If you want to export a product or service to Germany, first evaluate potential customers by answering the following questions:
- What can you offer the customer?
- In what quantity can you supply the product / service?
- To what degree does the product / service differ from competing products / services?
- What added value does the product / service offer?
Potential customers might be businesses that resell your product or use it themselves. Start by writing to your potential customers.
Another possibility for getting a foothold in the German market is through distribution partners. When choosing a potential partner, pay attention to their portfolio. In the best-case scenario, they will already have products that are in the same direction as your product, but do not compete with it. Your product should serve as a complementary addition.
In Germany, trade fairs can also be a door-opener. Trade fairs are good platforms for presenting products and services. As these are rather major events in Germany, they require good preparation. Take the time beforehand to write to partners that you would like to meet, define your goals for your presentation and make brochures about your offering. This will help you to hold your ground and keep from getting lost in the crowd. However, at trade fairs in Germany, one does not do business at the fair itself, but afterward.
Having personal contact is important, but not decisive
It's important that you maintain personal contact both with customers and distribution partners. Meet with the relevant people, show your interest, and spend time with them. However, in Germany – unlike some other countries – it isn't necessary to make regular visits, but simply to build a relationship of mutual trust. Draft good contracts at the beginning of the business relationship in order to avoid future difficulties.
German partners tend to seek less personal contact than the Swiss. It's possible that personal appointments may be declined due to tight schedules or similar causes.
Support in the search for distribution partners
In cooperation with its Swiss Business Hubs, Switzerland Global Enterprise looks for potential business partners for SMEs, compiles lists and advises on the selection of the best partners.