With the 2013 upcoming National Minority Supplier Development Council Annual Business and Opportunity Fair in San Antonio, TX on October 27th-30th, it is important for businesses to plan their attendance and prepare for the event. As a minority supplier that has been in business for 25 years, we wanted to provide other MBE’s with a few tips before the event on how to get the most out of your attendance.
For smaller companies, the registration and traveling costs can be a determining factor on whether you are attending or not. You may find yourself asking the following questions: Will the investment be of value? If there are traveling costs aside from the registration itself, will it be worth staying for the full event? Am I prepared to go alone?
The bottom line is, if you are a certified minority business or considering certification, this is “the” event you’ll want to attend. Supplier Diversity has been on the rise and almost all Fortune 500 companies have a Supplier Diversity manager dedicated to connecting with MBE’s, and most of them will be at this event. So if there is a particular company that you have been targeting, this is your chance to introduce yourself to their Supplier Diversity team.
Approximately 700 people attend this national event every year. This means there will be others vying for the attention of Supplier Diversity Managers. How do you navigate the event and make sure that you stand out compared to your competition? You need a plan. Here are a few tips:
- Take a look at the attendee list on the conference website and create a list of companies to target. Consider criteria such as geographic alignment, usage levels, etc. Then find their booth location on the conference map to save time when you get there.
- Make sure you’ve visited each company’s website and researched the “what we buy” tab. You want to make sure that the companies you are targeting buy the service or product you sell. Make sure you are registered with them as well.
- Send out an introduction email to the Supplier Diversity Manager for each company you are targeting. Let them know you will be stopping by their booth to say “hi” and to learn more about their program.
- Once you make it to their booth, have a list of questions ready that you would like to get answered. These questions should be information that you are not able to find on their website. Questions regarding the bid process, names of buyers, etc. are good examples.
- Leverage those who you already know. Your current customers are quite often your best marketing tool. People talk and if you have a proven track record with current clients, they will very likely recommend you to other companies. These references are golden. Don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation or reference from one of your current clients if they know someone at one of your target companies.
These are just a few of the things that will make your attendance at the NMSD Council Annual Business and Opportunity Fair more productive. We believe in the success of all MBE’s and hope that these tips are of value.
ATR will be exhibiting and would love for you to stop by our booth at #1218. Also, be on the lookout for an upcoming eGuide on the business benefits of being a minority business. Safe travels to all. We look forward to seeing you at the NMSDC Opportunity Fair.
Corporate Outreach Manager