Hardly a bed of roses

By Fong Li Choo on 06/12/2016

Working for a trade venue has its challenges but persistence pays off. 

I work for a trade promotion body in Hong Kong and every year we organise about 30 trade fairs. A big chunk of my time is spent on researching companies and evaluating their suitability for sponsorship to visit our fairs.

Of course, I'm unable to let them know on the onset that we are considering for sponsorship so there is this inherent scepticism from companies whenever I send out an invitation to them.

Sometimes, I have to convince them that we are bona fide while other times, our invitation is never answered.

Every fair has a forum and I'm also responsible for finding someone who is willing to be a speaker. It is quite an uphill task as most buyers are reluctant to do public speaking while others are not authorised to speak on behalf of their companies.

I would say that a business owner would be more inclined to participate as it is also a good platform to promote his business.

Usually, I travel five times a year to Hong Kong to provide onsite assistance to our buyers and I take advantage of this opportunity to learn about our buyers' sourcing plans and difficulties faced by them.

Some may think that it is an easy job and an enviable one but a lot of hard work, follow-up and persistence are behind the scenes.  

There are some markets that are small so there is always the challenge of finding new players and for online stores, if a contact number is not available, the daunting task of contacting them to visit our fair is very real.

I'm not a top sales person but I believe that once you deliver what you promised to your buyers, you have forged a relationship with them and they will remember you as someone who takes their requests and interests seriously. 

It is also important to be honest with them so as to manage their expectations.

Li Choo is a venue sales professional for a trade venue located in Hong Kong.

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