HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsDid your company trade during ZITF?

Did your company trade during ZITF?


TODAY the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) comes to an end and different companies have exhibited themselves and the question lingers: Did your company sell?


A lot comes into play as we prepare for the Trade Fair. It’s time to reinforce who you are in the minds and eyes of your clients. It’s time to come out and tell the public of who you are and it’s that time you have to re-introduce your company in a special way.

One of the core ingredients that most companies must come to terms with is that they are in sales. If you don’t sell, you are not in business. From the top down, every employee is in sales. When training on Customer Relations Management (CRM) I usually say, most companies train only the person employed as the ‘sales person’ all other but forget some parts of the companies such as the, manager, grounds personnel or the janitor et cetera.

Bring right people to the party

When selecting people for the trade fair, I think some companies bring wrong people to the party. Secondly some bring less informed, less trained people or less passionate people. People that come to represent should know the product well and what the company represents.

As business trainer, I have sense leant that most of the companies in Zimbabwe don’t usually consider people’s personalities for a specific position at work. For example, introverts often like to work alone or in a small group, whereas extroverts are energised by people and as a result they are naturally people-persons and it’s easy for them to engage and network. The best thing to do is to bring extroverts for the occasions such as the Trade Fair.


The first cut is always the deepest. As the old saying goes, “You don’t have a second chance to make a good first impression”. People who represent companies must project friendly professionalism and create rapport.

Making presentations — the small things that do matter

Throughout the Trade fair, most people where making presentations to prospective clients. This called for great communication skills, such as voice projection, confidence, fluency and fluidity. Personal grooming plays a critical role in such instances.

For example, I’m put off as soon as a bad breathe breezes into my nostrils. My friend columnist and speaker Sithandekile Magida, in a seminar recently said that, “Regular brushing of the teeth, tongue, upper mouth using a good tooth brush and paste at least twice and the use of mouth wash in between” makes a person mouth smell fresh. It’s not only incumbent on the individual to make sure that someone smell good, but companies should learn to invest in those small things and insure that its always taken care of.

In addition, good manners, knowledge on protocol, propriety and proper decorum counts on the individual that represents a company.

Answer objections

People come with their queries and questions. These should be considered as opportunities to create a stronger relationship. Some exhibitors see questions such as challenges and they are ready to justify themselves or oppose. Does that deter the customer, or builds a better relationship? Most companies have their headquarters in Harare, and nothing frustrates a customer to hear that they should contact Harare to have their issues resolved. This means that even in business we should de-centralise power.

Learn to close a sale

After answering objections or questions, the most important part is closing a sale. If you are not selling anything you are not in business. People should be trained or coached to learn how to close a sale.


Over years of my experience of the trade fair, most of the stands I visit ask me to leave my contact details (such as telephone and email), but most of them never follow-up. I think in our country the major follow-up that is made, is only when you owe a company, such as a credit facility that’s not paid up, or a bank loan that you should settle. As the Trade fair ends, the next step is to follow-up on people that are interested on your products or services.

Authentic representation

The hard thing to do in life, is trying to live a lie. Employees in most cases have no choice, but to stand that kind of a situation because there is a salary at the end of it. It’s like coating, rotten scone with chocolate, ultimately, the truth will be known. At times the truth is so obvious to the public. Some institutes try to cover up and show a glowing side during trade fair, but when you visit them in reality they are something totally different. Your brand should be authentic not only for ZITF, but at any other time.

What we should be done

Before coming to the trade fair, a lot has to be done. Companies should train their employees on customer care, selling, grooming and etiquette, public relations, and complaints handling. Company websites should be updated and paid up. One good example was when one company said I should go to their website to get help and to my surprise, the website was saying, ‘This site has been suspended’. This happens mainly when the company is not paid up with the Internet services hosts. The social media (such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) are crucial especially these days. Whether you like it or not people use these tools every day and make it sure these platforms are active before and throughout the trade fair.

My great take away

I always love the business days of the trade fair at it affords me to network with different people. Most importantly for 2017, I was part of the speakers for the ZITF Scholastica which had over 400 students. This is a platform where different schools come to learn, be trained and coached on different careers and businesses by different experts. These are relevant soft skills that must be included in our schools curricular.

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and certified leadership/business trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach. Contact details-Tel: 0772 581 918. Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter@jonahnyoni.

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