The work of a B2B networking event planner doesn’t end with setting up the logistics.
If you really want your attendees to have meaningful interactions at your event, then you’ll have to help them prepare for the networking session and display their most charming selves.
Here’s how you can do it:
Help your attendees develop a win-win mentality
Everyone who’ll be attending your B2B networking event or session has a hidden agenda. This is common, since most event attendees have specific intentions and results they want to achieve. Otherwise, they won’t be attending.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that no matter what their reasons, they must have a win-win approach to achieve truly valuable interactions.
What are they willing to offer in exchange for obtaining what they need? This is the main question they should be asking themselves before attending the B2B meetings.
That’s why, as an organizer, it’s your job to raise awareness regarding a win-win approach.
You could ask your guests to fill out networking forms (not to be confused with registration forms) and disclose their company’s revenue or the amount of money investors are willing to offer.
In this case, the entrepreneurs who are searching for funds, for example, will be aware that their brand matches the investors’ requirements. And conversely, the investors will verify that, although they are searching for interesting companies where they could invest their funds, they have the amount of money that brands expect from them.
By nudging your attendees into preparing themselves for a win-win situation, you (and your event) are supporting more meaningful interactions.
Encourage the pre-event interaction
When people know who they’ll be meeting at a B2B networking event, they are more likely to prepare for those encounters. Help them out by giving them the guest list (updated in real-time) and a short description based on each prospect’s networking criteria.
Attendees can then use that list to assess each attendee’s value and decide who presents real interest for an interaction during the event or networking dynamic. The list can also help them prepare a pitch or a presentation for the B2B encounter and adapt it for different prospects.
There’s nothing better and more efficient than an attendee who is thoroughly prepared for a networking session by knowing who his or her “target” is and developing a personalized approach.
Provide space for one-on-one meetings
Mingling around, trying to figure out who might be an interesting prospect who’s willing to interact with you, and then actually approaching that person without worrying about looking stupid can cause attendees a great deal of stress and uncertainty.
Not to mention it’s an extremely inefficient way of meeting people and engaging in truly valuable discussions during B2B networking sessions.
To solve this problem, you’ll have to set up a friendly networking environment and business-like parameters for engagement and dialogue. As we discussed in a previous article, one of the networking formats that works best for business interactions is the B2B matchmaking session.
B2B matchmaking is a specific networking dynamic that considers attendees’ expectations and achieves a perfect match between those who are looking for something and those who are offering a specific product or service.
Compared to other networking formats, B2B matchmaking aims to save your attendees time so they can avoid the mindless search for potential prospects. Instead, they have access to a one-on-one meetings agenda with shareholders, brands, and institutions that are well-aligned with their needs.
These one-on-one conversations will provide enough space, time, and context for a provider or for a supplier to craft their pitch and transmit well-built messages that will make resonate with the prospect and take the interaction outside the event venue.
Set up a filter option and specific business criteria
To help your attendees schedule one-on-one meetings, you should give them a common ground for interaction. If you’ll be using a B2B matchmaking software or platform, all of your guests will have a set of filters to search for interesting prospects.
For example, let’s say you are planning a B2B networking event for more than 500 people. Obviously, it’s quite difficult to search for someone who has the same goals as you to complement each other or even start an endeavor together.
To facilitate the search for valuable prospects and help your attendees actually make an impact during their interactions, think about a series of business criteria that are easy to set up through a filter.
For example, some investors might be searching for companies with monthly revenue of over $500,000. Other investors might be searching for companies and brands that are making less than $500,000.
Based on these criteria, you can design a filter system that will categorize your prospects automatically through a simple selection of specific benchmarks (such as revenue, location, stage, type of products, etc.).
Call to action
People who attend B2B networking events or sessions want results, and the only way to get those results is to stay relevant in front of their prospects and make a real impression. It’s your responsibility to help set the attendees up for success by providing them with all the necessary information and nudges to encourage meaningful interactions.