The Expert Exporter: return of the conference and exhibition season

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The conference and exhibition season is starting and this year the events are mostly back to normal rather than virtual. That’s a relief for many. Time to get away from Zoom and engage in person with potential customers and distributors from new international markets. 

Video calling has its place in developing an export market. A lot of time and money can be saved by holding those initial meetings virtually. It’s important your sales team knows how to sell via a screen though. It’s different and definitely not natural for most experienced export salespeople. They are skilled at developing relationships face to face and building trust over time. 

The personal meeting will still have an important role to play, however. It is predicted that conferences will become more important as a focal point for arranging meetings rather than spending endless hours travelling from one client to another in a foreign country. 

Making the most of those events is therefore critical to their success. Don’t leave it to chance that your ideal customer or partner will be there and come to visit your stand at just the right moment when you are free to spend time with them. Planning and preparation are key. Here’s a handy checklist:

  • Book the conference early and plan your schedule around it
  • Request a speaker slot to make a presentation which raises your profile and highlights your expertise
  • Book accommodation in the recommended hotels to maximise networking opportunities. An extra $100 a night is value for money if it means you make more new contacts
  • Make sure your display and marketing material are prepared well in advance
  • Draw up a hit list of who you would like to meet at the event and make appointments. Start early as it may take several touchpoints to get their attention.
  • At the event be alert and proactive. Don’t sit on your computer. Look for opportunities.
  • Network, network, network. The person stood next to you may be your new biggest customer!
  • Talk to other exhibitors, even your competitors. You never know what you may find out.
  • Keep good notes on who you’ve met and what you talked about. Don’t rely on your memory, it will fail you.
  • After the event, be sure to follow up promptly and take any actions you promised to your new contacts.
  • Follow up again………….and again

In short, leave nothing to chance. You are investing in the event, both your time and money, so you need to make the most out of it.

Read more: Driver shortages, health certificate delay & post-Brexit FastTrack reviews

We often support clients at conferences and exhibitions; helping them plan their pre-event marketing; arranging meetings; manning their exhibition stands and more. For further details call +44 (0)800 689 1423 and email info@goexporting.com. 

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