Eleven Steps to Avoid Cancellations-Beth Jones Schall
It’s frustrating – you have a great month of shows scheduled and then…wham!…cancellations eat away at what would have been a great month like termites on wet lumber. It is indeed frustrating! Can anything be done to eliminate cancellations? Well, you can’t eliminate cancellations, but you can greatly reduce them with good planning and preparation. The 11 steps below will help reduce cancellations:
1. Pick the right date and time. As your hostess is considering her date, ask her if there are any other events in her family, workplace, church or neighborhood two weeks prior or two weeks after that could interfere with the date she is considering. A family wedding or workplace project could be a cautionary sign to pick a different date. Also be sure to ask your hostess if more of her family, friends and co-workers would be available daytime or evening, in order to select the best time for the most guests to attend. The right date means she will rarely cancel.
2. Book close. The “ABC” of direct sales booking is Always Book Close -meaning always pick the next closest date you have available to begin the booking conversation with your hostess. The closer she books her show, the more excited she will be about it. Excited hostesses rarely cancel.
3. Sign her name in your datebook. Once your hostess picks her date, give her your pen and have her write her name on that date in your datebook. There is a level of commitment that accompanies signing your name. Committed hostesses rarely cancel.
4. Check her motivation. Sometimes hostesses book as a favor to their friend, or maybe even after some serious arm-twisting by the original hostess. Be sure your new hostess has her own motivation for booking, by asking her what excites her most about hosting a show, or ask what she is looking forward to most at her show. That way she is committed beyond a favor or arm-twisting, and will rarely cancel.
5. Begin the guest list. The moment your hostess selects her date, begin the discussion of whom to invite. Suggest FRANK (Friends, Relatives Acquaintances, Neighbors, Kid’s associations) to begin the discussion, and even have a FRANK list sheet she can begin to fill out. The sooner she sees how quickly her list begins to grow, the more confident she is that she will have a full house of guests at her show. Confident hostesses rarely cancel.
6. Email to save the date. The day your new hostess selects her date, send her a “save the date” email (with the date, time and place of her show) and ask her to forward it immediately to her family and friends. It does not take the place of an invitation, but it does help boost attendance by giving her friends plenty of advance notice. It is the first layer of a multi-layer invitation approach that will boost attendance for the show. When the hostess is confident her friends will attend, she rarely cancels.
7. Mail a note/postcard to your new hostess. The day after your new hostess picks her date, send her a note card or a postcard thanking her for scheduling her show with you, and confirming her date/time. Remember to include a note such as, “Thank you for your commitment to this date. It is a night of work for me, and I look forward to seeing you and your friends.” This will remind the hostess that, even though shows are a lot of fun, they are also your job. When she understands, she rarely cancels.
8. Layer the guest invitation. Guest attendance will increase when you partner with your hostess to “layer” the guest invitation. We all lead busy lives, so we benefit from several reminders, or “layers,” when it comes to extending the invitation to her show. The first layer is mentioned above in point #6 with the “save the date” email. The second layer you might suggest to your hostess is to post her show date to her family and friends on her Facebook page. The third layer could be an e-invite that you develop (or your company may already provide) and then send to your hostess to forward to her guest list. But by far, the #1 most-important invitation layer even in this high-tech world, is mailing an actual invitation to each invited guest. Attendance increases significantly when guests receive an invitation in the mail. And to ensure the invitations are mailed, offer to mail them for your hostess. Layering increases attendance, and therefore hostesses rarely cancel.
9. Make reminder calls. Partner with your hostess on making reminder calls to each guest a few days prior to the show. Many hostesses find themselves so busy that they would be more than happy for you to make these calls. Reminder calls take relatively little time (80% of calls go to voicemail, so leave a quick, 10-second message) so you can complete an entire guest list of calls in 15 minutes. Reminder calls help boost attendance and therefore hostesses rarely cancel.
10. Stay in touch weekly. Keep in touch with your hostess weekly prior to her show – emails, notes, calls, texts. You will be building a friendship with her and developing a trust. Trusting friends rarely cancel.
11. Cancellations are rare, but not extinct. When you follow the steps above, you will find your cancellations will be reduced greatly. But, there will be occasions when a hostess needs to cancel – so what to do then:
Turn her show into a book show.
Reschedule her for your next available date.
Ask if a friend can step in for her on that same date.
Offer to host in your home if you are local.
Contact the original hostess if this hostess does not follow through, to see if she knows of someone who could step in.
Beth Jones Schall http://spiritofsuccess.com/
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