I've seen Americans at overseas trade shows who can't find their products, who've lost their equipment, and whose people wereheld up at customs," says Keith Kiel, vice president of MacAcademy, a videotape distributor in Ormond Beach, Fla. He givesthis advice on what to bring (and what to leave at home):
* Copies of all documents. Kiel brings every fax he's received from the trade show organizer. The paperwork can help smoothover situations where, for instance, you were promised audiovisual equipment and it's not there.
* A carnet. This detailed customs document listing all the valuables you take out of the States isn't required, but it can save youpaperwork coming and going, and reduce the risk of being taxed on your own watch or luggage when you leave othercountries.
* Half as much product and twice as many brochures as you think you'll need. Overseas customers, in Kiel's experience,respond better to a soft sell. They want a nice brochure to take home and study, which means fewer products sold at the showbut more phone calls afterward.
* No equipment. Kiel rents everything, including computers and overhead projectors. He contacts manufacturers for the namesof foreign distributors who can rent the equipment he knows he'll need. If there's no rental option, he always ships via the tradeshow's recommended carrier, even if it's more expensive than other carriers, because the recommended carrier usually canbetter help usher equipment through customs.