By: Guest Blogger Doug Barry, International Trade Administration
International Trade shows supported by the U.S. Commercial Service and the National Export Initiative attract buyers from all over the world. The ones in Germany are especially good venues for U.S. companies seeking new customers. Germany has been a trade show powerhouse since the middle ages, and their organizers have things down to a buying and selling science. Shows come in many sizes and industries and the U.S. Commercial Service offers access to inexpensive space on the show floor and help finding buyers.
Find Buyers in Europe, Soviet Union, and the Middle East
U.S. companies that include international trade shows as part of their business strategy routinely experience that sales orders resulting from exhibiting at one of these trade shows comprise a growing share of total annual sales. One reason is that buyers from Europe, the former states of the Soviet Union, and especially the Middle East, find it more convenient (and in the case of the Middle East) to go to Germany than to the U.S.
U.S. Embassies can help in Foreign Countries
Once on the ground, U.S. producers and wholesalers are not left to fend for themselves. Market experts from U.S. embassies are on hand to help U.S. firms navigate the crowded exhibit halls and connect to potential customers that steer to the U.S. pavilion and other exhibit and meeting spaces. The embassy representatives are part of the U.S. Commercial Service, and once under their wing, your company can benefit from year round product promotion and buyer finding assistance.
Typically, planning to attend a show starts one year in advance. Embassy folks and your local Export Assistance Center can help you plan. They can help arrange a hotel room, give advance briefing on business protocol, book the best exhibit or office space that fits your budget, and begin scheduling meetings with pre-qualified buyers.
Find out more by viewing a five-part video series on YouTube called “How to Sell at International Trade Shows: The Case of CeBIT Germany.” CeBIT is the world’s largest telecommunications show but is typical of German mega shows. The video series covers why you should consider these kinds of shows (one look at the crowds’ size is pretty convincing); best practices from smaller U.S. companies that come back every year; protecting your Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) at these or any trade shows including those held in the U.S.; and how to make the most of all the social events, especially the German shows. Those who think Germans and German institutions are painted in conservative monochrome should pay attention to video segment five: “Fun at the Fair,” which promises to help you discover your “inner Fraulein” and shows you how to present your business card.