A few months ago we published our How to Prepare for Virtual Meetings with Foreign Buyers blog to help U.S. suppliers better prepare for the new world of virtual meetings.
We’ve gained more experience in virtual events since then and wanted to share an updated blog with you that has more focused and experienced advice that we’ve learned for suppliers who are participating in any of our upcoming Virtual Events in 2021.
Below are 5 tips to make sure you get the most out of your virtual one on one meetings in upcoming events!
Remember whether in person or virtual, 1st impressions matter.
You should think of one-on-one virtual meetings just like you would a normal in person meeting. Just because the meeting is virtual doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare materials ahead of time for it.
Every meeting is different but here are a few examples of materials you could prepare ahead of time to share during you virtual meeting:
One of the biggest differences between in person meetings and virtual meetings is that buyers don’t have the ability to taste the products during your meeting. Therefore, it is important to make sure you have the products on hand so you can show to camera and they can see the packaging.
Check out our complementary online Export Essentials training to learn more about classifying and pricing your products for international markets prior to your meetings with buyers Module 2 – Classify Your Products for Export and Module 5 – Price Your Products for Export Markets.
Did you know that when you sign up for a Food Export virtual event you will get an invite to a Practice Session before the actual event to test everything out? I’m sure you are thinking ‘We are all experts in Zoom at this point, why should I attend a practice session?”
One of the reasons we encourage participants to attend is that Zoom is constantly coming out with new updates. With these updates come new features, many that could be useful to you during your upcoming meetings. As Food Export holds a lot of virtual events, we are very familiar with these updates and can help you navigate them so you are prepared when it is time for your meetings.
But you don’t have to just practice with us!
Take time to log onto Zoom on your own or with a coworker to practice your pitch and sharing materials on your screen. That way when the time comes to do it live with a buyer you will feel more comfortable and won’t make any mistakes.
Check out our complementary online Export Essentials training for more tips on preparing for meetings with buyers - Module 11 – Prepare for Meetings with Buyers.
It is important to think of whatever is on your camera as your booth space at a trade show or in person meeting. Again, 1st impressions matter.
We highly recommend using a computer with a webcam or a laptop to participate in the meetings. While you can use Zoom on a tablet or cellphone, we’ve seen many ‘Zoom Fails’ where people have a bad camera angle or background and that can be very distracting for all involved during the meetings.
So, take some time to think about your computer set up and which background choice is best for you. For backgrounds you have several options to choose from:
Make sure you choose a quiet and private space in which to take your meetings. We are all familiar with the challenges of working from home and finding a quiet place but this is vital to make sure that everyone participating in the meeting can clearly hear and communicate throughout the course of it.
Check your Zoom Name
Zoom has the ability for you to change your name once you are logged into a meeting. Make sure you check your name as you log into the meeting and update it if necessary
We recommend changing it from your personal name, aka ‘John Smith’ to the name of your company aka ‘Indiana Export Company’ so that the buyers you are meeting with are reinforced with the name of the company to build brand recognition.
Test your speakers and microphone
In the section above we talk about the importance of choosing a quiet and private space to take your meeting. It is also important to test your speakers and microphone prior to joining the meeting to make sure there are no issues. We highly recommend using headphones or a headset during the meeting as they make it easier for you to hear clearly and most microphones will pick up your voice while minimizing any background noise that might be happening making it easier for you to be understood.
Make sure you know how to mute and unmute yourself as there will be a large number of people on the Zoom call.
Pro Tip - On most devices you can temporarily unmute by holding down the spacebar, this makes it easy to say something quick without going through the trouble of unmuting using your mouse.
Once your meetings are over your work is not done!
There are still steps you can take to make sure you stand out to the buyers and set yourself up for success.
Again, it is important to treat this just like you would an in-person meeting. You want to make an impression with the buyers so even if they meet with 10+ people that day they remember you and your products. This is even harder to do when meeting people on a screen than when in person.
Make sure you follow up with the buyers in a timely fashion saying where and when you met them, referencing something from your conversation, and providing them with follow up materials.
If you need help with follow up our Food Export Helpline™ can help! Our experienced Helpline Counselor Dennis Lynch can guide you through best practices when it comes to following up with different buyers around the world.
Check out our complementary online Export Essentials training to learn more about how to facilitate international sales and exports with buyers that are interested in your products - Module 9 – Prepare commercial Export Documentation and Module 10 – Get Paid for Your Export Sales.
We know first-hand that diving into the world of virtual meetings is challenging so keep an eye out as we share more resources to help you get the most out of your upcoming virtual meetings.
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