Let's connect after the holidays.
I am really busy with holiday shopping and family events.
We are doing our finances for the year and can't do any events.
Or finally, I need to chill out in front of a TV, since it is getting too cold to go out.
Actually, the months of November and December is the absolute best time of year to network with all of the holiday parties, events and family visits. First, you are being proactive going into the new year, getting a head start with building your network, and you are also networking at a time where everyone is more into enjoying the time of the year and may be more inclined to talk to you versus January or February.
The following are some tips for business and social networking during the holiday season and why it is the best time.
1 - Don't be a schmuck and say Yes to those Holiday Parties and Events.
If you are trying to fill your pipeline with new people, you will have the opportunity to meet them at everything from the neighborhood holiday party to the office party as well as those special holiday business networking events. The holiday is a great time to follow-up with connections and clients.
2 - Host your own holiday party or business networking event.
This is a great way to take initiative and reach out to your network.
3 - Prepare the event and ask for introductions before the networking event.
Prepare for the event and know who you want to meet and don't be afraid to ask your friends and/or acquaintances for introductions. Bring business cards and have your calendar ready to book a follow-up.
4 - When meeting someone at an event, ask questions - DO NOT do a sales pitch!
Here are some sample questions:
- How do you know the host/hostess of the event?
- What has been the highlights of your year?
- How is your family?
- What plans do you have for the next year?
- How was business this year?
- What kind of clients are you looking for these days?
(Also be prepared to answer the above questions)
5 - When meeting someone at an event, talk about something else besides business.
In building relationships, which is what networking is all about, you want to get to know people on a personal level, as well as a professional level. It shows the human side and builds trust. The holidays are a great time to relax and socialize and get to know people better.
6 - Focus on other people and again DO NOT do a sales pitch and ramble on about your company.
Listen at least as much as you talk. It is better to err on the side of listening too much rather than talking too much about yourself and your business.
7 - Dress Professionally
Whether it is a holiday party, an office party, a business networking event or an open house, dress to impress with your best professional attire. Ladies, this is not a dance club so no need to show off your goods!
8 - Act Professionally
It's the holidays and the cheer is flowing, so relax and enjoy yourself. It is fine to have a good time but keep the alcohol intake in check and act professionally at all times.
9 - Follow-up!
You are ahead of a lot of professionals by networking during the holiday season. Follow-up with everyone you met this past year and wish them a Happy Holiday Season. You will have a head start going into the new year and your business will grow!!