In a Business-to-Business industry, networking plays a very important role in obtaining clients, building meaningful professional relationships, and growing business for your company. A majority of networking is done at conferences, but actively networking in various other ways throughout the year is also an effective tool for increasing business. To provide better insight, PTM Regional Managers share networking tips they have used throughout their career that have proven to be successful and effective.
Before a conference, it is important to research the conference as much as possible. Who is hosting the event? What is the main focus of each session and the overall conference? Is an attendee list provided? Are you familiar with the sponsor companies? Which companies are competitors, alliance partners, prospects, etc.? These are some of the questions you should be able to answer before attending a conference. Regional Manager, Scott Johnson, finds that it is also helpful to look up attending companies on LinkedIn and the employees representing them so that he knows exactly who he wants to talk to and how to approach them before he arrives at the conference. “Putting a face to a name is key,” he says.
Reaching out to as many attendees as possible before the conference can allow you to make a connection with prospects and set up meetings with vendors. By doing this, you already starting the networking process before you arrive at the conference. Regional Manager, Ken Spitzer, finds that when he actively networks before a conference people are then searching for him and his company, rather than him constantly trying to find and meet people on his own.
During the conference, presentation is everything. Although the SWAG you pass out may not seem as important, it is something that draws attendees in. This, partnered with a professional yet friendly demeanor, can make you an instant success at the conference. Scott stated that he tries to engage in as many conversations he can while still keeping each one genuine. David Taub, Regional Manager, tries to make sure that both he and the company stick in someone’s mind rather than become another portfolio in a company’s pile at the end of the conference. Scott Johnson believes that swift initiative keeps you ahead of the game at conferences. Sending a quick email or LinkedIn invite to the people you personally met each conference day creates an instant connection and in turn makes you more memorable down the road.
Check back in tomorrow to see tips for follow-ups after a conference and networking that can be done throughout the normal work week.