Simply attending a tradeshow or conference is no guarantee for business success! It is up to you to make the most of an event and the take advantage of the opportunities to connect, promote, and learn. Be prepared!! Native PTAC offers our top tips for a successful event:
- Do your research on who is registered to attend. Identify who you NEED to talk with, and what it is about your business you would like them to know.
- Be current in your field. Find out agency procurement forecasts, who has won contracts in your field, which agencies awarded contracts and the dollar value of those contracts. This is public information. The two most popular websites for this data include http://www.fbo.gov/ and http://www.usaspending.gov/.
- Register in SAM (System for Award Management) at www.sam.gov . Verify your SAM registration is active and your DSBS/SBA profile is complete and current. If you need assistance, contact Native PTAC.
- Prepare your marketing materials. When you attend an event, you represent your business. Make a strong, professional, positive impression on everyone you meet. All government contracting marketing materials should include DUNS, Cage Code, NAICS and certifications. Create a capabilities statement. Bring your business cards!!!
- Prepare an exceptional 30 second “elevator speech”. You may only have 15 to 30 seconds to promote your business. Make the most of it by preparing (and rehearsing!!) a description of who you are, what you do and what makes your firm special.
- Dress professionally and have a positive attitude. Expect to do a lot of walking and standing at most events, wear comfortable shoes. Be friendly! Don’t be shy (or at least pretend!), introduce yourself to strangers. You never know you may be next to.
- Register for the extras. Some events offer a dinner or tour prior to the event. This a more casual networking setting that offers an opportunity to see the prime and agency representatives in a different light.
- Register for match-making. Some conferences feature opportunities to participate in match-making sessions. These sessions take place either in a small groups or one to one. This is the chance to both meet with and learn about a potential buyer and have a chance to share and promote about your business. Bring your marketing materials!
- Are they Competitors or Teaming Partners? Sometimes your business can not go after a solicitation by yourself, but if you team with another business you can combine forces and be more competitive. Meet and learn about each other.
- Arrive on time and plan to stay all day. Networking opportunities can happen at any moment!
- Be an active listener. Be clear in how you communicate and give direct attention to those you speak with. Ask questions. Make notes for follow up later.
- Follow up! The contacts you make don’t mean anything if you leave their business cards in your pocket. Refer to your notes about when and how to communicate with the people you meet and your suggested next steps.
Please contact Native PTAC if you have any questions!