If you travel from overseas to visit Hong Kong trade shows and Canton fair, you probably know that those 4 days are usually very short to see a maximum. I have attended Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing trade shows for several years so I know a bit about the challenge, particularly in Hong Kong when you have both GlobalSources and HKTDC which are time to time happening on the same date.
In this articles I explain what is based on my experience the best strategy to optimize productivity. How to see a maximum in a minimum of time:
# Know the floor map in advance
The first advice is obviously to be organized and to properly prepare your trip in advance. First, look at the floor map on the trade-show website. Spot on the most interesting product you are interested in, review the exhibitor list, tick in advance which one seems the more appealing to you.
Sort and categorize by priority order which products are the most appealing to you then build a drawing of the ideal path you should follow to optimize your time.
When drawing your path, make it in a organized way go one line of booth after one line. Once you are at the trade-show don’t change this methodology of walking trough the floor.
# Travel light and comfortable
Let’s say it, walking around a whole day long in a trade show is tiring and exhausting. So, make your life easy, don’t take any heavy luggage with you or heavy back pack. If you have no other choice than having luggage, then make sure they have wheels.
Don’t take heavy clothes. Get some comfortable shoes as the floors are usually huge and require you to walk a lot, to stand a lot, to stop and restart so if you don’t have comfortable shoes you will suffer. Choose comfort over look like. Don’t feel obligated to wear a suit, a tie, a shirt and some banker like shoes if you don’t feel comfortable in it.
Keep in mind this: when you may go to visit your vendor in his manufacturing plant, the boss of the company may be driving a big BMW car but he may also be wearing a short, a t-shirt, and a pair of flip flop. He will not care too much if you wear a shirt, a tie or some Weston shoes. Rather he will value you based on your order size and the profit he can get from your business.
# Don’t take all catalogs unless absolutely necessary, even less gadgets
When walking though trade show floor, sales people will jump on you to give you their catalogs, give you some gifts aka gadgets, and obviously to get in exchange your business card so they can better send you some information later (aka spamming you).
Well, even if you have a big bag to potentially carry all those catalogs and gifts then I still advice you not taking them as it will make you even more tired to carry them. On the top of this it will increase your luggage weight when checking in. Keep in mind all those catalogs can be sent to you via email in PDF format. Not only it is easier to handle, but also this is more environmental friendly !
Instead of taking catalogs, you’d rather ask the business card of those gentle chinese sales only, and then to write on it what you were interested in.
If they ask your business card, then two potential solutions which I usually apply :
First possibility : make a business card dedicated to those vendors which I know will spam me anyway and whatever I would ask them to stop doing so. Create an email address: [email protected] so that you never get your own email box being spammed with dirty emails.
Second possibility : « I have given all my business card already, please take my email : [email protected] and send me more information later » speech. This is a good excuse for not giving your business card while still taking their business card.
# Don’t enter into every booth
It can be tempting to enter into every booth to check each product, but something I learnt is you should better not do it, especially if like me you don’t want to start wasting your time in useless discussion such as « Sir, where are you from, what product you sell, how is the weather and the food in your country etc… ».
Rather use the “quick scan from outside booth » methodology to scan the booth and see if something is really interesting in it (you probably noticed that 70% of those vendors attending trade fair mostly sell the same item: how many booth sell bluetooth speaker, earphone, headset etc..)
I know sometimes it can be difficult to see products from far away, but once you get used to this technic I can guarantee you that you will become hyper productive at handling trade show visit.
If a product really interest you then allow yourself to enter the booth to get further information but try to time box your stay on the booth.
If you have no time to go yourself to Hong Kong tradeshow because you are busy with something else but still would like to be in touch with the market and the last new products that vendor propose, then I invite you look at this service which we can provide to you here