How To Sell To German Companies
Without losing your Mojo!
Germany is on track to record the world’s largest trade surplus for a third consecutive year, despite that its economy predominantly exists out of SMBs, mixed with only a few global enterprises. When you want to enter the German market, you will experience the “German Angst,” the fear of losing control when partnering with unknown businesses. Not that Germans are not trusting others; it is the fear of taking a wrong decision — Germans are very risk avert.
When companies abroad start reaching out to local German businesses, they soon realize that they need to speak the same language, German, and preferably with the local German pronunciation, or accent-free; but never with a foreign dialect (rare exception apply). Germans mostly do speak English and usually welcome other nationalities, as long as they don’t want to sell to them.
Sooner or later, the foreign solution provider will look into hiring a native German Business Development Manager, who should be the answer to all objections when dealing with German prospects. The candidate should bring his network of existing opportunities, and he must be able to negotiate complex deals. As he is working remotely from the mothership, he needs to be a self-starter and self-motivator, who embraces a daily workload, which is anything but a routine. Candidates don’t grow on trees, and good salespeople are hard to find. They usually have a higher price tag than others; salaries are ranging between 80–120,000 Euros, plus additional benefits and mandatory costs for social security.
The long-term commitment to the German market comes with another challenge — speed of prospecting. A person with the traits mentioned above may find it undesirable to spend a week or a month cold calling prospects; a repetitious task of qualifying budgets, authority, and the potential need. The calls itself are not complicated, but the fear to get rejected is obnoxious, and our expensive BDM might lose his mojo. Therefore, he will probably rely on his contacts and build his network by attending business events.
The solution to the dilemma is getting someone into the business who is taking over the unpleasant groundwork of first level prospecting. A telesales professional is trained to use his voice for selling himself and building relationships through the phone. The objective is simple; make new friends and to add relevance to the other person’s business life.
You can team up telesales with a field sales manager and get quality sales in a higher quantity. To save costs, you can also offset the price for prospecting by using your existing team of business developers, non-German speaking. Because when an opportunity is qualified and surpasses the first stage in the funnel, the “German Angst” will decline as the relationship grows.
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