Lojer Group, the Finnish market leader in hospital and care equipment, participates in MEDICA 2015 trade fair for the 21st time in a row. This largest distributor of physiotherapy equipment in the Nordic countries knows the importance of trade fair networking. Trade fairs are the prime spot for enhancing export and finding new retailers.
– Our primary motivation for participating is the recruitment of new retailers. We are constantly expanding our area of operation to new regions, and need to find reliable and professional local sellers. Trade fairs play a vital role in the process of internationalization, Lojer’s Export Director Pekka Koski explains.
MEDICA trade fair takes place in Düsseldorf on 16th to 19th of November 2015. This global trade fair assembles 4, 500 exhibitors to 16 exhibition halls and draws in 120, 000 visitors. It is the meeting place of medical experts and retailers from all around the world.
Lojer showcases annually also at another large trade fair, the Arab Health Exhibition & Congress held in Dubai in January. The fair gathers operators from i.a. Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
Strengthening the Lojer brand
Internationalization is not a quick process, and it requires long term work, commitment and vision. There are no shortcuts to success.
– Trade fairs are a major channel for establishing and strengthening our brand and reaching new hospital and care equipment retailers. Internationalization takes more than just exhibitions, but they do play a key role. Participation prevents unnecessary speculations about our company. If we don’t show up at the fair, rumors might come about. We don’t want to leave the field open to competition, Koski points out.
Retailers play a major role in export sales
Lojer has found a large part of their retailers from MEDICA trade fairs. Lojer’s fair stands have been executed by Wulff Entre for five years consecutively.
This September Lojer won an international competitive bidding process. The company will deliver around 70 operating tables with related accessories to Indonesian hospitals within the public healthcare sector. Valued at a total of some two million euros, the order is the single largest delivery in the company’s history.
– MEDICA has been a significant forum for acquiring new retailers. The collaboration with Indonesian retailers was initiated there three years ago. They reached out to us, and the partnership is now bearing fruit. It’s nearly impossible to do export sales without competent retailers, Koski highlights.
– Many of our new retailers have been working for our competitors in the past. These retailers already have a good reputation, knowledge of their area of operation and a high level of expertise. They fit perfectly to our network, Koski tells.
Demonstrations draw people in
Pekka Koski has been working in Lojer’s export sales from 1984 onwards, so he knows what he’s talking about.
– The trade fairs used to be places of sales, but nowadays the main activities are networking and recruiting. We rely on what we call “passive pressuring”, a strategy in which we resiliently, but not obtrusively, network with people we’re interested in collaborating with. It takes a lot of patience and hard work, but pays off in the end, Koski describes.
Lojer wants people to get involved. They have a mobilisation table and a naprapath who demonstrates its functions at the fair stand. The clients are who else but the trade fair visitors.
– This has been a working method for us for some years now. People are drawn to movement and action. At best we’ve had tens of people around our stand, looking closely at the demonstrations. The idea might be simple, but it works; a small group of visitors draws in more. Our naprapath has fixed a lot of sore backs, Koski laughs.
Getting acquired with new areas of interest
MEDICA trade fair visitors pay a fee of 20 euros a day, and are thus motivated to find what they are looking for. Retailers come to companies, but the companies have to presented well at the fair.
– We have to be alert and focused. We can’t come to the fair empty-handed. Our tactic is to get acquired with our new areas of interest, whatever they are each year. This year we’re looking into Latin American and West European countries and their health care markets, Koski says.
In addition the company’s web site has to be international and practical. If it isn’t, the retailers won’t be interested in collaborating.
– If the web site isn’t up-to-date and informative, retailers can’t find us. Someone might get interested at the fair and contact us later via the web site, Koski states.