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Five tips to a successful international tradeshow exhibit

International tradeshows offer terrific opportunities for growing and establishing your global contacts and clients.

You will gain exposure to many potential international suppliers and colleagues, distributors and others in one place. The manner in which you conduct business while overseas can help maximize your investment.

1. Act global 
English may be considered a universal language (by Americans), but you could benefit greatly by having a translator present at your exhibit.

At a minimum, translate your marketing materials and product information into your prospective clients’ native languages. Translated presentations give an opportunity to potential international prospects to comprehend your product benefits and the technical details of your product, allowing them to understand the value of you and your company.

This small addition to your marketing materials will make international guests feel welcome and respected. Even if you do not speak their language, if you attempt to communicate in their native tongue you will be held in much higher esteem.

2. Mind your manners 
Welcome, welcome, welcome your visitors to your trade booth. Offer them comfort as they have been walking and talking to many exhibitors. They may be tired and hungry. Some cultures are insulted if they are not offered a snack, beverage or a seat while learning more about what you do.

If you visit a Danish company, for example, you will be in an inviting space, offered tea and cookies and made to feel very welcome. Also, be aware and recognize the role of women in each culture and act appropriately.

3. Mirror body language 
Americans are known to engage quickly, be matter of fact and “cut to the chase.” Some cultures are uncomfortable with that level of direct interaction.

  • Follow their lead – if they bow, do the same and allow them to extend their hand, but do not stare or make direct eye contact if they are not.
  • Try not to come off as strong and rude. Engage them personally; small talk is big!

4. Business cards 
Company cards are essential and a valuable introduction. Again, create bi-lingual cards for your international prospects. Choose languages that are your targets’ or the domain country’s official language. Hand your card to the prospect with both hands; accept their card with both hands. Never write on the back of an associate’s card; this can be seen as very insulting and may even seal their minds that you are not getting the deal!

5. Follow up personally 
Send a handwritten note to your prospective clients or suppliers thanking them for their time and information. If you promised to send information, include it. This simple act will create a strong buyer-seller relationship, create respect and build your sales!

You will have successful interactions, confidence and increased sales using these tips. Happy Hunting!

Linda Richardson is the president and owner of All Clear Translations LLC, which offers translations and localization for websites, software, technical manuals and marketing materials into all languages. Email Linda at linda@allcleartranslations or visit www.allcleartranslations.com.


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