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5 Tricks To Catch An Importer's Eye
Tradeshow Tips
by Marie-Claude Veillette | Translated by Nathan Munn |

Attending trade shows is a great way to develop business relationships with potential buyers. However, being present at the show is just the beginning; it is equally important to know how to capture the interest of your preferred buyers. To win their business, you must differentiate yourself from the crowd. Here are a few golden rules to follow when attending a trade show.

    1. Do your homework.
    Prepare yourself for the event by researching what kind of buyers will be present at the show. Depending on the event, you can expect to meet people from the general public, traders and importers (depending on the importance of the trade show), distributors (all the time) and occasionally restaurant managers and owners (if it is a local event). Whenever possible, try to get in touch with potential buyers before arriving at the show.

    2. Be aware of the image you are projecting.
    You know what they say: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Generally, people decide how they feel about you and your offer within 15 seconds of meeting you. Knowing this, it is important to manage your own image and those of the people accompanying you. Make sure that you dress appropriately, act professionally and ensure that the presentation of your products and booth are top-notch.

    3. Be approachable.
    Just as your offer is important, it is essential that you stand out from the crowd. Be aware of your body language, smile and make eye contact with potential buyers. Have your documentation in hand and position yourself in front of your booth. By doing this, you come across as much more approachable than if you are tucked away behind a desk. Try to eliminate the barriers that separate you from your customers. Clear a path and make it easy for visitors to come into your booth.

    4. Quickly establish contact with potential buyers.
    To improve your chances of converting a contact into a sale, take the lead by asking open questions to get the conversation rolling. Rather than saying "How are you" or "Do you have any questions about our products?" try asking an open question like "Hello, what prompted you to stop by our booth today?" Open questions allow you to not only interact with a buyer, but to qualify their potential as a customer. The longer you talk with the person, the better idea you will have whether or not your products meet their buying needs.

    5. Be a good host.
    When someone approaches your booth, treat them as if you were at the vineyard. Invite them to taste your products. Introduce yourself and offer them a solid handshake. Even if you are in the middle of a conversation with a buyer, don't ignore other visitors. Without stopping the conversation that you're having, acknowledge the visitor in a way that lets them know that you will be with them shortly. If possible, try to include them in the conversation. When they leave, be sure to thank them for their interest. Offer them any pertinent documentation, and remember to exchange business cards.