5 Best Practices to Help You Prepare for Virtual Seafood Events

Getting ready for numerous virtual events this year? Here are 5 helpful tips to remember when preparing to meet with foreign buyers.

After a year of virtual events due to COVID-19, Food Export–Northeast is still continuing to operate in an online world. Similar to in-person events, prepping ahead of the virtual meeting is extremely important to the ultimate success of your export business. With numerous upcoming virtual events–including the 2021 Seafood Buyers Mission between March 22 and 25, 2021– we’re sharing five (5) helpful tips to remember when preparing to meet with foreign seafood buyers:

1)   Do your research: Before meeting with seafood buyers, it’s helpful to review the Food Export How to Prepare for Meetings with Foreign Buyers educational webinar. This webinar goes over the market research information you should prepare before a virtual or in-person meeting with foreign buyers. You should take the time to:

  • Check the export data
  • Classify your products for export
  • Check the duties and taxes
  • If available, qualify your product to any Free Trade Agreement in effect with the country
  • Weigh and measure your freight in the metric system and have pallet pricing at least at origin to reference
  • Study the buyer’s companies (e.g., read about them online, check their website, read relevant FAS GAIN reports, etc.)

If you still feel unprepared for meeting with buyers after the webinar, take advantage of the Food Export Helpline™ where you’ll receive customized advice.

2) Get up to date on the event’s technology: Making sure you’re familiar with the technology and online platforms you are using before your scheduled meeting is incredibly important to virtual event success. Food Export–Northeast is rolling out a new virtual event platform called Pathable at the Seafood Buyers Mission in March 2021 – if you want to learn more about the platform, check out our recent blog post.

Some additional tips to consider for a great online meeting presence include:

  • If on camera, make sure you are well groomed
  • Look at the room you’re in. Is it well-lit?
  • Make sure you’re not too close to the lens or too far away
  • Back up enough so they can see the seafood products or packaging on your table, just like in person
  • Use a branded virtual background in one-on-one meetings
  • Wear a nametag, or put your name somewhere visible
  • Test out screen sharing ahead of time to make sure you’re prepared to show your packaging or company video

All of these preparation tips will help you make a great first impression in that initial one-on-one buyer meeting.

3)   If appropriate, introduce yourself to buyers ahead of time: For most events, you should receive contact information for buyers prior to your meeting taking place. Use it. Contact the buyers before your scheduled meeting so they are familiar with you and your products, and the discussion can progress more quickly. In that first email, introduce yourself and your business, share a link to your website or company video, and give other basic information that will help in later conversations. This way you can use the limited time you have on the call to be productive building a relationship.

4)   Show samples:  Make sure you have sample product and packaging on hand to show buyers during the meeting.  Practice how to show product on camera in advance so buyers can easily see it.

5)   Prepare to execute your elevator pitch: After gathering all of the necessary background information and prepping your materials for the virtual meeting, it’s important to start practicing what you plan to say. Rehearsing your elevator pitch and going over the most important points will help you when the meeting actually takes place. It may sound silly, but practice in front of the mirror – we promise it’ll help in the long run.

Looking for additional ways Food Export–Northeast can support you leading up to your next virtual seafood buyer’s meeting? Get in touch or visit our website to learn more about our program offerings. 

 About Food Export USA – Northeast 

With its extensive programs and educational offerings, Food Export USA–Northeast (Food Export–Northeast) is recognized as the preeminent expert and cost-effective resource for Northeast seafood and agricultural suppliers looking to sell their products overseas. Founded in 1973, Food Export–Northeast is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with its 10 member states’ agricultural promotion agencies from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, to facilitate trade between suppliers and worldwide importers and to promote the export of food, agricultural and seafood products from those states. Since its founding, the organization has helped Northeast seafood suppliers gain access to a broad range of export markets, supported overseas in-market educational and promotional programs and offers emerging suppliers access to funds to help grow their export business. The organization is funded through the Market Access Program (MAP), administered by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Learn more about us and what we do for the Northeast seafood industry here.  Contact us.