Help!! You Don't Schmooze You Lose! Any Tips?

Business By CakeForte Updated 21 Jun 2009 , 12:16pm by margaretb

CakeForte Posted 19 Jun 2009 , 6:29pm
post #1 of 8

So I went to a "pretty people" party the other day. This publication hosted it, and I was invited because they happened to publish one of my cakes in their wedding issue.

Anyway....I hate "schmoozing", but I know I have to because this is the audience/ social network that WILL spend money on the nice cakes.

One on one...I do pretty well meeting and talking to people, and I managed to make about 8 business connections at this event. However, when it's a large group of "pretty people" / and yuppies (I'm a 35, city dwelling, college grad, working their way up) I feel like the nerdy high school kid all over again!

Any tips on how to "jump in"? Does that make sense? There were about 600 ppl at this event. Now there is nooo way I'll meet everyone, but I would like to find ways to get more comfortable being in a large group like that, and just "network".

7 replies
matthewkyrankelly Posted 19 Jun 2009 , 6:53pm
post #2 of 8

Ok. You are smart. You can make a cake. One-on-one is good, but the party thing is uncomfortable?

That's because party conversation can be more general, while one-on-one you've obviously hit on something you can both discuss.

I think you just need to start to interest yourself, or at least study a little, some of the topics your new clientele might discuss in general. That's party conversation.Some topics you might want to keep a constant eye on: golf/sports, finance/economy, current events, social events. Maybe make a list of the top 25 companies in your area and get to know the companies and the principal people working there.

Think of it as a one semester college course on having huge business down the road. Most of these people will want to see you as a well-rounded business person that can crank out some great cakes.

Once you are "in the know", you'll never feel like the nerdy kid who can't contribute to the conversation.

LittleLadyBabyCakes Posted 19 Jun 2009 , 6:55pm
post #3 of 8

I used to be our high school mascot...something about wearing a new outfit (or a costume)--and pretending to be someone else--just ACT like a schmoozer!!

ButtercupMama Posted 19 Jun 2009 , 7:20pm
post #4 of 8

I am the same way; I kinda cringe over the social stuff, like networking. Sometimes I send employees who are much more outgoing personality-wise to this stuff... right up their alley!
Also, I was browsing thru the bookstore recently in the business section, and there are a few books that are full of conversation-starters, and other great tips for the socially challenged... you should take a look; there might be some pointers you can use!

Mensch Posted 19 Jun 2009 , 7:35pm
post #5 of 8

I'm a great schmoozer! It doesn't really matter where I am or what I'm doing, I'm there networking. I always have an enormous pile of business cards with me and hand them out left and right!

indydebi Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:22am
post #6 of 8

Oh my gosh, give me a crowded room and get the heck outta my way! icon_biggrin.gif


I used to be our high school mascot...something about wearing a new outfit (or a costume)--and pretending to be someone else--just ACT like a schmoozer!!

I think this is key! Believe it or not, I use to be a really shy person. (it's ok to LOL!) But in a large crowd, it's like you can pretend to be anyone you want. So I pretend to be a businesswoman looking for connections! icon_lol.gif

For someone "getting started" in the schmoozing biz, let me share this story: I worked one place where we had lots of company functions and our sales team came in from all over the country. I'd go person to person with a big "Hi! I'm Debi and I dont' think we've met." Then find one thing you didn't know about the person and latch onto it.

At one of these meetings, I tried to connect something from each state they were from. The sales rep from Massachusets, I asked "Ever met Norm Abrams?" The rep from Tennessee, I ask if he could get me an Elvis souvenier. one guy was from the state that has a big submarine museum (eastern state .... just saw it on PBS).

Later, when I'd talk to them on the phone, I'd have that ONE tidbit of info that I could relate to. "Hi, Massachusets guy .... met Norm yet?" This stuff had nothing to do with business, but please notice what I'm doing .....

I'm learning about THEM more than I'm talking about ME.

Now when we're wearing our sales hat, at some point we have to talk about us and our business, but we have to learn something about THEM before we can jump in with, "You know .... I bet I could help you with that award ceremony you're coordinating. What you need is a centerpiece cake that would knock their socks off! How about I give you a call later next week with some ideas about a really special cake?"

I got an email today from a credit union who is opening a new branch just 2 minutes from my shop and 1 minute from my house. I'm most likely going to cater their private grand opening (for employees and board members) AND doing the public grand opening with cooking hot dogs in their parking lot.

How? I met him at a local meeting, saw his nametag and asked about HIS business and how HIS new branch construction was coming along and did he have a target date when they wanted to be open? Once I had that info, I was able to go right into, "Well then you're going to need some catering for those openings. We can do something really elegant for your private grand opening....." and I gave him a couple of suggestions of what I can do. And 3 months later, right before the opening, he contacts me. But again, I had to learn about HIM before I sold him on ME.

The best conversation starter in the world is "Now tell me what your company does."

(Dang! I should write some of this down! This is pretty good stuff!) icon_biggrin.gif

emlashlee Posted 20 Jun 2009 , 4:36am
post #7 of 8

Hear, hear, Indydebi! The best piece of advice my mother ever gave me is when speaking to someone you don't know or want to know better: Ask them questions and get them started talking about themselves! Think about it, what person wouldn't be flattered when asked to share something about themselves or their business? You would be happy that person wanted to know something about you and gab away. icon_smile.gif Good luck!

margaretb Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 12:16pm
post #8 of 8

I haven't read it myself, but there is a book called "never eat alone" that might help.

It was reviewed on the simple dollar, but i can't get the link right now.

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