If you’re planning to exhibit at a trade show or exhibition in another country don’t fall into any of these traps and you’ll have a much more successful experience.
1: Ignore Social media
People who were planning to attend anyway may happen to pass by your stand, but if you use the power of social media more potential clients and service providers may attend.
Use your social media accounts and relevant groups to let people know when and where the event is, who it’s for and where to find you at the event. Invite people to come along and visit your stand.
Consider posting in the language of the country where the event is being held as well as your native language.
Do your research into what social media is predominant in the country where the exhibition takes place. For instance, Facebook is banned in China, their preferred social media channel is WeChat. You could even create an official Page to promote your company.
2: Fail to prepare
Turning up with your business cards and current marketing material isn’t enough to make an impact in another country. Your company won’t be the only one visitors talk to, so make sure you have all your material in the language of the country you’re visiting. [TIP: we can help you to translate and produce these materials]
You should also research the host country’s culture. What attire is appropriate? What is expected in terms of hospitality? What is the correct way to greet people? What business process is acceptable – for example is it best to make small talk first or do they prefer a more direct approach? Get any of this wrong and you’ll already be losing potential business.
3: Don’t invest in creating an attractive stand
If you rely on a table to put your marketing material on, a couple of banner stands and maybe a chair or two, you’ll find most people pass by, rather than stopping to talk.
Plan your stand so it is easily visible from a distance, has access to electricity and wifi and is not cluttered with things.
Consider the colours you choose – they have different meanings in different cultures:
Red: Luck and happiness in some Asian cultures; danger, caution and evil in the Middle East.
Yellow: warmth, sunshine and hospitality in North America, but in most of Latin America is associated with death and mourning, while in Africa this colour may only be worn by people of high rank.
Green: the Irish national colour, but don’t wear a green hat in China, it says a woman has been unfaithful.
4: It doesn’t matter who is on your stand
The people on your stand need to do more than smile and hand out leaflets. Your staff need to be able to talk with authority and knowledge about your company, your products or services and to engage clients.
You may also need hostesses to provide hospitality and look after any visitors who are waiting to talk to a sales person or other company representative. This is common practice in countries like Germany and a university student, properly briefed will add the advantage of having a fluent native speaker on the stand.
5: Wait until a visitor actively approaches
You can miss many opportunities by only being responsive. Find out the acceptable forms of greeting (not all cultures feel comfortable shaking hands and in some cultures a man should not shake hands with a woman).
If you have native speakers on your stand encourage them to break the ice with visitors and then introduce them to the company sales team.
You may have a business card draw or a backdrop for taking photos of visitors. Share photos – with consent – on social media and give them your hashtag for the exhibition and ask if they could use it when sharing social posts.
Make your visitor feel as welcome as you would if they arrived as a guest at your home.
You wouldn’t make any of these mistakes, would you?