While I do not proclaim to be a great networker, I feel I can hold my own. Having attended countless Affiliate Summits over the past ten years, I am always amazed at companies that send employees to represent their brand but are either shocked by the sheer number of people in attendance or just lack the skills to network effectively.
Here are some pointers to help you overcome your inhibitions.
Be prepared. Take stock of the products or services you offer and how it can benefit your consumers/clients. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
Dress for success. Be well groomed and approachable, and please do not show up hungover from the night before. Whether you are an employee of an organization or representing your brand, wear your company’s logo proudly. This will make it easy for others to identify the company you represent without having to ask who you are with.
Arrive early. Meet as many people as you can as often.
Have business cards. This is a personal favorite of mine with many of the attendees “running out” of cards the very first morning. The fact of the matter is – they either don’t have them or they just forgot. For me personally, I tend to take pics of people I talk to and send that as a text message to them along with notes so this way you both have a point of reference for future dialog.
Have a goal. Be clear on your objective for attending. If it is to meet other like-minded affiliates, do so. If it is to meet advertisers, then do that. If it is just to hook up, well, no comment there. 🙂
Here are some tips from some experienced networkers:
“When you go to a show, focus on building your brand and reputation. Make sure you stand out to people because you understand your business. Make them WANT to work with you and find a way. ~ Steve Lowry, Nutryst
“Make sure that you set both the expectations and the exact details of why you are meeting someone. Use email to “feel out” the person and why you are meeting. While its always great to get dinner with a great client, wasting time and money on someone who is just going to chat with you about their need for a job will never help.” ~ Pesach Lattin, PacedM.com
“Have it be more about making connections than trying to strike up a business deal right away. If you know what you have is awesome and works, then be confident about it. Don’t be shy about trying to shake as many hands as possible.” ~ Case Gilbreath, Click Syndicate
Ok great, you’ve made contacts. Now what? Follow up, a very important step. Within a few days of the event send a ‘nice to have met you’ note. Pass on any useful information to specific persons you met at the event. That will generate goodwill. Finally, close the deal.
Ricky Ahuja, a serial entrepreneur, fifteen-year veteran of the industry and Co-Founder of InvioPro.
This article appeared in issue 38 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2017. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-38