Building Meaningful Relationships At Dog Shows

  • 04/07/2016
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Going to a dog show or pet exhibition is the perfect time to build and grow your network of valuable contacts. Pet food brands, dog chew manufacturers as well as pet insurances and breeders will be available for a casual chat.

However, too many of us are excited to attend shows to then be petrified the minute you arrive. It’s noisy, people seem to know each other and we feel like we are an anomaly.

So here are great tips for your to build meaningful relationships at pet shows.

Prepare — Know Who To Speak To

Most, if not all, dog shows list all the exhibitors and dog breeders that will be attending the event. They tell you where they are located and the days they will be present.

Do your homework and contact these brands or influencers ahead of time just to casually let them know you will be there, too.

If you need to get that must-have appointment, email the brand representative directly, otherwise a simple tweet should be enough. You then have a name and a point of contact for the day of the event.

Keep Your Head Up — Smile Back, Smile First

Unfortunately, all the expectations and target we set ourselves may vanish on the day itself:

  • we get stuck with somebody for too long
  • we look at our phone for hours on ends
  • we ignore some potential valuable contacts
  • and so on.

Set numbered targets so you keep yourself grounded throughout the day. Have a clear list of the people and companies you must engage with, and do it as early as possible.

Leave the last hours for serendipity: get your eye contact game ready, smile back and smile first. You never know who visits the event! You will meet incredible people whom you will never do business with, but grow together instead.

Don’t spam with business cards, you want to find that one-mile deep relationship rather than dozens of sterile ones. Be genuine and ask questions. Let people tell you what they do and need within that pet industry and explain them how you can help them.

Whether you speak about food scandals, their dog breeding programme or pet insurance, there’s always a good dog story to throw in there.

Follow-Up — Give, Give, Give, Then Ask!

The day after the event is crucial. Email or text each contact while avoiding being too generic. Just put a sentence about a pet anecdote or dog supply you were discussing at the event. You’ve got to stand out.

Social medias are awesome for staying on top of someone’s mind without being pushy or harassing. Add them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn as soon as you can.

Over the first few interactions, show each person that you truly care about their endeavors. Don’t do it backhandedly, be honest and open about it. Yes, you also have endeavors but in order to build that relationship, you want to assist them in theirs, first.

Wrap Up

Be interesting as much as interested. Pets are awesome ice-breakers and they come with unlimited anecdotes to share. And if you feel a little overwhelmed, the targets you have set yourself will keep you in check throughout your day!

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