I receive these emails from thesuccessfactory.com and are very helpful. This is a subject that I have trouble with and thought others might benifit from it! Recently we received the following email… I would like some information on how to build my confidence when talking to strangers. I need help with organizaion skills and help with voice messages I leave all the time and no return call. I would just like any assistance that you have to offer. Thanks for your question. One thing about the party plan business is that sometimes those of us who would normally strike up conversations with total strangers in the past, now become ‘tongue-tied’. We are so frightened of the rejection that might come from talking about our products with others that we lose the ability to be ‘other centered’ and think about how our product or service is a benefit (vs. something we are PUSHING on to someone else). If you are having difficulty in this area, I would suggest that perhaps you just need a bit of practice. Start by striking up conversations with strangers WITHOUT the intention of mentioning your business. You would be amazed at how much people love to chat when it is about themselves or their children. Begin by looking for something you can compliment them sincerely on. In line at the grocery, you might say, “That pink outfit is just darling on your little girl; it really goes well with her coloring – how old is she?” Try to keep the conversation going for a minute or so. Keep on practicing where ever you go, perhaps challenging yourself to talk to 1-2 strangers each day, but NOT about business. Remember it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so take several weeks and do just that. Now it is time to incorporate your company into these “stranger” conversations. It is all about being ‘other-centered’. Look for the need. It might be that the check-out gal is VERY pregnant. The conversation could go something like this… “Wow, how sore are YOUR feet by the end of the day?” (wait for her to answer)… “Now, will you be returning to work after the baby is born?” (again wait for an answer) “I don’t know if you would even be interested, but I’d love to talk to you about what I do to stay home with my children. May I share my card with you and perhaps call you at a later time so we can chat?” WE SORT, we DO NOT convince. Just have fun with it and make it a game, not a life or death situation. Challenge yourself to talk to one new person a day and realize that many will not be interested. However, the more you do, the easier it will get and the better you will get at it. It just takes practice. Your question about answering machine messages is also a good one. In this day and age of caller ID and other technology, this can be a tricky topic. Here are some guidelines: 1. Get permission to call whenever possible. When you book a party at a party, ask the new hostess when the best time is to reach her and do just that. Also, if someone says, “Not now, but maybe I’ll schedule in a few months…” again get permission to call back. Your reply should be, “Great, I schedule my June parties at the beginning of May, is it OK, for me to call you then? When is the best time to reach you?” 2. Don’t expect people to call you back. Leave messages that give your name and number, but indicate that you will be calling again. “Hi, this is Mary Smith from Amazing Parties. I met you at Audrey’s house in January and I promised to phone you to set up your June party in May, so that is the purpose of my call. My number is xxx-xxxx. Please call me at your earliest convenience, or I will get back to you in a day or so.” If by chance they DO phone back, consider it a gift, otherwise, just try again. 3. NOW, I know my comments in #2 will spark some, “BUT WHAT DO I DO IF I CAN NEVER REACH THEM,” questions. It always does. When do you stop trying? Well, honestly, I hardly ever do. But I may string out my messages leaving a longer time between calls (like weeks or months). I also give them permission to say NO. Acting as though you are desperate for business gets you nowhere FAST. Always act as though you have all the business in the world; this will lessen any ‘pressure’ someone might be feeling. Here’s a message I might leave giving permission to say NO. “Hi, this is Mary Smith from Amazing Parties…I’m SO sorry we haven’t been able to connect. I’ve left several messages for you and I’m really starting to feel like a pest. I’m wondering if you can do me a favor so I can stop bugging you. If you are no longer interested in a party, would you please leave a quick message to that effect on my voice mail just so I know to quit calling? That would be a great help for me…thanks so much! As a reminder, my number is xxx-xxxx.” You may not get a response, but honestly, when I leave THAT message I get a MUCH higher percentage of return phone calls. Sometimes people, especially women, need to know that it is really OK to say NO. And you, as the consultant, need not to take it personally. More times than not, it is because life has thrown them a curve ball and they can’t do a party right now. Often, however, they will give you permission to phone them again at some point down the road. Just be sure you narrow a specific time frame down. www.TheSuccessFactory.com **Shop 24/7 on our website - Great resources to help you with your business! Feel free to share this email with a friend and invite them to sign up for FREE email tips on our website! Thanks for respecting our copyright by including our company information when you share these tips with others.