Exhibitions are great places to network whether you’re exhibiting or visiting. A lot of exhibition organisers arrange “extra curricular” activities. This article focuses on speed networking, it’s certainly not for everyone, yet what makes it work and how is it measureable?
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You can measure the results of speed networking by making a note of the contacts you made that asked you to follow up with them. Revisit that note in 2 months to see who you are working with. Not just new clientele, others you met may have made your life easier.
You probably haven’t heard about our draw at the recent exhibition when we were able to raffle away a Discovery Briefing, a Networking Business Plan and an Individual Marketing Plan to one lucky visitor. I suspect Clare quickly grasped the benefit of entering the draw, gave me her card and moved on politely as the etiquette requires. To say Clare was shocked to win during the end of the day draw is an understatement and I’m really looking forward to helping grow her business.
What we say is one thing, yet what our clients say is far more important and helps us reach people we haven’t met. I’m not saying too much about Clare to save her blushes. I’m confident about the results she will get yet client confidentiality is really important to us. The results will be published in our newsletters over the coming weeks. Look out for testimonials and recommendations from Clare soon.
Speed networking is not about quick wins, but it helps
So what on earth is this article about? Some people hate speed networking yet that’s where I met Clare. This alone could not dispel the myth that speed networking doesn’t work. Clare won a prize yet I also won by meeting many diverse & interesting people with unique services in just 30 minutes. They are the real prizes because they help me to help others.
Someone else I met in that very same room was relaxed enough to chat at length and provided one of the biggest tips I’ve ever received later the same day, pointing me in the direction of a company that has just the sort of problem that I’ve been helping others with recently. I’ve made a diary note to tell them how we got on. And I’m pleased we had both hung around to the bitter end.
You don’t have to network speedily to maximise opportunities, there are plenty of other moments when people ask, as part of natural conversations,”what is it that you do?”
Don’t forget to pay it back
In a recent LinkedIn discussion, a gentleman I haven’t met stated “Jason is a prince amongst networkers” because he regularly read, and actually liked, the articles I share or publish. I was slightly embarrassed, then flattered yet still resolved to set up a meeting because I would like to help him for taking the time and making the effort to share me with his network. The date is in the diary.
When it comes to “brands”, I still prefer the “Networking Economist” because it encapsulates my belief that networking is about people, as is economics, yet numbers always feature in sales & marketing results. Networking is actually marketing and sales, not the other way around and it should have measures to ensure that it isn’t a waste of time. If you want a 5 minute measure, take a peek at your diary over the last few months, it might highlight which places are generating you the highest return on time spent networking. And perhaps save you going speed networking again.
Wrap up: Clare had enough cards for her entire day’s networking. One of them went into the prize draw. A QR code would not have made the draw. There’s a time and a place for all forms of marketing material. Review what you’re taking networking and where it ends up.
Top tip: Work out which client loves you most by taking a peek at your list of clients and working out who is connected to who. You will soon see who has your Word of Mouth on the tip of their toungue.