Recommendations for Doing Business in Germany
Conducting business in Germany, requires a level of competitiveness, this because the German market, in general, is mature, therefore, the entry of a product involves the displacement of another. Before making a business proposal you have to study the target market, design a strategy and, above all, do not act rashly, as potential customers could be lost. Preparation and planning are key.
The main characteristic of business in Germany is Ordnung (order). Rules, codes, regulations, dominate business relationships. If you want to succeed you have to be mentally and be prepared to comply. It should be mentioned that Germans do not like negotiators who speak without full knowledge. If you don’t know something for sure, it’s better to shut up. There is a saying that expresses this idea very well: Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold “Talk is silver, silence is gold.”
Punctuality in all commercial aspects in Germany (meetings, deadlines, payments, etc.) is required. If thirty minutes have been planned for a presentation, they should not exceed this deadline. Likewise, appointments must be established well in advance (at least three weeks) and at the highest possible level.
As regards the German buyer, whether importer or distributor, it is worth mentioning that the entrepreneur is conservative: he does not easily change suppliers and is not interested in specific businesses, but in the medium term. To enter the market you have to offer something additional, either a new product or an advantage in price.
The German buyer commonly concentrates on two objectives: product quality and service. It is oriented mainly towards production and technical aspects. Therefore, it is a prerequisite to comply with the complex industrial regulations of the country. Each product is subject to standards; the best known are the Deutsche Industrie Norm “DIN” fruit of the collaboration between the Administration and each of the industrial sectors. Compliance with quality standards and guarantees is not only due to federal legislation but also to the requirements of distributors and customers.
Price is also an essential element since the German market is one of the most competitive in the world and the offers of thousands of suppliers converge towards it. To set prices you have to take into account the very high marketing costs and not be confused by the high retail prices.
Finally, if the German buyer has doubts, it will usually be, above all, about the fulfilment of the conditions and the service, rather than the product, which is why he collects detailed information about the supplier company.