by Sharon Corrigan
I am a firm believer that if you put your mind to anything you can do it – and this includes generating good quality leads by putting the business person you are talking to first – and not your objective of telling them your pitch and securing business. By putting yourself first you will not only annoy people but you are guaranteed that they will forget you – and fast!
There are many face-to-face methods to generate new business, from networking events, conferences, tradeshows and through association events. Recently I was privileged to be able to attend two significant industry tradeshows in Europe – the first was Anuga FoodTec in Cologne, Germany and the second was the JEC Composite Tradeshow in Paris, France. I use the word privileged as tradeshows present the opportunity to meet, en masse, interesting professionals – and you get to find out their story.
If you are interested in developing your business, then some of these tips will help you:
- Preparation – like all good business meetings you would never enter a room unprepared before you speak to senior executives – so why do people do it at a tradeshow? When you approach a booth you never know the level of seniority of the person who you will speak with, and therefore you need to be prepared. Before going to a tradeshow, check out target businesses, develop your hook. You need to be able to answer the question – what value can you bring?
- Listen – the majority of business executives are passionate about their businesses and love to talk. So let them by asking the right questions. By creating an informative business discussion about their industry, they will know that you are a person with knowledge and experience and mayl be intrigued about what you do.
- Do not rehearse your speech – one of the biggest mistakes that individuals make is a rehearsed speech about their business. You first need to ascertain the needs and pain points of the business executive you are talking with. Only until you reach this point can you tailor your services to match.
- If your business doesn’t fit their needs then don’t lose faith - if you are selling IT infrastructure and the business executive you are talking with has already fulfilled this need then don’t lose heart. As long as you have made a good impression by listening to their needs, then potentially this is a business contact you could have for life. So treasure it by fulfilling the following tip.
- Follow up – one of the biggest crimes following any business development meeting is that you meet some great people, tell them that you will email them and never do. Even if the person is not interested, then a polite short email to acknowledge you appreciate her taking the time to talk to you complete with your contact details (I would suggest a V card) could benefit you in the long-term. Business situations change all the time and so a few months later, if she needs your services, at least she has your contact details.
Overall, if you have passion for your business then this will shine through in every conversation you ever have and people will want to be a part of this – budgets and business objectives permitting. Good luck and have fun!
Sharon Corrigan is the Deputy Managing Director, EMEA at ABI marketing public relations. You can reach her at +44 (0)20 7014 3500 and email@example.com.