Commentary: The comforts of home


In-home sales parties can be a good reminder for how you should be connecting with clients.

"Groan." That's usually my first response when I get invited to at-home sales parties—you know, the Tupperware-esque affairs where a friend invites you over to hear a sales pitch from someone hawking jewelry or candles. At the close of the party, you make your obligatory purchase, politely decline to host a party yourself, and trudge home vowing never to attend another event like this again.

Kerry Hillard Johnson

Surprisingly, I've been on an at-home-sales-party kick of late. I couldn't figure out why I was willingly attending, even hosting, these parties. Then I read Jennifer Graham's comment in our cover story ("Receptionists: Stop playing doctor and start hooking new clients"): "Treat clients like family and keep the focus on the pet."

Aha! I'm loving these parties because they're personal and totally focused on meeting my needs. Call me narcissistic, but it's true.

I recently went to a friend's house for a clothing "party." The saleslady talked briefly, than gave us free rein to try on samples. She saw me staring blankly at the rack and asked if she could help. "I can never find jeans that fit and I need jackets for work," I said.

Voilà she handed me three different styles of jeans, along with complementary shirts and jackets. When I modeled, she gushed about how great I looked in one outfit and turned up her nose at another. She was honest and not at all pushy. I felt like she was my new best friend who truly wanted my clothes to be as wonderful as my personality. I might be able to get a similar experience at the mall, but usually I'm just a no-name shopper in a sea of people.

Did the in-home saleslady know me? No, but she made my experience personal. Did she want to make money? Yes, but she focused on getting me what I needed and wanted.

Switch gears to veterinary receptionists. As this month's cover story says, your jobs are important—and tough. Connecting with clients can be difficult in person, let alone through the phone. But offering friendly, caring service can go a long way to making clients feel like their pets are special—or, dare I say, making them feel at home.

Kerry Hillard Johnson, Editor

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