Last week I spoke at Microsoft's World Wide Partner Conference. With 14,000 attendees, it was a terrific event. The amazing action to watch was the volume of conversations taking place -- not necessarily just on the Expo floor but EVERYWHERE!
At this event Microsoft has created a software tool called "Connect" that allows anyone registered to search the registered list of attendees and arrange for a meeting in a predefined area for a 30 minute "speed date" or even to arrange a meeting at some other location. Plus, attendees had the opportunity to network at the evening receptions (several every evening), at breakfast, lunches and hallway accidental meetings.
The noise and energy of people from all over the world discussing their business, asking questions and finding new opportunities were impressive. From my personal experience I had good accidental meetings with individuals from Russia, Poland, Greece, the Czech Republic and the U.S. We discussed and shared business thoughts and laughs. In other unplanned and prescheduled meetings, I had the opportunity to discuss Acumen's expertise, new business opportunities and was given the opportunity to enhance new relationships with other vendors. I know from past experience that conversations held an idea that information shared can lead to business opportunities for the near future.
I also met individuals that may not lead directly to new business, but their new knowledge of Acumen's expertise and experience could lead to referrals or the uncovering new relationships. Some of these individuals I have known for years and some were first time contacts. These contacts were discovered in airports, hotels, walking down the street, hallways between meetings or while simply waiting in line for another prescheduled meeting.
What does all of this mean to you?
What are you doing each day, each week to find new opportunities, opening up new relationships or building up your network? When I started my business I set a goal of meeting two individuals a week simply to build up the awareness of my practice.
As sales leaders. are you expecting networking activity in your monthly salesperson's business plans? Are you measuring or inspecting the types of networking they are participating in?
What creative ideas are you using to find new opportunities?
Posted by Ken Thoreson on July 19, 2010