Notes from March 30 Meeting
Bob Boss, Chair, TVGBN Steering Committee
Cathy Gibbons, U.S. Department of Commerce, US Commercial Service, White Plains, Trade Counseling
The US DOC offers a myriad of services for businesses thinking of and doing business abroad. Through their market research and people on the ground around the world, you can enter foreign markets considerably better informed and at substantially less cost. We can access these resources through Cathy and her office and by taking advantage of the substantial DOC market research resources online.
- The US Commercial Service has 160 international offices in 82 countries. You can find them on export.gov.
- When looking for international markets for your products, start by running a Top 25 report that shows the best markets for your products and services. This is run from the US International Trade Commission web site. [Instructions for running report.]
- After you have identified countries of interest, go back to export.gov to learn more about that country in market research reports. Search by country or industry. Reports are written by overseas offices. If you see a report of particular interest, contact the author to help you find business partners. Existing market research is free; additional research for you is charged by the hour.
Cathy Gibbons, U.S. Department of Commerce, making a point. Cathy can be reached at 914-682-6712 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Consider asking Cathy for an International Partner Search. You explain to her what you are looking for in a partner, and you will be given 5-8 pre-screened contacts. Only do this if you are ready to jump on them, because they are waiting to be contacted.
- Cathy recommends investing in their Gold Key Matching Service. When you plan to visit a country, the DOC will set up pre-screened appointments with you arranged before you travel. They will also help you set up your travel arrangements and accommodations and can arrange for an interpreter. These are valuable contacts. This is $650 for the first day, two days are ~$1000.
- If you want to know more about a potential partner, order an International Company Profile. The DOC will do a background check and review the company’s reputation.
- To learn about trade events, go to export.gov and search by country. To get the most bang for your buck, Cathy recommends using the Gold Key Service at the show to help you meet the right people. Also contact the show manager and see who is exhibiting. This will tell you who is interested, giving you leads even if you decide not to attend.
- International Buyer Program will help you make foreign contacts at US shows.
- Exhibiting at a trade fair in a US pavilion is a good way to get started exhibiting abroad and getting to know people in a country. Booth locations are usually excellent, and pricing is attractive since the US negotiates good rates, and costs are shared among participants.
Deborah Flack, Exhibit Planning & Management International
Deb started by showing some entertaining pictures of how not to style your booth. You need to show at a glance what you are selling, and reflect the style of your brand in away that makes sense locally. These sad pictures were followed by pictures of beautiful, functional booths designed by EP&M. These are my notes from Deb’s talk…
The key to exhibiting anywhere is planning.
- Define why are we going?
For example, to generate leads. Write down what you want to accomplish and make sure that everyone on your show team knows for maximum effectiveness. Communicate to graphic and exhibit designers and everyone who is going to the show.
- Select the right show, booth, space.
Deborah Flack, EP&M Marketing Director, explaining the importance of preparation.
Look at your competitors and see where they are going. Look at their web site, twitter feed.
Call exhibitors and see how the show has worked for them.
- Organize: will dramatically increase your success. Everything takes longer abroad. Start organizing ten months ahead.
At the show, you have 30 seconds to get someone in your booth. Need to be more literal and descriptive in booth signage abroad to communicate. Think about where you are going. Have text in the local language and English.
People dress more formally at shows abroad. Rather that wearing a golf shirt and khakis, wear a dress shirt with your company logo.
Shows generally run for more days and longer hours than in the US. Food and drink are expected.
- Implement: have subject matter experts well trained. A show is like speed dating. People need to know the details of your products and services.
Decide how you will capture leads. There are lots of iPad apps where you can scan a business card and write notes. Capture systems are rare abroad. 87% of leads gathered at shows are never pursued, yet 43% of attendees not contacted actually buy (from someone else) within 13 months. Have a plan for how you are going to deal with leads.
- Evaluate at the end of the show. This important step is often forgotten. Take advantage of what you’ve learned.
Some Show Tips. Don’t:
- Eat in booth
- Talk on cell phone
- Talk to each other
- Leave booth empty
- Block the entry
- Let booth get messy
- Over hype a give away
- Have the wrong number of people. Figure one person for every 50 square feet, so two people for a 10 x 10 booth. The Center for Exhibit Research has a ROI Toolkit that will help you compute this and much more.
How to Connect
- Have meetings in your booth. Consider just one high-top table and chairs for a small booth. Also meet for meals and in your hotel suite.
- Market pre-show.
- Host events outside show hours, especially educational events
- Everything is more expensive.
- You can recover VAT after the show.
- Deb recommends that you don’t ship your booth
- Booth building is different; order services before you go.
- Booths are called stands, shows are called fairs.
- Labor can be challenging in some locations with less emphasis on work safety, different pace, etc.
- Language. Deb uses iSpeech app to communicate with labor. It will say what you type in the other person’s language and display it on your phone screen – it is easy to talk back and forth that way.
Keys to Show Success
- Set up meetings before you go
- Start working twelve months ahead
- Research the show on their web site and the show audit to find out attendee profile. Be educated and informed.
- Work with organizers; give them a press kit in their language if you have a story.
- Start as part of a pavilion. Booth location depends on seniority with a show.
- It is very courteous to have technical material in the local language.
After the meeting, Deb Flack sent an email to attendees with additional useful information:
On Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 1:41 PM, Deb Flack <Deb.Flack@epmexhibits.com> wrote:
Thanks so much for attending today’s event. Whether you’re brand new to exhibiting or a seasoned veteran, it would be my pleasure to chat any time about your plans – to offer advice and encouragement to jump in to exhibiting because when it comes down to it, people still buy from people and trade shows are a great way to meet new people and build relationships that lead to new business.
Here are the links I mentioned this morning:
CEIR’s ROI toolkit – this organization produces a tremendous amount of information about exhibiting. If there’s any subject that you want to learn more about – just ask, we are members and I can access articles at no cost to share with you. Toolkit link: http://roitoolkit.exhibitsurveys.net/Home/Welcome.aspx
Translation App I use on show site: This works in a pinch when I need to communicate simple requests with labor and service personnel. The APP is free on iTunes (http://ispeech.org/) but it does not replace a good, idiomatic translator for important communications. Trust local TVGBN resources for that. And, remember, the first English phrase your carpenter or electrician learns is ”No problem.” Don’t believe it. It is a problem and you will need to solve it before the show opens.
For leads, I’ve found QuickTap Leads to be the best so far. The APP is (or was) Free and the cost to use is modest and based on the number of leads gathered – it produces great reports. Worked very well on iphone and ipad. Reach it online: http://quicktaplead.com/ This is constantly evolving, so well worth checking out. You can also search the App store for business card readers/scanners, which can work well for this, too. Many allow you to add notes and upload it all afterwards to Excel or even your CRM – you just need to search around try some out. And before you go, be sure you’ve tested it out carefully and feel comfortable using it. Also, whatever you use, make sure it works offline – don’t use one that requires internet access to get the job done – it’s expensive or non-existent in a lot of venues!
Other tools/Apps I use constantly at show site:
- · DropBox – you don’t need to carry a huge file of your booth rendering, show orders, receipts, etc. – simply put it all in DropBox and you can pull it up on your phone, iPad, laptop – whatever. It’s a website and an APP. The free version has plenty of cloud storage.
- · GlobeConvert – a great APP that converts everything from measurements and currency to weights and even power (which is always a challenge outside the US).
Lastly – EP&M offers all Chamber members a discount on portables and custom work. We can help. Anywhere.
Some high points from the January 23, 2014 meeting
Lynn Bunnell showing a yellow book.
- CDC.gov is your best resource before travel because it has up-to-the-minute information
- When travelling, accidents are the #1 risk, diarrhea is #2.
- If you already have acid reflux problems, you are more likely to have problems with water.
- You need to keep an immunization history. The CDC has a yellow book.
- Vaccines may be needed before and after your trip; some are administered as a series
- Keep immunization record with your passport. Leave a copy at home, and a picture in your cell phone.
- Cooked food has less risk than raw foods
- Drink fizzy water, if it fizzes you know it has been processed
- Wash hands often, or use a hand sanitizer
- Push elevator buttons with knuckle
- Turn your back when flushing the toilet
- Get a flu shot before you go
- Fever is a big deal
- Minimize insect bites, use repellant
- Carry a first aid kit in your hand luggage
- If you have travel insurance, you can call 24/7
- Join IAMAT, http://iamat.org/index.cfm, before you go
Sara Schoof, FNP, Safari Health, 518-439-0762, immunizations for travel
Sara Schoof taking a question.
- Needed preparations vary widely, based on where you will be going.
- Recommended vaccines based on destinations: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, Meningococcal, polio, rabies, thyroid, yellow fever
- Do not touch animals; many countries do not require vaccinations.
- Seek consultation with a travel medicine specialist at least one month before travel.
- Buy evacuation and travel insurance to cover health emergencies
- IF fever develops during or after trip, seek competent medial help immediately.
- Road safety is important — wear safety belt in cars, helmet on bikes, and avoid night time driving.
- Abstain from casual sex or practice safe sex with condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Steven Lobel, Anchor Agency
Steve spoke about IMG: International health insurance and Patriot Multi-trip, and the reasons for buying – or not buying – travel insurance.
I am always impressed by the high caliber of people who attend the Tech Valley Global Business Network meetings. This morning there was a good mix of manufacturers who export and service providers. To illustrate, over coffee Jim from Mohawk Global Logistics told a story about getting a 110′ carbon fiber part to Turkey in winter. It could not get too cold or it would shatter. It was a wonderful story that reflected a deep understanding of container shipping and ingenuity.
Hakan Tasci, Executive Director of TUSKON US, addressing the Tech Valley Global Business Network
Hakan Tasci, the Executive Director of TUSKON US, gave an excellent presentation, starting with a video overview of Turkey from a business/ economic perspective. TUSKON is a Turkey-based business confederation with 172 business associations, 40,000 members, and 600 employees, whose primary focus is business development. They help US businesses who want to do business in Turkey find partners.
TUSKON sponsors two trade fairs a year. At their last event in June, 1500 companies from 100 countries participated over three days. TUSKON arranged 20-25 matchmaking appointments each day for each company. The June trade fair focused on the construction industry; others focus on textiles, food and agribusiness. More information can be found at http://tuskonwtb.com/?p=content&lang=en
Some highlights of Hakan’s talk:
- Turkey has a seven hour time difference. It is an excellent site for managing operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa because of its strategic location.
- Turkey is a founding member of NATO.
- It takes 9 days to establish a company in Turkey, less than any other European country.
- Turkey is one of the top nine high priority countries for the US.
- Boeing, Intel, Coca Cola, Microsoft, GE, Dow Chemicals, and many other companies run their regional operations from Turkey.
- Turkey is Europe’s manufacturing hub.
- Turkey is a strong energy bub between the Mideast and Europe.
- Young population: more than half the population is < 30.
- 30% of US scrap metal goes to Turkey then comes back here as steel.
- Strong in textiles, marble, granite, copper wire, hazelnuts, and apricots.
- Economy is growing very fast. Turkey is one of the top ten global economies.
- Few natural resources.
- Need energy for strong manufacturing sector. They get their oil from Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan. They do have shale oil reserves, and are working with US companies to extract it. They have invested in wind energy and solar.
- The last ten years have been a golden age in Turkey’s history.
- Country is 99% Muslim, and a proud democracy.
- Omans are paid by the government; quite different than the US separation of church and state.
You can learn more about the Tech Valley Global Business Network at http://tvgbn.org.