|ATTEND A TRADE FAIR IN BRAZIL
ARTICLE BY ROSALIENE BACCHUS
You can explore foreign markets from the comfort of your office or home using the Internet. But nothing beats
attending a trade fair to find suppliers; discover the next great product or service; get a close-up look at your
competitors; understand the market dynamics; identify a sales representative or distributor for your product
line; gain insight for new product development ideas; and meet face-to-face with potential partners.
Organized for specific industries, trade fairs (also called trade shows or expos) gather companies in one
location to showcase their latest products or services for a fixed period, usually up to five days. Exhibitors
position themselves to attract new clients and generate sales. Attendees have the opportunity to see and
examine the products on display, as well as make comparative evaluations of their quality and pricing.
Attending a trade fair overseas can be costly for a micro or small firm. To ensure the best return on your
investment, it will be important to establish your goals and plan for the event. The first task will be selecting the
best fair for your needs. You can find trade fairs in Brazil for your industry or market sector in online directories
(such as TSNN and EventsEye); trade publications; or through your industry association. Visit the fair’s
Website for a list of the exhibitors. Contact the organizers if the list is not yet available. Talk with others in your
industry or market sector about the fair. Save time on arrival by pre-registering for the event.
Knowing your goals will determine the success of your trip. If you are seeking suppliers, determine the specific
type of product or brands you are looking for. Which exhibitors are a must to meet and establish a contact? Do
you want to buy on the spot or place sample orders for future payment and delivery? Do you just need an
overall look at trends in the Brazilian market?
You will have a lot of ground to cover, hundreds of booths to visit, and huge crowds to maneuver. CouroModa,
the largest trade fair for the Brazilian and Latin American footwear market, opened in São Paulo January
18-21, 2010 (www.couromoda.com). It covered 80,000 square meters (172,684 square miles) of exhibition
space. Last year, 1,200 exhibitors participated, representing 3,000 footwear and fashion accessories brands.
Sixty five thousand attendees came from 64 countries.
Under such conditions, it is essential to map out your route for visiting your targeted booths. If a copy of the
fair directory with a list of all exhibitors and floor plan is not available online, get a head start by picking up a
copy as soon as the fair opens. As exhibitors will be busy, you should already have in mind the questions you
need to ask. Collect available literature and samples, if offered. Make contact with the people in the booth.
Exchange business cards. Leave a good impression. When you return home, it will be time to follow-up on
your contacts and orders placed.
Preparing for your trip is equally important. If you have already made contact by phone or e-mail with a
potential Brazilian supplier or buyer, you can arrange to arrive a few days before the fair to visit their factory
(if possible) and make personal contact. For information on obtaining a visitor’s visa, contact the Brazilian
Consulate with jurisdiction for your state (www.brasilemb.org). Do not forget to pack a stack of business cards
with your current contact information. A wheeled carry-on bag serves well for lugging around all the brochures,
catalogs, and samples you will collect at the fair.
Article published in the Brazil Explore Magazine, Los Angeles, California, USA, February 2010.
Reprinted with permission.
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