Back in the 1950s, ladies would gather at a friend's house for a Tupperware party. Over cookies and tea, they'd hear all about (and hopefully purchase) the latest food storage products. Nowadays, similar house parties are used to sell everything from jewelry, to chocolate, to sex toys. What's next - timeshare parties? That's right...Want more Tupperware? I'm having a party!
The house party sales model
Whether you're selling kitchenware, candles, or timeshare points, house party sales work because of referrals, social proof, and peer pressure.
- Referrals are a key way for a company to find new prospects, and are usually a cost-effective alternative to advertising. Just get existing clients to give you the names of their friends and relatives, and there you go - new leads to target. If you've been to a timeshare sales presentation, they've probably asked you for the names and contact details of other people you know. House parties are another method for getting those referral prospects.
- Social proof works because we tend to trust what our friends tell us. If our friend says "this face cream has done wonders for my complexion" or "our timeshare trips have been the best vacations ever", we're more likely to believe them than we would a stranger or a salesperson.
- The peer pressure kicks in because you're at your friend's house for a party. Of course you want to support your friend. Even if you have cabinets full of Tupperware already, you still feel like you need to buy something. You don't want to be the only spoil sport at the party who leaves empty handed.
It's that last part that turns me off the whole house party approach. I like to be supportive of a friend's new venture, but hate feeling obligated to buy something I don't want. I swore off after a house party selling easy-care clothing, where I bought a frumpy piece of polyester apparel even though I knew I'd never wear it. These parties are more about selling than socializing, and personally, I'd rather meet friends over a happy hour drink somewhere.
House parties selling timeshares?
I recently saw an e-mail offering people a chance to host a timeshare party at their house.
Come on over to the party, and let me tell you about timeshares!
Your party will consist of guests of your choosing who you will get together for a night of fun exchanging vacation memories, playing games, and enjoying food and drinks. This also allows you the opportunity to share how much you love your Diamond Resorts International® vacation membership.
Woo hoo! If that doesn't sound like fun, I don't know what does. 😉
Seriously, though, if you sign up to host a party you get a "complimentary party pack", with gift bags for each guest, and a special Diamond Resorts game. I haven't seen the game, but I can imagine that it involves accummulating timeshare points and spending them on lavish, exotic vacations...
But now the big WIIFM question - What's in it for me? What do you get for spending an evening promoting timeshare ownership to your friends?
For hosting your house party, you and your guests will receive a complimentary 3 day/2 night vacation getaway! ... Unless restricted by state law*, you will receive $500 for the first guest who purchases, $750 for the second guest who purchases and $1,000 for each subsequent guest who purchases.
That's a pretty nice perk for all concerned, as long as your friends know that during their complimentary vacation, they will meet up with some highly skilled salespeople who want them to spend $20K, $50K, or more on a timeshare.
Since I'm not keen on the house party model, I wouldn't host a party like this. If I was going to do it, though, I'd make sure all of my friends were well informed about the ins and outs of timeshare ownership first. Getting your friends to buy aromatherapy oil is one thing, but timeshares are on a different scale altogether. I know that timeshares can be wonderful, but I'd hate to get one of my friends into a deal they regret.
What do you think? Have you ever hosted a house party to sell something? Would you want to host or attend a timeshare house party? Do you think this is a good idea or not? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below.