Forwarders want to meet you. Make your appointment!
For those of us who attend many freight forwarder networking conferences every year we have gotten used to the fact that people cut meetings. In fact, in the second afternoons of most events the event floors are dead. It doesn’t matter how few or how many people come to the meetings. Why is this? People don’t make their appointments. And this is idiotic if you ask me. Let me give you three good reasons for saying that:
When you don’t show up for a meeting you make a truly bad impression. I cannot tell you how many times that I have had people asking me where someone who missed a meeting with them is. Their opinion of you as a person is devalued as well as your company’s image. But when a few attendees start talking among themselves about you not attended both their meetings then you get a name for it. It makes you seem unreliable. And why would you invest money in a meeting only to do damage to your company’s image? Most people wouldn’t.
Socializing doesn’t get it all done. Many a time I have been told that “I don’t need to see so-and-so again. We talked out everything we needed to as at a cigarette break.” Or “I sat next to that guy at dinner. I don’t need to see him now.” Socialization is the cement in our meetings. It is why we give all of the opportunities to have coffee breaks, cocktails and dinners together. But the talk here is just random. The bricks are the one-on-one meetings themselves. This is where you can get structured details about the companies there to see you. This is where the business gets fleshed out. Why swap that for a cigarette break, especially since you are paying for it? Which brings us the next point…
When you skip appointments you waste your company’s time and money. These events, though very cost effective when you consider how much you would need to spend to see all the agents you would need to see, are still not cheap. So if you are skipping meetings you definitely don’t get the most from the investment the company made in your trip. You leave business on the table that many times you don’t even realize.
Let’s face it. Even if there is a company who’s made an appointment with you who you don’t see yourself doing business with it is still worth it to go to that meeting because you get a chance to make a great impression. And if you make a good impression those people can become your ambassadors. And whenever you have someone else singing your praises that is money well spent. So at a logistics conference make sure to make all of the meetings. You will learn about your partner companies, you will see opportunities for new business and you might even create friends who will sell your company’s services for you. And isn’t that why you sign up for the meetings anyway?
Gary Dale Cearley is the Managing Director of Advanced International Networks Ltd. (AIN), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic business-to-business networking organizations in the world. AIN’s networks include AerOceaNetwork (AON), XLProjects Network (XLP), and AiO Logistics Network. Gary Dale has been in many facets of international freight forwarding for more than two decades from operations to sales to the owner of the first 100% foreign owned freight forwarding company licensed in Vietnam. The companies that he has been involved with have been both generalists and specialists. He has also worked from large European and Asian multinationals (Danzas and Hankyu Express) as well has small start up forwarders. For the past ten years Gary Dale has owned and operated AIN. He has lived in several major cities in four different countries and he is multilingual. Currently Gary Dale runs the AIN operation from Bangkok, Thailand, but travels the world over.