Prepare for virtual Meet the Buyer events
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supplier Development Programme is supporting our membership organisations in organising Meet the Buyer and Meet the 'Real' Buyer events through an online platform. These virtual events aim to be a one-stop-shop for SMEs that want to do business with the public sector and introduce themselves to Buyers, as well as engage with potential supply chain opportunities. So, how can you optimise your time on the day?
Follow these steps to prepare in advance for SDP's virtual Meet the Buyer and Meet the 'Real' Buyer events.
- Do your homework! Look at the listed Buyers on the event page, consider which Buyers you wish to meet, go to their websites, read their contract procurement reports, and have a look at their contract registers to see if they buy things that your business offers already – and make a note of the dates these expire. The SDP’s guide to “Who buys what in Scotland?” would be a good starting point, and be sure to do an internet search for a specific Buyer’s Contract Register.
- Prepare an informal verbal introduction of your business and what you can provide or supply to the public sector. If you have questions for a specific Buyer, or about potential upcoming contract, framework or Quick Quote opportunities, make a note of these.
- Prepare your contact information in advance! When you connect with a Buyer or another supplier on the day, you'll automatically exchange your contact information. As this is an online event, you'll be asked to fill in settings which will auto-populate with the information you've already provided at registration. However, you can optionally add a profile picture, an "About Me" summary which you can use to include a summary of your business, and links to your social media accounts. Why not write your summary now, and have your logo or image ready to go on the day? The Supplier Development Programme has developed a downloadable template to get you started, or you can create your own. You can also view an example of this SME’s A4 summary as a .pdf document. (Please note: you will not be able to upload this document to your profile, but you will be able to copy and paste the information into the "About Me" summary section - 100 words max!)
- Join the portal in advance, and familiarise yourself with it! Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation of your booking. Along with a "how-to" guide that will introduce you to the online portal, your link and login information will then be sent a few days prior to the event. Read the how-to guide (it is there to help you!) and then you can join the portal to add to your "About Me" information, a photo or logo, and social media information. You can also begin to make connections with others who have registered for the event, including buyers, but these invitations to connect will not be accepted until the online event is live on the day.
- A few days before, visit the event page on the SDP website. Make a note of which Buyers you would like to engage with, questions you want to ask, and rehearse your informal verbal introduction of your business.
- On the day, join the queues at the virtual exhibition stands and download Buyers' digital leaflets, flyers and information. Buyers are encouraged to display upcoming tender opportunities, business support and other useful information that you can download and read while you wait.
- Make a point to connect with other suppliers in the Meeting Hub. Be sure to introduce yourself and "connect" to exchange contact details with other potential suppliers attending the event. (They could become your next customer!)
- Export the contacts you have made from the top right corner of the portal. As this is a virtual event, you'll be able to download the contact information summary from everyone you've connected with during the day - buyers and suppliers alike. You can follow up on conversations and plan future potential business.
- Finally, be sure to register for free tender training with the Supplier Development Programme! Now that you've found out all the information you need on future public sector contracts, why not take the next step and improve your bidding skills with SDP's expert trainers? Browse the free tender training on offer from SDP!
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to "seeing" you at our virtual Meet the Buyer and Meet the 'Real' Buyer events!
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