For many exhibitors, making the transition to introducing themselves at a foreign exhibition can be challenging process. There are a lot of factors that must be considered, such as moving product samples in advance, learning the business culture and promoting your company in the native language if you are to be successful and gain a competitive edge over local and foreign exhibitors.
By keeping in mind that neglecting even little things (such as forgetting to arrange for sample shipping) can cost money, time, and opportunity, a company can get maximum value as an exhibitor abroad.
The following strategies can help companies prepare for an offshore exhibition:
Book space in advance and coordinate shipping
Allocation of space at international exhibitions is usually a first-come first-served basis. Foreign exhibitors are recommended to submit their applications at the soonest, ideally 6 to 12 months prior to the event. International representatives or show organizers make the reservations online and from global sales offices.
You’ll also need importation and forwarding of samples and professional equipment such as wipe walls from your home country to your exhibition destination. International relocation services that specialize in pre-planned moving, shipping and handling can serve as a single point of contact in such instances, helping businesses through every step of the journey. Companies who provide these services will have move managers that can help in planning shipping departure dates, explain custom requirements and review available destinations to support seamless moving of products.
Get to know pricing and banking requirements
Your business representatives should be ready to negotiate and agree terms at the exhibition. They should be conversant with tax implications, tariffs, as well as delivery procedures. Some buyers may also request C.I.F. (cost, insurance and freight) including taxes, duties and other charges. Local freight forwarders and international relocation companies can assist and prepare such costs on your behalf.
As for your banking needs, pre-arrange accounts with a banking institution that has international affiliations to facilitate your transactions. Discuss arrangements for bills of exchange, letters of credit, and transfer of funds. Local bank accounts could also come in handy for exhibitors who have associated a small price tag with their product samples.
Learn etiquette practices and general protocol
Study the etiquette and general protocol of the country where the exhibition is scheduled. Getting a know-how in advance about how to manage appointments and greet your counterparts would be the most beneficial. Also, check normal business hours and working days in a week. It is not uncommon in many foreign exhibitions for lunch to last two to four hours. Take into account foreign dietary practices, religious customers, business manners, acceptable humor and dress, all of which vary from country to country.
Lapse of judgment in body language and gestures can also result in embarrassment as well as lead to business complications. For example, the thumb and index fingers in circle and other fingers pointing towards the ceiling is used for the â€˜okay’ sign in the US, but it considered a vulgar gesture in Philippines and Brazil. So it’s important to learn the ins and outs of an event location for boosting your chances of being successful.