As the holiday season is upon us, many of you are wondering if this is a good time to market your business. After all, isn’t everyone preoccupied with shopping and waiting until next year to make business decisions?
Let’s put one myth to rest forever: “The holiday season is a bad time to market your business.”
I want to suggest that the holidays are the BEST time to market your business – especially if you’re a professional service business owner.
Because even though networking is a good thing to do the rest of the year, it’s real natural over the holidays.
I have had more folks over the house in the last two weeks than I have for the whole year. What a great opportunity to meet old friends, clients and associates, discuss how the year went and share your goals for the coming year.
So how can you take advantage of holiday networking? Here are a few tips:
1. Accept all invitations. Remember that this opportunity to meet with so many people won’t come around again for another year. Also look around for holiday events at your professional organization, chamber of commerce or other business groups.
2. Go to the party prepared. Bring plenty of business cards and a pen. Make it a goal to make substantial connections with at least half a dozen people. In other words, a connection means a one-on-one talk that’s ten minutes or more.
3. There are two types of people you’ll connect with at a party (no, not drunk or sober) – people you know and people you don’t know. For those you know, ask sincerely how they are and how business has been this year. For those you don’t know, be prepared with your “elevator speech”. This should be a description of how your profession may benefit them, not your job title.
4. Spend more time asking questions and listening than talking. This is really THE KEY to effective networking at parties. “How has business been going? How have the changes in the economy affected your business? What are your plans for growth in 2013? What kinds of clients are you looking for these days?”
5. Have a strategy for staying in touch. What good does it do if you connect with all these people and they never hear from you again? Don’t fall into the rut of suggesting you should get together for lunch sometime and never following up.
6. Follow-up with your new prospects after the party, if appropriate. If some topics came up that indicated there was a reason to talk further, give them a call in a few days with a very specific purpose:
7. Keep an open mind. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you could make some very profitable business connections. If nothing happens right now, at least you’ve sowed some seeds for the future.
8. Don’t drink or eat too much and be sure to have FUN!
Brad Sugars founded the brand Action International in 1993 when he realized there was a disconnect between business advice and implementation. The answer was Action! Brad Sugars created a business coaching company so that business owners throughout the world can realize their goals in business. Today the company is known as ActionCOACH. To learn more about business, visit Brad Sugars Review blog!