The ultimate guide to virtual matchmaking
A trade fair is probably the most direct way to connect to potential customers, but the majority of these events are – still – postponed or cancelled. Luckily, there are lots of virtual events to make up for it. The greatest challenge during these digital events, though, is to get in direct contact with relevant and potential customers resulting in a business match. In this blog, we highlight the steps to take for successful preparation and for conducting virtual matchmaking.
Step 1: Plan and prepare your matchmaking event
Planning is the first step towards successful matchmaking. Besides the basics, like confirming the registration for the event and noting the date and time in your agenda, do some prior desk research. Discover the matchmaking platform by navigating through the website and watching tutorial videos. But, now that you have checked off the boxes for the basics, it’s time to set your goals and come up with a strategy for the event. Make sure these goals are formulated in a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) manner, setting both quantitative and qualitative objectives.
Pro TIP: Read more on how to prepare for a virtual trade fair in our blog virtual trade fairs: 6 preparation steps for successful participation.
Step 2: Create an attractive online profile
Increasing visibility around your attendance at a matchmaking event is of utmost importance. How else will all these potential clients know how to find you? Create a clear, concise and attractive online profile. A relevant and eye-catching profile is the basis for staying relevant to potential buyers. There are three main aspects to creating a meaningful online profile:
- The company description
- A product description
Make sure that your profile gives a clear answer to why a buyer should do business with you. What makes you different? What is the value of what you provide? Try to follow the AIDAS principle: your profile should attract Attention, create Interest and Desire, and lead to Action and Satisfaction.
Pay attention to describing your company and products and make sure to use correct spelling and grammar. Focus on the key aspects of the event and describe your company details and certifications. Also, make sure to pair the information with a professional profile picture, your company logo, and high-quality, attractive product pictures.
Pro TIP: Do not write in ALL CAPS. Avoid using too many exclamation marks and never use more than one at a time (!!!!) – it looks like you are yelling at the reader.
Step 3: Browse the participant list and prepare your website
When your goals have been defined and your profile is complete, it is time to start browsing the participant list. It’s important to find out who could be an interesting and promising match beforehand. Make your own list and send out meeting requests to the participants you want to meet during the event.
As soon as you send out the meetings requests, potential buyers will look for more information before accepting your invitation. You should therefore not only make sure your online profile is complete and attractive, but your website should also be active and polished and your social media up-to-date.
Pro TIP: Learn more on how to optimize your website and social media by reading our blog on elevating branding and online presence.
Step 4: Prepare your pitch and know your target buyer
To be able to sell your product to a potential buyer, you need to prepare a strong pitch for your product or service. However, getting to know your prospective buyers and understanding their needs and interests is just as important. What are their main problems, needs, and worries? How can your product or service help them? Answering these questions will give you a good starting point for your pitch.
Of course, you need to prepare your sales pitch, but it is not only you who will talk during the meeting – it’s also very important to listen to your potential customer. Prepare questions and write them down before going into the meeting. On the other hand, you should also be prepared for possible questions back.
A sales pitch is meant to persuade someone to buy something. Depending on the situation, you must pitch yourself, your company, your products and/or your country. Prepare all described pitches, practice them and record yourself. Each pitch should have a maximum duration of 60 seconds.
Pro TIP: Be sure to smile! Radiate positivity and openness to make a lasting impression.
Step 5: Sales meetings
While you’re pitching yourself to gain trust and make the buyer feel comfortable, you may also need to pitch your country. Sometimes, buyers unfamiliar with your country may come with negative prejudices. Pitching your (responsible) business and pitching your country are at least equally important as the product you’re offering.
To get the most out of your meeting, you should ask the buyer SPIN questions. This will allow you to gain insight in how – and if – you could match up with this buyer. SPIN stands for
– Situation: e.g., markets covered, product assortment, experience with your home country, current sourcing policies and preferences.
– Problem: what their problems are, quality issues, supply chain problems.
– Implication: what is the impact to the buyer and how does that impact them?
– Need: what are their needs and challenges?
Pro TIP: Check before the event that your internet connection is stable and test your technical equipment. You don’t want to leave a bad impression by being unable to join the meeting or being difficult to understand.
Step 6: Document your meetings
During a matchmaking event, you could easily meet up with ten people a day. You can imagine that it can be difficult to remember every detail from each meeting. Make notes after each conversation. Include agreements and actions to be taken.
Pro TIP: Come well-prepared and create documents with basic buyer information before the meeting. Afterwards, you can complete these documents with the information you gained during the conversations.
Step 7: Follow-up and evaluate
The aftermath of the event is where it starts for you as a business. It’s follow-up time! Did you know that only 25% of information sticks after a virtual fair? Enough reason to execute the following actions:
- Send a thank you mail within 7 days after the event.
- Refer to the meeting at the event in the subject line.
- Summarize what you discussed and agreed (as filled out in the business contact form)
- Answer your visitors’ requests and questions. Don’t repeat your promotional message, but start moving toward taking action.
- Communicate accurately and professionally.
- Follow up by phone if there is no response within a week.
- Actively manage the lead and add each contact to your (CRM) database.
Also – don’t underestimate the power of evaluation. Evaluate your team’s performance by the objectives you formulated prior to the event and draw up a final report. Assess if you met your objectives and explore why you failed or succeeded. The outcome makes perfect fuel for your matchmaking strategy for a future event.
You’re ready for your next big business match!
Missing the forest for the trees? Globally Cool is here to help. Check out our Matchmaking services and contact us!