Chapter 21 – Have a Realistic Plan for Your Daily Meetings

After all your preparations and travel, you finally arrive in China.

First Trade Fair Day

If you took my advice, you should be sufficiently energized after a good night’s sleep and ready for your first day at the Trade Fair.

If you start in Hong Kong you should already have your visitor pass and do not need to queue up at the registration area.

If you are in China, you will first need to register either at your hotel or near the entrance area of the exhibition center to receive your visitor entry badge. I discussed this procedure in Chapter 8.

Buy a Trade Fair Catalog

The first thing you want to do is to buy a Trade Fair Catalog and retreat to a place where you can sit down and make your day’s plan for meetings. Several coffee shops at the exhibition center are perfect for this.

Your Meeting Plan

You should already know the booth numbers and locations of the suppliers you have been in contact with. It is easy to make a plan to organize your meetings based on their locations around the fair grounds.

If you downloaded the flour plan from the Trade Fair Organizer earlier, you can save time by doing this planning in the comfort of your hotel room.

Spending some time on the Internet locating the floor plan is worth the effort because it makes your work more efficient at the Trade Fair.

I mentioned before that it can be difficult arranging meetings at specific times during the exhibition. If you attempt this, you will find your schedule is out of control after only one or two meetings. Be realistic in your planning. The following example should give you an idea of what is realistic and what is not.

Trade Fair Hours

Here are the typical opening hours for major Hong Kong Trade Fairs and the Canton Trade Fair:

Hong Kong – 9:30 AM-6:30 PM = 9 hours per day; the last day is only from 9:30 AM-5:00 PM
Canton – 9:30 AM-6:00 PM = 8 ½ hours per day for all 5 exhibition days

Assuming you want to visit each Trade Fair for three full days, you will have a total of only 27 hours for Hong Kong and 25 ½ hours for Guangzhou to find what you need. Most visitors do not attend Trade Fairs every day because they need travel time between Hong Kong and Guangzhou or to other destinations.

If you have meetings scheduled with 10 key suppliers for an hour each, you end up having only 17 hours for any other meetings in Hong Kong and 15 ½ hours in Guangzhou.

Other meetings might last approximately a ½ hour each. At these you will only collect catalogs and leave your business card. For a very busy visit this works out to you meeting with 34 additional suppliers in Hong Kong and 31 in Guangzhou.

But let’s be realistic, you need to go to the washroom, wait until your contact person is free, eat something, and walk from one booth to another. Deduct that time from the remaining hours and you will be surprised how little time is available for additional supplier meetings. Don’t call me a pencil pusher for giving too detailed information but that is what a realistic plan is all about.

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