifetime keepsake that will make reading enjoyable for the child. If they enjoy reading they will read more. The more they read the more they will learn. The more they learn the easier school gets and the better chance they will have reaching their goals in today's society.
Point out the various life lessons that our story lines supply. Through conversation, your guests will tell you what areas of interest they have with their children and the books they read. Be familiar with all the stories to discuss them with the customers.
- Do not forget that there are several grown-up gag versions of the books on the software. Books are classic gifts for any occasion. Play with the variables and see the results of other books printed in an adult version for your friends. A numerical age is not always required. Most of the conventional books will allow for a substitute a phrase like, "older than dirt," which will read well in the story.
Make sure to decide before hand whether the books will be delivered or mailed to the guests. Make sure your brochures include shipping and handling charges if applicable.
Try to book the next party while at the present In-Home Book Fair. One of the guests may want to get some free merchandise, too. The success at one party will spill over to more. This is another good way of increasing your mail order base. Most home party demonstrators work on a commission basis. The amount of commission is really dependent on what your economic base is. If your representative can sell the books at premium prices, then 10% to 20% commission is standard.
The most challenging part of home party is finding and training hosts. You may wish to do this (hosting) yourself, or talk to those you know about helping you. Read the chapter in this manual on Networking. There are many ways to meet people who might be interested in this process, if you circulate.
In-home book fairs
There is another method of finding hosts by running a small classified ad in your local newspaper or posting flyers in the neighborhood. The ad can be as simple as this: Representative wanted to demonstrate In-Home Book Fairs. Call (your number).
Once a person is chosen to conduct a home party, teach them about the books. Give them a set of sample books, at least one personalized letter, a poster, an ample supply of order forms or brochures. The more informed your representatives are the more they can share with their customers. Keep them up to date on all new products.
The average home party should last two hours. Start it at seven and it end at nine. Hand out pencils and brochures or order forms to all the guests. The product demonstration should only last about 45 minutes. Discuss the differences in the types of books available and stress the education value of the books. Take a book personalized for the party giver and read excerpts from it aloud. Explain the variables needed for a specific story. Read both an adult version and one written especially for new readers. This will explain the variety of gift ideas the books provide.
To help sell the books at the party, give everyone who buys a book a free photo sticker as a "party special". Consider offering a free Santa or Easter letter if the party is given close to the appropriate holiday.
When finished talking about the books, thank everyone for coming and invite them to have refreshments while they browse through the books. They will bring their orders up to be tallied. This is the really fun part, so take a calculator. Remember to add your state's sales tax.
When taking the orders ask whether the customer would like to host an In-Home Book Fair of their own. Explain the commission structure you are using, and tell them that they can earn free products.
The Home Party program can be a potential profit center. This is another of the methods of selling books that won't cost you anything by way of advertising or mall rent. This is a very low overhead system. The reason it works is because everyone loves books!
Below is a comment from a dealer about a home party:
I worked out a hostess plan that equitable to all parties. The hostess gets one free book for having the party. I take all her information ahead of time, and put all the parts for the book together. I do a brief demo at the party on how we make the books, using the hostess's book. I bring my safety bind with me for this purpose. After the book is made, I present it to the hostess. That way, her guests can see the work involved in making the book, and they see that she actually does receive her free book. This process is interesting for the guest to see, and makes them more inclined to purchase one or more books. In addition to her free book, the hostess receives 15% of her sales up to $175 and 20% if sales go over $175. This is all to be applied toward the purchase of books. She also receives $10 toward books if she has at least 10 ordering guests, $5 towards books if she picks up her order at my home, and one half priced book for each booking that has sales of $100 or more. If the sales go over $200, the hostess will receive a 10% discount on any books she orders personally for a period of 6 months.
Any guest who brings a friend that places an order will receive $2 off her own order. Guests receive a free Santa letter with each book if they order 2 or more books, and a free Santa letter and Fun sticker sheet if they order 3 or more books. I also play a game called Stressed Out Mom (I learned about this on the board), and the guest with the most points receives some small gift, like an aromatherapy candle. If there are a lot of guests, I try to play another game for a small prize.
I put together a brochure for the Home Book Parties that explains the Hostess Plan. If you send me your email address, I'll send you a copy of it.
I hope this helps. Let me know if I can answer any more questions.
Another email from a dealer:
For my home book fair shows I take sample books, book fair books, and a folder that I have all the books text printed in. I explain about Create-A-Book. Then I tell about the other book types, Presto and Pop-ups. I usually play a couple of games. If the invited guest brings a friends I give each of them a $2.00 off coupon.
After my demonstration I let them look at the books and read whatever they want. Then I am ready to take their orders. It's really fun and great because you don't have any competition at a home book fair party!
I give the hostess a free book for having the party, 10% of her total sales towards books, $10.00 towards books if she has 10 or more buying guests, $5.00 towards books if she picks up the orders at my home instead of me delivering, and at each of her booked shows she receives a book for half price. I also let them continue to earn their 10% for up to a year after their show if it is over $250.00. (This is really cool because I have orders coming in from them too!) It's a lot of fun and they love the books! Good luck!
Debbie of Debbie's Books
Another comment from a dealer:
I just wanted to write a quick note to let you guys know that you have been doing an excellent job. I started my business in July and it is really going well. I am doing mostly home parties and boy are they worthwhile. My average party has had four guests, takes around three hours and I am averaging about $150.00 per party. People love these books when they see them made first hand!!!
Sometimes it is hard to get bookings, so you have to offer a very good deal to the hostess. I normally give the hostess one free book for having the show, $10 toward books if she has 10 guests (no one has received this benefit yet), $5 toward books for each guest who books a party, plus 20% of her show sales in free books. This sounds like a lot, but look at it this way, if someone has a $150 show with one booking, they will get three or four books, about a $50 value, however it really only costs the dealer about $16. You can still net approximately $90, how many jobs pay $30 an hour?
Right now I am working a full time job and doing my parties on the side, but I am trying a lot of different avenues to be able to quit my current job. I am very interested in any information on ways to improve my business. Thank you to everyone at Create-A-Book for all of the support!