TravelMart LatinAmerica (TMLA) has remained the premier annual business development event for Latin America Tourism…
A Buyer Suggests….
“How Suppliers Should Request Appointments!”
Note: Here are some suggestions from an experienced Buyer who has been participating at “pre-scheduled appointments events” for more than 30 years. This Buyer submitted these ideas confidentially, but we will share his/her identity with you if you contact us by E MAIL.
Most, if not all of you, have attended various travel trade events in the past. Many of you will, therefore, be familiar with the issues of how to make these events as productive and successful as possible. Here are some suggestions you might wish to consider to help you prepare for this pre-scheduled appointment event.
A Hard Fact Of Tradeshow Life
Although you are a registered supplier, it does not mean that you automatically get all the appointments you want. Our shows are ‘Buyer driven’ and that means someone– for whatever reason – might not wish to see you. The reason could be that your company does not offer the kind of product a particular Buyer is looking for.
No Trade Show Without Homework
To successfully ensure that Buyer companies will request an appointment with you – the key to getting such an appointment – requires that you do some homework. A general e-mail, fax or letter that simply asks for a meeting is not good enough in today’s competitive environment.
Any communication with a Buyer company you wish to meet – unless you already know or conduct business with them – should be personalized and highlight the reasons why your company would be a perfect partner.
This means you absolutely need to know what the Buyer’s company offers in their program.
Know Your Buyers
You have a profile for each attending Buyer company from which you can select your appointment requests.
What you really want to do, however, is check out the relevant websites to see the full program details, as well as getting an understanding of how these companies market themselves.
Buyers are usually impressed to receive a message that makes a reference to one of their programs. If you now add a suggestion explaining why YOU can offer something that will complement their program, be a much better fit or offers a better price point, you should get the attention you want.
If there are companies that do not offer you “destination” at this stage, you have a superb opportunity to not only obtain a new client but also increase the exposure for the destination.
Use The Phone
It is always good to have a small number of companies that you absolutely want to see. Those are the ones that you should approach with a phone call right away. This is not to say that you should not call all of the companies with whom you want to meet.
Prepare A Specific Sales Message
E-mail will obviously be a key tool when you are approaching Buyers. Ideally, you should develop a document along the lines of an e-newsletter that includes color photos to create a strong image, but primarily highlights why YOU have the great program, the infrastructure and maybe one or two exclusive products that are not available through anyone else.
Create A Profile On Each Company
Develop a brief summary of what you have found on the websites that you researched and compile it into a folder. Bring that information along to your appointments. Show the Buyer that you came prepared. This folder will also be useful to approach companies with which you could not get an appointment.
Networking Never Stops
Once you have received your appointment schedule, you will also see the appointments you were unable to get. This is the time to follow up with the relevant Buyers and say “we were unable to get an appointment with you but hope that you can still try and see us at some stage during the show…..”. Remind them once more of the key reasons to see you.
Create A Proposal For Each Appointment/Follow Up
You might not want to leave a printed copy of your net rates with each of your appointments, but you need to show and discuss them. If the Buyer indicated interest, email them immediately after the show. In any case, you should have a personalized proposal for each meeting. After the event is over – FOLLOW-UP, FOLLOW-UP, AND FOLLOW-UP.