Traditional trade cultures like China, India and the Orient as a whole made use of matchmakers even thousands of years ago. They considered themselves couplers and introduces business people from their extensive networks to one another. Today the extent of this service ranges from governmental networking events in EU countries and the U.S. to matchmaking events by interest groups such as the African mining industry and business matching within the framework of trade fairs and conventions. The leading companies in an industry as well as retailers, potential customers and experts meet here depending on the respective event.
According to Alan Ballak, who was Trade Commissioner for the Canadian government for 15 years and now organizes matchmaking events, event specific business matchmaking has an average rate of effectiveness of 65-75%. This experience with event induced facilitation of contacts, which Messe Frankfurt has been collecting for more than 750 years, is now also increasingly benefitting exhibitors, trade visitors and conference participants by way of internet based business matching services provided by the trade fair companies. These services are provided in the form of online platforms, which provide new business contacts within a specific industry or even across industries.
Business matching pays off, because relatively little time and money are required to find new contacts. “The principle of business matching is more comparable to matchmakers than to a dating agency or a social network”, says Dr. Ulrich Thieme, Director of the Business Portal productpilot.com. “Participants do not have to actively engage in searches or make contact to determine whether they are compatible in even the most basic ways.” Business matching compares individual parameters of the participants in advance and then only finds contacts that match to a certain degree according to a topic or profile oriented algorithm.
As in offline events, the providers of online business matching portals require in-depth information pertaining to the participants, their areas of competency, current business priorities, offerings, requirements and contact interests. Among other things, the online portals have the advantage of being able simply click to view a detailed profile of potential matches and thus quickly gain more information about the new contact.
Business matching portals are gaining increasing popularity due to three primary aspects:
- They are ideally suited to establishing international contacts and business opportunities because they are independent from time and location.
- Depending on requirements, services include industry specific offerings (e.g. “Texworld” for the textile industry) and portals that cover several industries to provide contacts “beyond one’s own nose”.
- Internet users meet at eye level. This increases the opportunities for small and medium-sized companies to contact and do business with global players.