The whole point of going to a telecom event is to build strong, win-win relationships with the aim of benefiting your business. Don’t attend one for the sake of attending one. The tips below will help you become better at networking and developing mutually beneficial relationships for your company.
- Stay away from clichés!
Whenever we are put on the spot or when we are at a loss for words, we tend to grab onto clichés. “How are you doing?” “What do you do?” – try to stay away from such vague icebreakers. You already know what they do – you are at the same telecom industry event. Think of a few unique openers in advance. This way, you will get more out of your interaction, have a more engaging conversation, and be more memorable. Questions like “What project are you currently working on?” or “What does your company primarily focus on?” will serve you better.
Success tip: Always be prepared with more focused and more interesting conversation starters. Share an anecdote pertaining to this particular telecom event. Avoid being too general.
- Be a listener, than a talker!
Ask people about themselves. They will love to tell you. Show genuine interest and really listen to what they are saying. Ask a lot of questions in order to make it easier for the conversation to flow organically. This, in turn, will help you build a rapport more easily and have more leverage when you are following up with that person in the future.
When it comes to winning people over, it all comes down to understanding them and their needs. This way, you’ll have the right approach of playing up to their soft spots and what they are passionate about.
Success tip: Talk less, listen more. Don’t get caught up only talking about yourself and your company. Find out as much as possible about the person you’re talking to and build a stronger relationship.
- Do your homework!
Telecom event organizers typically publish lists of who is going to the event, who will be speaking, etc. Take some time before the event to go over those lists to familiarize yourself with the people you will be socializing with. The more you understand your target market, the more strategic you will be in your networking opportunities. If you know as much as possible about those key companies and individuals with whom you would like to network, you will be able to pick topics of interest for them and start building a relationship.
Success tip: Search the web and get yourself familiarized with all of the attendees to be able to target your list of prospects in the most efficient way.
- Be in the loop right from the get-go!
Join the buzz surrounding the event. How are the event organizers and other attendees choosing to communicate? There are probably hashtags and trending topics. Make your own tweets using the telecom event hashtag, follow others that are contributing to the conversations, “Like” the event pages on Facebook and LinkedIn and join your peers in the discussions. This will help you get acquainted with this particular telecom event and the attendees alike. Keeping track of other attendees’ topics of interest will help you come up with more meaningful conversation starters with them. You will find yourself building relationships even before you attend the actual event.
Success tip: Monitoring the event and the surrounding buzz will give you a head start in your relationship-building process.
- Practice pitching your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)!
The USP has been recognized by marketing professionals as the key to effective selling. Unless you tell others what makes you and your telecom business unique in a sea of homogeneous attendees at a telecom event, chances are, you will not see spectacular results. Ask yourself “Why would people want to talk to me?” Networking at an industry event isn’t just about what you’re going to get, it’s also about what can give.
Practice your “elevator pitch”, the part of your introduction in which you explain what you do professionally. Make sure to focus the listeners' attention not at what services you offer, but at how your telco company solves its clients’ problems.
Success tip: When attending a telecom conference, think about what you can bring to the table as an effective networker. What will make you stand out and be memorable?
- Follow up!
If you want to maintain win-win relationships, you have to follow up on your new contacts after the telecom event. After the event, go through the business cards you have accumulated, and send those emails and LinkedIn requests. But there is more. In your emails, reference a topic that you have discussed. Show that you want to continue the conversation that you started.
Success tip: If you don’t intend to follow up with people whom you’ve met at the telecom event, it’s better to just stay home and not waste your time and resources. It’s not about how many business cards you collect, it’s how many relationships you develop. This can only happen if you follow up.
The telecom event will be over before you know it. Use your time effectively while you are there. With the abovementioned tips, you are poised to start building those win-win relationships.