Although vaccination programs have been started, at least for the first half of 2021 we can safely expect that air travel will remain restricted and for the rest of 2021 (at least) all kind of big events like conferences, trade shows or business missions will be cancelled. This also counts for the bigger trade shows for interior design, furniture and decorations.
Finding new sales channels?
Trade shows are a perfect way to showcase your new products and find distributors for them. Direct sales on a show is mostly a one-off event, but finding a distributor may be the way to ship several containers over a longer time span.
So if you have agents or other type of partners abroad, the more reason to nurture them. Otherwise you should be looking how to extend your team with local representatives, who may not do the full sales process, but at least can serve as an effective interface. Everybody can arrange a nice background for their video meeting, but only if somebody visits your potential clients and reports back to you, you will get a better picture of how much you can ask and what the informal decision making structure is.
Use your budget in an alternative way
Depending of the size of your booth, most companies spend from 20,000 to 200,000 USD on their presence on big shows, especially if you take into account costs for travel and stay of you team. Your financial director may book this in as one of the first savings in these uncertain times, but you should make a plan on how to spend this on alternatives.
- A trade show with its catalogue is a sort of offline search engine, where you try to stand out with your booth. In the online version (called Google or Baidu) you stand out with the content that you provide. So use your lock-down time for creating new, high quality content on your product, whether it’s bricks, a yoghurt drink or mathematical software. Also have your website brought to this new decennium, optimised for mobile search and fast conversion. This way you can still generate leads.
- Another way to generate leads is with local agencies. Cold calling may look outdated, but with proper targeting it may be effective. If your target group in a country is somewhere between 500 and 50.000 companies, with easy to identify decision makers, then using a call centre is an option. If it’s less than a 100 targets, with difficult to assess decision makers, then use a specialised business development agency. Of course there will always be start-up costs, you can’t do this fully on a commission basis. But what’s the guarantee that you get if you spend your money on a booth?
- If you use trade shows to orient on new markets and to find local distributors or agents, then a direct search approach by a local export development agency may even be refreshingly effective. On a trade show you always have to wait who approaches you, and chances are rare that this is the most successful retail chain in the market. With a direct approach the agency that you hire will list them, find the decision maker, approach him, create interest for your offering and then bring you into contact.
Alliance experts can help you find distributors
Alliance experts has experienced export developers on the ground in over 30 countries, who can monitor your distributors, interface in deal closing and find you new clients or distributors. We can visit local shows and directly check on potential distributors where you can’t. See us as a temporary extension of your team, as your eyes and ears on the ground. Look here for more information and give us a call, we always have somebody in your time zone.