Industry events provide visitors with many opportunities to meet experts in their fields. These relationships could lead to profitable joint ventures, so it is important that you develop a networking strategy that works.
While everyone at an event is focused on developing relationships, the process is not as easy as it initially seems. Each attendee will meet hundreds of people over the course of a busy weekend, so it is important that you make yourself stand out. Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local, recommended developing a unique style. This could be something as simple as always wearing the same brightly colored shoes, as the feature can work as a conversation-starter and help break the ice during networking sessions after hours. That said, be careful not to go too outlandish, as you want to be taken seriously by potential business partners.
Tip: Develop a unique style to help you stand out
It is important to always be ready to provide interested parties with your contact information, so Kerpen also recommended having a large stack of business cards on hand. However, he noted that you may have more success if you look to collect cards as well. This gives you more control over when and how follow-up conversations happen. Using electronic badge scanners can help in this situation as these tools provide you with a database of potential partners. Adding important information about what topics were discussed can help qualify leads and serve as a reminder after the show.
Tip: Listen more than you talk
During conversations, it is important to listen to the other person. Forbes stated that the key to selling at a busy conference is asking the right questions to get the other person talking about a problem he or she has and try to find a solution. If you find yourself doing the majority of the talking, you may need to adjust your networking strategy.