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
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
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. http://www.austrade.gov.au/
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
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
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
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
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Next article:Actions during and after the trade show
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Participating in an overseas trade show.