Trade fairs and exhibitions are the key channels to introduce and promote exporters’ products and services to potential buyers. Many exporters are aware of this but how many are doing it right? For most exporters, preparation for participation in trade fairs has always been to focus on the exhibition days alone while some don’t even bother to prepare.
Thus, the end result is likely a dismal outing – fewer visitors, low or no sales and worse still, pointing fingers on trade fair organizers for the poor visitor traffic. Below are some preparatory measures that can be considered by a potential exhibitor:
This is the most important phase. It sets the direction for a participant during the event proper.
- Promote a “Hero” product (act as key attraction) in addition to others. Visitors remember you better this way.
- Set the exhibition concept to be experiential in addition to the display. Touch visitors’ senses with Visual + Sound + Touch or even Smell.
- Register for concurrent events, e.g. Incoming Buying Mission at INTRADE or product presentation opportunities.
- Promote your participation with a good reason to visit you, e.g. new innovative product launches; a chance to experience, or a deal too good to miss.
- Train staff on-site to solve customers’ concerns instead of merely telling what a product is all about.
- Produce marketing materials with key phrases & big words. Consider this: “Everyone is distributing flyers, why should they stop to talk to you?”
Exhibition Days (During)
- It is the small steps that make the difference.
- Every visitor is a potential customer. Make them feel welcome at your booth.
- Your neighbor can be a potential customer or partner. Visit them when time permits.
- To attract visitors, prepared a “How can we help you?” script of not more than 10 seconds. To engage visitors, ask and understand their concerns.
- Walk the floor to know what competing brands are being offered. The more you know, the better you sell.
- Getting a large number of business cards is not the KPI (key performance indicator). Understanding, recording visitors’ needs and offering a lasting impression are.
Post Exhibition (After)
This is only the starting point for many exporters.
- Respond to queries from potential customers immediately. If need more time, inform them when their queries can be ready.
- Conduct research on each visitor’s business and market.
- Send thank you letter with a short description on your research and potential areas where you can do business with them.
- Send them an e-newsletter periodically to update your company/product development.
Interactive: A 3m x 3m exhibition booth by Inspidea, a local cartoon animation company during an exhibition in Europe. The concept is inspiring – visual (simple & attractive); sound (LCD TV display); smell (pop corn); and crowd engagement (games & gift of a mechanical dragon fly).