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The Agent and the Virtual Cocktail Party

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What You Need to Know

  • Don't brag.
  • Share knowledge.
  • Accumulate details.

The pandemic moved indoor dining outdoors. It also gave us the virtual cocktail party. As an agent you’ve likely attended a few. The novelty might wear off, but you need to look deeper: Are these people I can start to develop a personal relationship with online? Could this transition into a business relationship later?

Why I’m Writing About This Topic

It starts with a woman seriously into clubbing. Early on in the pandemic she started up a Saturday night ’80 dance party. It starts at 9 p.m. and runs late. She draws attendees from across the country. Lots of music videos, but also lots of talking. Saturday, March 13th is the 52nd weekly dance party. Yes, she and her friends have been running it for a year! Zoom was settled on as the best, easiest to use technology.

1. Influencer? Clearly, she is one. If she can attract and keep a crowd, she’s doing something right.

2. Client potential. When not hitting the club scene, these folks are doing the NYC charity gala and outdoor festival circuits. Black tie, white tie and evening gowns are worn at galas. This speaks volumes.

3. It’s not just Saturday. The week ends with the dance party. Two other nights are game nights. More people. Overlap.

4. Come for the story. Stay for the characters. A fiction writer shared this observation: People will buy an author’s book the first time because the plot sounds interesting. They will buy sequels because they like the characters and want to see how they develop. There’s more talking and catching up than time spent on music videos.

5. Would you believe, pets are welcome! On these calls anyway. People show off their dogs and cats. If they aren’t on the call, others ask about them.

Rules of Good Behavior

You are suddenly thinking maybe you should take those invites you get more seriously. You’ve always wanted to meet “friends of friends” plus your best client’s besties. Opportunity knocks.

1. Dress to impress. Yes, it’s a casual event. It’s not a business conference call. The image you want to convey should be communicated by your clothing.

2. Backgrounds are important. People will see the rest of the room. It should look neat. Photo backgrounds are fine. It becomes a talking point.

3. Say hello to everyone when you arrive. Let’s assume the party has eight to 10 people. Does the galley view on Zoom show nine? Maybe 12? The little pictures often have the person’s name below them. Try to greet each person by name, as if you say down to dinner with a group of good friends.

4. Greet new people as they arrive. It’s in person social behavior moved onscreen. When someone joins, take a moment and greet them. If you’ve seen Cheers reruns, everyone greeted Norm when he walked in. It makes people feel good.

5. Take an interest in other people’s lives. Remember “come for the story, stay for the characters?” Remember details from last week’s conversations. Ask for updates.

6. Be prepared for “how was your week.” It’s an obvious question. Without being “salesy” it gives you an opportunity to build a picture of what you do over time.

7. Take personal conversations offline. The pandemic has hit some people harder than others. You aren’t going to say: “Have you found a job yet?” You could connect via LinkedIn or share e-mail addresses for these private conversations.

8. Avoid politics. Let’s expand this area to any controversial subjects. People are showing up to have a good time, not be put on the spot.

9. Share your knowledge. I like talking about wine. The cool thing is, I don’t need to directly offer advice. Someone else will say: “Bryce is the guy to ask…”

10. Don’t brag. The pandemic has hit people in different ways. Don’t dwell on how much stuff you’ve got or how rich you are. You can come across like a jerk.

11. Say goodbye before you leave. You wouldn’t leave a party at someone’s house without thanking your host. When you leave, address your goodbyes to your host. Try to say goodbye to individuals too. You are looking forward to seeing them next week.

You are participating because it’s fun. You are also getting to learn a little bit about different people week after week. The details build a picture. You can identify interests in common. This established the rationale for getting to know them 1:1. People do business with people they like.


Bryce SandersBryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor,” can be found on Amazon.

(Credit: Vadym Pastukh/Shutterstock.com)