2. letter of introduction. 4. Bring samples along
2. Identify specific prospects or other people that one should see, in advance:
The exporter may already have some of these names through previous contacts or from files of inquiries received. Other sources of names could be the import opportunity offices or import promotion offices of the countries he is planning to visit, his country’s articles and advertisements in trade journals, trade association and perhaps even trade directories.
3. Write in advance for appointments, and confirm them:
When the exporter writes asking for an appointment, it is necessary to explain who he is and his company are, and his purpose in visiting. He should try to suggest what benefit the host might gain from the visit, and should include some company and product literature.
The exporter should find out as much as possible about the business of the people he plans to visit. This will not only help him to make the most of the visit, but will also help him to write a more convincing letter of introduction.
4. Bring samples along on each visit, if appropriate:
The exporter may have to ship these ahead to each hotel, along with extra sales literature. He should also bring a sufficient supply of business cards.
5. Contact in advance one’s own government’s commercial office or embassy in each country that one plans to visit, if they exist:
These offices, and perhaps import promotion offices, can often be helpful not only in making suggestions on whom to see, but also in arranging appointments and obtaining interpreters if necessary. Commercial representatives should also be able to give you useful briefings on the local business situation, so plan to visit their offices.
6. Do not try to cover too much territory:
By limiting the number of cities needed to visit, one could have a better chance of spending enough time in each to achieve the objectives. If a person tries to visit too many cities, he risks spending too little time in each while increasing his expenses, and the whole trip many produce little in the way of results.
7. Allow enough open time for unforeseen meetings:
A person may need this time to follow up on his original appointments, and to meet with the people he hears about during the course of the trip. In large cities, he should plan on being able to have a maximum of four meetings a day, unless he already knows people well enough to able to schedule luncheon or dinner meetings with them.
8. Avoid visiting during public and school holidays:
The July to August, Christmas and New Year, and Easter periods are especially bad for arranging appointments in many European countries. School holiday times (when business people often vacation with their families) vary from country to country, and even within countries such as Germany. So it is advisable to check on local holiday times when planning the trip.
9. Work out the itinerary to economies on costs:
A local travel agent may be helpful, but check with airline sales offices as well. Look into special train fares for foreign visitors to Europe. Trains are often cheaper and more convenient than airplane for travelling within Europe, especially for shorter distances.
10. Take along sufficient funds:
Allowing an average of US $200 a day for living expenses in Europe is far from extravagant. Calculate more if one plans to stay in first-class hotels or to entertain. Carry some US dollars traveler’s cheques and at least one major credit card (and make sure that the credit line is open).
11. Try to arrange the hotel in advance:
This will enable the exporter to advise his home office and his contacts about how to reach him. However, this may not always be possible. If minimising costs is an important concern, he may wish to stay in budget hotels or rooming houses. These are often difficult to find from the home country, but one can generally count on finding such lodgings through the accommodation desks at almost any large airport or train station in Europe.
12. Check visa and health certificate requirements weeks in advance of the departure
13. Consider using publish transportation in cities:
Public transpiration is good in many European cities. It is often faster, and always cheaper, than taxis. Obtain a local street and public transportation map from the tourist information desk or news-stand on arrival in each city.
14. Call ahead to reconfirm appointments:
As the exporter progresses on his trip, it is a good idea to telephone the contacts in the next city on the schedule, to be sure that they will still be available. This can save a great deal of time.
15. be punctual for appointments:
In most parts of Europe, business executives expect appointments to be kept, on time. It is a good idea to plan the routes and means of local transport each evening for the following day. If the exporter cannot locate an office or figure out how to reach it, he should call the day before to find out. He must also telephone if he thinks that he is going to be late for an appointment.
16. Write up notes on each visit as soon as possible:
The best time to do this is immediately after each visit. If this is not possible, write up the notes every evening. Highlight any follow-up actions which have been promised or those which one wishes to take. Keep all of the business cards collected in good order; later it can be very helpful to have written the date of each meeting on the cards.
17. Write to the contacts when one returns home:
This is not only a matter of courtesy; it may also help to progress the business that has been started. Through letters, confirm any agreements that have been made and sent any information that has been promised. If one is unable to provide such information immediately, inform the contact as to when it will be sent.