Expert Interview with Manfred Ritschard: Exhibition Trainings

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When I visited the World Travel Market in the beginning of the month I approached various destinations and had conversations with the representatives. Some of them gave me their business cards and asked for mine, as well as were interested to know more about my business field, while others let me go without providing me with contact details. Even worse, some were on their phones and computers instead of talking to potential customers. It is very expensive to present at exhibitions, therefore you would like to have a considerable ROI of leads as well.

I am a big supporter of trainings and think that exhibition trainings are as important as other trainings employees receive, such as communication, leadership, sales etc.

I decided to have a chat with a good colleague of mine who is a leading sales and communication trainer in Switzerland, Manfred Ritschard, the managing director of Manfred Ritschard & Partner LLC about the topic and ask for his tips and opinion.

1) What tips would you give to someone who represents his company on an


Invest in a workshop led by an exhibition professional and followed by a

training on-process – means right on the spot at the exhibition. In the

workshop you develop the wording of your main message and elaborate

effective interactions and formulations to involve possible new customers as

well as to keep conversations with “old” clients as short as possible.

2) How exhibition training is different from sales training?

In a regular sales training the intention is to sell something or to get the

deal right away. In an exhibition training your first intention is to

contact new customers, to present yourself and to establish the beginning of

a longterm relation. An exhibition is the right spot to present your company

and your products and to make potential customers fall in love with the idea

to stay in touch with you after the event. In addition to all that you

learn a lot about their needs by asking questions. By the way this is a

perfect small talk topic with customers who are visiting you at your booth:

What could we do better?

3) You are a leading trainer in Switzerland and to your clients count

Reiter, Precitrame, Schaffner and others. Could you give us some tips on how

to approach Swiss companies on an exhibition?

Sure! Swiss are rather distinctive but very open to get involved in a

business talk when YOU start a conversation. They like a friendly smile (as

most Europeans, too). In business English or French are besides German

common languages – Swiss professionals master these languages. As soon as

you know that their origin is in the German speaking part of Switzerland

(i.g. Berne, Basel, Zurich) you could say “Gruezi” – they will like that and

smile about your try… Swiss are used to firm handshakes and eye contact

in communication. This might be different for people of other cultures.

Swiss are used to an international surrounding because among eight million

inhabitants we count two million foreigners in Switzerland. We adapt to any

culture quite easily. But the use of a friendly voice and of the words

“please” and “thank you” are most welcome.

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