What are your top tips for setting up a new distributor in India?

Question posted by Simon Sheridan, on behalf of Geotech in CV31

Would be interested to hear other users experiences of setting up and using distributors in India.

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Kenny McQuarrie, on behalf of Yell in RG1.

Hi Simon,

I'm sure our community can offer some great advice but it would likely help if you could explain a little about what product(s) you plan to export to India. That way our community can be sure they are giving you the most relevant information.

We are also conducting a webinar this Thursday specifically on getting started in India, which will feature several expert presentations and a Q&A session. You can register for it here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/349992815. Registration is free.

Kind regards,
Kenny.

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Les Parfitt, on behalf of TMG Advisory P Ltd in TA8 1EZ.

Hi Simon,
I agree with Kenny that more information is needed in order to provide you with a fuller answer. However, my company, TMG Advisory has helped several SME's set up in India and a key item of advice is to ensure you recruit a dedicated distributor with suitable market experience for your product. There is a tendency for Indian distributors to collect a range of products and then to sell the easiest of these products in the market. This approach makes it difficult to maximise sales on UK products, which because of high import duties, need to sell on 'technical merit'. Happy to discuss further on lparfitt@tmgdvisory.com
Best regards,
Les Parfitt
TMG Advisory (UK)

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Chandru Iyer, on behalf of Kingston Smith LLP in EC1M.

Hi Simon,

As i am sure, you are aware, India is a very big country with distributors operating on a pan-india basis as well as some who operate in certain states. The two main tips one needs to follow while appointing a distributor in the UK are:

1. To conduct proper due diligence on the distributor. What you see or hear is not what you get all the time. Reference checks will be very useful.

2. Be sure that you check the distribution contract carefully and avoid any exclusivity clauses.

Also, if my understanding is correct that Geotech is in the Environment and Water domain, it is a very specialized area with tremendous potential and you can find niche distributors who can assist with expanding your business in India.

Hope this helps. We have partner firms in India who can further handhold you with your plans.

warm regards
Chandru Iyer,
Kingston Smith LLP

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Simon Sheridan, on behalf of Geotech in CV31.

Thank you all for your responses so far.
To add some more detail. Geotech manufacture and supply portable and fixed biogas analysers for use in Landfill and Biogas applications worldwide. We are currently using a distributor in India we had some old product lines with, but not sure they are the right fit for our gas analysers.
So im looking of ways to possibly find a new distributor who has more specialist expertise in this area, with satellite offices in main areas of India to enable good coverage.

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Les Parfitt, on behalf of TMG Advisory P Ltd in TA8 1EZ.

Hi Simon,
Thanks for the extra info and in view of the specialist nature of your equipment ,your needs would be bested served by a dedicated sales specialist working from a low cost satelite office. We have used this model for a UK company selling specialist equipment to hospitals. My team in India can assist with focused recruitment and locating an office/s to give you best coverage. Happy to talk further, at no cost, if you want to contact me direct on lparfitt@tmgadvisory.com

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Simon Sheridan, on behalf of Geotech in CV31.

Ok, thanks Les, i am now reviewing all information and will contact you if required.

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Richard England, on behalf of Consulting for Export in WD3.

Simon,
Have you been in touch with Biotech India? http://www.biotechindialtd.com/summary.php

Another suggestion is to type into the companies search box of linkedin the words Biogas, India and you will discover 5-6 useful potential companies.

Regards,
Richard England

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Simon Sheridan, on behalf of Geotech in CV31.

Richard - Thanks for the link to Biotech India, looks promising.

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Distribution channels are a direct extension of your company so whatever the product, they need to reflect your own brand attributes and 'style' in their market place. In industrial products such as yours, the obvious technical ability is clear - they need to understand the sales process, from educating the client, presenting the benefits, using proactive, not passive, sales plans and being able to live with the product in terms of service and training.

So you can summarise the key attributes that they need to comply with yourself, based on your technology and markets.

Finding them is also straightforward and a method we use frequently is to identify complementary products that are distributed in the territory. In your case these might be distributors of other instrumentation and metering equipment, treatment plants, etc. This would lead you to many options. Manufacturers in the west often publish details of their existing overseas distributors on their websites.

I would add finally that there is no substitute for meeting them, in person and doing your final selection on the simple basis of deciding if your goals are congruent and that you can work with them as people. It is after all, about people, and doing what is agreed.
We tend to work in China market development more than any other sector but the principles are the same.
Regards

Jeremy
www.broadbrand.biz

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Simon Sheridan, on behalf of Geotech in CV31.

Thanks Jeremy, we are currently looking at a possible distributor who supplies complimentry products, so good to hear that you have had success with this model.

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Hi Simon,

I am the UKTI lead officer for Environment and Water sector.

For appointing a new distributor in India, there are a few issues to keep in mind.

1. Geographical coverage - India is a large country and you need to judge whether the distributor you are appointing is able to cover the entire country, or you would require more than one partner.

2. Financial Strenght - It is important to see whether the potential distributor is financially stable or not - his turnover and profit statements in last three years will show that.

3. Technical Strength - Whether the distributor has qualified technical team to not only promote your products, but also service them in case there is any breakdown.

4. Experience - For most equipment required in landfills, your main customer base would be urban local bodies, though private companies are increasingly getting into this sector. You need to find out whether the distributor has the experience of dealing with public sector, and is aware of public sector procurement policies and processes.

As you may be aware, UKTI provides various services to UK exporters, and one of them is to help them find potential business partners. This is done under our OMIS scheme, where we identify, validate and warm up potential partners. We also do a basic due dilligence to see that these shortlisted companies fulfill above points mentioned by me.

If you wish to avail of this services, and want to know more about how UKTI can assist you, please write to me at rishikesh.chanda@fco.gov.uk.

Just to let you know that I will be in the UK next week and would be happy to meet you for any further discussion. I will be in London on 15, 18 and 19, and in Birmingham (at Sustainability Live) on 16th and 17.

I look forward to hearing from you.

With best regards,

Rishikesh

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