11/24/15: Tips for Successful Business Matchmaking

Preparation is Key
Business matchmaking is an excellent opportunity for business owners to pitch their products and services in brief, one-on-one interviews arranged with corporations looking to increase their supplier and second tier lists.

Every year The Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO) offers matchmaking opportunities at the Annual Breakthrough Breakfast and Procurement Fair, as well as at smaller targeted programs. Learn more about WPEO programs here.

Keep in mind that corporations participate in matchmaking because they have specific opportunities available. So make the most of your session.

Here is a list of 10 tips for successful business matchmaking:
1. Check in Early
Confirm your scheduled appointment in advance with program organizers.

2. Time Management/Watch the Clock!
Arrive on time. Usually only 15 minutes is allocated for each matchmaking appointment and you want to make the best use of your session.

3. Bring takeaway materials
Don’t forget to bring business cards, brochures, capabilities statement, and any other supporting materials.

4. Do your homework
Once you have confirmed your appointment and identified which corporations you will be meeting with, learn as much as you can about them. Be sure to visit their supplier diversity websites and register as a WBE.

5. Have a great capabilities statement
Capability statements include three sections:
• Core competencies: your main expertise and how it specifically relates to the work for which you are applying.
• Past performance: instances of similar work and for whom it was done.
• Differentiators: clarification of what sets your company apart from your competition and why your company is uniquely well-suited for the job.

6. Plan ahead
Consider the specific types of opportunities these corporations have available. Be prepared to clearly and concisely explain how you can provide the best solution.

7. Practice, practice, practice
Practice your pitch out loud and often before meeting a potential client. Remember you only have 15 minutes to make a memorable impression. Be prepared with an “elevator pitch” that briefly highlights business capabilities, certifications, customers, past performance and your unique sales proposition.

8. Exchange contact information
Make sure to exchange contact information before you leave.

9. Follow up
Following up is critical. Write a thank you note promptly and determine your follow-up plan for arranging subsequent meetings or conference calls.

10. Dress appropriately in professional attire

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