Getting the most out of trade expos

24 October 2019


More than 10,000 international trade expos and exhibitions now take place globally every year, and that number keeps growing.

The challenge is finding the right one to fit your strategy, and ensuring you get the most of the opportunity.

The right team

Brooksbank Industries have been making “synthetic combing aprons” for industrial wool combing machines for over 30 years, and exports account for the majority of their turnover, with China their top market.  They identified a key event in 2019 – ITMA in Barcelona, the international textile and garment technology expo which comes to Europe just once every four years.  To capitalise on this opportunity, they asked Chamber International for in-market support at the event – support in the form of Michelle Wang.

Michelle grew up in China, took an MA in textiles at Liverpool University, then worked for the Business Confucius Institute in Leeds, before working with Chamber International.

She said, “It was amazing walking into ITMA again.  It’s like the Olympics for textile manufacturers.  With 8 big halls at the expo, it took 20 minutes to walk to our stand.  There were nearly 1,700 exhibitors, with China the second most represented country, and about 200,000 visitors!”

Yuanfen, planning and results

Michelle went further, “Expos are an unbeatable opportunity for face-to-face communication with agents and customers, both existing and new.  Sometimes the feeling when you meet is like what we Chinese call yuánfèn (fate) – you connect, exchange Wechats, take photos, then keep in touch.  One Chinese lady began talking with me because she liked the cute toy sheep at our stand; it turned out she was a former customer who was now glad to have found Brooksbank again.  Yuánfèn!

“Preparation is vital.  Agree a way to work with your agents or distributors, so that, for instance, they get benefit from bringing leads to your stand.  Ask key customers and suppliers if they will attend, and arrange to meet them. Review the exhibitors list beforehand, decide who you want to meet, and how you will do it.  Don’t just wait at your own stand – go and visit the stands of potential partners and customers.  Learn all you can about your competition! 

“For multi-day events, set daily goals so you don’t lose focus after the initial excitement has worn off.  I keep notes as I go along, and write a report within a week of the event finishing, so all new knowledge and action points are captured”.

Don’t miss out

Brooksbank Industries felt that ITMA was a great success for them.  Whatever sector you’re in, don’t write off international expos and trade shows; with the right team, good preparation and record keeping, they can take your business to the next level!

Contact Chamber International - we’ll help you get the most out of your next international expo.


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