By Dirk Ebener, CEO, Global CIF
Trade shows are the very best B2B platform out there! The world meets in one place for a week, offering the highest possible concentration of business leaders seeking networking and business opportunities and introducing new products you are looking for. There is no way that your business will be able to reach 30,000+ industry contacts, from over 100 countries, with a mailing or via the social media platforms. Trade shows are the way to go!
Participating in a trade show is your opportunity to shine. You need to make sure that you will find the best possible location in the show. At the same time you want to make sure that your marketing budget is not going crazy, as your staff is working hard back home to produce the products you are looking to sell. Before you even consider participating in the global trade show world, you need to make sure that you answer the following questions.
- Is my company even ready for stepping into the global market, or are we still working on the markets here at home?
- Do we have the time to leave the office and travel thousands of miles of unchartered waters?
- Do we have support at the trade show, and are we able to present our company in this new business environment?
- What will happen if we return with hundreds of leads and orders? Are we in a position to fill all of these orders? Are we able to immediately follow up?
- Who will be the person to lead this trip and business mission for us?
There are definitely plenty of resources you can use to be successful. Here are some of the groups and options you want to look into:
- US Department of Commerce – The office in Washington will be able to immediately assist you with leads and discussing the right trade shows for your business. Visit the following web site http://export.gov/salesandmarketing/eg_main_018195.asp. (Isn’t there an Atlanta Office, too?)
- Gold Key Matching Services – Run through the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service, this is a low-cost service for American businesses to expand their global reach by making contacts with foreign firms and potential business partners. http://www.commerce.gov/blog/2012/08/10/us-businesses-going-gold
- Export Guide - This is a very helpful tool to get a better understanding how your company can start exporting. http://trade.gov/publications/pdfs/epg_2009.pdf
- Trade Show Organizer – Once you have found the market and trade shows you are interested in, contact the US office of the Trade Show Organizer to connect with their US-based staff. They will be able to assist you with all of your questions and trade show planning.
- Your State – Most states often have representatives in the country and also might offer some specific funding when you are ready to export. A Department of Economic Development or similar department in your state is a great starting point.
- USA Pavilion – Look into a participation in a USA Pavilion at an overseas trade show. USA Pavilions are organized by various groups and offer an easy way to become involved in the trade show. The price is about 25% higher, but you can arrive in the country, unpack your products, and get started. The pavilions are supported by the USDOC, have local and multilingual staff in the pavilion and offer food, beverages and a friendly smile and hand when you need them. They also have a business lounge for meetings. This is definitely the best way to move into the markets.
Global markets are challenging but present the opportunity for great rewards. Check out trade missions as a way to expand your markets. They may right for you..
Dirk Ebener, CEO, Global CIF Global CIF, 3600 Dallas Highway, Suite 230-161, Marietta, GA 30064; Phone: (404) 735-5646; Email: email@example.com