SEMA News—September 2016


By Linda Spencer

Tips to Connect With International Buyers at the 2016 SEMA Show

SEMA Show International Schedule
Meet Australian retailers and wholesalers before the SEMA Show opens at the Australian roundtable Monday, October 31, at 12:00 p.m. in Upper North Hall, room N259. Take the opportunity to also hear about SEMA’s new Australia Regional Business Development program.

Tens of thousands of international buyers will be walking the 2016 SEMA Show looking for new products to export to their home markets. How do you, as an exhibitor, connect with these buyers who come to Las Vegas from Australia, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and more than 130 countries? They likely have just a few minutes to stop at any one booth, so how do you grab their attention and maintain their interest in order to introduce yourself and your product, scan their badges or collect their business cards? Here are some tips about how to attract buyers to your booth and what you can do even before the Show begins.

Exhibitors should create an action plan to attract and service international buyers visiting their booths. Make plans to:

  • Arrange for your international sales and marketing staff to be on hand to greet overseas buyers.

  • Request a “We Export” sign. Complimentary “We Export” signs are available to exhibitors for display in their booths. Let international buyers know that you are interested in doing business with them with this multilingual sign. Exhibitors can request signs at

  • Do you create products with international applications? Don’t forget signage for any product applications that would fit vehicles that may not be found in the United States. For example, if you created products for global vehicles popularly customized abroad but not sold in the United States—such as the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger T6, Mitsubishi L200 or UAZ Hunter—be sure to let visitors to your booth know.

  • Attend the SEMA International Happy Hour and international roundtables as an easy way to meet global buyers as well as U.S. companies doing business abroad.

Forums on Top Emerging Markets

SEMA Show International Schedule
Each year SEMA hosts the annual International Happy Hour, which brings together more than 1,000 international buyers, exhibitors and global media. More information on registering for the International Happy Hour is available at

Top automotive specialty-equipment buyers from the Middle East, Australia and China will speak about the opportunities and challenges U.S. manufacturers face in doing business in their home markets at roundtable discussions Monday, October 31, in room N259 of the Upper North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC). Sign up to attend the international seminars at

Select the International Track on the education pull-down menu. The seminars include the following:

Middle East: Monday, October 31; 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.; Upper North Hall, Room N259

Learn how to cash in on this lucrative region. The United Arab Emirates and surrounding countries provide some of the best opportunities for U.S. automotive specialty-equipment manufacturers. Off-roading, classic-car collecting and motorsports are all growing in popularity. Attendees will also learn about the details of the sixth one-on-one matchmaking program to be held in Abu Dhabi over March 28–April 1, 2017.

Australia: Monday, October 31; 12:00–1:00 p.m.; Upper North Hall, Room N259

Meet for lunch and have a conversation with top buyers from Down Under. Hear about the opportunities in this country of pickup and SUV customizing fanatics and die-hard hot-rod enthusiasts. In particular, learn about the new business for the specialty-equipment market that has developed from the all-new Ford Mustang (in right-hand drive) landing on Australia’s shores this past year. Explore the challenges as well: All vehicles in the country are right-hand drive; many vehicles popularly customized in Australia are not sold in the United States; and a strong dollar makes exports to that market more expensive. Meet with SEMA members who exhibited in May 2016 at the inaugural SEMA Australia Regional Business Development Program in Melbourne and learn about future programs.

China: Monday, October 31; 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.; Upper North Hall, Room N259

Chinese distributors and SEMA members already successful in the region will provide insider tips. Learn the latest trends, applications and perceptions of U.S. brands in the Chinese market. This will be a great opportunity to meet with press and distributors of specialty products in this market of 1.3 billion people in an informal, practical session that will assist attendees in deciding if this market is a good fit for their products. Hear from SEMA members who are actively selling into the market as well as from buyers specializing in U.S. products.

International Happy Hour

Wednesday, November 2; 5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.; Upper North Hall, Room N255

The 2016 International Happy Hour will be the largest annual international specialty-equipment trade gathering. Network with international buyers, distributors and media right in the LVCC at the close of the day’s SEMA Show. More than 1,000 companies are expected to attend this year’s networking party. Registration for the International Happy Hour is available at

Global Media Awards

Get your hottest new products in front of buyers and the media by participating in the New Products Showcase. The annual Global Media Awards will once again be selected by a group of 35 top automotive journalists from more than 20 countries. Each will name 10 products from the New Products Showcase that they think will most appeal to consumers in their home markets. Winning companies will be recognized at the International Happy Hour, receiving Global Media Awards that signify the global appeal of their products and their companies. Exhibitors can register for the Happy Hour at

Center for International Commerce

The Center for International Commerce (CIC) is located in LVCC room N255. The CIC room offers complimentary private meeting space and interpreters to facilitate meetings between exhibitors and international buyers. On hand will be a team of interpreters to assist in bilingual communication in key languages, such as German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese. All international buyers and exhibitors are welcome to use these export-oriented services.

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