To finish out the week, Jennifer Neal of K9 Design writes about a networking event she attended last week where she hit the “hot prospect” jackpot.
My latest marketing “homework” was to find a group where my target audience – magazine publishers – hangs out.
So last week, I went to my first event with this new-found group, Magazines Canada and sure enough, my target market was “in the house” as they say.
This event was a show of the best advertising from around the world. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this event had great music, was held in a very hip venue in the Design District of Toronto, offered great food and the all- important open bar. Kind of what you’d expect at a party, with a lot of very pretty, trendy, marketing newbies vying for the free drinks.
So how does one break the ice with these free drinking Newbies?
Before I could figure it out, a guy came up to me and said, "Do you have a favourite yet?" Brilliant!! So I stole his line and that became my ice breaker.
I walked the room in circles, talked to lots of people but only used "my new stolen material" on about 6 people with whom I ended up having really fun, non-salesy chats. In fact, they were so non-salesy that we did not exchange cards. I did, however, get their names (Ilise would have given me a really hard time if I hadn’t) and I made a point of scribing little notes after each conversation so as not to forget them. Then, I Googled each one as soon as I got home.
WOW!!! Three of them turned out to be some of the biggest names in my target audience. They were, in my opinion, people I would NEVER have gone after but have now serendipitously met. I know I must figure out a way to stay in touch with them.
Even though the other 3 were not prospects, I still managed to come away with some great ideas for my business. In fact, one was a design firm owner who has a marketing intern making her cold calls for her… Why didn’t I think of this?
Anyway…My next step is to follow up in a meaningful way – without looking too salesy – with the BIG 3. I’ve already got a few ideas but the main lesson I learned from this first event with my new group was, don’t always feel you have to come up with “material” – sometimes if you just smile they’ll approach you and then you can steal their line.