trade show


Participating in an overseas trade show


Before you exhibit overseas consider these valuable tips.
For the most part, they are applicable whether you enter exhibitions alone or in co-operation with a government body.

Select a market with care: Study the market before you decide to enter an overseas trade show. You will find that most government agencies have publications and statistics that are helpful. Trade associations, chambers of commerce, foreign consulates also can assist you.

For example, the Australian government trade commission Austrade for Australian exporters and information for companies wanting to do business with Australia is a good source to start with.

Decide your objectives: Why do you want to exhibit ? Are you looking for on-the-spot sales or new customers ? Do you want to introduce a new product or service ? Do you want to find representatives or distributors ? Are you interested in a joint venture or licensing arrangements ? Perhaps you want to exhibit in order to gain exposure or study the market. Whether you will be represented by one of your own sales people, a representative, or distributor, it is essential that you clearly establish and communicate to this individual your reasons for exhibiting and the results you expect during and after the trade show.

Learn all you can about the exhibition: If it is a trade fair, ask the organisers of the event for a catalogue of the previous event. Get the opinions of past exhibitors. Attendance figures are important and can indicate whether a trade show attracts local, national, or international business people. Make certain that no other fair is scheduled that may be better known or more appropriate for your products.

Establish a Budget: Make sure you budget includes total costs, not just space and design expenses. Keeping track of expenses will help you budget better next time and facilitate your evaluation of the show's worth.

Decide who will staff your exhibit: Your representative should be a decisionmaker, authorised to transact business. If your product is highly technical, think about sending along an engineer. Even if your overseas representative will be at your stand, consider sending someone over to add prestige, lend a hand, evaluate and train your representative, and observe the competition.

If you are seeking an overseas representative, invite several candidates to your exhibit for interviews, and then visit the more promising ones before making a final decision. No matter who represents you, make sure you clearly explain the objectives of your participation.

Request a good location: The earlier you apply for space the better. Make certain you know all the trade show's rules, exhibiting hours, shipping regulations, design guidelines, and the utilities, services, and facilities available to you. Don't wait until you get to the exhibition to read important literature.

Consult early with exhibit designer: Your budget, objectives, and desired impression will be important influences on what your exhibit looks like. Will you be showing one or two new products or your entireline ? Do you want visitors to move through quickly or linger and talk ? If you want to distribute literature or have visitors register, make certain these activities are considered in your exhibit design. For a more effective exhibit, highlight some new product. Remember, an outstanding exhibit cannot be put together overnight.

Plan your trip: Decide what other markets you might visit before or after the exhibition, often at no increase in the air fare. Obtain confirmed hotel reservations as soon as your travel plans are firm. Be sure you have a valid passport with current visas and your immunisation record is up to date.

Select a freight forwarder: Trade shows often designate "official" freight forwarders, caterers, maintenance and other service companies. Contact these organisations early to determine their charges and services, make arrangements with them and, get their advice as required. Check on import duties, trade restrictions, required documentation.

Initiate promotional activities well in advance: The first step should be to apply for a listing and to consider an advertisement in the official trade show catalogue. Many visitors to a trade show base their schedule of visits to exhibitors on the official show directory.  Other ways of attracting prospects to your stand are direct mail invitations, personal contact, and advertising in trade magazines.



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Next article:Actions during and after the trade show


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Participating in an overseas trade show.

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