18 October 2018
From the end of September through early October, I was in Japan to support collaboration between our clients OKAYA & CO., LTD (Japanese) and Crowd Charge Ltd. (UK).
Our trip included two exhibitions - Smart Energy Week 2018 (Osaka) and EVS31 - and various business meetings.
Although a typhoon affected our itinerary slightly, everything went well and we all had very productive and fruitful meetings.
This was the second opportunity where both companies exhibited together in Japan and there were some reasons why the second exhibition went so well.
Here I present the three most important aspects.
1. Follow up
After the 1st exhibition opportunity in February at Smart Energy Week 2018 (Tokyo), the most important task for us was to analyse the 300 visitors to our stand and to decide how to follow them up: - who in our team follows up with which company and when.
After an exhibition or a business trip, we have a pile of emails and our colleagues are waiting for our return, therefore, it is extremely difficult to find time for follow-ups, however, it’s worth sparing our time.
I can’t stress enough how vital follow-ups are. “Strike while the iron is hot”.
2. Recognise the market is changing
From the 1st exhibition to the 2nd exhibition, what we did well was to clearly identify how the market is changing.
When we exhibited for the first time in February, not many Japanese companies had considered the rise in EV (electric vehicle) numbers. However, over the last half year, a concept of VPP (Virtual Power Plant) has been widely recognised and more companies started thinking about how to make the most of increasing EV numbers and how to integrate EVs into energy management systems, such as V2B (Vehicle -to-Building).
Accordingly, this time, we highlighted the Crowd Charge platform/ software will be effective on the V2B scenario, which was received very well.
I understand it’s a cliché but teamwork was also a key to the success.
Beyond business customs and cultural differences, when we can build trust and create a virtual team, business starts forming. Sharing laughs and candid opinion over “nomunication (Japanglish, meaning drink- communication)” after the exhibition certainly helped to bring the team members closer together.
I appreciate some people might not fancy going out after a long day’s work but it’s worth it.
It is not cheap to exhibit, particularly overseas, but we can turn the costs into profitable business opportunities when we get it right.