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Before I became a consultant, I hosted a show and sent the postcards first and then called everyone! I had 15 people show up to my party and had $800 in sales. But I did everything my host packet told me to do! What a geek!
I haven't really noticed a difference in attendance whether they call before or after invites are sent out but the Have to call!!!
You can tell imediately when a host has not done this. They feel like calling is pushy or intrusive but the fact is that most people do not pay much attention to the invite alone.
I host coach for them to call everyone before the invites are sent out just to let them know that they are coming or to personally hand them out then to still call a couple of days before to remind their guests one more time and get definate yes or nos. The invitations are esentially useless without the personal touch.
Some hostesses just refuse to make those calls but they almost always end up dissapointed after the show.
I encourage my hosts to make that first call when they know the guests will not be home and leave a fun message. This helps them feel like they do not have to get wrapped up in conversations and spend a lot of time on the phone. Of course the reminder call should be to a live person so that they can get an answer on if that person will be attendng or not.
I offer to make the "night before" calls for my hosts. They just have to provide me with the names and #'s. I do this because sometimes they might be too busy to make the calls or they might feel too pushy like you guys mentioned. Inevitably the ones who have me make phone calls for them have better shows than the ones who don't want me to call and don't call themselves. If I get a machine I leave a message reminding them of the time and place of the show and I tell them I can't wait to meet them at the show.