Take A Calm Approach in Choppy International Business

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“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too”

-Rudyard Kipling

Trusting your instincts and taking good guidance are key to successful business growth. Below are some insights from EuroLink Managing Director, Joe Mannion:

“You know what you are, Joe? You’re like John the Baptist. You’ve gotta tell them that Jesus is coming!…..” And so another humorous insight from the CEO of one of my clients lightened the mood at the end of a successful but long hard day at another international trade show in Germany.

Joel was an extremely successful business owner, who had taken over his family’s U.S. business and progressively expanded it. He did this by astutely developing new products for existing customers, acquiring complementary businesses, and diversifying business units for distinct industrial and consumer offerings. He reinvested continuously, but above all he valued his people. He brought in the best he could find, and recognised the value of outside counsel and expertise to accelerate growth and profitability. He wanted his team pushed, but supported, and to learn from the best as quickly as possible.

That evening Joel and I were celebrating the results of lots of preparation and connections that helped make the trade show a “slam dunk”.   Over the years I have often encountered other business owners who have prematurely retreated from international events and markets. After taking a stand (or a “booth” as my U.S. clients call it) at a trade show and not being inundated with enquiries and connections they throw in the towel too quickly. “Well that was a waste of time and money”, they will say. And so I ask them what they did to prepare for the event. They list out the displays & marketing materials they spent time and money on, the space rental at the show, hotel, travel and so on. But what did you do before the show to attract qualified leads to meet you there? This is when the response is usually slow to come.

In my experience you only get out what you put in, and plenty of it, in advance of that key trade show or business trip. To state the obvious perhaps, make sure you pick your new market carefully, having researched the relevance & competitiveness of your offering for it. Understand your ability to deliver on your promises. Buyers are like elephants, they have a long memory, especially for poor performance. Go in prepared. For a busy international trade show that means knowing who is coming and who you want to attract to meet you there. Months of preparation are vital, building and working market intelligence and connections. Avail of outside expertise to introduce your firm to the key market players, and someone who can help adapt your offering & sales pitch to maximise success. There are probably supports available to you to at least part-fund this expertise. Ask for it!

I loved Joel’s funny insight in to his perception of my role. But before letting him off too easily, and enjoying a couple of well-earned German beers, I had to respond.  “As long as I don’t lose my head like John the Baptist did!”.

Joe Mannion

Joe Mannion is Managing Director of EuroLink International Business Development which offers global technical sales and marketing expertise, with full multilingual capabilities.

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