Our working lives can be all-consuming. How many times have you said to yourself “there are simply not enough hours in the day”? So how can we justify spending an entire day away from the office to visit a trade show? What could make you decide to commit to spending such precious time offline?

The reason is simple… the power of the network. It is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. You may feel that there is little to gain from attending an exhibition, but it is the place to build relationships that will become invaluable to your business and provide many opportunities in the future.

Why should we network?

Going to an expo might not get you an immediate sale, result or win, but it’s the connections you make that have the potential to become your clients, employees or even employers in the future. Perhaps you meet a friend that knows someone who is offering exactly what you need, or you bump into a family member of a CEO you have been emailing for months… In-person sales pitches are 34 times more successful than those made over email so there really is no better way to connect with people than face to face (source: ZoomInfo).

Without having a personal network, business can be incredibly difficult. Throughout the pandemic, it was our network that supported our business and allowed us to keep going despite our industry taking a huge hit. We worked hard to maintain our relationships and found that they enabled us to keep growing and win contracts, getting us back to where we were pre-pandemic.

The more you network, the greater the potential you have to leverage relationships in order to help you succeed and also to support other businesses. With this in mind, it’s crucial that you know how to make the most of your networking experiences.

How do you network successfully?

The first step to networking successfully is simply putting yourself out there. You are your own personal marketing tool. Thankfully, we are able to attend in-person events once more which are great places to start building your network. Almost 100% of professionals believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships and 41% want to network more often in 2022 (source: Apollo Technical). Speaking with people in real time rather than over Zoom, Skype or Teams helps you to build trust and improve collaboration, fostering quality relationships (source: LinkedIn). It’s much easier to find common ground when you can talk informally rather than via telephone or video.

Planning ahead and setting objectives can also help you to get the most out of your time at events and trade shows. Research who is at the event and schedule your time accordingly to ensure you get to speak to everyone who is relevant to your business. Have some open-ended questions in mind to start conversations and keep meetings on track. Make sure you know exactly what you want to get out of the experience and stick to your goals throughout.

Most importantly, don’t forget to follow up! Make sure you are engaging with the people you meet in the few days that follow the event to keep yourself front of mind. Expos and trade shows can be over in the blink of an eye so it’s important to keep these conversations going long after the event has finished. Bringing business cards along with you is a great way to easily pass on your contact information, enabling people to remember you and get in touch once the event is over. You might think this is an old school tactic, but 90% of business owners in 2019 found that business cards generated new business (source: Tab)!

The importance of networking is clear. It is where the deepest of connections can be made. They can accelerate you and your business forward, help you understand your competitors, amplify your knowledge of your customers and ultimately help you build brand awareness and enter new markets. You and your network can deliver to your business information which cannot be rivalled.

We look forward to meeting you at Medical Technology UK in Coventry on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Come and see us at Stand 78 for a free pint and a chat!
If you haven’t already registered, please click here to sign up for free entry and parking.

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