When you are a handler or a dog breeder attending a dog show, things can get very weird. The first times, you usually speak to very few people and when you do, it is a pretty plain conversation. But it does not have to be that way!
Don’t waste such amazing opportunities to make valuable connections with pet brands, other fellow breeders and showers, and breed fanciers. Pet exhibitions and dog shows have all the best people in the dog world under the same roof.
So let’s make things happen, even if you are an introvert or have a shy personality!
#1 — Knock! Knock! Who’s there?
Once you have the ticket booked, it’s time to visit the dog show’s website and find a list of the brands and people attending. By knowing who is there you can come up with a plan and figure out who you should ignore, contact and definitely meet up with.
Make that shortlist based on your future plans. Are you a dog breeder looking for new champions to complement your own bloodlines? Are you searching for partnerships with pet brands for your dog blog?
#2 — Speak To The Key People Ahead Of The Event
Once you have a shortlist of both brands and people, you need to do your homework. To put it simply, you need to get in touch with the key contacts you shortlisted earlier on.
With dog breeders, judges, organizers, and other people attending the event, it’s quite easy. Their names, emails and other contact details are usually available online and on social media.
For companies, you probably have to message them and ask for the contact details of their attendees. Be honest and explain that you will also attend the event and simply want to touch base with them beforehand.
#3 — Keep Your Head Up (And Make Eye Contact)
It’s the D-Day. You just arrived there and you have a list of the key people to meet and greet, and you already have connected with some of them beforehand.
But what about serendipity? At the event itself, you’ve got to ignore your phone and enjoy what is going on around you. Keep you head up, look at people, smile at people. Eye contact is vital.
Dogs and pets are the most amazing ice-breakers and conversation-igniters so talk about them through anecdotes and storytelling. People also love it when their pooch receives compliments.
After attending several events, you will naturally gravitate around relevant people, and ignore the average Joe’s. There is no guide, it’s just a perfect dose of of experience, cold reading and common sense.
#4 — Don’t Make It All About You
During the first few events, it is easy to talk about yourself, your own dogs, your own future projects and ambitions. But try and make the focus about other people and how you can be of service.
Some of your interlocutors may just be shy and let you talk endlessly. Ask them some questions, make them talk about their dog breeding adventure, their company, their dogs, their future plans, and so on.
Adapt your talk to each person you speak to. Chatting with a dog breeder shouldn’t be the same as chatting with a pet insurance representative.
#5 — Follow-Up With Each Contact You Made
Having collected phone numbers, names and email addresses is good but it’s just the beginning. Meeting somebody is what starts the professional relationship.
The days after, you must follow up with each person you have connected with. Getting loads of contacts is just like knowing your alphabet. What matters is what you do with it.
Obviously, you have different aspirations compared to each contact you have but regardless of what motivates you, be consistent with your follow ups. Never message the next day, and then never again. Following up is a regular action to do over weeks and months until the relationship is strong enough to endure time.
Staying in touch can also be easy due to social media! Add each person on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn as soon as you can.
#6 — Give, Give, Give, Then Ask
And eventually, it’s time to shine.
Most human-beings are selfish without even knowing it — they will ask for a favor shortly after they meet somebody. They will disguise it into something that should be great for their contact but people can sense this.
When you follow up with somebody, ask them genuinely how can you make their life easier. Don’t just do it to ask for something yourself. Do it out of pure selflessness.
Then, the day it is your turn to ask for something, you can. Some will help you, some will ignore you, but this is what life is about. Don’t expect much from the people you meet, then you can only be positively surprised!
Breeding Business is your headquarters for all the inspirational articles and resources you need to grow your dog breeding business.