Yes, you can promote yourself
while you enjoy those holiday parties.
Just do it softly.
Prepare for the parties
You may be attending a number of holiday gatherings, and while it’s not polite to turn parties into networking events, there’s nothing wrong with promoting yourself effectively when people ask “What do you do?” So prepare ahead of time to make the most of it.
Preparation: Step One – Memorize your elevator speech.
What’s an elevator speech? It’s a brief explanation of what you do, where you do it, and who you do it for. It’s short so people won’t inwardly groan and think “Why did I ask?” and complete enough to give them reason to ask for more information if they’re interested.
For instance: “I help relocating military personnel buy and sell homes in and near the Fort Something area. It’s a challenge working with clients who are necessarily long-distance at times, but I love it.” Or perhaps “I help first time buyers find homes they can afford in Something County.”
If you’ve decided to pursue the Divorce Real Estate niche, you might say “I help divorcing couples in and around Mytown sell their homes and preserve their good credit.”
If one sentence can sum it up neatly, use one sentence. If one more would sound even better, use two.
Think about a specific transaction that made you feel good because you really helped someone or because you had to overcome some tall obstacles. Be ready to briefly tell about that – but ONLY if you’re encouraged to say more.
Preparation: Step 2 – Get a market report or other material written and ready to send the day after the party.
Preparation: Step 3 – Pre-write a note to send with the report. It can be short and sweet, as in:
“Hi Sally, Thanks for visiting with me at (name of event). I enjoyed meeting you and learning about your business. I’m keeping your information for future reference and hope to be able to send some business your way.”
“Here’s the report I promised. I hope you enjoy it, and do call or email if you have questions.”
You do need two versions of the note. If the person doesn’t happen to be in business, the second sentence can just say “I enjoyed meeting with you and discussing (anything you might have discussed.)”
At the party:
If the person you’re speaking with seems interested, offer to send a current market report or other information.
Be sure to ask about the other person. If they have a business, get a card and ask questions. Remember that the more you listen, the more they’ll remember you as a sparkling conversationalist.
Chat long enough to find some common ground, if possible. Learning that you share a hobby or an interest can help when you’re writing a follow-up note. It can also give you an excuse to get in touch more often – when you find an interesting article, see notice of an upcoming event, etc.
Chatting with people you’ve met before… Remember that they might be interested in receiving a copy of your report. So don’t push it, but if they show an interest, do offer to send it.
If acquaintances ask “How’s business?” answer with enthusiasm. Trainer Tom Hopkins said that if business was good or wasn’t good, say “Amazing!” His theory was that one word covered it all – and without telling an untruth. The main thing is – don’t ever complain or come across as a sad-sack.
While you’re thinking about good topics for conversation at parties, and want to stay away from politics, religion, and gloom and doom, gather some feel good stories to share.
For instance, I just read that Kid Rock paid all but one cent of the balance due for everyone who had gifts on layaway at his local WalMart. He got the inspiration from another performer who had done the same in his home town.
After the party:
Right after you send a hand-written thank you note to your host and/or hostess, enter the names you gathered into your database, with notes to help you remember who they are, what they do, and where you met them.
Then – send whatever you promised, along with a note as above. This is a good time to mention that you enjoyed discussing whatever you found in common – because it will help them place you among the people they met.
Whether you attend parties or not, do contact your past clients and the folks in your sphere of influence.
Block time for phone calls
Unless you’ve already blocked time to deliver small gifts to your past clients, block time to make brief calls to them and to the most important members of your sphere of influence.
Don’t call to ask for business or referrals – call just to wish them the joys of the season. Take time to ask about them and their loved ones and share a little about yourself.
If you’re hosting a holiday event, by all means send the invitation. But then make it more personal by calling to invite them yourself.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”
– Oren Arnold, author
Relax and have fun …
There are times when soft promotion will take you farther than hard promotion – this is one of those times.