Over the summer with many people being away, business slows. We ourselves take vacation and feel a lack of motivation to begin again. The good news is year-end and holiday parties are just around the corner.
Did you know most business is traditionally conducted last quarter of the year? The good news is we still have almost one month to focus on our business development or job-hunting efforts for year-end. And if you are like me, one who loves parties, the news gets even better. Business networking and job prospecting, in a laid-back frame of mind, are perfectly suited for holiday parties.
Prior to going to parties, you spend some time contemplating what to wear so that you will feel and look good, key elements for interviews and attracting clients. Next, parties generally bring a smile to our face which is also key to making a good first impression. Party food done well usually brings about light-hearted conversation and a great introductory opening to become acquainted with those you do not already know.
Now the conversation graduates to, “How do you know the host and hostess?” This is very similar to an opening question on an interview or prospective meeting with a client of, “You must be so busy, what motivated you to invite me in today?” The objective is to get the other party to speak first. Gain some insight on their thoughts so you know how to position what you have to say. Ask about their field of endeavor, where they traveled. These are typical party networking questions but also work well in traditional meetings.
In the corporate sales arena, I found that the laid-back and seemingly non-sales approach works best. When I learned to also put the business-oriented conversation on a personal level, in order to find commonality and build the human connection, both my sales and power of negotiation soared. It became very easy to adapt this new found style to party networking.
Just recently someone shared that their friend went to a holiday party last year where she met a very interesting gentleman. The conversation was jovial upfront and then deepened as they discovered common interests. Toward the end of the half-hour discussion, “Tom” learned that “Jennifer” was seeking work, as she was new to the area. Tom pulled out his business card that read “CEO.” He then handed the card to Jennifer and said, “Call me on Monday. We’ll set up a follow-up interview.” Shortly thereafter Jennifer was gainfully employed.
While at the party, be conscious of putting your best foot forward. Should you see the host needs help putting food out or clearing the table, pitch in to help. I was at a party and couldn’t believe someone dropped a vegetable on a magnificent area carpet but did not bother to pick it up. Seeing it, I moved to get it off the carpet before it stained. These are actions that others witness. Should you be at the right place, right time for attracting a job or a sale, you want everyone to be aware of your character upfront. Your demeanor tells much about you and is your personal brand.
This approach serves to also deliver you a very Smooth Sale!
P.S. The Community Service project AmericaHires360 has been developed to help Americans return to work. The event runs from October – December 2011, and will be paid for by companies and sponsors, but will be free of charge for Job Seekers.
Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC authored the International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results” and “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself on Interviews.” Elinor is available for consultation and greatly enjoys delivering inspirational keynotes at conferences.