Protecting Your Networking After IMEX?Oct 24, 2016
After attending one of those colourful and unforgettable IMEX exhibitions again, we are finally back home. Dead tired maybe but can't help to erase the big smile on our face. It was a great convention again and thanks to everyone for all the effort they put forward.
Before letting ourselves to the drift of old daily routine, we have some serious things to do now. We must protect our valuable IMEX networking immediately, before it just fades away. But how?
Here is a piece of advice;
Sort through the networking info from the bizz cards
After you leave IMEX, write down one note on each of the cards that pertained to something you talked about. Maybe it was about a common connection that you have or your favorite sports team. Either way, shared interests is vital when establishing relationships with new connections.Enter their information into your CRM and take notes of your conversation and email correspondence. Make a note to connect with them in a couple months to check in, ask about business, and maybe set up a meeting.
Review all the notes you took and handouts you got
Schedule time to write an evaluation report within 48 hours of IMEX. Do not postpone it just strike when the iron is still hot. Along with your text about what you found most useful in IMEX, include photos and video or audio recordings. Include important stats in your evaluation that are relevant to your business area. When completed, share it with the others before the evaluation meeting.
Conduct an evaluation meeting with your staff & review the sessions you attended
First; prepare for your post-project evaluation meeting by collecting information about IMEX results, team performance, resource expenditures, problems that arose during the exhibition, challenges and unanticipated problems during IMEX, visitors' satisfaction with the stand operation and hosting, comparison of similar company products and their exhibition techniques with yours and lessons learned.Second; invite all the people who participated in your project at all points throughout its life, declare at the beginning of the meeting that it's supposed to be a learning experience, encourage people to identify what other people did well, examine their own performance and see how they could've handled situations differently.
Write to the people you met at IMEX or just call them by phone
Within a few days of IMEX ending, follow up with those you met whom you feel could be valuable contacts. Send them an email. The key in both cases is to write personalized messages, which means not generic ones.Make a point to mention something related to a conversation you had with the person at IMEX. And if you really bonded with someone in particular, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and express your thoughts.Mention something to do with the shared interest note that was on the back of the card as a way to jog their memory of you and your business. The quicker you can build on that connection the better, and a great way to do that is to make the offer to connect them with someone in your own network. This lets them know you are willing to trust their business and helps them gain the trust of your network, which is one of the most valued assets you can initially offer.
Invite them to become your contact at social media
Invite the the people you met in IMEX to become your contact at social media. This is the bridge that can help you get into people's communities, stream, conversations and get you started in building commonality. For instance, use LinkedIn as a starting point, add Twitter and then if appropriate Facebook. Comment on their blog, or invite them to yours. Also do not forget to invite your contacts to subscribe your blog or the newsletter if you have one.
Prepare or long term collaboration based upon IMEX relation
IMEX provides a warm relation environment among event organisers and participants. So, you should enjoy this opportunity for extending irresistible offers to the people you met in IMEX. You may prepare an offer for the people you met there, having some privileges based upon your private conversation in IMEX and hope to build a long term relation.
Prepare a 30 day follow up plan after IMEX
Unfortunately, some of your IMEX friends will not reply your mails or will only send a dry thank you letter. This is quite normal and something we can understand. Some may be in need of an intensive engagement in order to make their minds or simply think that your product is not the proper for them. To be sure, try to follow up at least 30 days after IMEX. So, just make a 30-day plan for each person or group of contacts that you would like to develop a relationship with. Be consistent, and interact as regularly as possible. Show up and be a part of the conversation.
Relationships don't happen in a week!
Invite them to the next event you are planning to attend
Some friendships built in events like IMEX, can be a beginning of long term cooperations. So, it's always good to keep in touch with your IMEX community and invite them for the next event. Your product's new version might suddenly be very attractive for the people or they may change their procurement policy. Furthermore, everybody feels flattered when invited to an event privately.
Start putting what you learned into practice
One of the best side of attending IMEX is to learn, to learn and to learn.. Each of us learn a lot, every time we attend IMEX. It's like attending a worldwide event industry course. There are so many good examples and great ideas inspiring participants in IMEX. Now it's time to put them into practice. Just create your Lessons Learned List and create an Action Plan. The rest is all about your persistence and applying your plan without any interruption.
About the Author
Posted by Erkan OGULGANMIS
Erkan OGULGANMIS Graduated from Army War College, completed MA degree in Ankara University on Global & Regional Studies, studies law in Istanbul University. Works in MEETINGHAND Online Solutions Co. as Business Development & Sales Manager.