4 Tips for Networking at B2B Events
Research your target audience
Unlike consumer events, business events offer B2B companies of all sizes valuable introductions to relationships that could result in multi-million dollar deals. Keeping the length of the sales cycle top of mind, you are there to build relationships, not close deals. Before you even go to the event, research 5-10 target companies you'll find there and connect with their attendees on LinkedIn. Message them via Twitter, LinkedIn, or email to introduce yourself. You'll break the ice while making it easier to identify the person. When you're at the event approach non-busy people, spark conversation, add value to their business and you'll start to build a potentially meaningful relationship.
Ask the right questions
Research background and other valuable information like clients and service offerings about your target accounts. Tailor each conversation to each individual's needs based on your research. Ask questions that inspire people to open up about their business needs. Begin to formulate a strategy focused on benefits you can provide to alleviate pain points each individual might have with their business. Elana Lyn Gross from Forbes offers some good questions to ask to break the ice. Find ways to offer value.
Like Gary Vaynerchuck talks about in his book Jab Jab Jab Hook, open the door by giving something of value to your target audience before asking for something in return. Call it the Godfather principle; give value to those who need it and you'll stick out from the crowd when your prospect is ready to buy. Preparation is important, as you'll need to understand exactly what pains your prospect needs to solve to improve their situation. Do your research, ask the right questions, listen to feedback and offer value where you can. Recommendations, contacts, nearby locations, or potential event venues are all easy ways to offer value in a conversation without breaking the bank.
Connect with tech
Business cards will always remain a staple of business events, so mind proper etiquette when receiving one from a prospect. Grasp it firmly, look it over with confidence, scan each line as if it were your own. If you instill confidence with your eyes and body language, you'll increase the likelihood of developing a closer relationship. A subtle respectful gesture can be the difference that will separate you from the crowd at the point of sale six months down the road. Connect via apps you have available, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, even Snapchat in addition to your business cards. Follow up your connection with a personalized message.