Monday, May 13, 2013

What I Learned From Letting My Friend Down

It's taken me a few weeks to get the courage up to write about this. But I've been talking about it in training and I've learned HEAPS since it happened.

On Sunday, 28 April, I receive a text inviting me to a home party that Wednesday for a new fashion company I've not heard of. The invite was cheeky and fun and from someone I really enjoy spending time with. I immediately checked my calendar, saw that I was free, and RSVPed back in a text. "Count me in!"

On Tuesday, 30 April, I receive a call asking me if I can substitute at a networking event in the city on Wednesday morning. I checked my calendar, saw that I was free and proceeded to get up at sparrow's the next morning to head into the city and meet some new people.

I suppose you know what I did wrong... I didn't go to the party that night.

In fact, I forgot about it completely. I got a text at about 6:00 from the host reminding me of her address, but I didn't see it at 6:00 - I saw it at 7:00... By then I'd started dinner and was coveting my bed. I was tired and I was feeling incredibly guilty.

How often does this happen?

In my eight years of experience as a candle lady, it happens ALL THE TIME.

Hosts invite people quickly and in group messages. Guests say yes, but don't make a note of the event. Hosts feel like they're being pushy if they send reminders, so they don't. Guests get called by the host after the party was supposed to start and say that they completely forgot. "That's okay... maybe next time," the host says, trying to hide her disappointment....

As a consultant, it's my JOB to help the host organise the party to make it a success. My experience has led me to the following recommendations.

Keys to a Successful Party
  1. Make a (written) list of who you want to invite
  2. Create a Facebook Event and invite those specific people (including your consultant)
  3. Send a non-facebook personal invitation to each person (in order of preference: in person and/or by post and/or by email and/or by text)
  4. Track everyone's responses and follow-up:
    • YES/MAYBE with an email confirmation
    • NO with an invitation to order anyway
    • NO ANSWER with a personal phone call encouraging them
  5. Send reminder texts to all invitees THE DAY BEFORE the party
For the record, I'm not blaming my host for me not showing up. That was all me. I didn't put the item into my calendar when she texted. I should have. My bad.

I do think it speaks to our busy lives. I don't know why I didn't add the event to my calendar. Did the phone ring again immediately following the text? Did I have someone at the house? Was I immersed in writing a blog? I don't remember....

Following up, making it personal, and sending reminders isn't being pushy, it's being smart.

Every guest at a party is a potential sale, referral, booking, and maybe even a future consultant. A successful party is the best testimonial you can ask for from a host. Help her succeed by helping her invite people with enthusiasm.

And keep your calendar up to date.... Lesson learned.

Do you have a story to share? What have you learned from your mistakes?