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6 excellent tips for sure-fire Indian trade show success

Construction is fuelling solid economic growth in India, making it one of the nation’s most vital industries. By 2025, the building and interiors sector could be worth as much as $1 trillion, greater than the current GDP of Indonesia, showing huge promise.

Trade shows, such as the internationally-renowned Acetech series, are the ideal staging point to dive into this hugely lucrative market. Yet, if you are a newcomer to Indian exhibitions, there are a few simple tips to be aware of that will make your time at each show much more worthwhile.

Your quick & easy guide to Indian exhibition victory

Of course, you do not have to follow these suggestions to achieve your goals at an Indian exhibition. However, a quick read of the below will surely improve your chances.

1. Understand Indian business culture – Indian business culture is generally similar to universal practices, but does have its own unique spin on some familiar conventions. Society in India, for example, is extremely hierarchical. Visitors to your stand may not be the most senior members of an organisation, thus are likely not be key decision makers.

ITE Build & Interiors has put together a one-stop guide on Indian business culture. Before you head to India, be sure to give it a thorough reading so you know what to expect and how to act.

Bear in mind, though, that India is a large and diverse country, and this goes for business norms and culture as well. If you are targeting a specific region, city or sub-sector, don't rely on generalisations - make sure you research properly.

2. Preparation is everything – Preparation is everything when it comes to trade shows. Indian exhibitions are no different. If you are planning on arranging some specific, one-on-one meetings at the show, send your request a month, preferably two months, in advance.

Most trade shows will be held in major cities like Mumbai or Delhi. Hotels can be booked up to a year in advance so you may not even get accommodation. Be prepared, or prepare to fail. Remember to also drill your team on what you want to achieve at the trade show, so they know how best approach it.

3. Freight forwarders are your friend – Being prepared is all very well and good, but if you are planning on shipping any products or goods to India for your stand, it is no use if they do not arrive on time.

Freight forwarders will take care of the customs and business of shipping your items to India for you. As goods can take up to a month to be cleared by Indian customs, freight forwarders ensure everything runs smoothly. ITE works with a number of international freight forwarders, so you do not have to worry about this aspect at one of our shows.

4. In-stand hospitality goes a long way – The truly successful stands at Indian exhibitions always go that extra length to accommodate visitors. After all, a little hospitality goes a long way.

Instead of stocking your booth with just products and literature, offer your visitors a little extra. Tea, water, or soft drinks will be greatly appreciated. With millions of Muslims amidst the population, alcohol is not really offered at trade shows. If it is, it usually restricted to beer. Indians enjoy good hospitality. If you offer it you may be seen as someone who is willing to offer something more, which could bump up your business prospects considerably.

5. Make an effort with your business cards – India’s business community loves a good business card. Ensure you have a huge stack before you go, hand one out to each visitor, and pay attention to the design. Many Indian businesspeople speak English, but it is advised your cards are bilingual with at least Hindi for convenience sake.

A quick note: always offer and accept business cards in India with your right hand. The left is considered unclean in Indian society. It is a small thing, but the Devil is in the details – avoiding such small gaffes will serve you in good stead at Indian trade shows. It also stresses the first point on this list: get a grip on Indian business culture and etiquette before you head there for an easier time.

6. Go bilingual at your stand– As we mentioned above, the majority of Indians are comfortable speaking English, so you should not have any trouble conversing if you are an English speaker. Most literature, signage and conversation at Indian trade shows will likely be in English too.

However, Hindi is India’s official language. Making your stand dual-lingual is likely to make it stand out from the crowd. You will be seen as willing to accommodate your Indian partners’ language needs, which will reflect well on you as a person. Developing trust and a solid rapport with others is a big part of doing business in India, so give your company an extra edge over your competitors by going bilingual.

Indian trade show success is easy with these tips

Take these tips into consideration, and you should not have any trouble of achieving your aims at any Indian exhibition. India’s market potential for construction is worth billions of dollars. ITE trade events can put you in front of the sector’s major stakeholders and businesspeople. Attend one in 2017 to see how your business can capitalise on India’s construction boom.

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