(and what to do about that)
“If you make people your product, you will be unusually successful” – Dani Johnson
My sister, Dana, recently started working as a direct seller with a company called Sseko designs, and asked me if I would be willing to host an Facebook party for her. My first instint was “ugh – I hate Facebook parties”. But I love my sister, and want to see her succeed, so I reluctantly texted her back “sure”. And then I was quickly swept up into planning my online party. Now that the dust has settled a little, I have a newfound understanding for what a Facebook party can be, and why I was always so turned off by them in the past.
You see, most of the parties I have been invited to in the past felt like I was just being dragged (reluctantly) to a sales presentation and obligated to make a purchase to “help my friend get some free goodies”. I like helping friends and supporting home business owners in general, but lets get real, no one really likes being sold to. And when I’ve held Facebook or in-person parties before, it was the same thing – I felt like I was dragging my disinterested friends to a sales presentation. Ick.
I was determined to make this experience different – for my friends, for my sister, and because I didn’t want to feel like I needed to shower to get the slime off afterwards. So I focused on making the atmosphere at the party a different one. Dana actually prompted this with her recommendation that I send a personal message to each person I invited to share why I was hosting the party and why they were invited. It took more time, but the results were well worth the effort, as people seemed far more willing to attend, and see what this whole thing was about.
The day of the party, I was thinking about what it would be like if all of these friends who said yes to attending the party actually were in the same room together and I was hosting a little get together. I mean, I really adore my friends – they are amazing people with huge hearts, big goals, and incredible stories. It was my opportunity to share how special they are to me with other people who are also equally special to me. So I asked myself: How would I want each guest to feel? How would I make sure that they felt like they were part of the action, welcome, and an honored guest? In real life, I would start by introducing each person to at least one other person and sharing something I really like and admire about them. I would help start conversations – you know, mix and mingle. So I started a post in the party and then in the comments wrote a paragraph about each person who had said that they were attending the party.
The attendees started commenting things like “So nice to meet you!” “Congratulations on your new baby!” and such. It got people engaged in the event, made each person feel special and important, and started conversations.
My goal for the party was NOT to make sales – I knew that sales for Dana would be a byproduct. It was to make connections for my friends and for my sister. Dani Johnson has taught me that behind every person is 2,000 more people you don’t know, and I knew that the most valuable thing I could do for my sister was to help begin friendships with some of the people I admire most. And to give my friends the blessing of the same. Some of these friends also have businesses with products and services that are incredible and need to be shared. Some of these women need a friend that gets them in a whole different way. They need coffee dates, someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to help teach them something new. How do I know? I have all of these same needs.
When the actual presentation was completed, I followed up with a post that said “Thanks for joining! In addition to whatever cute accessories you choose, I hope you send Dana a friend request, and connect with at least 1 other new person. <3″ Dana got at least 14 new friends that day. She has at least 3 people who wanted to book parties with her in the coming month. And one woman wants to start working with Sseko too! There were certainly people who purchased sandals and bags and bracelets, but like I said that’s a byproduct.
Look, the truth is that most (probably all) of my friends didn’t want to be dragged to another Facebook party. One friend even unfriended me (I learned why, and told her I wouldn’t put her on my invite list anymore, and we are friends again – My goal is to honor, not to irritate). People said no. People I really expected would say yes just to be supportive said no. All of that was hard, and sometimes it hurt. But it was also what motivated me to make this party something different. And I believe it was. The friends that attended sent personal messages or posted in the party their appreciation for the personal touch.
The bottom line is that “If you make people your product, you WILL be unusually successful”.