With the advent of technology and digital marketing, it’s hard not to see why a lot of business owners question the relevance of physically going to trade and networking events to generate leads and meet other networking sales professionals.
While technological advancements definitely made it easier for businesses to gain and develop their respective audience bases, business owners should not disregard the importance of networking in sales events.
Some of the ways that businesses can generate leads from networking events are:
- Create a list of high-priority contacts
- Go to the right networking events
- Develop a networking end-goal
- Create a positioning strategy
- Be genuinely interested in potential leads
Create a list of high-priority contacts
Before going to and attending a slew of high-profile networking events, make a comprehensive list of key connections that can be beneficial to the business. These leads—target contacts and connections—must also be relevant to the nature of the business.
In addition, business owners must also determine why they want to connect with these contacts and what can they do for the business.
Conversely, business owners must also determine what they can do for these contacts to make them feel that connecting with their business is a worthy endeavour. When meeting prospective contacts, create a good first impression.
Building a sales network involves cultivating a long-lasting relationship with these contacts to help the business grow in the future.
Go to the right networking events
After identifying these top contacts, business owners should prioritise identifying where and how these contacts can be found, what events do they need to attend to and how to get an opportunity to interact with them.
In a business’ networking sales strategy, integrate the following questions: Do these contacts frequent events and conferences that can be accessed by the business? If not, does the business have auxiliary contacts who can represent the business in these events? Business owners must take advantage of these events to widen their business’ network.
If possible, business owners are advised to study the list of attendees of each business event or conference they’re interested in and make a mental note of the potential connections that can be introduced to the business. This maneuver would help businesses save a lot of time and effort.
Develop a networking end-goal
When going to and meeting potential connections for the business, business owners should always get right into business and avoid wasting time. It is also very important to have an end-goal before going to any business event.
Answer these questions regarding networking for your business: How many connections must the business make at the end of the event? Should the business owner meet with the event speaker, co-attendees or both? Writing down your end-goals makes it easier for business owners to generate sales and leads within the shortest amount of time possible.
Create a positioning strategy
Going to a business event unprepared is possibly the worst thing that a business owner can do for their business. In order to make worthy connections, business owners must be able to perfect their positioning strategy or their game plan once they start interacting with a potential connection.
Having a standard “elevator pitch” is the fastest and easiest way for business owners to introduce their business to possible networks. An excellent elevator pitch contains what the business can do for their connections—such as getting more referrals, maximising advertising return on investments (ROI) and any possible future collaborations.
Letting these connections know what the business can do for them instead of simply stating what the business does more likely would seal the deal faster than any other strategy.
Be genuinely interested in potential leads
While it is important to talk about business during events and conferences, these key connections are people that value personal interactions. It is important to show your genuine interest in these potential leads even after making that ‘killer’ elevator pitch.
Take this as an opportunity to know more about these connections. Ask them what they do during their free time, what sort of recreational activities they are interested in, the challenges they’re currently facing and some of their personal affiliations.
Striking up a great conversation with the business’ leads allows these leads become more comfortable with the business and could also potentially establish a good working relationship with them in the future.