Monday, October 24, 2011

Holiday Open House

    It's that time of year again, time for shopping season! It's also time for you to sit down and create a strategic plan for the holiday season and your business. Many people choose to plan their open houses and holiday parties in September, but I wait until it gets closer to Thanksgiving because I never know what my (or my husbands) schedule will hold. Now is the time, if you haven't already, to plan out your holiday open house.
    A holiday open house is basically a chance for your customers and friends to come see what options you have for the gift giving season. Invite everyone because this is chance to introduce new friends to your business and product. Schedule your open house on a day when people should be home and available. You can also schedule your open house for Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) but this does not allow a lot of time for people host parties before Christmas.  A open house means scheduling a large chunk of time where people can stop by during the day, whenever they get the chance. This way, people can swing by in between other events they have that day, instead of not showing up at all.
    They key with your open house is to show your guests how your business can help them with their gift list. Offer gift wrapping, either for free or at a low price, so that you can deliver your product to them already wrapped. This can be a huge stress relief for people with large gift lists. Offer them a payment plan (if your business and finances allows) for large orders. Better yet, offer special hostess benefits for people who host shows between your open house and the holidays.
   Create a holiday setting for your open house, especially if it’s early in the season. Set out holiday treats and candies (you know the stores already have them out), decorate your house, maybe even play Christmas music (I know, it’s scary). That environment will encourage your guests to get some of their gift shopping done with you. Also, make a point to let your guests know that when they do their holiday shopping with you, they are actually supporting a small business in their community. Your product display should be stunning! Take notes from others in your company as to how they set up a great display. Have catalogs and materials already labeled and ready to go. Create little goody bags for the guests that come and mention the good bags in your event invitation to create intrigue.
   Remember with your open house, the goal is to show your customers what your business has to offer that the big businesses and malls can’t give them. You can give them personalized service that they can’t find anywhere else!

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