Get ready to network, even while travelling
It’s like that saying: you don’t know what you need until you need it. Being prepared to network can be kind of the same. You might not give it a thought until there’s an opportunity right in front of you.
When travelling for work, that opportunity could be at any point. Or, you might like to be proactive and seek out the opportunities. Either way, we spoke to Arash Ketabchi, our State Assistant Sales Leader for Queensland and Northern Territory, for his insights into networking while you’re travelling.
Always be ready to network
You never know when or where you’re going to meet someone and get chatting, so it’s important to be prepared with business cards and a good online presence.
“Have your business cards on you at all times and keep your online profiles updated. Have a LinkedIn profile and active social pages so when you meet someone you can connect with confidence, or they can find you online easily,” says Arash.
Having a professional presentation through these tools helps create trust in you and your brand, and people will be more open to what you have to say.
Rehearse your elevator pitch
Know what you do, who you do it for and why you do it. It might feel awkward to practice this, but you’ll be glad you did when you need to introduce and sell yourself in two minutes flat.
“People will want to know what your point of difference is, or you wow factor; they want to know how you will add value. You need to know who your market is and what’s important to them, so you can offer them the solutions to their problems,” says Arash.
Know where you’re going
You’re all set to network. The next step is to understand what the business environment is like where you’re going. Do your due diligence to find out what’s happening and what’s on the agenda.
“The majority of cities or regional locations will have their industries and issues. For example, in Brisbane there are opportunities for start-ups and SMEs, but North Queensland has a significant mining industry. And in terms of issues, the shortage of water is an issue affecting so many people; consider its impact on the people and businesses where you’re going,” says Arash.
It’s also good to find out the way people like to do business and who with.
“In major cities, people are more receptive to talking to representatives from companies, but in regional towns people might prefer to speak with a local or talk on a more personal, individual level,” says Arash.
Attend local networking events
Every major city has networking events going on in the evenings, especially during the week. And there are organisations that operate solely to facilitate these. If you’re looking to connect with like-minded people in your industry, look up a local business hub that suits you in the city you’re going to.
“Each business hub has its own community, and organisers are always looking for new businesses to introduce to their network of members. Look them up, research who their membership base is, and get involved,” says Arash.
If you’re considering entering a new market or industry, checking out events for that industry can be an invaluable way to get an insight into what others are doing.
Look up international Chambers
Whether you’re looking at moving your operations overseas or expanding into an international market, your first point of call should be the local commerce Chamber, which is dedicated to the growth of business in their area.
“These organisations can give you a lot of information about business attitudes, how local businesses like to go about business, and ultimately, where to start,” says Arash.
From national bodies, like the American Chamber of Commerce, to local regions and cities, there’s likely to be an organisation specifically for where you’re headed. And the big ones might even have an office in your state’s capital city.
Network close to home
If you’re looking to expand your network closer to home, you don’t have to look far. Start with your current network and consider which businesses can introduce you to others.
“Service providers like Flight Centre Business Travel are committed to helping businesses grow, so we aim to connect people through our own events, like Christmas functions. If you’re just starting out or even established and looking for new leads, attending events held by your clients or service providers is a great opportunity to connect with others,” says Arash.
Because it’s not always about what they can sell to you; they are often looking for ways to add value for their customers, and you should take advantage of that.
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