A Beginners Guide to International Exhibitions

Posted 26/03/2018
A Beginners Guide to International Exhibitions

So, you’re thinking of traversing across seas and continents to exhibit your business in another country. Acquiring new prospects away from home will help you gain international reach.

Reaching optimal trade show performance abroad could boost your lead potential and your business’s bottom line. But where do you begin?

Right here. This is your walkthrough on international exhibitions to help you:

  • Exhibit overseas using best practice
  • Adapt your exhibition strategy for different countries
  • Collate a high-performing exhibition team
  • Navigate shipping protocols and exhibition timelines

Make the most out of overseas exhibiting and global success could be yours to claim.

Regionalise Your Booth Experience

Let’s say you’ve been exhibiting in Western countries with great success. Does that mean you should deliver the same booth experience when in countries like Singapore or Japan?

Do this and you could stick out for the wrong reasons: if your exhibition staff do or say something that causes cultural offence you could lose business as a result. Avoid this by teaching them how to be mindful of another country’s cultural climate. Your strategy might need to change to reflect this.

For example, in Singapore it’s best practice to give and receive business cards with both hands. It’s also common to offer small business gifts to express gratitude, like branded pens. Help your team convince and convert by adapting your exhibiting strategy to accommodate such social graces.

Here are other considerations to enhance your international booth experience:

  • Small talk or straight talk – how do foreign nationals prefer to conduct business locally?
  • Making introductions – which name or title should you begin with?
  • Following-up protocols – should you contact prospects by phone or email?
  • Booth design – is your stand signage appropriate?
  • Offers and packages – is the status quo to provide offers in another country? How should you present packages?

Revise Your Objectives

Ask yourself if you expect to gain the same amount of leads in another country as you did on native soil. Depending on your answer, this could change your goals

Different rules for tax and VAT could impact your sale objectives for an exhibition. For instance, Japan doesn’t have VAT but it does have 10% consumption tax. Would that alter your desired figures?

Think about how the business climate might vary and how this will affect your objectives. Singapore ranks as number one for IT in the Global Information Technology Report. This could increase your lead generation if you run an IT business and are exhibiting in Singapore.

Who is going to be attending the exhibition? Research the exhibition and the kind of visitors it has. Whilst a show maybe relative to your industry, it may not have enough of your target audience as attendees, which will make it much more difficult to achieve your ROI.

Maximise your trade expo performance by relating your objectives to different environments and briefing your team ahead of the show.

Hire Native Language Speakers

You might be tempted to hire a non-native language speaker to communicate with international prospects. But will they know that saying “How do you do?” and not “Hello” is good business etiquette in China?

Save your team from social blunders by appointing a native speaker to answer questions at your stand. Consider getting signage and business cards translated by a native speaker too. They’re more likely to know subtle courtesies than a non-native translator and this will help you avoid miscommunication.

Not sure where to employ your expo staff? Finding the right hiring shortcut for your business could save you time and money. At Expo Stars we have 2,500 multilingual staff worldwide skilled in hospitality, attendee engagement, presenting and data capturing.

Take our multi-skilled interpreter, Yasuko. During Drink Japan 2017, she helped our client achieve their objectives by translating Japanese to English while supporting the team with their booth experience.

A Beginner’s Guide to Exhibiting Overseas

Maintain Staff Consistency

Ensure your exhibition team performs consistently well during every exhibition and maintain your desired brand perception.

As you might have experienced, just because two prospects are millions of miles apart doesn’t mean they won’t cross paths in our hyper-connected digital world. Stay on-message about who you are and what you represent through exceptional attendee interaction for gleaming global coverage.

Sufficient training is key to maintaining good performance: brief your team before every exhibition and follow-up afterwards to address any concerns to boost their confidence levels.

If you don’t have the time or resources to properly train your booth team, you could hire an agency to do it for you. That way you’re staff can gain the knowledge they need to perform consistently well across the world. An agency will also easily secure both native and English speakers for you wherever you exhibit.

Ship Your Booth in Advance

Shipping large items overseas can take up to six weeks by sea freight. Ship your equipment as far in advance as you can and put it in storage to ensure everything is where it needs to be on time.

If you’re sending consumables and perishables to another country, there might be strict rules on what you can send in and take out. Always check the customs regulations in advance and factor this into your timeline to avoid delays.

Shipping by air freight usually takes three-to-five working days. It’s up to six times more expensive than sea freight. Also, if keeping environmentally friendly is important to your brand, you should know that sea freight emits less CO2 emissions than air freight.

Another alternative? Rent your stand for international expos. The downside: you probably won’t be able to oversee the booth build yourself (which highlights the importance of having an exceptional team you can rely on).

Note Trade Show Deadlines

As you plan your exhibition timeline from beginning to end, factor in deadlines so you don’t lose your place or miss out on certain services and features.

For example, Germany is very strict on deadlines for add-ons. Miss them and you might not be able to include food and drink or arrange professional cleaning for your booth.

The good news: international shows usually have an exhibiting manual with all the dates and contact information you need for the exhibition. If you’re not offered one, ask for it.

For both shipping and meeting exhibition deadlines, remember to account for the time-zone difference by allocating extra days into your trade expo schedule.

Getting It Right the First Time

 Your exhibiting success relies on preparation:

  • Making sure your strategy is relevant for new locations
  • Revising your business objectives
  • Checking if the exhibition has enough of your target audience as visitors
  • Doing your cultural research
  • Assembling the right team
  • Shipping your booth way in advance
  • Meeting trade expo deadlines

Forget to plan for any of these aspects and your trade show performance could suffer. Of course, planning for your international exhibition is easier said than done. Which is why we help businesses like yours with global support for all international exhibition demands.

Contact the team today and expand your global reach through international exhibiting.

Posted 26/03/2018