By www.exporttorussia.orgHow to get qualified leads from exhibiting in Russia and some issues to considerFour step system for best results: 1. Select show that attracts the most industry professionals 2. Design your booth so it attracts visitors interested in your product. 3. Qualify attracted visitors and rank then in order of importance. 4. Follow up on the qualified leads after the show to get sales. Details: 1. Select the show Show organizer attracts people in the industry. There are 140 000 000 people in Russia, a very small fraction of which are decisionmakers in any given industry. A trade show organizer tries to attract as many of these decision makers as possible toa relevant show using trade publication, direct mail, house list, Internet etc. To find the biggest Russian show for any given industry google ‘major “industry”show in Russia’ For example:‘major plastics show in Russia’ shows both Plastics Expo and Interplastica on the firstpage of search results.‘major Russian food show’ shows both ProdExpo and WorldFood Moscow. 2. Design your booth to attract visitors interested in your product: Not every visitor is a potential customer of every company exhibiting: at a typicalshow there are equipment manufacturers, raw material suppliers, logistics and mediacompanies, trade associations, government trade promotion agencies etc. Design yourstand to attract those specifically interested in your product. Your booth serves the same purpose as headlines in newspapers – people skimheadlines to decide if the article is relevant to them and should be read. In the same way show visitors flow past booths and in a few short seconds decide ifthey should investigate further. Ideally your booth should be designed so it attracts attention and piques interest ofpotential buyers while having no impression on other visitors.
The reason for this is your staff will have to qualify those attracted to your booth andsince the staffs’ time is limited you don’t want to waste it on people who are not yourmarket. Since you are going to Russia, this is especially important as there is a languagebarrier – you’ll have to use a translator which at least triples the time you spendqualifying each visitor. So let your stand do the initial qualifying. Some suggestions: - use posters and banners which concisely and clearly communicate the main benefityour product or company provides - design a short – 2-5 minutes demonstration and perform it continuously - if live demonstration is not possible, produce a short video and put it on acontinuous loop on a screen facing the aisle. - do not use booth babes in industry shows. They definitely will attract male visitorsbut for the wrong reasons. Do you really want to waste your time trying to qualify guysgawking at half-naked girls? A side story: CBOSS – a Russian telecom company – got kicked out of a Spanishtrade show for offering romantic dinners with models to visitors for attending businessmeetings. Here is a video of these idiots ‘selling’ telecom products: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pSirmi-ooA Can you imagine spending tens of thousnads to rent the space and probably over ahundred thousands overall only to put up a cheap dancing performace. Im sure none ofthe male visitors are complaining, but would they buy?3. Qualify visitors attracted to your stand Visitors attracted by your stands have at least some interest in your product.However, you still don’t know if they have money and authority to buy it. Traditionally, this is where booth staff - specifically trained in qualifying showvisitors on the spot – comes in. But… You are in Russia! There is a language barrier. You have two options: Work through an interpreter which at least triples the amount of time you need toqualify each visitor. Or find Russian speaking staff with expertise in your industry and in qualifying showvisitors. What are the chances of that?
I wish at this point I could say something like: ‘Contact me and I will supply you with a properly trained Russian-speaking staff toman your booth in Russia’ But I can’t. In my opinion this is the weakest point in the whole process – finding theright people to man your exhibition in Russia – and I don’t have a solution. I suppose once you have a distributor or representative office in Russia you caninvest in training their staff and use them. But what if you don’t have a presence inRussia and going to a trade show specifically to find a distributor? And then there is the qualifying process itself. You want to know:- can they afford your product- are they willing to pay for it- are they authorized to buy or influence- at what stage of the buying cycle their company is. Do you realistically expect to get this information out of strangers in a few shortminutes? And remember – people lie. No one is going to admit they can’t afford ordon’t have authority to buy whatever it is you offer. Russians if anything are even more paranoid, secretive and prone to putting up a falsefront One suggestion I can make to improve that situation: Profile your customer and best prospects. Get a list of a hundred or five hundred ofthe largest Russian companies that best fit that profile. Either memorize the names or keep this list readily accessible. This way you onlyneed to get visitor’s company name to prioritize how much attention he should get. Let’s say you are going to Plastics Industry Show (October 21-24, 2013. Moscow) tofind buyers for your equipment or raw materials. According to the Russian Tax Office database there are 17 306 companies registeredin Russia under ‘production of articles of plastics’. These can be ranked by revenue, location or by their main products, so you canspecifically target PVC pipe makers, PET packaging makers or whoever your market is. 4. Post-show follow up: In business to business almost all sales are made after the show during follow up. How do you follow up on Russian leads? If you have representation in Russia youcan forward leads from the show there. But what if you don’t?
Do you just give them to your salesmen? If they start talking in a foreign languagewhen calling Russia, they will get hung up on. One solution is to hire and train a Russian speaking staff in your country. I see a lotof Canadian farm machinery manufacturers do this, since they do brisk business inRussia. I realize this article may raise more questions than it answers about exhibiting inRussia. The main two are: - how are you going to qualify visitors attracted by your stand? - how are you going to follow up on the leads you collect? Everything else – choosing the show, designing your booth and handling logistics isrelatively easy to do. It’s the number of qualified leads you bring from the show and thesales you get from them that will separate profitable show from one expensive disaster.www.exporttorussia.org