How to get ready for an international b2b expo?


Can you hear jingle bells? That’s right, the holiday season is right around the corner. But do you know what’s even closer? Pre-holiday B2B trade fairs. It means great networking, commercial opportunities, and of course, new contracts. The right preparation helps you make sure that such fairs are stress-free. Drawing on XX of our experience, we’ve created a checklist to make sure your expo is rewarding.  


  1. Seeing is not only believing, but also learning. Before throwing yourself into the preparation, it’s best to visit such an expo at least once. This allows you to see what the procedures are, what kinds of placements there can be, and decide what products/services you’ll pitch to your potential clients.
  2. Define your objectives. They should be clear, short term and achievable. For example, meeting with existing partners, scheduling appointments with potential customers, gaining feedback on your product, etc. It’s important to understand why you’re using a B2B expo as a tool and what you expect to receive from it. A clear aim helps outline steps for achieving it and what you should focus on. 
  3. Get ready for objectives realization. If your key purpose is to attract potential partners, you need to determine your client’s profile, work on the contact base, initiate the conversation next to your stand, and prepare test samples of your products. Also, be ready to provide the necessary information: prices, confirmation of orders forms, calculations of the logistic expenses to the key cities, etc. 
  4. Building a team that carries out all the tasks during the expo.  You need to gather the right people able to meet the goals of the expo. If your main objective is to conquer new markets, then competent managers are who you should be looking for. They’ll be in charge of showcasing the product, discussing pricing and details of the partnership. If you visit an exhibition to launch a product or a set of products, then you’ll work closely with the marketing department.
    Don’t forget about the language barrier. Here you will need either translators or native speakers. Of course, English is a must everywhere, but it’s highly advisable to have some French speakers on an expo in France.
  5. Technical preparation. Assembling the stand is yet another challenge. Depending on the tasks and your stand, you need to prepare a list of products, equipment, promotional leaflets, etc. Try to plan everything down to every last detail. That’s right, you’ll even need to think about the number of pens and staples with braces. 
  6. Registration and participation fee. Each exhibition has its own rules, but more and more expo organizers offer you an online account. Here you’ll need to sign up and submit all your company’s information. Also, you keep in touch with the managers. They will introduce you to the details of the expo, prompt you which options are available, and send you the invoice to pay the participation fee. 
  7. Assigning roles. Getting ready for the expo is laborious. That’s why you’ll need not only the people that will be taking part in the event but also you’ll need a team that will help you prepare. You’ll need R&D to help you with the visuals. The production department will take care of printing promo materials, catalogs, etc. Logistics managers will arrange the delivery of the stand. The sales team will be inviting partners to visit the stand. And, of course, you’ll need to work closely with the CEO for they will define the key goals for the event. 
  8. Timing. As with every project, setting and keeping timing is crucially important. Not meeting the deadlines means poor-quality preparation for the exhibition. A schedule must be planned and monitored very carefully.


  1. Setting up. Usually, the construction of a stand begins 3 days before the start of the event. During this time, you need to fully assemble and equip your stand. Here’s a tip for beginners: construction and furniture stores are a go-to solution for arranging furniture and stand decor. For example, Leroy Merlin and Ikea can always help you out and won’t ruin your budget.
  2. The appearance of the stand. Your stand should be presented accordingly to the brand book of the company. Make sure you don’t change it dramatically from exhibition to exhibition. After all, visitors will remember you, so help them recognize you at the following exhibitions. Make sure that all products are easy to access and their purpose and design are easy to understand without help.
  3. The appearance of the exhibitors. There are no definitive guidelines on how a stand-presenter should look. However, keep in mind what products you present and who your customer is when choosing the outfit.
  4. Communication with prospects. It is important to be “easy-going” and “understanding”. Don’t overload visitors with information. There’s an effective formula to follow when talking to prospects:
    30% of basic information about the company and the product + 70% of individual information for the client.
    For example, if you’re talking to a distributor, assure them of the ability to ship large volumes and discuss a joint vision of market development. On the other hand, when talking to owners of small shops, you’ll need arguments in favor of the convenience of delivery, payment, display of products, the availability of any product sample, etc.
  5. Building the contact base. Here’s the main rule: ask for a business card everyone you talk to. If a visitor does not have one, offer them your form for recording contacts. Many exhibition organizers offer to use the application for scanning badges and reading contact information. It’s really convenient, don’t shy away from using it.
  6. Comment on business cards. Make a short note on each business card. During the exhibition, you will communicate with hundreds of visitors.  Naturally, after some time it will be difficult to remember what you were discussing with each prospect.
    Here’s what is important to write down: type of cooperation(distributor/store/ ind.-request), what products or conditions they liked, and some key takeaways form your conversation. This will help you a lot when you talk to the client in the future.
  7. Networking. Even exhibitors like yourself can become your partners or customers. Some may introduce you to the large network buyer that you were aiming at for so long. Others might advise a local carrier or become interested in distributing your goods. Make friends with the fellow-exhibitors.


  1. Working with leads. Organize all received contacts accordingly to criteria you find easy to work with. Start writing emails a few days after the exhibition. Avoid template mailings, write personalized messages to every client.  Your business card should have all the necessary notes for writing an email that talks directly to the prospect.
  2. Following up. Don’t be fooled by the illusion that your leads will instantly answer your emails. Some will need time to think, others might miss your letter. Gently remind them about yourself, but don’t spam them with pushy emails. One follow-up a week is enough.
  3. The profitability of the exhibition. Participating in such events is often a part of a long-time strategy. Yes, it is possible that it will recoup all your expenses with one contract. But it also may happen that you will close a  deal (or several) after a year, or even more. Many large distributors carefully study a potential supplier and may move forward with their interest after two or three expos. An exhibition is also an image-building and brand-awareness event. Here you show your viability as a company, the dynamics of creating new products, and your growth throughout time.
  4. Summing up the results. At the end of the expo, it is important to draw some conclusions and state what was good, what didn’t go so well, what should be enhanced and what you should get rid of. This is valuable information that will help you improve your presentation at the next exhibitions.Now our company employs over 50 people. team develops and produces 50 products in Ukraine. Founded in 2012 as a startup, today it is a full-fledged international business that represents Ukraine on the markets of more than 30 countries.

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