9 business days…

It is only 9 business days until the bi-annual LV Meet the Buyers Expo.

What could you do for your business in 9 days that would equate to the ability to meet over 45+ procurement professionals and business organization specialists at the Expo?

If you are like most small businesses, it is a challenge to find the time to make a (cold) call, let alone follow up the voice message that you leave.  Then, you may or may not have the success of talking to someone. It may take you a week just to make a few calls, and maybe talk to one, if you are fortunate.

This Expo is all about “getting the door opened.”  And, there is no better way then face to face.  You may not need or want to visit all 45+; however, if you plan your Expo visit in advance, the time you spend will be more beneficial then any phone call efforts in a quarter or year!

Take some time, look at what Buyers are attending, review the products/services being sought, research the company on the internet and find where your business is a match OR where you might fulfill a niche need.

And, get prepared – represent your business with the best possible presence – your elevator pitch, your business card, capability statement and what else you feel is appropriate.  Practice your pitch. You will have 3-5 minutes with your initial contact.

However, if you stick around after the early crowd, you may just get the opportunity to follow up and reinforce your interest in working with that company.

Have you ever not responded to solicitation calls?

In today’s busy business environment, everyone (including procurement folks) has an overflowing list of responsibilities.  And, as a small business owner, you know what it is like to get solicitations from sources that you don’t know and have no time to investigate. Therefore, everyone tends to go with whom they know best or have relied on in the past.
Introducing a new option into the mix takes time to investigate and to develop a level of comfort.

The beauty of an event such as Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo is that in a concise period of time both procurement professionals and interested businesses can meet face to face.  This is much better than an email, phone call or cold call effort.  The Expo provides a comfortable environment to meet, start a conversation and to begin to build that all important relationship.  Business opportunities today are built on having relationships and finding ways to help businesses be more successful.

As an attendee to this event, it is important to be prepared and do your “due diligence.”
Once you have your business materials together (business cards, capability statement and a succinct introduction), spend  time  researching those companies you want to meet. This research should include reviewing the information on the “Buyers Attending” section, going to the company’s website, and performing an internet search. With this information you should be prepared to share with the procurement professional how your product or service would be beneficial in helping the company.

Although some of these larger companies may be completely satisfied with their current vendor, you may offer providing a “back-up” opportunity,as a secondary supply source.

We don’t always need to be in the primary slot…sometimes being a back- up can become a very valued relationship.

Less than a month, will you be ready?

Probably the most affordable and effective business development opportunity occurs October 18th – less than a month away.  Upward of 45 procurement professionals, business organizations plus enlightened sponsors will be in one location with the purpose of meeting area small businesses.

Affordable – if you register to attend prior to October 11th, only $35.

Effective – On this website is a list of the attending buyers with the types of products or services being sought – take time to review and determine which ones would be most appropriate for you to “support.”  It is ineffective to think that you can meet all of them and obtain business opportunities.  Be selective and do your research!

Their list may not include services or products that you offer, but you feel your business could be of value to them…take your research a step further and visit their website, look at what they are doing/supporting/promoting – I bet you can find an opportunity .

Here is just a short list of products/services that are being sought:
promotional products, printing services, medical supplies, construction services & supplies, administrative support service, office supplies, analytical equipment, process control equipment, engineering services, maintenance services, marketing services, pallets, computer equipment, chemicals, limo services, recycling services, surveying, security services, environmental, safety…

Be prepared – have you elevator speech, business card, and succinct information to leave behind…use your 3-5 minutes to impress them with your ability to help them. If the procurement professional at the Expo is representing multiple areas for the company, find out the specific person/department that you should follow up with.

Check out the videos on this website if you want more information on “preparing.”

Then, follow up after the Expo.

TIP:  The Expo floor opens at 8:30 am and most attendees seem to want to be there right at start time; however, the Buyers are available until 12:30 – you may want to pace your visit and possibly, increase your face time.

33 days and counting

As you begin to prepare to attend this year’s Expo, please keep in mind those organizations and businesses that help to make this happen.  In addition to the 10 collaborative partners who organize and coordinate this Expo each time, there are the sponsors – these organizations help to keep the cost of the registration down.  Other events like this could have a registration fee of $100 or more; some up to $200!  Until October 11th, the registration fee for this Expo is $35.

Here are those that recognize the importance and value of an event like this for the Lehigh Valley business community.  Please consider them when making a decision about a service or product for your business.

Premiere Sponsor – Key Bank*
Platinum Sponsor –  Wells Fargo Bank*
Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council
Diamond Sponsor – PPL*
Sands Bethlehem*
CMorganelli Designs*
AllPoints Images
Working Dog Press
EBC Printing

Emerald Sponsor – Handlon Business Resources*

*denotes those that have supported all three expos – 2013, 2015, 2017

34 days and counting

The 2017 Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo is only 34 days away.  Just enough time for you to start your research on which companies to meet, view the videos on this site to help you get your collateral materials and pitch prepared, and of course, register before the fee increases from $35 – $45 (October 11).

A pre-expo workshop has just been announced entitled ” Why respond to an RFP?”
If you have ever undertaken this effort, you’ll understand why it is important to know how to prepare a proper submission.  With a panel of procurement professionals you will learn the hows, whys, tips, etc.  Workshop is free and seating is limited.  Registration deadline is September 28th.  Click here to register online:

Date:                    Wednesday, October 3, 2017
Time:                    4-6:30 PM
Location:             Guardian Life Insurance of America
6255 Sterner’s Way, Bethlehem PA 18017

Don’t delay – register today for the Expo and the workshop!
Each must be registered separately.

In two months…

The third bi-annual Lehigh Valley Meet the Buyers Expo will be here soon – October 18th.  This  “reverse trade show” is a fantastic opportunity for greater Lehigh Valley businesses to meet  – regardless of size – small, medium or big!

For small and medium businesses, please review the list of “Buyers Attending” to begin your research as to whom to target on this day.  And, be prepared – check out the informational videos on this website.

For big businesses, this is a great opportunity to find some niche sourcers and/or second sourcers for your products/services.  Having a sourcer close by could help carry you through a situation in which your primary sourcer can’t deliver.

This event happens only every two years, so take advantage of this opportunity in 2017.