If you have been following my videos for a few months, you know that I feel networking events are CRUCIAL to gain referrals. On this week’s episode of A Drink With “The Hurricane,” I will discuss how to network at healthcare and vendor fairs.

At healthcare fairs, I see it time and time again…the missed opportunity to talk to consumers. Yes, that means talking to the people who can directly benefit from your services. Of course it is important to talk with the other vendors. You could find a key person to potentially become Power Partners with, or even get straight referrals from them on the spot, but you should be quick with them. Introduce yourself, talk with them for 2-3 minutes, and then BMFM (Book a Meeting From a Meeting) to continue the conversation at a later time. You are both there to talk to the people ATTENDING the event…the consumers.

Starting the initial conversation may be difficult to some, but with my tips it will be a breeze!
When talking to seniors it is important to tread carefully. Deep down, they may know they will eventually need your services, but on the surface they want to keep up appearances that they are independent and can take care of themselves. I’m sure you have encountered a few seniors like that at one time or another. Take the focus off of them, and they are more likely to open up to you.

To start the conversation, ask them questions such as:
• Do you currently know someone in the hospital?
• Do you know anyone who has been in the hospital these past 6 months?
• Do you know anyone who wanted to attended the event, but couldn’t do to them being stuck at home?

These questions are a great way to connect with this individual. It opens the door to discuss your services, without you assuming that because they are seniors, they must need it for themselves. Once they are talking, they will begin to open up, and potentially tell you about their own ailments and concerns. The more questions you ask the better of an understanding you will have of his or hers circumstances. By talking the time to listen to their story you are forming a bond with this individual. Asking personal question about his or her life shows that you care and you genuinely want to help this individual. This my friend, is how you get a referral at health fairs.

When it comes to vendor fairs, however you need to take a different approach. When registering your company at a vendor fair, most of your planning should come before the event itself. How you may ask? NETWORK BEFORE THE EVENT! Research who is going to the event beforehand. By knowing who is attending the event you have the opportunity to set time aside for breakfast, lunch and dinner to meet up with other attendees. For a three-day event this guarantees you 9 networking opportunities! With these opportunities it is important to remember to BOOK A MEETING FROM A MEETING. This is how you develop relationships.
Networking events are a great place to meet people however, this DOESN’T get you the referrals. It is what you do after the event that counts. That is why it is ESSENTIAL to book a meeting from a meeting to ensure a follow up with these new found contacts. Get out there and meet the people! Market your business, and Blow Away the Competition!