I’d now like to tell you about my first in-house trade fair outside Germany. It took place on Cyprus. Every two years our customer Kapodistrias organises an in-house trade fair and invites all suppliers to attend with their own stand. This allows visitors and customers to see for themselves what suppliers have to offer and lets them even place orders directly at Kapodistrias.
It was an excellent opportunity for us to familiarise workshops on Cyprus with the Herth+Buss brand.
Departure – Ready for take-off
On Friday I took the plane from Frankfurt to Larnaca. There I was warmly welcomed by an employee from Kapodistrias. During the 45-minute drive to my hotel in Nicosia we went on a little sightseeing tour, when I was given top insider tips.
Once I arrived at the hotel, I met my colleague Norbert, who’d flown in directly from Istanbul, where he’d been visiting a few customers. For him that was nothing special, he does it every day. As soon as he appeared on the terrace, he ran into some old friends from sales and got chatting. Even though I didn’t know any of them, I was immediately one of the crowd – that’s how quick it is with them. We had a friendly relationship here right away although the others were actually from the competition.
Friday evening was an opportunity for networking: you can make great contacts between mouthfuls of souvlaki and tzatziki! We ended the night together in a restaurant, gathering energy for the coming days.
Saturday – Setting up our stand
After a long day, on Saturday morning we headed straight for the exhibition hall. The furniture and exhibits we needed for our stand awaited us there. A few weeks before the event we had already discussed with our customer how large it was to be and what the options were for fitting it out. We then got together with our Marketing department to plan the equipment for the fair, the adhesive coverings for the walls and a lot of other details so everything could be sent off to Cyprus in good time.
Once we’d finished setting up the stand, we went back to the hotel in the afternoon. The official Welcome Dinner was next on the programme. We all met up in a wine taverna, complete with live music. The owners of Kapodistrias, who are brothers, gave us a warm welcome and spent the evening with us.
Sunday – Show Day
This sunny day found me standing at an exhibition hall near Nicosia at 9:00 am. When I went in, I was greeted by every single employee of Kapodistrias. This was a bit embarrassing, but at the end of it everyone at least knows what Kalimera means! (Good morning).
Each supplier who wasn’t from Greece or Cyprus was given someone from Kapodistrias to help out with the language. Even if there are lots of people on Cyprus who speak English, there are still a few who can only manage in Greek. The whole day we encountered many visitors interested in all kinds of products and were kept busy in helping them. When things got a bit quieter around lunchtime, I seized the opportunity to take a look at our competitors’ stands and have a chat with them.
I was however back at our stand in good time for the group photo with the Management of Kapodistrias: The owners of the company insisted on being photographed with every exhibitor.
After an extremely successful fair meeting many potential customers, we then reviewed the event over a dinner together.
Monday – Visit to Kapodistrias’ HQ
On the last day I had the opportunity of visiting the headquarters of the company. Norbert knew the firm and had already been there several times. But I really couldn’t imagine what awaited me there. At the end of the tour I realised what a modern, ambitious family-run firm Kapodistrias is – the market leader on Cyprus. And the Kapodistrias brothers really took care of me – a young, inexperienced salesman.
I can conclude this was an extremely interesting event, a real eye-opener for me. I have learned a lot – both technical knowledge, as well as at a personal level and I can’t wait to find out where the next trip will take me.