Find the right events.
Growing a thriving business requires marketing activities and social networking, branching out to find new contacts, including partners to work with and customers to sell to. Networking is key to making this possible. Attending business events and exchanging business cards may lead to new connections, and networking with a plan will result in more meaningful business relationships.
You need a mutually beneficial relationship with the members of your network in which you exchange advice and encourage one another’s growth.
To extract the most value from an event, take a systematic approach to networking and promotion. Evaluate your current network to identify what connections you have in place and which kinds are missing. Effectively manage your time and your marketing budget, by choosing the events most likely to be attended by the types of people you are looking for.
For example, Automotive Industry Day is a B2B meetings event organized by the marketing and advertising agency Green Roua, with the purpose of development and improvement of business relations. It is dedicated to automotive suppliers and their sub-suppliers, so it represents a great networking opportunity for companies that activate in this industry.
Get to know the people you speak with while keeping in mind how they can help your business, either directly or through viral – mouth to mouth marketing, such as a referral. In every encounter there should be a balance between developing rapport and solidifying a business opportunity. Here are a few suggestions to help make networking more enjoyable and effective.
Social media offers avenues to find new events through your friends and local venues, but face-to-face interaction is still key in business. During Automotive Industry Day, Green Roua facilitates the access to information, the cooperation and the development of new partnerships. On the other hand, companies who participate, have the opportunity to promote and advertise their products within the event.
Be as organized and methodical with networking as you would with any other endeavor for your business. The right connections will accelerate your company’s growth and encourage others to seek you out for business opportunities. Create a long-term plan and get a clear picture of people you have done business with in the past and those you would like to work with in the future. Having a networking strategy is very important. By studying how you’ve found clients in the past, you can better identify where you need to look for new connections in the future.
When you have an upcoming event, do some research ahead of time. Look at previous events by the same host or organization to see what they have to offer. Check to see if a guest or sponsors list is available. Then, see if you share common connections with participants and request an introduction. If a particular company will be well represented at the event, think about brushing up on its latest dealings. However, avoid writing yourself a monotonous script. You are there to discover a mutually beneficial relationship, not force one.
One of the advantages of participating at Automotive Industry Day is that Green Roua organizes the meetings in such manner, that all the companies involved have productive meetings, with relevant potential business partners, in order to build partnerships and close profitable deals. Practically, Green Roua prepares almost everything for the participants in advance. All they have to do is to understand each other’s needs and align their offers accordingly.
Actively understand other’s needs.
Once you enter the event, maintain an approachable demeanor. It is likely that everyone is experiencing the same anxiety as you. Being relaxed, or giving the impression that you are, will be contagious to others and make them more comfortable talking to you. Take the initiative to strike up a few conversations or join group discussions instead of waiting for others to come to you.
Simply introduce yourself or try a casual question to start things off: “How are you liking the event?” or “What do you do?” You can practice an introduction, but allow for a natural flow in the discussion.
There are three types of needs customers have that you can look for while networking. These include latent needs; needs which customers aren’t aware of yet; direct needs, which customers inform you of; and assumed needs, which you can deduce. By listening carefully, during the meetings organized at Automotive Industry Day, you can align what customers need, with what you offer. At this point, you may present a more targeted pitch.
When you do exchange contact information and business cards, quickly jot down notes about what you spoke about to help with memory recall later. Always appreciate every connection you make. While there may not be an opportunity to help one other out immediately, you will want to leave room for serendipity. Five years down the road, a random person you met at an event may become a valued friend or just the contact you’re looking for.
Stick around for the aftermath.
As the event comes to a close, remember that you do not necessarily need to part ways, especially if things are going well. If there is an after party, gather a few folks and go there together. If there is a lunch session, ask permission to join someone’s table. If there is nothing planned, take action and invite people to continue the conversation over dinner or drinks.
Green Roua team considers these aspects as well, when they organize the Automotive Industry Day event. There is a business dinner before the event and also lunch, coffee breaks during the event. Therefore, marketing your business in an efficient and non-intrusive way, has never been easier. Here you have the proper environment to promote your company directly to your target.
Later that evening, connect with the people you have just met on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Or even better, registrate on Industrial In, a business platform, designed for industrial companies. That way, you’ll have multiple channels in which you can communicate and get updates about what your buyers/suppliers are doing. Then, create a dossier about the contacts you’ve made, including important information about what you can offer one other.
At an event, meeting someone new can be intimidating. By arriving prepared, being an active listener and continuing conversations long after the event ends, you’ll be demonstrating value and becoming someone who is likable and, hopefully, someone others will want to do business with.