Holiday Party Networking Tips
Whether it’s a get-together or a soiree, holiday events are a perfect time to reconnect with customers and grow your business.
Professional Realtors often see the holiday season as a slow time. In the midst of the holiday chaos, buyers and sellers tend to be less active and may be out of town or entertaining guests, making it harder to get deals done. But it doesn’t mean you’re taking the month off.
Every holiday party offers a new chance to make positive first impressions with prospects and build your relationship with colleagues or former clients. Holiday events are a really good way to network because people are more relaxed and receptive to conversation. The lines between personal and professional are a bit more blurred.
We gathered some of the best tips to make the most of this holiday season.
Tip #1: If You’re Not There, You Can’t Network
Holidays from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, plus many reasons to celebrate in between — Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, to name a few, knowing what to say and how to say it can open the door to great business relationships.
First, you must get out there and attend some events. If you normally take a pass, make it different this time. Whether it’s a work function, or a community gathering, or a friend’ party, make a point to be in a good mood and be there. Dress professionally and appropriately for the event you’re attending for first impression, arrive on time, and be participant.
Tip #2: Smart Introduction
Your goal is to make a connection with everyone you meet. Walk up to strangers and introduce yourself. Chances are good that you have something or someone in common if you’re both at the same party.
When you introduce yourself, it’s not a 15 or 30 second elevator speech, it’s a 7- to 9- second pleasantry.
We suggest linking yourself in some way to the event or the host.
Share the benefit of what you do if you’re talking with someone who’s not in real estate.
Tip #3: Light Conversations
Introductions are just as important as keeping the conversation engaging. One way to do this is to get them talking about themselves. Learn about the other person’s hobbies or interests, and ask questions that relate to those topics.
Networking is about building a relationship, rather than aiming for a one-time transaction.
Ask some general questions, such as: “How do you know the host” or “Are you traveling over the holidays?” if your conversation needs a spark.
Do some current-events homework ahead of time so you’re ready for small talks. Be on the safe side and stay away from political debates or religious discussions.
Tip #4: Deal With Awkward Situations
If you’re prepared, you’ll be able to handle these situations with ease and still make a good first impression.
Sometimes we see people out of context and you just can’t remember their names. Here’s what you may say, “I’m great at remembering faces, and remembering names, but not at the same time. I know we’ve met before, so please help me”, otherwise, it’s OK to admit you’ve forgotten their name. Just say, “Forgive me, but it’s been one of those days and I’ve forgotten your name”.
For conversations that become tense, experts recommend diverting attention and energy away from the topic of debate.
If you’re inclined to disagree with something your conversation partner is saying, be sure that you maintain a non-confrontational posture and tone of voice. Say things such as: “My experience has been quite different.” Or “That’s not how I see it” or just say, “I hope you enjoy the rest of the event,”
Tip #5: Get Them to Remember You
You’ve got to be memorable, start using the “problem solver” approach.
Site a solution to a problem for them and give yourself an excuse to contact them again. If the person talks about wanting to buy antique furniture, offer to get them in touch with your friend who owns an antique store.
People love to be in the know, be a ready source, and top of mind for whoever you meet at these events.
Ask for their card and don’t forget to follow up later with the information you promised. Or, simply send them a nice e-mail or note with your business card attached.
The holidays are perfect for connecting with people in an intimate way simply because Real estate is a service oriented industry.