Knowing the owner of a venue drastically increases your social proof. In my experience most venue owners are easy to meet and establish a friendly rapport with, here's a very easy way to do it.
- When you get good service at a bar or venue (You should be frequenting venues that provide excellent service) ask to see the owner. Try to do this during the slower times, like early happy hour on the weekdays.
- When the owner comes over let them know that you experienced great service and will be coming back. Then make sure you give the owner your business card.
- Tell the owner you will be writing them a good review on Yelp.com or Google local (this is golden to the ears of a venue owner). Then go home an actually do it or better yet do it on your smartphone and show to them right there.
- They will be tripping over themselves next time you arrive at their venue to give you great service & drinks on the house.
So now you 'know people' and have a hookup at a swanky joint there's a couple of things I'm going to recommend to maintain and maximize the benefits of this relationship.
- Chances are very good this venue has a Facebook or Twitter page, go follow it so you can stay updated on events going on. If the owner seems friendly and you get their name shoot them a friend request on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. These types of business people usually live very public lives so you can usually learn a few interesting details (Where they are traveling, what they're interests are, etc) that if brought up later do a great job of deepening the relationship. Social media really is a big part of bar/restaurant marketing these days so don't underestimate the value to a venue owner of you spreading positive messages online about their spot.
- Go early, the management and ownership of a venue notice and value the people that show up early at their venue more.
- If the owner introduces you to anyone, for god sake, remember their name. There's plenty of easy mental tricks for remembering names that are easy to learn. This shows the owner you value the connections they make you and deserve to be on the top of the social food chain like them.
- When they have a neat event going on volunteer to be involved marginally as a host or affiliate promoter. There's a temptation to announce that you want to throw your own event at their spot. I generally avoid this because being the primary coordinator is major brain damage. You're better off adding yourself, your group of friends and your marketing message to another event they are doing. I would generally turn down compensation for this if its offered (unless you want to make a business out of this sort of this which is an entirely different subject) in lieu of comp'd drinks (or bottle service!) for you and your friends.
- Come through at least once and drop a little coin before you start asking for guest list hookups or drinks on the house. Let them offer these things first and they usually will.
- For even more social proof introduce people to the owner, this makes them feel really special.
- Don't get drunk and make and ass of yourself at their spot, or go with friends that will.
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