Being a (pure evil) business developer #8: who cares about business cards anyway?

Hello dear readers, how are you in this unusually warm November? (yes, the greenhouse effect will kill us all, if we don’t do anything right now!

I’m pretty fine, if we don’t count my right ankle, which I sprained badly. But the injury allows me to work remotely, hence I have a little more time than usual to think about the blog post!

In the last entry called “industry events survival guide”, I promised that I’ll “dig dipper into preparations for fairs, especially when your company aims to present your project to players, other members of the industry, investors and business developers.” As a (pure evil) business developer I don’t keep my every promise, obviously, but this time I decided to write exactly about preparations, especially because I was attending Game Connection Europe in Paris this year and this is of course one of the most important b2b event in our industry.

To be more specific, It was my fourth GCE in a row. I started in 2015, when I was to-be-hired by Techland and the business development wanted me so badly (a joke, my ego is all right, thanks) that they asked me to go to Paris, even though I had my duties as a gaming journalist. My editor-in-chief agreed and I went to GCE, half-journalist, half-wannabe business developer and I was terrified. First of all because I knew it was a test and Techland’s BD, Agnieszka, one of the best BD’s I’ve ever met in my life, was to see if I’m even capable of performing this job and oh boy! She was harsh! Secondly, I knew that I will receive a lot of information, which should not be obtained by a journalist. So, I was afraid that I’ll accidentally reveal some details, which were supposed to be given only to publishers and business partners, not gamers, reading the biggest Polish information service…

Still, all went fine and it was my first b2b event as a business developer…

Now, in 2018, I’m already treated as some kind of a veteran, after participating in many fairs around the world, including in four Game Connection Europe events in a row. And after all these travels and meetings, this year I thought that I finally started began to understand, how to prepare for all these meeting properly, as well as to find the right balance between all the necessary, professional duties and, well, the whole rest, including regular conversations, meeting people, learning their opinions regarding important, but also private stuff and even sightseeing, eating and resting, which is important if you want to be optimally prepared. Hence, based on all this experience, I’d like to share some advices regarding more detailed preparations for meetings at industry events. Here we go:

1. Most of you might think that number 1 should be: “make sure you have your business cards handy.” Well, I’m telling you it’s not a priority really. I had so many meetings, during which our partners simply forgot to bring business cards with them or didn’t have any left, or, let me be honest here, they didn’t care. Seriously, with all the social medias nowadays, LinkedIn and other, alternative “ego boosters” similar to LI, forgetting a business card is not a crime. It’s important ot be able to present yourself in such a way, thanks to which you’ll be remembered (in a positive meaning, of course). It’s also extremely important to know exactly, who you are meeting and to find as many important facts regarding the person’s professional history as possible. You’ll soon find out that a business card is usually an expensive, yet possibly fancy, gadget.

2. Bring a professional, compact presentation of your company and learn it – couple of well-designed slides made in and your charismatic skills make the best impression and help potential partners appreciate the sole possibility of cooperating with you and your company. Make sure you don’t spend more than 5 minutes talking, as human’s focus is fugacious and all meetings are usually 30 minutes long at max, so it’s really hard to keep your partners’ attention if your boring and / or don’t really know what you’re talking about

3. Make your homework – be prepared for every meeting as it was the most important meeting of your life – learn about the company and what they’re looking for, don’t throw around tons of not important details, focus only on the significant areas and you’ll be satisfied with great follow-ups, I promise!

4. Limit the number of meetings – don’t accept invitations from all outsourcing companies “just in case they’d be useful in the future”. If you’ll need any service in the future, you’ll find it easily, and their representatives at meetings won’t tell you more, than you can find out yourself on their website really. Maybe except prices, but you already know they’re expensive, aren’t they? Also, don’t try to schedule a meeting with every publisher / VC / distributor. You should have a solid plan, showing exactly to you and your board, what your goals are, why do you even go to Paris / San Francisco / Krakow / Los Angeles etc. It might seem naive, but many people go to a b2b event without any real agenda – they have some meetings, but they don’t believe they will give any real value. They’re just trying to grab an opportunity. And don’t get me wrong – it’s important to have your eyes and ears open, but please, maximize your events by looking for partners you really need. And when the success comes, opportunities will appear, you can be sure of that.

5. Make notes – a meeting is one thing and the follow up is another. If you have around 40 meeting in three days, you probably won’t be able to remember all the details from all of them. I know I wrote about making notes in one of the posts before, but I believe it’s important to remind people how important that is. Even if you make a great first impression, a poor follows up can easily ruin everything you’ve already done to make sure you have a good start when it comes to signing an agreement.

I think that’s enough for now, I really don’t want your focus to disappear, right? 🙂

We will meet in another blog entry soon and I’m sure you’re already waiting for a crappy motivational quote, as always. Well, here it goes: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement!” I don’t know who wrote it down first and I really don’t care. It just makes tears flow all the way down on my cheek 😛

All the best to you!