When tasked with organising and promoting an overseas Trade Mission for local businesses, my focus was initially on what would generate the best success story and what activities would help me professionally. I quickly realised however that unless the event was entirely delegate-focused there would be little take-up and the trip would inevitably end up being either cancelled or poorly attended.
Having worked as an Exporter in the electronics industry and having a strong local network of hi-tech companies, the logical option was to plan a trip to an electronics event that would interest delegates in that sector. SMT in Nuremberg is the biggest European electronics show this year and therefore was the obvious choice.
In addition to the cost associated with attending an International exhibition, there is usually the added pressure of arranging travel/accommodation and inconvenience of time spent away from the office. Selecting the right event and making the most of the opportunities is therefore key.
Five attendees promptly signed up and the following desired outcomes were captured during meetings with delegates prior to the Trade Mission:
- Meet new potential clients, partners or distributors.
- See existing customers.
- Identify new suppliers.
- Look at new technologies
Preparation for the event was therefore critical and delegates were encouraged to set-up meetings and tell potential clients/suppliers that they would be attending the show.
The beauty of attending an event through an organised Trade Mission is that all logistics and travel arrangements are taken care of by a third-party. All delegates benefited from a taxi service to and from London, priority boarding, transfers to the hotel, tickets to the exhibition, dinner and return door-to-door travel.
This consequently allowed delegates to network, catch up on emails or simply relax.
Although the event appears to be shrinking in size compared to previous years, the exhibition was restructured shrewdly into a smaller but more targeted halls. There was for example a High Tech PCB section which featured exhibitors that would have previously been present but dispersed into different halls. Some of the stands were vibrant, full of attendees looking at demonstrations of new equipment and technology.
Given it’s strategic location, the event allowed businesses within the industry to meet up with multiple suppliers/customers from Central and Western Europe on a single day. This can therefore result in saving both time and money.
It is fair to say that each delegate more than met their desired outcomes. The delegation returned to the UK having achieved the following:
- Made contact with dormant customers
- Identified and made contact with new potential clients
- Built better understanding of existing contacts’ capabilities
- Seen the latest equipment and technologies
- Identified new suppliers
- Finalised agreements with top tier manufacturers
- Had meetings with German clients away from the exhibition
- Networked with other delegates to determine any mutual opportunities
All of the above outcomes were raised and confirmed in positive feedback emails from delegates.
Quotes from delegates
“Thank you Wayne for arranging everything in such detail. The Mission provided a good insight into new process technologies. This will aid Plessey to continue to meet its needs and grow production capabilities with flexibility and consistency”
Carl Wither, Plessey
“The Trade Mission to SMT was a great success – giving us great opportunities to strengthen existing and make MANY new networks as well as being able to see the new equipment and technologies suppliers have to offer. The Trade Mission was very well organised, the travel and accommodation was convenient and worked well with meeting our needs”
Glenn George, Bay Photonics
“The Trade Mission to SMT has allowed Rydon Technology to work on an equal footing with many of the world’s best supply chain manufacturers all available in one place. The technology on show not only helps solve today’s production needs but also shines a light on how to build relationships to solve tomorrow’s changing needs. Thanks for all your efforts Wayne”
Mark Kenny, Rydon Technology
“The arrangements were well done and Wayne was ever present, professional and driven to ensure the delegates got the most out of the week”
Mark Nichols, Eltek
All of the businesses that attended the Trade Missions have the need and desire to grow. Ability to reach out to an ever growing and competitive export market will certainly determine how bright the future is for these companies.
The most significant outcome from trip was the underlining need for UK businesses to get out to see clients and suppliers as much as possible. Despite living in a modern world of increasingly advanced ICT there is still overwhelming value in building relationships, getting to know clients, embracing local culture and networking.
Hopefully this Trade Mission has gone a little way in helping delegates with this.