More and more companies decide to participate in overseas trade shows. It is very important that you and your team understand business practices in these overseas markets. I have selected Germany for this blog. I hope you will find some new and interesting information in my blog.
- Germany hosts many of the world’s largest and leading trade shows. These events are in cities like Frankfurt, Hannover, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne, Nürnberg, and Düsseldorf. Some of the second-tier locations are starting to impact the trade show market. These cities include Leipzig, Hamburg, and Essen.
- Germany is recognized as the No. 1 location for trade shows. The reason for being in the No. 1 spot is because of the state of the art facilities, innovation presented to exhibitors and buyers, and the global reach.
- The leading trade show facilities in Germany are hosting about 150 global trade shows, welcoming close to 170,000 exhibitors and approx. 10 million international buyers. Almost 20% of the exhibitors and buyers come from countries outside Europe.
- There are twenty-two major trade show facilities in Germany with over 29 million square feet of exhibit space. Four of the world’s leading trade show organizers are in Germany.
- Trade shows are considered one of the most important B2B platforms in Germany. Exhibitor and buyers spend almost $13 billion every year at trade shows, and the economic impact of the trade show industry is estimated at about $25 billion per year.
- The U.S. Commercial Service assists companies interested in participating in trade shows in Germany. You can find more information at www.export.gov.
Here are some things you should pay attention to when you are participating in a German trade show:
- Business cards are not exchanged as frequently as in the USA. When exchanging business cards in a meeting it is almost like “giving access” to the personal network and contacts. Therefore, you need to treat business cards as confidential information.
- Introductions are much more formal. Most German trade shows do not issue name badges. Do not rush to the person who stops at your booth. Wait until the buyer is showing interest in your company and products. Do not address the individual by his/her first name until he/she offers you this option. Germans are very formal when it comes to addressing someone by their first name.
- Business titles are very important in many countries. It is important that you address the individual with his/her academic title, and the Herr or Frau (Mr. or Mrs.) when you are in conversation with them. Focus on good eye contact with your potential client.
- Business etiquette at dinners is important. Here are some quick tips to make sure you are not creating a bad first impression at a dinner function. You need to wait with taking a sip or a bite until the host starts. Always use a fork and knife when eating. That also goes for fries and pizza. It is also important to have eye contact before and after raising your glass for a toast. One last, but important tip, for the coffee lovers out there. The wonderful beverage is served after the meal and way into the middle of the night.
- Dinner etiquette is important. Germans take their time when they meet for lunch or dinner. Rushing through the meal is considered very rude. Your waiter will never, ever, bring you the bill unless you ask for it. If you like to have water with your meal, you should ask for it, and it will be either sparkling or non-sparkling. Alcoholic beverages are served at any time of the day. It is not unusual to see guests having a beer in the morning hours while eating their meal. One thing to keep in mind is that a German beer will take 7 minutes to draft. Be patient!
- Tipping is also handled differently in Germany. A service charge is already included in the bill. When the service is outstanding, you should leave an additional 10%, and leave it at the table or hand it to your server.