Successful entrepreneurs know that their best sales/marketing tool is great networking techniques. This is universally true for all businesses – the better the networker, the more successful the business. And the good news is that great networking is a science.
The Vaughan Business to Business Expo is an annual event that hosted more than 300 business owners and entrepreneurs. Diallog was a proud exhibitor at the event. Our products – Voice over IP (VoIP) through Hosted PBX, Internet (DSL, Cable and Fibre) as well as our business lines – offer significant value to the small business owner, and we’re proud to state that we provide significant bottom line savings. We were very fortunate to connect with many of Vaughan’s entrepreneurs at the expo.
Networking at trade shows and industry events are paramount. They connect us all, allowing us to showcase our products and services, while providing unmatched opportunities to network.
What is the best way to network?
The event’s featured speaker, Luigi Presta of thinkCompass, demonstrated excellent networking techniques. His advice is threefold: Planning to Network (Pre-show), Networking the Room (during), and the Post Network strategy.
- Planning to Network. This step is imperative, as the planning portion of any event is as important as the implementation.
- Determine the number of events you want to do. Be specific here in the time and resources you can commit. If you want to connect with 10 new contacts per month, perhaps committing to one event per week, for example.
- Be selective. There are hundreds of events in your target market going on this week, month or year. Do not aim to go to all, but instead select the ones that make sense. Do your homework into which events are most appealing.
- Leverage the organizer. This is a step most do not think to do, but Luigi strongly suggests to contact the organizing group to determine the details of attendees. Be specific about who you’re targeting, and the organizer may be able to introduce you to the people you want to meet.
- Networking the Room
- Always have a goal. Luigi’s goal for us at this event was to identify four potential targets in the room and meet them.
- Be current. Read up on what’s going on in the world, so you can speak on interesting topics. However, stay away from political topics, and keep it neutral – sports, weather, etc.
- Get them talking. The best way to understand your potential client is to get them to provide information. Ask them questions, genuinely listen to their business and their issues.
- Do not sell them. This is extremely important, as the more salesy you appear, the less they want to work with you. Instead, be transparent. Tell them you’d like to do business with them, and tell them why.
- Book the coffee (or follow up). Ask for the meeting. This is key, as it’s much better to ask for the meeting face to face than reaching out to them in a week.
- Post Networking – Bring the Value
- When you meet, here’s where you give them a reason to do business with you. It’s pitch time, and you’ll want to demonstrate how you worked with similar organizations and how you can help them.
Trade shows and events provide an opportunity for you to succeed – but these are potentials. How you choose to work the opportunities is up to you. Oh, and his biggest piece of advice? Always have a pack of gum. You never want to miss out on business opportunities because you don’t have some handy.
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, we’d love to connect with you.
Diallog Telecommunications is a Canadian owned, full service telecommunications provider that has been serving business customers since 1998. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Diallog services customers all over the country with Voice over IP through Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking, PRIs, business lines, Fibre Optics, DSL, and Data Services. If you’re looking for a customer centric telecom company that offers a full range of services, then Diallog is the place for you.