Shop Engineers Networking Process for Finding New Customers

What began as a regular meeting in the shop’s own facility has turned into a regular event connecting businesses in the Calgary area.

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Kevin Saruwatari of custom machine builder Qsine Incorporated in Calgary, Alberta recently wrote to share a new process his company had recently developed.  It’s not a process for manufacturing more efficiently, but potentially a process for searching for new business more effectively.  Mr. Saruwatari writes:

Last year when the recession hit hard, we were looking for opportunities to break into new fields with new customers. The big obstacle, of course, was not having the required contacts or relationships.

I started with a meeting with 12 of my suppliers and customers, and introduced them to each other. I set up the meeting so that they could stand up, tell everyone who they were and what they did and, most importantly, what they needed to make progress. I said if they liked the meeting and wanted to do this in a way that let them meet even more people, to bring a friend to the next meeting.

Now, this gathering has grown from meetings of 10-30 people in my shop every 6 weeks to a full-on speed-networking event at 4 venues around Calgary with 50-70 people at each event. Starting soon, there will be a meeting every week. These events are no-frills, with no-charge for participants. Two of my guys and me together have met close to 1,000 people in the last year through the meetings and referrals.

We are digging up stainless steel work in commercial construction and architecture, which is a field we have never worked in before.

Of course, we meet a lot of people who seem like they are of no use to us, but the point is that we are trying to meet not just the people who come to the meeting, but also the people they know. This sounds obvious, but it is a difficult thing to do.

For more information about these networking events, see Qsine’s website at http://qsine.ca/?page=InEvents
 

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