The Match Making Success Tips: Building relationships is the essence of every growth strategy. The facts always lead us to the same conclusion: You cannot do it alone. During the NJAWBO Procurement Expo there is the opportunity to have corporate buyers and suppliers interact and begin to identify opportunity. It is an opportunity to understand more about how the business is developed. To help the process achieve a higher level of success, we, NJAWBO have taken the opportunity to craft a few strategies we believe will help everyone leverage the time (10 minutes) into an opportunity. Match Maker Make Me A Match: This is the perfect opportunity to begin to develop relationships that could have a long lasting impact on your business – no matter what side of the table you sit. Think carefully about how you position yourself and your business: You never get a second change to make a good first impression. Everything must speak to you and your brand capabilities When filling out the information on the Expo sign up sheet, be as complete as possible. This information is used to set the matching in motion. There are some things you can do to assist yourself and the overall process. 1) Know your product / Industry categories. Take the time to research how what you do is categorized by the government and the corporations represented in the Match Making Portion of any Expo. Visit each Corporation’s website that is represented in the Expo literature’s web site. Go to the Supplier Diversity Section – register on their site. Most site registrations are quick – under 30 minutes. Remember there is information you will repeat on everyone’s site – have it listed on a one page sheet for ease. You can even give this to someone on your team to do. An effective use of your time. 2) 3) While on their site, look to see what other information you can gather about the way they do business, any key people referenced. Is there an RFP process, an on-line auction process, First and second tier process? Are business Category Managers listed – if so for your category, can you gather key contact names? What is the process for Annual Procurement Expo this company – all companies are different. Identify what you learned before you leave this site. Remember to visit the home page and search the company mission and vision statements, lines of business and their reach (many global organizations want to use local suppliers – that is why they associate with organizations like NAJWBO). Check out the key executives – remember the 6 degrees of separation. 4) Of all the companies that will be represented at the event, what companies do you want to do business with and why? A sale is good but a client is better. Does this organization match your business model? Can you service them? Think about what one new order would do to your business – not the revenue but the fulfillment. Are you ready for this? Now with this information – what do you need to bring with you to represent you and your brand. Business Cards, product literature (not too much – you only have 10 minutes – what you do bring could be a rack card with contact information.) Company capabilities statement, organizational chart with key associates (if it is not you) listed and contact information. A list of questions you need to walk away with the answer to so you can take this interview to the next level. What is the next level? Another meeting, on their site. So think about what is the best way to interact with the interviewer and then the key contact they recommend? What is the process? The length of time (remember the interviewer get bombarded with emails, voice mails . . . how will they remember you?) 5) The Match Maker / Interview: The first point of contact for you and your business. It is important for each person to remember the objective of the 10 minute interaction. To leave information that will be helpful in moving forward toward a future interaction. Not for immediate business. The reality is that some parts of the business are contracts. Yes, over time, 3 – 4 year commitments by the organization to purchase products and services. While this is appealing on one side, it is also limiting on the other. The category your products / services fit might have an existing contract in place. This does not mean you should not pursue it. When will this contract be up for renewal, who do you need to develop relationships with to understand how to be positioned for this next time? The person in front of you might not know the contract length, but should know who you can connect with to find out. Remember, the more you are prepared with the type of information you need, the better the interview will be for you. What if I am not Certified? Remember, this is only one way an organization looks at the diverse population of suppliers. Key to their success is in meeting Governmental objectives set for their industry – So do not discount the process. But it should not limit you. If you are unsure if certification is right for you, find out, explore – ask, how many Annual Procurement Expo vendors this organization uses that are not certified? Explore their web site to find out this information as well. The Match Maker Checklist: As a Corporation, looking to do business with a diverse group of local suppliers, what are the things you will need to be able to bring back a qualified list of recommendable suppliers to your business category colleagues? How can this time spent be valued as valuable? Think about what you need to do and bring to make the 10 minutes a dynamic, measurable exchange! Business Cards, company literature One page fact sheet: include typical products and services in which the organization looks to engage each year, identify ones that usually have multiyear contracts awarded. Identify current openings – so your homework and the week of the event, contact the business category managers and get an update. Develop a contact sheet with the individuals that should be contacted for the specific opportunities on the horizon or heads of the category managers and best time frame in which to do it. On the back of the fact sheet or an additional sheet: How to do business with us? Identify some key areas that the person in front of you will need to know – develop your own check list. Include things like: register on our web site, develop relationships, add the Expos / events you have attended in the past and the ones you will be at in the next 6 months. Maybe it would be good to have a list of the most frequently asked questions – written out and answered. Coordinate with your team. Chances are you are not going to be at this expo alone. If you are, what are you charged with bringing back so that the organization can determine if a deeper level of participation in the future would be beneficial. Remember, connections for you are key to your success. Work your network. The other Interviewers – who are they? What are their goals? Never miss an opportunity to pick up a tip or two – ask about what they bring, where they have been (events) what events they will make next year? Ask them for their key learning’s at events like this one? See if you can be helpful in achieving their goals and objectives for this event.
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