Name your event.
- Sample Sale
- Hostess/ Customer Appreciation
- Open House
- Christmas in "July" Sale
- Clearance Event
Select a Date
I usually host my event over a two day window such as Friday and Saturday nights from 6-9pm. I find that you can catch a few people the second day that weren't able to make it the first night. I also allow customers the opportunity to "shop by appointment" as well.
My event is held in my home. I set up additional tables and clear out my kids' toys. If you aren't comfortable with this or don't have the room, host the event at a neighborhood clubhouse, friend's house, or at your church hall.
The Guest List
Invite past hostesses, customers, family, and friends. Depending on the size of your database and the years you've been in business, you may want to focus on the people you've seen in the past year. If you use guest surveys, include an option for them to check if they want sample sale information.
How you spread the word and how often will be key to your turn out! I do all of the following in this order!
- Mention dates of sales at all your shows, parties, and events even if it is approximate. For example, I tell everyone "July and December". Talk the event up so they look forward to an invite.
- Send out an email, Facebook Event, and/or Evite about 3-4 weeks in advance so guests can mark the date on their calendars.
- Mail out a paper invite 1-2 weeks ahead. I order postcards from Vistaprint. ( 100 Postcards for just $1.99)
- Send electronic reminders one week out to encourage RSVPs.
- Send a final reminder within 24 hours of the event.
- If I don't have emails or electronic ways to send a final reminder, I will call the those guests and leave a message.
Some Tips on Turn Out
- Reward guests for RSVPing and bringing friends. I use a ticket system so I offer a ticket for RSVPing and for each friend they bring. Another idea is to do a special drawing for free product with all the guests who RSVP.
- Advertise your specials well. I tell how much I have and at what discount. For example, this year I had over 500 jewelry pieces with half of them marked 50% or 75% off.
- Offer refreshments. I offer a large selection of yummy food and advertise some of the favorites in my reminders. Many of my guests come for the food, not just the sales!
- Give-a-ways help a lot. In the past I've offered a free gift to everyone who came. I always have a large selection of drawing items. This year, I used some of my products but also brand name items that people would recognize. I advertised these items on my postcard invitations and in my reminder.
Setting A Sale Price
Don't be afraid to mark your samples down. Sitting on items will not earn you money! I'm able to always buy samples at 50% off but when our new line comes out, I usually earn an additional 30% discount which allows me to sell items later at 75% off with little loss. Those that sell at 50% off still make me money! The bigger the bargain, the greater the draw with customers.
Creating New Business
One of the greatest perks of a sale like this is to add new bookings to your calendar. When ladies come to shop, advertise your specials and display new product lines if you have it available. Offer a special gift if they set up a show on your calendar. My sale is held just before the new line comes out so I know what I have to spend on new samples when I go to conference. When I return, I send each guest a letter thanking them for coming along with a coupon, a new catalog, and any drawing items they may have won. This year, I told my guests if they contacted me with their top 5 favorites pieces out of the new catalog, I'd double their coupon. I try to encourage them to look through the new collection so they will love it and want to host a show to get it for free!
If you have customers who live outside your area or some who won't be able to make it, they can still partake. I mailed catalogs to those who requested them and emailed them a list of my sale items. They were happy for the savings and I was happy for the additional sales!
My sample sales are always very successful and I look forward to them so much! I enjoy visiting with all my customers and catching up on what has been going on in their lives. My method has worked well for me over the last 8 years. If your first event doesn't go as well as you would like, stick with it. I've built some loyal attendees over the years and now they tell their friends they can't miss it!