Tis the season to be networking.
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Holiday networking is the best way to make sure you will start January with a bang. We offer some excellent holiday networking tips that will help you make the most of this festive season.
Take advantage of the holiday season to keep in touch with customers, prospects and anyone who might be able to help you to grow your business.
As sure as Rudolph has a red nose, the holiday season is a great time for business networking. Here are some things you ought to be doing to improve your holiday networking bounty.
Send Out Holiday Cards
Make a list of all the people you know and send them holiday cards.
Host a Party
Make a list of people you know who you want to meet and invite them all to a holiday networking event or holiday party. Anybody who might be potential customer or referral source should be on your list.
Attend Holiday Parties
Your mailbox is probably full of invitations to holiday parties, Chamber of Commerce mixers, and end-of-year association events. (If it's not, well then, we know what one of your Business New Year's Resolutions ought to be for next year.)
Even if this is your busy season, which it is for many small business owners, take the time to attend these events. It's worth the effort because there are plenty of new customers waiting to be had at the holiday parties.
If you sit in your office, you won't meet anybody…plus, life will be pretty boring. Get out there and press the flesh while enjoying some eggnog!
Make the Most of Each Holiday Event You Attend
- Don't forget your business cards. If you get half way to the party and realize you forgot your business cards, turn around and go get them. Going to a networking event without business cards is just crazy. Don't do it!
- Use your name tag strategically. Write your first name in big letters and put your company name on your tag. It's also a good idea to write what your company does on the tag if you have room, especially if your business name doesn't convey much meaning.
- Don't be shy. Making small talk doesn't come easy to many entrepreneurs, but now is not the time to be a wallflower. Just walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself. It's that easy.
- Ask for networking advice. Find somebody you know who is well-connected and ask them who at the event is worth talking to. If you focus on the high-opportunity attendees, you'll get the most out of the party. But don't ignore anyone! The person who seems the least worth meeting might somehow connect you to your biggest new client for next year.
- Make the most of every encounter. Be sure you educate everybody on what you do for a living. Keep it short and simple: two sentences max. Be sure to ask them what they do and be an active listener. Hand out your business cards and ask for theirs. If they say something you need to remember, write it down on the back of their business card after you've finished the conversation. Along those lines, don't talk to anybody for too long. Mingle! Finally, follow up after the event: "Hey, it was great talking at the party. Sounds like you might benefit from our services. Can I buy you lunch and we can talk more?"
The bottomline? It's a busy time of year but don't let networking drop to the end of your holiday to-do list.
It's a golden opportunity to start next year with a full pipeline of new business opportunities.
Now, that's something to celebrate!