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Parties bring back those customers!

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The following suggestions were published by Creative SellingĀ® a monthly newsletter on creative sales strategies. For information on subscribing, contact Bentley-Hall Publishers at 800-724-7900. Sometimes when prospects leave your store without buying, you know that if you could just bring them back one more time, you could make the sale. Then there are those loyal customers who have bought from you in the past, but whom you haven't seen for awhile. You know they'd buy more, if they'd come back in. And, of course, there are always those "unknowns:" the prospects you haven't met yet. One way to bring all of these people back into your store (or to attract them for the first time) is to throw a party. More than just another sale or promotion, a party attracts people with the promise of a good time without sales pressure. A good party creates a friendly atmosphere where prospects and customers can enjoy themselves, check out your merchandise, feel appreciated, and interact with you in a casual way. There are an endless number of party themes to choose from. Look over the following ideas to get you started. Think about what would work best for your customers and business. Barbecue: Car dealers have been doing this for years. Hold it in your own lot, or rent some space, but be sure to have some of your new products on display. Serve up hot dogs, hamburgers ... typical barbecue fare, accented with live bands, balloons for the kids, games, and prizes. Pool Party: Set up a big above-ground pool in a parking lot-maybe even have a truckload of sand dumped alongside of it for beach volleyball. Be sure to have a couple of life guards on hand, and plenty of beach music. Celebrity Appearance: Hire someone famous to sign autographs and pose for pictures at your store. Tie the party theme to whatever the celebrity is famous for, like a karaoke party with a famous musician serving as judge. Tea Party: This works well when you want to entertain a few prospects and customers at a time. Set cozy tables with nice linens and fine china. Serve tea and .crumpets. If you don't hold the event at your store, maybe the centerpieces can tie in to your products. How you invite people to your party will depend on your goals for the event. If you want to attract previous customers and new prospects, you should mail invitations to your customer list and advertise the event. If you are more concerned about bringing back hot prospects and previous customers, you would be best served by mailing personal invitations only. Get your guests into the spirit with your invitations: make them stand out from the typical flier or direct-mail piece. And if your party is a hit, you may want to start having it every year.