If it’s your first time at CeBIT, it is important to know how to manage your time, and focus properly. We have all been new at doing something, and made mistakes while learning. Here’s a list of mistakes one can make when planning and visiting a large trade show like this one:
First Time at CeBIT: 12 Mistakes to Avoid for Business Visitors
- Book too many meetings. If you are looking for an item, there will be various exhibitors that will have it. Getting tied to ten suppliers with whom you have scheduled meetings takes away time to browse and talk to many more exhibitors. On your first time at CeBIT visit, you think that by booking a certain amount of meetings, you will get a better result, but it is not true most of the time.
- Pick up too many catalogues. The first year I picked up 8kgs of catalogues. I had to put 5 kgs in the suitcase, and 3 kgs. in the hand luggage. Tell exhibitors, in which you are interested, to mail or e-mail catalogues. Your arms, shoulders, and back, will really appreciate it, at the end of the day.
- Waste time talking to useless exhibitors. If you talk to exhibitors who have a product that you are surely not interested in, means less “profitable time” for those who you are really interested in. Tell them you have a meeting, and are running late, or politely pick their business card up, and look at their website in the hotel.
- No planning, just arrive and start looking for something interesting. This is like a lottery. You have to walk the aisles hoping to see something interesting. Many experienced trade show visitors still do it. They might be lucky sometimes, and take home lots of catalogues, but that is not efficient.
- Order, or promise to order from the first exhibitor that you see that has the product you are looking for. Then you see another exhibitor, with a better quality or priced product. Don’t close any deals until you have finished seeing all, and come home and think properly.
- Tell the exhibitor what a great price he has. This locks you in, and leaves no room for negotiating further, because you’ve told him/her that you accept the price and he/she realizes that you’re buying at a higher price.
- Run out of business cards. You can distribute more cards than you really think while walking around. Take a minimum of 100 cards, or more.
- Gossip about other exhibitors you met at the show. Exhibitors don’t like that you show prices or catalogues to rival companies.
- Little or no market study. You think that you know more than your market, and choose a product that you think is great. After you order, and receive the item, you discover that your market (means your customers) doesn’t want the product, because there is no demand. It happened to me a couple of years back with USB 3.0 devices. The product was great but the timing was wrong (2 years early).
- Negotiate an exclusivity agreement with a supplier, without even knowing whether the product will sell or not. When the supplier sees that you place one order, and that you don’t place regular orders after that, he will probably allow other players (your competitors) in the market. Only ask for exclusivity when you are absolutely sure that you can market the product properly and place regular orders with your supplier. In the last few visits to the Cebit trade show, I have noticed that most supplier are not looking for exclusive distribution agreements any more. They prefer to sell to everyone, and will only consider exclusivity once you have placed many orders and shown them your buying power.
- Try to thoroughly cover all halls, and see everything, instead of concentrating on few halls. First time visitors try to see all, but that means less time for the really important things. This is the main mistake visitors make their first time at CeBIT
- Try to fit all in one day. No matter how nicely you plan, things can get left out, and you can suffer delays to the planned schedule. Always have at least another half-day to finish pending tasks. Here’s a list of reasons:
- The exhibitor you want to visit is too busy. You’ve gone round 3 times and come back, and he’s still busy.
- Couldn’t find the exhibitor stand. Sometimes an exhibitor can be moved from one stand to another, or arrives one day late.
- You arrive late to the show, because of flight or other transport delays
- You get tired after walking during 5 hours, and decide to go back to your hotel to rest.
- You talked to an exhibitor and then realized an hour has passed, leaving little time for the others you wanted to see.
I hope that these tips will really help you get the most of your visit to this technology show. Remember to have lots of fun, and enjoy your stay at the fairgrounds, while you are amazed with the awesome new products you will see. Also, come back home, and screen potential suppliers properly before you deal with them.