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Construction events are excellent arenas for meeting new prospects, finding new people to partner with and building valuable relationships with vendors. If you want to find out how to network like a pro and take advantage of the opportunities available at construction expos and trade shows then read on.
The main goal of networking at construction events is to meet people who might be able to help you and to meet people who you might be able to help. So how do you go about networking with people who will ultimately enable you to grow your business?
Gone are the days of attending events, just to shake hands and pass a business card. These days we've all come along way and it's time to apply some of the proven networking skills that will get you further.
Buy a trade show guide. Most construction shows have networking events as part of the show. They'll be some form of coffee area or there will be the opportunity to sit at lunch tables with other expo attendees.
Keep an eye open for which events are in the show guide too. You might see Opening Reception, Dinner with Strangers or even Peer2Peer Round tables mentioned. Talk.
The easiest way to get to know people is to mingle with them. You should be asking questions about the person's business and looking at how you may be able to help them. Then tell them about your business, so that they can look for ways that they might be able to help you. Give them enough room to speak - you'll learn a whole lot more and you'll be able to screen them to discover whether they are the right contact for you.
The whole point of networking is to build relationships. It's not really about trying to fill your rolodex with business cards. It's also not about making a hard sell to those that you meet. If you make good notes every time you walk away from somebody on what they have told you then you'll be able to find opportunities to build relationships.
Look for people who meet your needs. At construction events, you should be looking for people/situations where you can partner with offerings, give and take referrals, seek advice and exchange ideas and challenges.
Prior to attending the construction event, do your homework. You should have identified a list of the contacts that you want to meet, formalised a plan on how to reach them rapidly and which events you'll be attending.
Every event will have different contacts attending. You need to determine whether the event will have the right attendees for your business. Are they people whose business can help your business and vice versa? Ideally you would be able to view an attendees list for the construction events.
If you follow the above tips, you should be able to meet many new contacts who can help you build your business.
Jenny Greene is a coordinator for a construction events listing website http://www.constructionshows.com She enjoys advising others how to get the best from attending trade shows.
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