German trade fairs are the place to be if you want to meet new business partners from all over the world. According to the Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA), around two-thirds of the world’s leading trade fairs take place in Germany. Every year, around 150 international trade fairs and exhibitions are hosted in the very heart of Europe, attended by 180,000 exhibitors and around 10 million visitors.
So far, online platforms, webinars, and other means of digital communication and networking have not been able to substitute for or even replace trade fairs. The possibility to meet face-to-face and talk to numerous market players in a very short period of time is still reason enough for many companies to invest in their participation.
In 2016, AUMA counted almost 30,000 exhibitors from South, East, and Central Asia – an increase of about 4.5% over the previous year. The Association observed an increase of approximately 6% in the number of exhibitors from the People’s Republic of China; with over 15,000 exhibitors, China had the greatest number of foreign trade fair participants in Germany. India, by contrast, saw its number shrink by 4%, although it still ranked among the TOP 20 Countries according to exhibitor figures; in 2016, a total of 3,266 exhibitors made India rank twelfth.
As the German owner of a PR agency states: “No matter where they are hailing from, foreign exhibitors always enrich the international flair of the trade shows; the technology is often outstanding.” Another gentleman from India observed that Indian exhibitors are generally very enthusiastic and passionate about their field, products, and companies. “Very often though, they do not manage to fully develop their potential,” he said.
It makes me sad to see exhibitors disappointed when they return from their business trips without being able to showcase the results they and their peers had been expecting or hoping for. Most of my clients are from India; I help them meet business contacts in Germany, build their business, and understand the local culture. Based on my experience facilitating Indo-German trade relationships, and supported by my extensive network in the trade show business, I present the first volume of Andra’s Quick Tips on Business Culture.
The philosophy behind Doing Business in Germany : Exhibiting at Trade Shows for Indian Managers is simple; very often, being aware of the small things can make a big difference. Newcomers who are still contemplating whether they should give trade fair participation a try will benefit greatly from the hands-on advice on how to decide whether to attend a German trade show (or not), how to present themselves at the fair, how to attract German visitors, and how to speak to them. Small and medium-sized companies who are already somewhat experienced but still unclear about the basic things they should consider doing differently to be more successful will also find the book very useful.
When interviewing a sample of international exhibitors to better understand their needs and perspectives, people also asked me: “Why is the food at the fair always so terrible? Why is the numbering of the halls and stands so chaotic? How do they manage to clean such a large place during the night and make it look good every morning?” I will not be digging deeper into these matters (or even try give a satisfactory answer to the food question), but I would like to take the opportunity to mention that trade fairs – as we know and cherish them – would not happen without the hard work of the dedicated people behind the scenes.
Exhibiting at Trade Shows for Indian Managers is the first volume in a series of books on Doing Business in Germany, targeting business owners and executives who want to increase their presence in this market. Readers will benefit greatly from this concise and practical how-to manual, in which several top industry experts from both Germany and India have shared their advice. Focussing on Indo-German business relationships, this e-book provides many examples on how and why culture matters.
Doing Business in Germany
Volume 1: Exhibiting at Trade Shows for Indian Managers
With Hands-on Advice from Leading Industry Experts
…and Special Tips for Trade Fair Participants from India
Andra’s Quick Tips on Business Culture