Despite human nature and the common fear of "not enough," there are numerous benefits to sharing leads. But as market/event organizers and professional networkers, it may make sense at times not to share lead contact information because of privacy obligations. Let's look at three smart networking best practices for networkers, market organizers and general community connectors.
Encouraging Warm Referrals
Every organizer has a vendor list. Hopefully, both organizer and vendor are building an email list and social network on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and sometimes Pinterest of audience connections for marketing opportunities.
We are not saying to exchange contact lists without the proper permissions, but encouraging warm referrals is a great way to support each other and is a networking best practice for organizers. Just like a vendor can refer the attendee to walk over to their neighbor vendor, we as organizers can create a network of event sharing that will build growth and community for attending audiences and vendors. Always connect and give before going for the big ask!
Let’s paint the picture of a new organizer looking for specific vendors for a themed market or trade show — the event can cater to any industry. What is the best way to gain vendors and grow the traffic for the market to be successful? Have you tried to reach out and connect with the new organizer to send a warm referred audience to each other’s events? 😁
We encourage building bridges in the market and event-organizing community. One day you might need help from someone, so why not show support? One of the top networking best practices is to give more than you take, because it will pay off and you will receive even more in the long run.
Networking Best Practices
1. Facebook event with live videos, links and websites. This is where you, as an organizer and vendor, can connect and show support on social media for other markets and vendors. It is NOT STEALING if a market organizer likes or follows a vendor you have showcased and then invites them to their event. By sharing your vendors’ contact information openly on the social network, you show support for the vendors’ success! 😁 This will pay back when more people attend your event and the other vendors return the favor. You should be proud if a vendor grows their business and gets connected with other market opportunities. You were part of that growth progression!
2. Three-way messaging/email. Have you attended a networking meeting and witnessed contact information exchanged between vendors? Do not say you referred someone but never made the actual connection. This is not networking best practices. We have a different way that has worked wonders for us. Take a short minute to introduce the referral to another vendor via a message or email. Elevate why they should connect and their specific skills. By doing this, it speaks volumes about you!
3. Send an email with local resources to your vendors. This elevates you as a valued organizer. It's your opportunity to encourage “community over competition” by connecting them with other vendors. Give them the tips in our “vendor blog” to help you spread the wealth of the market/event to their audience. Social marketing is an incredible resource!
Ultimately, vendors will decide what events to attend and where to exhibit their business. Your event is as great as the vendors who participate. Event organizers should always talk to and survey the attendees to best serve them with future events. As an organizer, you are creating a platform for people to gather, and you have done your job well when the community walks off with a great experience and positive feedback about your event!