How do you solve this dilemma? You offer an incentive at your direct selling party to encourage the guests to book a show, a person books, takes your incentive home with them and then disappears off the face of the earth. What’s a direct sales consultant to do?

At every seminar I give and frequently on my “Ask Ruth” section of my free newsletter this issue comes up. Time after time I’m asked questions like: “How many times should I call her?” “Should I contact the hostess who she booked from?” “How do I get her to hold the show?”

The problem is we feel duped. We feel like the emperor in the fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, taken advantage of and vulnerable. We’ve been made the fool and we don’t like the feeling one little bit. We’ve lost a booking and we’ve also lost the product that we gave the person to motivate her to have the show.

When I’m asked what to do, how to force someone to have a party she had no intention of holding to begin with, the answer is simple. There’s nothing you can do. Think about it. You finally do get hold of her and convince her, by guilt, to hold the show, or, you contact her hostess and humiliate her into having a show, what kind of party is she going to have? Will she have ten to fifteen buying guests there or will she have two or three, that is, if she invites anyone? Will you be walking into a real demonstration or will you pull into her driveway to find a dark house and no one home? Will you, if she does hold, walk in with the right attitude or will you be holding a grudge? The reality of the situation is, when they take your product and bolt — you’ve lost.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening? You could stop offering incentives to book and stick strictly to your hostess plan. That doesn’t help if you want to fill a hole in your calendar or if you need just a couple more shows to earn a company incentive.

Instead you can do to your customers exactly what your company does to you. What does your company do? It offers you incentives: free products, free jewelry, free trips when you do this, this, and that. Your company doesn’t give you the incentive and then you do the work. You earn the incentive. Your hostess should also be earning the incentive.

What does the hostess need to do to receive the item you are giving away free? Does she need to hold a show? Does she need to hold a show with ten buying guests? Does she need to hold a show with ten buying guests and two bookings? What are the strings attached to her receiving that item?

When does she receive the item? Just like your company doesn’t give you the incentive until after you’ve earned it, you don’t give your hostess the item until after she’s earned it. If the deal is she needs to hold the show to get it then give it to her as her hostess thank you. If the deal is ten buying guests or guests and bookings then she receives it after her show or when her product arrives.

Just like your company makes it very clear to you what needs to be done to earn the incentive, you need to make it clear to your hostess what she needs to do. You need to say it to her more then once. When you are making the pitch at your demonstration you need to include what the strings are and when she’ll receive the item. When she books you need to go over it again, to her personally, and hostess coach her so she receives the item. When you call her remind her again of what needs to be done to receive the item.

By giving them their incentive product the night of their show or when their products arrive you’ll avoid being taken advantage of and you’ll have the kind of show you want in order to move your business forward.

Ruth Fuersten is the author of HOW TO BOOK, SELL, AND RECRUIT YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS, a step-by-step recipe for success in direct sales. Ruth has 12+ years in direct sales. She earned many incentives including international vacations. Ruth’s top show was ,956 and she moved into management in 3 months. Sign up for her free newsletter, purchase her book or have Ruth speak at your next event by going now to

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