In our Marketing Toolkit: How to Improve Networking.

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There are so many elements to marketing. At CAMP, we love to explore each and every side of this incredible profession. We are very pleased to say, that networking was the focus at the Vaughan Business to Business Expo on Wednesday February 1, 2017, an annual trade show/conference organized by VBEC that unites entrepreneurs and businesses. CAMP was a proud partner and exhibitor at this event. First off, we’re thrilled to have connected with so many marketers at the event. The City of Vaughan is a thriving place, and the number of marketing experts at the event – graphic designers, social media experts, video marketers, researchers, and content experts – was outstanding. It was an honour to meet you and introduce CAMP to you. Luigi - VBE Second, we were even more glad to be a part of the event, as our co-founder, Luigi Presta of thinkCompass, was the keynote speaker for the day. Luigi brings with him 20 years of marketing expertise, and has done business in 35 countries and organized more than 400 events since his company launch in the late 90s! He shared with us a great deal of advice, and we in turn want to pass it along to you. Here goes: Networking is a three pronged process, consisting of Before, During, and After each event.
  1. Planning to Network (Before). The planning portion of any event is arguably the most important step in this process.
    1. Determine the number of events you plan to attend. Be specific here in the time and resources you can commit. If you want to connect with 50 new contacts this year, perhaps commit to two events per month.
    2. Be selective. There are thousands of paid and free events in your field going on this year. Do not aim to go to all, but instead choose events that hold the best fit for you.
    3. Leverage the organizer. This is a step most do not think to do, but Luigi strongly suggests to contact the organizing group to determine the details of attendees. Be specific about who you’re targeting, and the organizer may be able to introduce you to the people you want to meet.
  1. Networking the Room
    1. Always have a target for how many contacts you’d like to make. Luigi’s goal for us at this event was to identify four potential targets and connect with them.
    2. Be current. Read up on what’s happening in your community and the world. You’ll want to speak intelligently on any new trends or news.
    3. Get them talking. The best way to understand your potential customer is to talk to them. Ask them questions, genuinely listen to their business and their issues.
    4. Do not sell them. The more salesy you appear, the less a potential client will want to work with you. Instead, be transparent. Tell them you’d like to do business with them, and why.
    5. Book the coffee (or follow up). Ask for the meeting. This is key, as it’s much better to ask for the meeting face to face than reaching out to them in a week.
  2. Post Networking – Bring the Value. When you meet, here’s where you give them a reason to do business with you. It’s pitch time, and you’ll want to demonstrate how you worked with similar organizations and how you can help them.
Trade shows and events provide an opportunity for you to succeed – but these are potentials. How you choose to work the opportunities is up to you. Whether you’re a marketer, an entrepreneur, a business owner, or a little bit of all, networking is an essential element of your toolkit. Thanks to Luigi and the Vaughan Business to Business Expo, we’re all a little closer to our networking goals. Nadine EvansRaised in a small town in Newfoundland, Nadine headed west after graduating and fell in love with the bustle of Toronto. Her true passion is marketing and she’s spent the last 15 years in marketing roles, and is the co-founder and CEO of the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP). When she’s not connecting with other marketers through CAMP, Nadine is at the soccer field, gym, or swimming pool cheering on her two favourite munchkins, trying not to become that mom everyone fears.

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