Reaching new clients at international trade fairs was near. This idea came to me during the second translation conference I ever attended. It was June 2014 , when a Proz.com International Conference took place in the beautiful city of Porto, located in the north of Portugal.
In September 2014, I decided to implement a new approach to reach more clients. My mind started bubbling with ideas and feelings of amazing energy. Why? Because I was establishing my modus operandi for Fruit Logistica 2015. Fruit Logistica is the world’s largest fresh produce international trade fair and has been held every year in early February since 1993 at the Messe Berlin.
How did I prepare my second international trade fair
I started planning by first choosing those parts of the world where I would prefer to start doing business. Such a selection was imperative due to the total extent of Messe Berlin and the diversity of enterprises. I needed new, positive reactions, especially since I would be marketing my brand new services. This year I decided to have a product flyer, which was one of the main differences between 2015 and this year. The flyer would mean new reactions, new impressions and most of all, the chance to showcase my brand new services.
I also had a prepared speech, a bottle of water (which I hardly had time to drink) and a whole lot of guts. I registered on the official website of Fruit Logistica’s Virtual Market Place® as a trade visitor, where I included Blossom Translations’ logo and a small description of my services. By registering, I connected to every trade visitor before the trade fair itself.
How did I make the most of this international trade fair
I registered at the event’s exhibitor and product search engine and to enhance my visibility a few months before the event. I then connected with a few of the exhibitors through Twitter and Instagram. I even voted in the Innovation Awards and attended the awards ceremony. I used the free-for-participants hotel shuttle. I consciously took advantage of the privilege of having been inside the business since birth. Some of the trade fair’s big exhibitors are among my family business’ oldest suppliers. My family has been in the fruit wholesale business since 1945, so you can imagine their connection. I had two dinners and one private party invitation. This meant informal networking with my potential clients. Does this mean they will be my clients? It may help, depending on many factors. The major challenges at Fruit Logistica 2015 and at Fruit Logistica 2016?
The chief challenge at both events was to learn to live with the negative reactions received from some people. Unlike in 2015, this year I was selling 15 different language services as a business, as a team and as a project manager. People’s response to my approach would be different, depending on the person I was speaking to. Was this the sales & marketing manager, the new business development director or the business manager himself? Note to self: always speak to the marketing department. They are more open to new services. The second major challenge was that this year I was determined to wear 6 cm high heels.
What were the main differences between people’s reactions at Fruit Logistica 2015 and 2016
There are unconscious reasons for the negative reactions of people, which may have influenced the conversation flow, but that would lead to a whole new article. In a few words, we are all humans and our mood depends on various factors, among which, the unconscious fear of failure and frustration of both parties. In a few words, I would ask people to introduce their product and who was doing their translations. Then they would ask me about mine and why I do this. I would then do my best to use the most appealing speech, and people would ask me some questions about my business. Finally, we would exchange business cards.
Unlike in 2015, in 2016 more people asked for my business card before I finished my speech. They would even take out theirs while I was talking so they were probably pleasantly surprised by all the fresh, new services I offer. What also happened this year was that more people would let me finish my presentation, and that may have everything to with my increased confidence (the good mood and the confidence you convey to people are two key features to the success of your live presentations).
The wider is your business network, the further you can reach.
In-person events help you overcome past fears and make your business grow because they increase your knowledge. Every business owner should invest extra value in in-person events. You become known in your field of specialization and you give a positive image to people who might well be your new clients.