Yes for some of us we can’t find any reasons to attend holiday parties whether they are our own companies or invites from friends. They are full of all your slightly too merry work colleagues and the boss you have been trying to avoid all week. However think again maybe there are some good reasons to attend holiday parties especially if you are a small business owner.
‘Tis the Season to Network!
The holiday party season blitz has 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 2016.
Reasons to Attend 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.
Tips To Get The Most From Attending Holiday Parties
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.
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.
Create a 2016 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.
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.
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.
If you are a regular networker and collect lots of business cards it can be time-consuming to enter all their info into your phone or CMS. However to speed this task you Fridge uses a great app called Scannable (on iOS) from Evernote.
Although it can be used for many tasks to help with a paperless setup it really comes into it’s own when it comes to networking. In just 2 secs you can open up the app and scan (take a picture) of the business card you want the details for. Then it recognises the text on the card and break everything down so with on tap you can save the information to your contacts.
It also integrates with LinkedIn so you can also connect with just one quick tap as well.
Bonus Tip: Social Media
If you are an invited guest of another companies Christmas party it may be appropriate to give them a shout out and thanks on social media afterwards. Afterall, everyone like’s others telling the world how great they are.
So there you have it, there are many reasons to attend holiday parties. There are hundreds of holiday parties in the next three weeks. Identify the ones that will give you the best opportunities for success.