Business matchmaking and industry events are one important method of building business relationships. In today’s COVID 19 environment, these events have largely moved to a virtual environment, that is Zoom, Microsoft teams, WebEx, for example.
Although in-person connection has many advantages, there are perks when attending a virtual event. Travel costs, for example, are vastly reduced with no need to travel to the conference location, book a hotel or buy food. Also, agencies are doing their best to maintain the feel of an in-person event by hosting events such as a virtual networking/happy hour to keep attendees connected.
Traditional industry and business matchmaking typically offers the vendor 10 minutes to sit with an advocate or buyer to introduce themselves, company, and discuss how their company can meet the needs of the agency. This same opportunity is given to the attendee through private chat rooms. Please know that everything is constantly influx in the COVID environment, but I have seen the following recently.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Mass virtual webinars where agency reps present PowerPoint slides, sharing information about the event. Also, an overview of how to attend one-on-one meetings, visit vendor booths, or presentations on specific topics.
- You may be greeted by the vendor that has an agency or company banner behind them . They also may have virtual collateral for you to take. You may be muted on entry and the vendor will address questions one at a time or perhaps you will be shown a video on loop prior to taking questions.
- A business matchmaking meeting will likely also be held in a chat room, but it will only contain you and the agency rep. Expect approximately 10 minutes to share your company capabilities. Don’t expect to leave with a contract, but either an opportunity to introduce your company or to make another connection with those who buy what you sell. In preparation for the event, consider the following:
PREP BEFORE THE INDUSTRY & BUSINESS MATCHMAKING EVENT
- Do your homework! Research agencies and primes, visit their websites, review the agency forecast, past purchases, etc.
- Create a Capability Statement
- List Certifications (and cert numbers)
- Include industry codes
- Highlight your company’s qualifications
- Show a track record/past performance
AT THE INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS MATCHMAKING EVENT
- Although not on-site, remember to dress professionally as you would for an in-person event.
- Show the buyer or advocate your interest is in solving their problem by discussing researched findings and asking questions
- Present your e-business card and capability statement .
- Spend a few minutes describing your products and services and your unique niches.
- Spend a few minutes on your track record and successes.
- The rest of the meeting can be spent on interacting with the buyer or advocate to find out about opportunities, what the next step is, and how you plan to follow up.
AFTER THE INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS MATCHMAKING EVENT
- Follow-up by email, phone, or thank you card. Ask when it is appropriate to check-in again.
- Remember it typically takes several “touches” before an agency responds. Be patient and persistent. Be professional.
Make sure you are prepared in the same manner you would be for an in-person event. Here is a link to a couple of events coming up soon that you may want to attend Navy Gold Coast and VFedcon. Happy Hunting!