Finding strategic business partners is much easier when time is spent on networking in events and activities that focus on the industry versus potential partners of cold calls. The most important aspect of every business partnership is the relationship between company executives. This can be developed through the application of basic network best practices to present the right image of you and the company for potential business partner decision makers. It’s important to choose the right type of event to be attended and prepare to be effective in meeting people and talking about your business.
The following are some of the best practices for successful networking and will help in pursuing your strategic business partners.
Choosing an event – Only for any business network events may not direct you to functions that will have people you need to meet to develop quality business relationships that can turn into strategic business partnerships. Choose an industry related event that is well attended by the most important individuals in your industry as participants and speakers.
Name cards – Name cards say a lot about not only your company but yourself. Use printing services. There is nothing worse than your own printed business card when trying to develop a partnership for your company. Ask the graphic designer to appear with a particular design that places the color on the entire card and includes images and tag lines for the back of the card. This will help your card stand out from a stack of large cards placed on the table after the event. Using a strange shaped card can also help get additional notifications later that help remind people about you and discussions that you have during the short moments you are talking about on networking events.
30 seconds & Introduction – Don’t use the first 30 seconds to sell partnerships with your company. You must be honest about your business and discuss what you do. If there is an interest then you can discuss in detail how you can benefit the company which is part of your business ecosystem. End the discussion after 3-5 minutes and request a meeting to talk in more detail during lunch, etc. This implies that you are busy and others also demand your time.
Follow-up – Send follow-up email to individuals and businesses that you have reviewed and feel still suitable as a strategic business partner for your company. Request a relaxed meeting because it is best to develop personal relationships if you are a small business owner and seek to develop relationships with a larger company than you. Make sure and pay attention to specific details such as children and favorite activities in your CRM system so you can refer to this meeting later. This will help you begin the process of forging relations closer to the people you do business, which in turn will help your business partnership age.