Reason 5: BUSINESS NETWORKING
You probably still remember your very first steps into the world of business networking. I will certainly never forget my first solo business trip abroad, when completely green I was sent to the legendary IAPCO training in Wolfsburg. Being the only participant from Slovenia, I had no choice other than to go about actively networking. The connections I made with some of the participants have remained until today – contacts such as these are invaluable.
[pullquote]The maxim of ‘Tell me with whom and where you are networking and I’ll tell you who you are’ applies just as equally to the meetings industry![/pullquote]
Networking and building a social network is one of the key skills of the successful. With social networks, it seems that everything is much simpler, but a genuine personal contact cannot be replaced by any computer-generated network, although the latter can make maintaining personal contacts much easier. That this is case was made clear in the Harvard Business Review survey, with an overwhelming 79% of respondents answering that they believe personal meetings to be the most effective way to enhance sales.
In the world of networking there are a number of techniques, ranging from quick dates with random partners (Speed Dating) to complex business systems for networking with compatibles researched in advance. In each case, the time to get to know each other is limited, but additional random networking also takes place in the form of social events. From the exhibitors’ or vendors’ perspective the business trade shows require very good preparation: of paramount importance is that the sales pitch should be short, clear and concise, whilst openness and communication talent is also a great help to building visibility and gaining trust. The key thing is a respect for diversity, which is the foundation for a good relationship.
In addition to this, trade show organisers build in networking on the basis of having the right potential buyers at the very heart of the event. In fact, in many ways the right style of networking separates the good from the average trade show. The construction of social networking is therefore a further tool to increase contacts, with another advantage being the accumulation of new experiences and knowledge, information that you would not have had access to before.
At the trade shows that I organise the networking is usually done through a variety of social events, at which I advocate equality between buyers and sellers. So, for example, during a coffee break or a lunch event we meet people whom otherwise we would never have got to know. One can network at a training session, which brings together people thinking along the same lines. Networking is enabled because of new technologies being designed, more precisely because of and through a number of the new apps coming on stream. I advocate that to get the best ROI from a meeting, a minimum of 25% of the time spent at it should be dedicated to networking.
Business trade shows therefore continue to offer a wealth of opportunities that will benefit you in both business and private life, from the random networking that everyone gets involved in and that differs in its targeting and how it can create added value for the partners. The aim is therefore manifold: to develop business opportunities, to develop relationships and to help make good business decisions.
DIGITAL STATS: The Conventa web portal receives monthly visits of on average 7,450 unique visitors. B2B promotion is based on the rapidly growing database, which has grown to 39,816 contacts with whom we regularly communicate and inform about the project and our partners. RESULT: 1,205 Hosted Buyers from 36 Countries; 616 Exhibitors from 11 Countries. IMPACT: Conventa annually expands its range of year-round promotional activities of the trade show, which are included free of charge in the exhibition packages. The promotion is based on the constantly growing database of potential invited guests and tools such as the e-catalogue Meet in SEE, the e-newspaper Conventa and the project’s fast-growing social networks.
About the author:
Gorazd Čad is a veteran convention tourism addict. Founder and owner of the marketing and congress agency TOLERANCA MARKETING, he has numerous years of experience in the planning, preparation and execution of major international trade shows and fairs. Having started his career in Cankarjev dom, where he project-led on fairs such as Infos, Kapital, Bits & Fun, Slovenian Wine Festival and many others, work in his private capacity has given him a long and multi-faceted experience of developing B2B trade shows, the most noteworthy of these being Conventa, Space, Natour and Hot-Rest. B2B selling solutions sit at the heart of the action of his work and are the key specialisation with proven added value and measurable results.