You have made your decision to participate in Arab Health 2016. Great. Tradeshows can help you gauge the level of interest in your products and services, develop leads and possibly make sales.
Nevertheless, there is the word “Arab” in Arab Health, well it says it all. Since the audience is the key defining characteristic for show attractiveness, keep the cultural considerations in mind. So learning beforehand a little about the culture is a recipe for success. Prospects will not necessarily do Business with your company because you have good products. Prospects generally appreciate foreigners taking the time to learn something about their country/culture.
Whether it is your first time or hundreds of times, whether you have miraculous or me-too products, here below some tips to stand out from the crowd:
Cutomize your stand: What about including Arabic letters or photos that talk Arabic culture? You can find it easily by surfing in google. You can even do a minor translation into Arabic language to your marketing collateral. This is a powerful tactic to show how your company cares about the Arabic or Middle-Eastern culture.
Dress Code: Do not fee to appearances of the big buildings and the luxury cars you see, the Arab culture is a strong force. Sales women should be formally dressed. Sales men should avoid wearing jewerelly especially in Gold, as it is not well regarded in this part of the world.
Greetings: addressing someone by their first name is common in the Middle East e.g. Mr. Ahmed. If in doubt, simply ask, “What should I call you?”. Arabs are very welcoming, warm and generous and therefore if you display food at your stand, do not hesitate to offer to your audience. As for shaking hands, wait for women with traditional Arabic dress to extend their hand first before shaking hands.
Business Cards: You may consider bilingual business cards. It may be useful to have a set of business cards printed in English on one side and Arabic language on the other.
Sales conduct: We know that your time is valuable and you would like to concentrate on attendees who showed interest (or you think that they have an active interest) in your products. I advise you though to give equal time and interest to all your stand attendees. Do not select your prospects on the spot. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have enough staff to respond to all your attendee’s inquiries. The Arab culture is mostly in tribal. You do not know who might be behind the person you ignored. This person might be a high governmental officer in one of those countries and this could be fatal to your business in the region.
Distributors Queries: If your company is looking for local Distributors especially with particular profiles, you do not have to strongly display it, as it is the case in other tradeshows in the western world. More you talk about it more you devalue your company and products. The region is comprised by small potential markets with tight business circles in fierce competition. Therefore, potential Distributors who are hungry for innovative products like to steal/to get their hands first on the opportunity.
Food and photos: make sure to avoid pig food, drinks with alcohol, and images with religious touches. So consider omitting these items from your stand and your menu.
Colors: The symbolism behind colors can vary greatly. Review your stand’s color and the promotional materials. For example, avoid too much colors like strong red, pink,…
Follow up: Following up is a natural course of Business. The most efficient mode of communication to follow up with hot prospects in this part of the world is by phone or probably face-to-face meetings. You can use emails to discuss further or to respond to your future customer’s enquiries;
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