Hello! I’m Fernanda Rojas, Brand Ambassador at MagmaLabs in Toronto. I have been working on the expansion of the company from Mexico to Canada for the last 10 months, and I would like to share my experience promoting the company abroad with you. By the way, this is my first blog post …so since we are in Canada, please be polite 🙂
When you are a newcomer, it is crucial to building relations; you don't know the market, you don't know how businesses are doing here, you don't know anyone and no one knows you, so basically, you’re starting from zero.
Knowing the right people will open you the door to new opportunities, and get you that one client that would help you as a referral the all coming ones. You just have to be right once!
That is the reason why networking is essential when expanding abroad, and honestly, when you’re from Latin America, it’s more complicated since we’re not very used to networking in a complex ecosystem.
That’s why I decided to share these 10 Networking tips for nearshore companies which I have learned:
1. How do I know where to go?
Before attending any event you have to make your own research. You don't want to be losing your time attending a three-hour event that it is not even related to your industry. Additionally, maybe you have a specific budget designated for events, so you really want to administer it and attend to the most valuable ones. A good way to start is by looking for hashtags and groups of your industry in your social media channels, or subscribing to meetup.com and always keeping an eye on Eventbrite.
2. Prepare your Pitch
Whether you are attending a small meetup or a large event, basically you will have less than one minute to introduce yourself, your role, your company and what you are looking for. And yes, at the same time you have to try not to sound like a robot, stay smiley and do not rush too much because people would not understand what you are saying. Think of 150-250 words for your pitch and practice a couple of times before your event. It sounds hard, but after a couple of events, it will become more natural and you will sound more fluent.
3. Listen and show that you are actually listening
People love to talk about themselves, so let them talk and express themselves. Also, show real interest and keep asking questions. This will give you a better understanding of their needs. In the end, this would probably be your best chance to offer your service in a better-personalized way.
4. LinkedIn is your new best friend
The era of bringing 50 of your business cards is getting to the end and we are all glad about that. It saves a lot of time because it is a lot of work to enter all the contacts from one night to an excel sheet, and it also saves the environment. Even in the small things we have to stop wasting paper that we do not really need. So get your phone charged with your LinkedIn App, so you can add everyone you met instantly.
5. Forget about your diet
The favourite menu of every event: pizza, beer, and pop. If you are trying to run for a marathon in a couple of months or just trying to lose some weight, be sure to eat at home because networking events are not a synonym of healthiness. Sometimes there are some apples or bananas, it is not really common though.
6. Avoid being too “salesy”
Yes, we all are trying to sell our service/product and cannot wait to get a chance to talk and mention how unique an amazing our company is, but if you only try to sell your services, people will notice that therefore you could lose a lot of key opportunities. Be casual and friendly in the conversation (not every conversation will convert in your annual sales). Just relax and let the conversation flow.
7. Post it!
In order to increase your brand’s presence, it will be very important to post your work on your social media channels and identify which are the most popular ones within your current market. Be sure to include pictures and hashtags.
8. Submit the info ASAP
After an event, you will probably talk to around 10 to 15 people about very different topics and concerns. A good way to not forget important info is to create a very simple excel sheet with Name, Company and a column of “Notes” with a short summary of what you spoke about with every person.
You don’t have to send a very long email attaching a great proposal right after the event. A simple “It was nice to meet you yesterday at XXX” will open the next steps of your business relations.
10. Build the relation up
Be sure to stay in touch with the person that you met. If someone asks you for something, in particular, try to send it within the next couple of days after the event, forgetting and putting it off will make the relationship go cold. The best way after you’ve met someone is to meet for some coffee to keep on talking in a more casual way. Maybe you don't win a client, but you can make a friend.
I really hope this can help you build more business relations and avoid some embarrassing moments. Also, I would love to get your feedback and personal experiences.
Have a nice networking time in Toronto!