Remember the entrepreneurial partner at the megafirm who wantedth to throw a networking cocktail party, but got no support from his partners or marketing department?
He proceeded on his own and got great results:
- Number of attendees: 100 out of an invitation list of 450.
- Out of pocket costs: $7500 including invitations and gift bags.
- Hours spent in preparation: About 25 hours over 3 months. "10 to scrub my contacts and flag all the right people to invite, then check and recheck. 5 for the gift bags. 5 for invitations. 5 for miscellaneous. The next time I do this, it should take much less time. I might do four smaller parties instead of one big one," he said.
He wrote me:
The party was a huge success. The head of my group was quite impressed with the turnout and the schmoozing opportunities. Our associates loved it, because they got social time with people who they’ve only met on the phone. That turned out to be an unexpected but really significant benefit. I will not be surprised if we do some department cocktail parties going forward, though no one is really talking about it yet.
I spoke with just about every guest at least briefly, and 50 (in groups or individually) more in depth. Of those 50, I’d say 10 or 20 were clients and the same number were referral sources.
We had a good turnout of clients and client types. A few too many broker, consultant and vendor types, but that’s the price of the invitation list I used. Even those relationships are important and I value them, though.
Lots of people made great connections and reconnections. For example, one guy I invited turned out to have gone to nursery school with another guest. Everyone had an incredibly warm feeling about the whole thing, and there was a buzz at the party talking about me, which was great. Lots of follow-through thank yous and calls, etc. Quite a few people thanked me for having had the brilliant insight that one could do a party like this during a month other than December.
The next question is: what’s the best way to follow through, stay in touch, and keep building the 100 relationships that I’ve just built a little bit through my party? I suppose one could set up a lot of lunches, but one of the goals of the party was to take the place of a lot of lunches (which I find very tedious to set up and then reschedule 17 times). But if not lunches, then what?