Caroline Kelly, sales director at Burnside Autocyl, shares her top pieces of advice for Irish companies keen to tap into the German market.
Be confident about your product or service before going into the market. We have always been focused on the parameters of our product offering – we make hydraulic cylinders with a bore diameter of 32mm up to 200mm and up to eight metres in length. We offer a wide range of products, but it is still finite at the same time. Get feedback from market experts and existing players in Germany on your product – Enterprise Ireland can help to arrange this.
You need to convince potential customers in Germany of the three C’s – i.e. that you are capable, competent and committed – and able to interface with them on all levels. Many companies are good at selling, but not so many are good at both selling and supporting clients on a technical level. After-sales service is hugely important as you are looking at a relationship that goes on for years – in our case for the lifespan of the machine incorporating our hydraulic cylinders.
When you are lucky enough to win German customers, mind them like gemstones. They are hard to win so you don’t want to do anything to lose them. Bad news travels faster than good, so try to exceed what they might expect from suppliers on their own doorstep. Be as good, if not better, than local suppliers in terms of quality and consistency of service.