Faceoff: The importance of holding and attending real-world events
So much of modern marketing can be done online nowadays – email marketing, social media and search engine optimization are typically what today's entrepreneurs think of when they get to work on new promotional efforts. Gone are the days when the majority of small business owners cold called potential clients and engaged them straight on, now they are content with handling many of these communications digitally.
However, small business owners shouldn't forget these age-old techniques. Face-to-face communication is still among one of the best ways to develop strong connections and long-lasting relationships with potential prospects, especially among business-to-business organizations. It's well worth an entrepreneur's effort to develop his or her interpersonal skills by regularly attending and holding conventions and other industry get-togethers.
"I'm amazed at how many small business owners either neglect or don't know how to properly network," marketing experts Mark Luterman writes for the Carroll County Times. "Most small business owners I speak with find it intimidating, and when they do attend an event, they spend most of the time speaking with other business owners or people they already know. This is a major mistake."
Making better connections at real-world events
So how do entrepreneurs get over that intimidation of meeting new business prospects? Perhaps the easiest way is simply getting out there and doing it. While this strategy is a bit like diving into the deep end to learn how to swim, it ensures that small business owners aren't wasting their time reading tips on how to be a better personal communicator.
First, Luterman suggests attending more networking events. Set a goal of trying to attend one or two conventions a month that are relevant to the company's industry. Even further, entrepreneurs should attempt to meet a certain number of people each time they go to these events. This will help push business owners to do something productive and quantifiable at networking get togethers.
Business Know How also suggests meeting someone at a conference and pairing up with them. Not only will this help you develop a working relationship, but if it's a knowledge-based event with panels, it will foster meaningful discussion after attending panels.
"Ask a professional colleague to become your conference buddy, so you can share what you learn," the news source adds. "This collaboration will bring special benefits when you talk about presentations that only one of you attended."
Finally, business owners should try to maximize time at these events. When attending a networking get-together, make a day of it and write it off. Business owners should clear their schedules, get to the event early and leave late. This maximizes time that can be spent making personal connections with potential business prospects and partners.
Supplement with social media
While face-to-face networking is free of many of the digital elements of modern marketing, that isn't to say you shouldn't follow up with social media. Small business owners should make face-to-face networking a part of their social media strategy – include your personal and business Twitter handles, links to Facebook accounts and the web address to your blog on business cards.
By supplementing old and new, business owners can ensure they remain in touch with fresh contacts in a meaningful, unobtrusive way.
When you attend a business event, what do you try to accomplish? How many events do you go to a year? Have you ever made any major business connections at these get togethers?This entry was posted in Beginner, Branding. Bookmark the permalink.