Exhibiting Internationally: How to be Successful

Posted 20/11/2019
Exhibiting Internationally: How to be Successful

What does it take to be successful when exhibiting internationally? 

Our Founder and Managing Director, Lee Ali, was recently asked to speak on this subject for the International Exhibitions and ATA Carnets event, run by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce 

Lee shared the most essential components of exhibiting abroad, based on his vast experience helping clients worldwide improve their trade show performance.  

Discover Lee’s most valuable tips to nail your exhibiting ventures away from home.  

What do you want to achieve?  

“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”  

– Richard Cushing

There’s no better opportunity to expand overseas and generate revenue than exhibiting abroad. But if you don’t define what success looks like, it’s impossible to tap into this potential. You’ll have no idea how many customers you need to engage and convert to be successful, leaving you with zero focus.  

To maximise your ROI, there are two critical pieces of information you need: 

  1. How many sales you need to make to meet your financial target 
  2. How many leads you will need to hit your sales target 

To work this out, you also have to factor in: 

  • the costs of exhibiting 
  • how many people are likely to visit the trade show 
  • your current turnover 
  • your average customer value 
  • next year’s target turnover 

Then you need to predict: 

  1. The number of booth visitors you need to engage 
  2. How many of those visitors you need to qualify to deliver your required number of leads 
  3. The amount of appointments you have to make or deals to close to deliver your ROI  

Getting these numbers gives your trade show team the focus needed to reap a healthy ROI. You can use our engagement calculator to get these figures easily. 

Face-to-face engagement is KING 

Effective engagement isn’t about collecting business cards or scanning badges. It’s about attracting the right people to your stand and having quality conversations with them. So, rather than coming home with meaningless data, you gain contacts who are genuinely interested in your offering and are open to being followed-up after the show, or even better, get in contact with YOU.  

The first step in building an engagement strategy is understanding your audience in depth.  

Know your audience inside out  

  • Who are they? 
  • What events do they go to? 
  • How can you help them? 
  • What are their buying motivators?  
  • What is their communication style?  

This valuable information helps you spark customer-centric conversations, making them more impactful. As Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, puts it: “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”

Executing meaningful conversations takes skill. The trick is finding quality lead generators or engagers who gel with the rest of the team and understand the business implicitly (you might want to check out this blog to avoid hiring the wrong people). You could also equip them with intelligent tactics to boost their customer engagement skills. 

One such tactic is Lee Ali’s take on the BANT methodology. 

The BANTER process  

BANTER is an adaptation of BANT, a lead qualification process that allows salespeople to qualify prospects based on their: 

Budget: How much are they able or willing to spend? 

Authority: Are they the decision-maker or an influencer? 

Need: Do they have a specific problem your offering can solve 

Timing: when do they intend to purchase   

The problem with BANT is that it could encourage lead generators to launch into an interrogation rather than engage in a meaningful conversation. This is why Lee Ali created BANTER to incorporate Empathy and Rapport into the methodology and make it a very powerful engagement process that builds the foundations for a potentially successful business relationship.  

Using BANTER, your booth staff can ensure they qualify leads without scaring them away. It’s about asking the right questions but also connecting with attendees on an emotional level to humanise your brand and build trust.  

Learn more about effective face-to-face engagement: The 5 E’s for Face-to-Face Engagement  

Measuring your performance  

If you defined your goals before the trade show, you should know what your targets are for the event. To understand whether or not you’ve achieved these targets, you need to measure your performance during the exhibition.  

Face-to-face engagement is a fantastic performance indicator. It doesn’t simply tell you how many leads you’ve captured, it gives you quality information on:  

  • How exciting your booth experience was 
  • The effectiveness of your trade show team  
  • Whether you qualified the right leads 
  • The level of brand exposure achieved 

To measure engagement, you can gather data from: 

  • Follow-up appointments 
  • Completion of engagement tools such as demonstrations and quizzes 
  • Satisfaction scores from feedback forms 
  • Email sign-ups 
  • Social media follows 

It’s also essential to compare your predicted ROI with your overall spend. Combining this data with your engagement KPIs gives you clarity on the things that went wrong and the things that went right. From there, you can work out what needs to change to improve your performance for the next event.  

 Remember: be culturally aware  

Exhibitions are a little bit like airports. It’s easy to forget you’re in another country with different customs and rules. Reminding yourself of this fact and staying mindful is key to successful exhibiting internationally.  

The obvious first step is doing your research. Find out what is good business etiquette in the country you’re travelling too. For example, in China it’s more polite to say “How do you do?” than “Hello.” Little nuances like these can make or break your first impression.  

You should also hire skilled trade booth staff who are native speakers. So there are no communication hiccups during the event. Or you could hire a native translator to assist your lead generators in conversing with international prospects. 

Are you exhibiting abroad soon?  

Then we’d love to hear about it. Talk to us on Twitter and feel free to ask us any burning questions about exhibiting internationally. 

We may also want to check out: A Beginners Guide to International Exhibitions 



Posted 20/11/2019