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UK export roadshow visits Shropshire as part of a nationwide tour

Exporting is Great is the message to Shropshire businesses from the UK export roadshow which came to the county as part of a nationwide tour.

The Government’s giant campaign truck visited SP Services

The Government’s giant 21 metre long, 32 tonne campaign truck, which opens up into a deluxe conference suite, was at the Telford HQ of global medical equipment supplier SP Services.

MD Steve Bray said: “It was a very successful event with many businesses calling in throughout the day to get advice from the experts.

“We were honoured to host the event to inspire more SMEs to take advantage of the global appetite for quality British products.“

Shropshire Chamber of Commerce trade advisor Christine Armistead, said: “A lot of companies think exporting is not for them but it’s easier than you think. They believe that their product is not exportable but come and talk to us.”

She said countries across the world “were crying out” for goods and services from Shropshire and the UK.

The Department of Industry and Trade roadshow is part of a move to get 100,000 additional UK companies exporting by 2020 and included a global sales message from Paul Watts, Head of International Business Development at SP Services.

He spoke live via a huge screen in the DiT export hub in Hortonwood talking simultaneously to a dozen members of a Dubai sales team, another company executive in the Middle East and to a marketing manager from his hotel in Pakistan where he was on holiday.

The international video call to multiple destinations meant Paul could talk about his company’s range of bespoke medical bags which are used by fire, ambulance and police across the world.

An export “masterclass” was also hosted by the DiT’s Sarah Lumley-Holmes, who told Shropshire firms how important it was to “get it right” when designing mobile websites targeting countries abroad, how dotcom addresses were vital and social media was the key to success.

Google was “king” for most countries but not in Japan, Russia, China or South Korea. Product information had to be translated into other languages but not to rely on Google translate which could come up with ”gibberish,” she said.

Cultural differences should also be investigated and not to make the mistake of one firm which tried to sell lingerie to the Middle East. Publicity material should also be sensitive to certain countries with people wearing appropriate clothes.

Payment also differed country by country with Germany preferring direct debt and India, cash on delivery. Many Asian countries still liked a printed brochure to advertise goods and services, she said.

Asian countries, especially China, wanted any inquiry answered “within 30 seconds” which meant that exporters had to be “up to speed.”

The roadshow has been to football clubs, town halls and business centres in more than 100 towns across the UK since it set out in November 2015 to export it’s Exporting is Great message.