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Attending trade fairs/exhibitions to meet new clients
Thread poster: Mark Walter

Mark Walter
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:47
French to English
Nov 28, 2007

Hi,

I've been thinking about attending trade fairs or exhibitions as a visitor in order to meet new clients. The idea would be to simply go around the stands with business cards and ask if the exhibitors are interested in my translation services.

Has anybody done this already before ? Tips would be welcome as I've never done this before.

To start with, I need to find the right kind of exhibition. There is one on "Online Information Services"
and "Information Management Solutions" at London Olympia next week. Would that one be suitable for me to go to ?

Thanks
Mark


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Mihailolja
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:47
Ukrainian to English
+ ...
Same query Nov 28, 2007

I've been thinking about the same thing, basically I was thinking of going to one of those "Purchase your new home in Eastern Europe fairs" and speaking to Estate Agents etc etc, leaving my business card, basically offering my services.

Good luck Mark!


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 09:47
German to English
Not always profitable Nov 28, 2007

I've done this several times, at the Society of Automotive Engineers congress in Detroit and the Frankfurt auto show. I've found that in general, the people at the stands aren't necessarily decision-makers. You're more likely to have success talking to people at the smaller rather than larger companies. All in all, I've gotten about a dozen queries and only 2 small jobs over the years. I live near Detroit, so that trip is not a problem. Going to Frankfurt allows me to take a large tax deduction while visiting friends there.

The real advantage to going to the trade fairs is to gain familiarity with the products being offered. I generally collect parts lists, illustrated pamphlets, etc. which are a great resource. The best was a multilingual catalog of automotive trim parts. I go to the SAE event every year and come back with bags full of material, plus enough pens, notepads and other supplies to last me until the next congress.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:47
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
trade fair for pros vs general public Nov 28, 2007

I've found that it is more profitable to visit fairs dedicated to pros vs general public.

When you go to an event oriented towards the general public, you meet sales people who have no idea about translation.

On the other hand, if the event is reserved for business people in the field you are more likely to meet decision makers. Suppose they just signed a contract with a foreign dealer, they will have lot of material to translate ! (in a hurry as usual).


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:47
French to English
Get the catalogue Nov 28, 2007

Even if you don't get a chance to meet with the decision makers, you can still scope out potential customers, and get up to date on happenings in your industry. Be sure to pick up the trade show catalogue.

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morliere
English to Chinese
difference between translators Nov 30, 2007

hi everybody,
after seeing articles from the above, the concern of translators are quite different.
translators in western countries and USA can focus on finding more supplies and opportunities.
but translators in China besides this concern, need to concern about the other thing:whether and how to get money back.


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redred  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:47
English to Chinese
+ ...
method Dec 1, 2007

In a fair, I have seen a couple of staff in different exhibition firms (only a couple) sending their exhibition schedule catalogs to exhbiters in stalls. Likewise, in whereabout corner, the people who hasn't a booth, he would grasp opportunity to present catalog and name card to a businessman after whom left a meters-away stall in where the products were similar to him. People nicknamed them or themselves the Guerrilla Members in a trade forum, it is said that some millionaire-entrepreneurs have gone through this path in their earlier establishment of business.

It is effective in a business gathering place or people dump your business card (it is usual), but this performance may be illegal in a show after all, because they may take away other people's business without spending a cent of display charge, you may be evasive the security guards all the times and afraid of being driven away...Or may I think it over serious?

[Edited at 2007-12-01 09:25]


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Eric Zhou
Local time: 21:47
Chinese to English
+ ...
Trade fair stuff Dec 5, 2007

Mark Walter wrote:

Hi,

I've been thinking about attending trade fairs or exhibitions as a visitor in order to meet new clients. The idea would be to simply go around the stands with business cards and ask if the exhibitors are interested in my translation services.

Has anybody done this already before ? Tips would be welcome as I've never done this before.

To start with, I need to find the right kind of exhibition. There is one on "Online Information Services"
and "Information Management Solutions" at London Olympia next week. Would that one be suitable for me to go to ?

Thanks
Mark



hi Mark,

i've been working as exhibitor for 5 years. i saw a lot of people doing the same thing that you planned. to be frank, i don't think it's a good idea as most of the exhibitors are well prepared and may not be likely to consider hiring a translator in the fair...

but anyway, good luck to you!


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Mark Walter
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:47
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
After-exhibition impressions Dec 6, 2007

Thanks to everyone for their input. I attended the exhibition yesterday and today and it was well worth it, although exhausting. And yes i did end up with a stack of brochures, magazines, stationery and even a mug ! Some companies were interested and I must have given about 60 of my business cards in total. Some people gave me the name of somebody to contact within their organisation.
It was a good exercise for me to practise my sales pitch. Now the follow-up part begins and over time I'll be able to assess the real impact of these 2 days. Hopefully I'll get some work coming my way!


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Adi Al-Ka'bi
Local time: 17:47
Arabic to English
+ ...
Good Idea Dec 9, 2007

Personally I haven't been successful at my few attempts at attending Trade Fairs & Exhibitions. But here's something to add to your sales pitch. I tried it during one of my last visits to exhibitions around 2002-2003.

Upon realising that most exhibitors at the stands were either not decision-makers or already had arrangements if they needed translators/interpreters, I once decided on alternatively offering my services for the following year if they participated.

Personally translating/interpreting between ArabicEnglish I only approached those without Arabic Literature at their stands. I noticed a Chinese exhibitor with English only literature at his stand. So I walked up to him and asked for literature about his products. He motioned pointing out all the English literature. I said, "no, I want Arabic literature". He apologized and said that he only had English literature. I said that I only wanted Arabic, which got him going red in the face as if feeling having been inadequately prepared and supplied. Since this was in Dubai I started giving him a lecture on this country being an Arabic one and most visitors being from adjacent countries and mainly Arabic speakers and many not understanding and/or reading English. The poor guy didn't know what to do with himself while I was eyeing him all over as if he'd done something naughty. It was like he wished he had never taken the job to manage the stand and wishing he could make himself disappear at that moment. He eventually said, "What's your problem? You are speaking English. Take these". I said "Look man, just because I speak English that does not mean I read English. I'm an Arab and though I can speak both English and Arabic fluently, but I simply can't read English. Is that difficult to understand"? He looked bewildered trying to figure that out.

I then suddenly pulled out my business card and said: "Look man, next year get your stuff translated before you come here. Here, this is my business card. I'm a translator and I can provide you with the translation of your brochures etc. I was just joking with you. Sorry".

He started rolling his eyes around as if passing what went on through his logic and suddenly burst out laughing out loud drawing the attentions of others at adjacent stands, yelling "That's a great sales pitch. I speak fluently, but can't read, ha ha ha. You are a great salesman, ha, ha, haha….".

Try it for laughs.

Though I do not go to trade fairs and exhibitions any longer, but it's something to do and enjoy during ones spare time if one has it. You can also collect many trade directories etc in useful literature from chamber of commerce and similar official stands. Also, although I never got a job from such visits, but I did get a few inquiries later. But I'm sure that if you do it regularly you'll definitely come up with something every now and then.

You have enough replies above to encourage you on that. I just added my bit here for adding some humor.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Still attending trade fairs? Oct 7, 2009

Mark Walter wrote:

Thanks to everyone for their input. I attended the exhibition yesterday and today and it was well worth it, although exhausting. And yes i did end up with a stack of brochures, magazines, stationery and even a mug ! Some companies were interested and I must have given about 60 of my business cards in total. Some people gave me the name of somebody to contact within their organisation.
It was a good exercise for me to practise my sales pitch. Now the follow-up part begins and over time I'll be able to assess the real impact of these 2 days. Hopefully I'll get some work coming my way!


Hi Mark,

I just found this thread and I was wondering if you are still attending trade fairs and if it is working for you.

This year, I'm expecting to have some spare time to attend a couple of trade fairs, and would like to hear from you almost 2 years after your first posting (or from any other person for that matter).

Thank you in advance!


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Mark Walter
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:47
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
2 years on... Oct 7, 2009

Hi Penelope,
I haven't attended any other fairs since the one nearly 2 years ago. I didn't get any work from it, only a few enquiries. I think my mistake was that the fair I went to (information management) was not sufficiently geared towards the language industry. Most people didn't have a clue about translation. In future I would only attend translation or at least language shows, and that would be my advice to you. Good luck!
Mark


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Latest experience Oct 7, 2009

Hi Mark,

Like Penélope Ausejo, I just discovered this thread, too, but I see you already attended the exhibition/fair you mentioned and got some positive things out of it.

FWIW, I just wanted to add that, in my case, I find exhibitions/fairs quite useful in general, though attending them does not always mean (at least in my experience) getting business offers or contacts out of them (most people who attend are after this same objective, so you see a lot of cards and resumés on the tables/stands of many booths).

For me it is actually more of an industry "update" interest, to get to know what is actually happening in the industry in which I work.

Obviously the industry leaders are the ones who usually take part of/sponsor fairs/exhibitions, so it is good to know where their research/investments are leading the industry, so I find this information quite valuable.

Best regards,

Ivette

[Edited at 2009-10-07 12:07 GMT]


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