It’s the holiday season, which means there are plenty of parties and events filling your calendar. While it’s a great time to enjoy the festivities, it’s also an excellent time to network and get the word out about your spa. Maribeth Kuzmeski, author of The Connectors: How the World’s Most Successful Businesspeople Build Relationships and Win Clients for Life (Wiley, September 2009), has some tips for maximizing these events to make connections that will benefit you well into the New Year.
Have a plan of action before you go. First, think about which contacts are the most important to you, and make a point to speak to each of them during the event.
Let them do the talking (You ask the questions!). There’s nothing worse than coming away from a great networking opportunity realizing that you didn’t capitalize on the situation. As you work the crowds this holiday season, be sure to have more in your arsenal than small talk. Here are a few great ice breakers to get the ball rolling:
Once the conversation is flowing freely, then you can move on to more in-depth business questions, like
Be prepared to pitch yourself in 15 seconds. When you’re meeting new people at this season’s holiday parties, you should resist the urge to give them a 10-minute introduction about yourself and your spa. Instead, prepare a short, 15-second elevator pitch. Think about what’s unique about you and your spa and what will stand out in a room full of people who are also talking about themselves. Be sure that whomever you speak with will still remember you at the end of the night.
The party may end, but your connection shouldn’t. Following an event, be proactive. Spend 10 minutes cementing your connections by creating a database that allows you to keep track of all the connections you’ve made. Include reminders to yourself of interesting or remarkable things that people said or that you learned so that you won’t forget them and can refer back to them in later conversations. And be sure to use social media to keep in touch.
“When you think about it, the holidays are all about connecting,” says Kuzmeski. “So don’t throw out those holiday party invitations this year. RSVP with a ‘Yes!’ and resolve that you won’t leave any event without having a made a couple of great new connections. Put yourself out there, make the first move, and be yourself. It just may be the best gift you give yourself this year.”