Doing business in Germany connects you to the world’s fifth largest economy and second biggest exporter. Are you positioned, prepared, and patient enough to succeed with the Deutsche? Here are the essential of doing business in Germany?
Doing Business in Germany – Positioning
Germany is one of the world’s most technically advanced producers of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, metals, and food-stuff. 2010 exports reached $1.337 trillion, second to China. The ‘German Brand’ depends on innovation, quality, robustness, and global adaptability. Are you positioned to meet these very high expectations? Consider the following questions:
- Is your offering technically superior to competitors?
- Can you meet the utmost quality expectations of German consumers?
- Will your solution stand the test of time with minimal service?
- Can your product move around the global with minimal adaption?
If ‘yes’ is the answer to these questions, you are positioned for doing business in Germany.
Doing Business in Germany – Preparation
Germans expect proposals that address and elaborate a major business opportunity or problem they are facing. Details, supporting a proposal, are vital. Debate is a means of igniting more ideas without getting personal. Proactive preparation is essential to doing business in Germany. Take the following actions:
- Find a key lieutenant to the German decision-maker who explains the opportunities and problems faced by the company. Specifically address them with your proposal.
- Ask the mentor preview the proposal, assuring it meets the need and includes enough detail. Be sure to bring back-up information to the meeting.
- Be prepared for questions and debates. (No questions indicate minimal interest.)
Following the proposal meeting, seek feedback from your mentor. Immediately agree on the next meeting. German calendars are busy. If a follow-up meeting is firm on the calendar, your preparation enabled you to move to the next step of doing business in Germany.
Doing Business in Germany – Patience
Doing business in Germany requires extreme patience. Time slowly passes as Germans consume information, develop detailed plans, and most importantly – view you as a long term partner. Here is how you demonstrate your readiness for a lengthy relationship:
- Clearly understand and quickly follow-up on action items.
- Do not leave the next contact with them open. After every meeting or call, agree on the date and time of the next follow-up.
- Manage expectations with your company and yourself.
Companies from America, and other countries, make faster decisions. Following the long decision-making process, Germans very rapidly implement plans. In summary, position your offering with the expectations of a German partner. Proactive and detailed presentations yield successful proposals. Patience and disciplined follow-up delivers a decision. With these 3 P’s you are doing business in Germany.