As we enter the holiday party season, I thought it would be best to review the substantial book of guidelines for maximizing our cocktailing business opportunities. To ensure we deliver top-quality advice I have also conferred with Bob Vukovich, the enigmatic mentor in the business narrative "Just One More" published by Ash Press, Just One More: The Wisdom of Bob Vukovich: Martinovich, Mr Jeffrey A: 9781790554850: Amazon.com: Books. Of course, when meeting with Bob, he always demands you join him for two Perfect Martinis - half-Goose, half-Bombay, a whisper of vermouth, and one olive. I respectfully complied and took copious notes.
Volume is key, not of drinks but of events. Get your buns off the couch, turn off Yellowstone, and take advantage of the never-ending holiday opportunities. Business cocktailing is like cold calling; the more you dial, the more "luck" you receive. By attending more functions, you learn of many more invites, and very soon your charming self is on everyone's invitation list. Ensure that you convey your relevance by also hosting your own holiday event, which could be a simple company happy hour, a small cocktail party at your place, a wine tasting benefitting your favorite charity, or a major holiday blowout party. Remember that you will quickly become known as "the one with the rolodex," and your influence and access will grow significantly.
Have a great time! People are drawn to people who exude positive energy and have fun just because they can. Laws of attraction are very real, so pay attention. Compliment everyone about everything. Congratulate all your business alliances on a great year, and especially congratulate your competitors. Class and grace at all times.
Deflect all cocktail discussions away from you and your business and focus totally on them and their business (a very rare talent). Consciously search for ways you may use their services, and tactfully mention how your firm might help them with their challenges in the new year. Then, when you follow up to help them in the first quarter, your conversation is already warm.
You keep forgetting your business cards during the holidays, on purpose. Since you don't have yours when they ask, you must get one of theirs and promise to send them your information. Now, you control the connection. As we know, if you just give your card to the lazy masses, the odds of a follow up are slim, because they have to get back to watching Dancing with the Stars. The next morning you send Tom a quick email, "Tom, greatly enjoyed meeting you at the Children's Benefit. Attached is my contact information as I promised, including my personal cell. I'll follow up after the holidays to see if we can help you with those training difficulties. Happy Holidays!" Tom is also now fully integrated into your CRM.
Look sharp, be sharp, and be on your A-game. View these parties as important interviews and important public-speaking events. As Steve Martin confirmed in the movie Leap of Faith, "Always look better than they do." If the invite says, "Black Tie Optional," Optional does not apply to you.
Always bring a small gift for the host, whether a bottle of wine or something unique. The host sincerely appreciates your thoughtfulness, and, without a doubt, a check has been placed by your name on the list. Those who know, know.
Employ every Dale Carnegie chapter in the book at your holiday events. Remember names! Introduce your spouse to everyone whose name you cannot remember. Introduce Gloria to Susan with, "Gloria, this is Susan who owns Fantastic Printing, and I thought she could possibly help with that new brochure idea. Susan, Gloria's commercial real estate team is the best in the business and can probably help with the office relocation you were kicking around." When Gloria and Susan become fast friends and business associates, they will always remember you as the connector. Spend your holiday connecting and giving referrals, and you will never have to ask for one, yourself. All of these new relationships will build concentric circles and networks, with you at the center.
Remember to simply repeat what everyone says, and they will believe you are a genius. When George says, "I took my kid skiing, the powder was incredible." You say, "That's great you took your kid skiing. Wow, the powder was incredible." "Yes, he even moved up from the blue trails to a black double diamond." "Wow, from the blue trails to a black double diamond!" When George is pulled away by his wife, you can ensure he now thinks you are the smartest guest he has ever met. Studies repeatedly prove that George now labels you with extremely positive attributions from only repeating what he, himself, said to you.
You must always depart the event a little early as you have another holiday function you promised to attend, if not two. You, of course, graciously thank the host and solidify your strengthened connection. Once home, even though exhausted, you organize the business cards and cocktail napkins you have been given, and you make a quick list of takeaways and follow ups, so that tomorrow you will remember to document the new business opportunities. It may sound robotic, and maybe like more work than required, but this is what separates the A's from the B's (the C's were not invited to the party).
Have a safe and wonderful holiday business cocktailing season. Make good choices, call Uber, and take advantage of the amazing opportunities throughout the season while your competition is coasting.
"All things being equal, people choose to do business with their friends. All things not being equal, people choose to do business with their friends." - Jeffrey Gitomer