‘Tis the Season to Network!
The holiday party season blitz has officially begun. If you are like me you probably already have at least four daytime and/or evening holiday parties on you calendar. If you are not like me, you are missing a huge opportunity to pick up some new leads in your pipeline for 2017.
Why Holiday Parties?
Two words: Decision Makers. Holiday parties are the one major event of the year that brings out top leaders of companies. If you have been trying to get face time with the head of a department or even better the CEO of a company, get yourself into a holiday party! When it comes to professional associations and chambers of commerce you can bet that the top leadership of these groups will certainly be in attendance at the holiday party or luncheon.
SMB Strategic Media’s Top 5 Tips for Holiday Party Networking
1. Go for Free - Reach out to membership coordinators for groups you do not already belong to and ask them if you can be a guest at their holiday party. First of all, you will get a great sense of the group’s membership because a good cross section of current members will be in attendance. Second, you can use the holiday party to figure out if the group is worth your membership dollars or not.
2. Mix & Mingle – Going alone to a holiday networking party forces you out of your comfort zone of hanging out with folks you know. Show up solo and get into the mix. Join folks standing at a cocktail table and start talking.
3. Create a 2017 Offer – Sure exchanging business cards is great, but people love a good deal. When you are chatting with folks and learning how your company, product or service can help them make sure you have an enticing offer in mind. Give away something free when they buy something or similar. Make sure you let them know that the offer ends on Dec. 31 to add some urgency.
4. Focus on Safe Topics – Don’t turn off your new biz lead by mentioning your favorite presidential candidate. Stick to safe topics with friendly banter such as sports, current events, personal backgrounds and of course their business goals. If you talk about your clients and customers, be sure that your comments are positive. Avoid chatting about your shortcomings – your insecurity won’t convert them into a business lead.
5. Follow-Up – For anyone that you think is a solid new business lead, promise them that you will send them an email with follow-up information such as your electronic brochure or a link to a video. Most importantly, do it within 48 hours of meeting them. Ask for a meeting in that email.
There are hundreds of holiday parties in the next three weeks. Identify the ones that will give you the best opportunities for success.