How to successfully participate in International Trade Show

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The purpose of this guide, which complements previous publications of the “Agribusiness Series, Export Handbooks”, is to provide readers with a practical tool that will help them prepare for an international fair, perform successfully during the event and carry out appropriate follow-up afterwards.

This document is written thinking of companies that attend a show with two objectives in mind: the short-term goal of establishing contacts and carrying out market research with first-hand information; and a mediumterm goal of increasing sales by identifying potential customers.

The handbook has been structured as a five-step guide, with recommendations and examples that will help companies to prepare effectively to participate in a fair.

The first step involves setting achievable and measurable goals, and various examples are offered in this respect. The second is to select the right show or exhibit based on the company’s proposed objectives, using a series of selection criteria. The third step emphasizes the importance of arriving solidly prepared for the fair, and covers aspects such as the budget, travel logistics, rental of a space at the show venue, training the company representatives, decorating the stand and others.

The fourth step refers to the participation in the event itself and, among other things, discusses the role of the company’s representatives and their capacity to attract and retain potential clients. The fifth step refers to followup, the right time to begin these activities and the elements to be considered.

Finally, by way of a summary, the handbook includes a Checklist of Activities, beginning 12 months prior to the exhibit, covering the actual day(s) of the event, and then the follow-up stage. Objectives are the starting point for a company’s possible participation in a show or fair and are what will determine its subsequent actions. In setting goals, it is important to bear in mind that a fair is not simply a place to sell products.

Daniel Rodríguez Sáenz