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Canada Trade Shows: Exhibiting Successfully

Information on temporary entry and travel to Canada. Also includes taxes and standards guides.

Canada Trade Shows: Exhibiting Successfully

Postby bridgat » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:23 pm

The following pointers will help ensure that U.S. companies have a successful Canadian trade event:

1. PREPARE EARLY. As soon as you have decided to be an exhibitor, start a list of things to do in preparation for the show. Hold a meeting with key people in your company 120 to 180 days before the show starts to discuss opportunities and to pool your company's resources. Participants in this meeting should come from sales, public relations, product management and any other groups that can benefit from your participation as an exhibitor. Create a strategic plan for your entry into, or presence in, the Canadian market which goes beyond the actual booth. Determine your goal for participating at the trade event. Is it to gather first-hand research for the development of future products, to launch new products, to run a publicity campaign, or to collect leads? Studies conducted by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), in Bethesda, MD, indicate that Canadians attend shows to network, gather information, compare products, and make decisions.

2. LEARN ABOUT THE CANADIAN MARKET. Miscalculating the importance of Canadian shows can result in your bringing a display that is too modest to attract the attention of visitors. Canadian delegates may walk by your booth without noticing it. Don't underestimate Canada's buying power. Canada is the U.S.'s largest trading partner. Take advantage of this. The U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce can provide you with valuable information about doing business in Canada, and can help you access the Country Commercial guide and various marketing reports for Canada. (Much of this information is available on this web site and other linked to this site.)

The Commercial Service works directly with trade show organizers on cooperative programs to promote sales of U.S. products. It has a variety of services to help small and medium-sized companies initiate and expand their export sales through industry trade shows.

Contact the Commercial Service of the U.S. through the U.S. Export Assistance Center, U.S. Department of Commerce in your region, and the Commercial Service at its offices in Canada for information on the Canadian market. You can find the phone numbers of the U.S. Export Assistance Center serving your area in your local phone book, and you can contact the Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa by e-mail ffice.ottawa@mail.doc.gov. The Commercial Service in Canada also has a homepage on the internet at the following address: http://www.buyusa.gov/canada/en/

3. STAY IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH THE SHOW ORGANIZER. Trade show organizers deal with several groups involved in an industry. Media and buyers keep in touch with them to gather information about who's exhibiting at the trade event. Your competitors may even keep them advised on their plans for the show. By staying in touch with the show organizer you can gather useful information about the show itself as well as the market in general. Canadian show organizers provide smooth move-ins and excel in service. While Canada has unionized staff, no practices restrict hiring of workers or contracting for services at the show.

4. CONSIDER HIRING A TRADE SHOW MANAGER IN CANADA. A good trade show management firm offers exhibit management and marketing services, including research and selection of the right shows, help for its customers in meeting their marketing and sales objectives, strategic exhibit planning, and on-site analysis. It may also provide on-site management, performance and competitive analysis, sales lead tracking, follow-up reports, educational seminars and newsletters. One such firm in Canada is ABCOMM, a company that has had experience assisting U.S. companies in Canada. For contact information on ABCOMM, visit the firm's web site at www.AB-COMM.COM.

5. ADVERTISE. Make sure your clients and the companies in your target market know you'll be at the show. Compile and update your target lists. Ask your sales staff to provide information on your key customers. These customers should be organized into several categories:

(a) Customers who can maintain consistent re-orders
(b) Customers whose orders can be increased
(c) Customers who are close to making a first order, and
(d) Customers to whom you would like to introduce your product first-hand.

Send out announcements to your customers alerting them to your presence at the shows and invite them to visit your booth to see your products or services. Advertise in the local Canadian newspaper and in trade magazines. Be sure to include your booth number and show dates.

6. COACH YOUR STAFF ON HOW TO MANAGE THE BOOTH (INCLUDING DO'S AND DON'TS). Your staff will have ongoing opportunities during the show to speak to qualified visitors, so make sure they are prepared to represent your company successfully. Provide them with training and establish guidelines for them to follow. A few of the basic guidelines they should adhere to are:

(a) Follow the dress codes. (Your staff should present the right corporate image for your company.)
(b) Do not eat in the booth.
(c) Do not sit down. Stand ready to receive visitors.
(d) Always behave in a professional manner. (Let your staff know that they too, are "on display" when staffing the booth.) If possible, have a bilingual representative in your booth.

7. VIEW YOUR BOOTH AS YOUR OWN MINIATURE TRADE SHOW. Show facilities in Canada are smaller and therefore easier to cover on foot. Visitors can and do visit every booth. Most shows can be seen in a day. You can have a "large" presence at a Canadian show with what is considered by U.S. standards to be a relatively "small" booth, e.g., a 20 feet by 20 feet booth. Design your booth layout carefully. Keep it simple, don't overcrowd it, and make it comfortable for your staff and your visitors while they are there. Lay thick under-padding under a lush carpet. Not only will it look great, but it will help your staff to look great too, because they won't be frowning from sore feet. You'll find your booth packed with people who just can't resist spending a few more minutes in the comfort you have provided. This alone may lead to extra sales.

8. CHOOSE YOUR PRODUCT DISPLAY CAREFULLY AND SET IT UP IN THE SIMPLEST POSSIBLE MANNER.

9. CHECK OUT THE LOCATION OF THE SHOW AND THE BOOTH AHEAD OF TIME. Managers sometimes assume that their staff will know how to reach the facility and the hall where the show is being held. Ask your staff to make an advance trip to the show grounds and the booth location so they can familiarize themselves with the route, as well as the set-up of the booth. Issue maps and directions to all staff manning the booth.

10. STAY AHEAD OF EVERYTHING DURING THE EVENT. BE PREPARED:

(a) arrive early, and make sure all materials are set up and all equipment is in working order.
(b) stock the booth with pens, pencils, business cards, lead forms, back-up supplies and equipment, tissue, and breath mints.

11. GIVE EVERY VISITOR YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. Trade Shows are all about face-to-face contact with clients. Make the most of visitors coming to your booth, qualifying them as potential clients. Collect follow-up information. Listen to your visitor's comments about your products or services.

12. HAVE QUALITY HANDOUTS AVAILABLE TO DISTRIBUTE. Design your handouts carefully. They should be market-focused, easy to read, brief and to-the-point. It is best to have bilingual (English/French) brochures available for distribution. If you decide to have giveaways, don't make them so interesting that an "unqualified" visitor would like to take one, but make them interesting enough for a "qualified" visitor to want one. Product samples are always a good idea, and so are discount coupons. Canadians are not usually impressed with "American-style" glitz, gifts, entertainment, etc.

13. FOLLOW UP! You've run a great show. Don't drop the ball! After the event, don't forget your leads! Distribute the leads you developed at the show to sales staff back at the office. Ensure they follow up with these leads within 30 days of the show.

14. EVALUATE YOUR PARTICIPATION AT THE EVENT. Prepare a report on the success of the show, and note how your company's presence at the show may be improved upon the next time. Distribute this report to all the staff involved in the trade event.

The following is a list of contacts to help you select a trade show in Canada that's right for you:

CANADIAN TRADE AND INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS

AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
60 QUEEN STREET, SUITE 1200
OTTAWA, ONTARIO
KLP 5Y7
TEL: (613) 232-4297
FAX: (613) 232-1142
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.aiac.ca

ALLIANCE OF MANUFACTURERS AND EXPORTERS CANADA
75 INTERNATIONAL BOULEVARD, 4TH FLOOR
ETOBICOKE, ONTARIO
M9W 6L9
TEL: (416) 798-8000
FAX: (416) 798-8050
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.the-allliance.org

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
1272 WELLINGTON STREET
OTTAWA, ONTARIO
KLY 3A7
TEL: (613) 728-5821
FAX: (613) 728-6021
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.aftmkt.com

CANADIAN ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION (CATA)
388 ALBERT STREET
OTTAWA, ONTARIO
KLR 5B2
TEL: (613) 236-6550
FAX: (613) 236-8189
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.cata.ca

CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
350 SPARKS STREET, SUITE 501
OTTAWA, ONTARIO
KLR 7S8
TEL: (613) 238-4000
FAX: (613) 238-7643
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.chamber.ca

CANADIAN IMPORTERS ASSOCIATION, INC.
210 DUNDAS STREET W., SUITE 700
TORONTO, ONTARIO
MSG 2E8
TEL: (416) 595-5333
FAX: (416) 595-8226
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.importers.ca

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (ITAC)
2800 SKYMARK AVENUE, SUITE 402
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO
L4W 5A6
TEL: (905) 602-8345
FAX: (905) 602-8346
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.ita.ca

OTTAWA-CARLETON BOARD OF TRADE
350 ALBERT STREET, SUITE 1710
OTTAWA, ONTARIO
KLR LA4
TEL: (613) 236-3631
FAX: (613) 236-7498
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.board-of-trade.org

OTTAWA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
BOX 50, 350 ALBERT STREET, SUITE 1720
OTTAWA, ONTARIO
KLR LA4
TEL: (613) 236-3500
FAX: (613) 236- 9469
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.ottawaregion.com

PACKAGING ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
2255 SHEPPARD AVENUE EAST, SUITE E-330
WILLOWDALE, ONTARIO
M2J 4YL
TEL: (416) 490-7860
FAX: (416) 490-7844
INTERNET WEBSITE: www.pac.ca

The following is a list of leading shows in Canada in which the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service has participated:

EVENT: HOST-EX
CS EVENT TYPE: TRADE MISSION AND MATCHMAKER
SECTOR: HOTEL EQUIPMENT, FURNITURE
LOCATION: TORONTO, ONTARIO
CONTACT: RITA PATLAN
TEL: (416) 595-5412 EXT. 223

EVENT: GTEC (CANADIAN GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT)
CS EVENT TYPE: MATCHMAKER IN HIGH TECH
SECTOR: COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE AND SERVICES, AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES
LOCATION: OTTAWA
CONTACT: KEVIN D'ENTREMONT
TEL: (613) 238-4470, EXT.409

EVENT: INTERNET WORLD CANADA
CS EVENT TYPE: TRADE MISSION AND MATCHMAKER
SECTOR: COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
AND SERVICES
LOCATION: TORONTO, ONTARIO
CONTACT: VIKTORIA PALFI
TEL: (416) 595-5412, EXT. 229

EVENT: COMDEX PACRIM
CS EVENT TYPE: BUSINESS INFORMATION OFFICE
SECTOR: COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
LOCATION: VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
CONTACT: CHERYL SCHELL
TEL: (604) 685-3382

EVENT: MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL SPORTS
EXHIBITION
CS EVENT TYPE: GOLD KEYS/MATCHMAKER
SECTOR: SPORTING GOODS
LOCATION: MONTREAL, QUEBEC
CONTACT: JACQUIE HAZAN
TEL: (514) 398-9695 EXT. 277

EVENT: INTERIORS DACOR SHOWCASE
CS EVENT TYPE: U.S.A. PAVILION AND BUSINESS
INFORMATION OFFICE
SECTOR: HOUSEHOLD CONSUMER GOODS,
TEXTILE PRODUCTS, AND BUILDING
MATERIALS
LOCATION: TORONTO, ONTARIO
CONTACT: RITA PATLAN
TEL: (416) 595-5412, EXT. 223

EVENT: INTERCOMM (CERTIFIED)
CS EVENT TYPE: U.S.A. PAVILION AND BUSINESS
INFORMATION OFFICE
SECTOR: TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT
AND SERVICES
LOCATION: VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
CONTACT: CHERYL SCHELL
TEL: (604) 685-3382

EVENT: AMERICANA (CERTIFIED)
CS EVENT TYPE: U.S.A. PAVILION AND BUSINESS
INFORMATION OFFICE
SECTOR: ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES
LOCATION: MONTREAL, QUEBEC
CONTACT: BENOIT TRUDEL
TEL: (514) 398-9695 EXT. 250

EVENT: CATA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
CS EVENT TYPE: MATCHMAKER IN HIGH TECH
SECTOR: COMPUTER SOFTWARE AND SERVICES
AND HARDWARE, TELECOMMUNICATIONS
EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES,
AERONAUTICAL EQUIPMENT
LOCATION: CALGARY
CONTACT: SHARON ATKINS
TEL: (403) 265-2116

EVENT: WESTERN CANADA FARM PROGRESS SHOW
CS EVENT TYPE: U.S.A. PAVILION AND MATCHMAKER
SECTOR: AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
LOCATION: REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN
CONTACT: SHARON ATKINS
TEL: (403) 265-2116

EVENT: AEROSPACE NORTH AMERICA (CERTIFIED)
CS EVENT TYPE: U.S.A. PAVILION AND BUSINESS
INFORMATION OFFICE
SECTOR: AVIATION AND AEROSPACE EQUIPMENT
LOCATION: ABBOTSFORD, BRITISH COLUMBIA
CONTACT: RICK TACHUK OR CHERYL SCHELL
TEL: (613) 238-5335 EXT. 222
OR (604) 685-3382
bridgat
 
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