Today, we're going to discuss the secret to getting business at conferences, expos, meet-and-greets, any place where you are at forums where you get a chance to interact with representatives from corporations for some of the largest companies.
How many of you can identify with going to these events, walking up and down the hallways in these big convention centers, being excited about being able to get your product out there and let folks know about your wares? And you end up leaving and reflecting back on the day and saying, "Well, I got the website from 20 other companies, and I can fill out the supplier database, put my information in their supplier database, and when there's an opportunity, they'll reach out to me because I made such a connection with them."
Or they took your business card and said, "We'll have somebody follow up with you." Or you got the business card of everybody at the booth saying, "Hey, I just need to follow up and my opportunity is going happen."
In none of those situations, did you actually walk away with business. The odds of you getting business based on those interactions isn't that high. There's a lot of persistence that has to happen. That's the way that a lot of us got into business. We pushed hard enough until we got that one opportunity.
One of the big things that we typically do when we go to these events is, we want to talk about us. We have to change that. Someone looks at us and says, "Hey, what do you do?" Let's use janitorial for an example. We'll say, "Hey, I own a janitorial company." So he says, "Well, how long have you been in business?" And you say, "My company is ACME Dobbins Janitorial. We've been in business for about five to seven years. We've got about 15 or 20 employees. We have this book of business, and we've been doing well."
They might follow up with, "Tell me a little bit more about your customers, your clients." And you tell them about your customers and then they might say, "Well, what's unique about your business?" In this whole conversation, they're drawing you out about what you do so they can figure out if they can use you. So let's change the pitch a little bit.
Somebody says, "Tell me a little bit about what you do." You say, "We're ACME Janitorial, and we've been in business for about five to seven years, where we've consistently lowered the cost of people's janitorial requirements by 15 to 20 percent, because we have an innovative, unique operation that uses a combination of electronic cleaning items and robots and a well trained staff that allows us to get in and out of our clients' premises in an hour or two. It is more effective, deeper cleaning, and because of that, our surfaces tend to stay cleaner longer, so that we don't have to come in as frequently."
Somebody says, "Oh! You're not in my building that long, I'm minimizing my security risk, I've got environmentally sensitive cleaning products that you're using, and you're probably going to get cleaner surfaces that will last longer so that you don't have to come as frequently. I need to know more about how you do that. Tell you what, call me, and I want you to get on my calendar for eight o'clock tomorrow morning, and if you don't get me, hit zero, pound, ask my assistant. I'm going to let her know to expect a call from you, and I want to talk with you first thing in the morning."
Now you're on to something. What you always want, when you leave one of these events, is for somebody to say, "Tell me more." That's when you know you've achieved the objective. You made a connection. You created your own opportunity.
For over 10 years Randall Dobbins, our President and Founder, has been instructing Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) from around the world on what it really takes to be successful in contracting with the largest companies in the world. Not only teaching them what it takes to get contracts but what it really takes to compete at the highest levels. Thereby allowing this group of suppliers to enjoy the business success they hoped. He, too, is a business owner.https://www.dobbinsinternational.com/meet-us.html