Fail in foreign trade - Ten ways to waste money abroad: The seventh case: Put your sales force in charge of international sales

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Fail in foreign trade - Ten ways to waste money abroad: The seventh case: Put your sales force in charge of international sales

An article of InterGest, partner of ti communication

Oh, how beautiful it is in Switzerland! The mountains are im­pressive, the chocolate is divine, and Swiss German has a sympathe­tic sound to it. And that’s not all – the citizens of this Alpine nation also have plenty of money and are enthusiastic consumers. So what could be more natural for a company in Southern Ger­many to conquer at least German-speaking Switzerland, and to sell the universally beloved products made by Pfleiderer GmbH there as well?

Mr. Pfleiderer Junior is the third generation of his family to ma­nufacture high-quality fitted kitchens near Lake Constance, on the Swiss border. His kitchens – high quality from German producers – are very popular but expensive, which makes them practically per­fect for the Swiss market. Until now, no major sales activities had been geared toward Switzerland but the fact could not be ignored that more and more Swiss consumers wanted Pfleiderer kitchens and were beginning to travel to Germany and order the kitchens there. It was a lucrative business with strong growth potential.

Mr. Pfleiderer decided to get down to brass tacks, and he ima­gined supplying all of Switzerland with his high-quality kitchens in the immediate future. He already had a tax representative in the country, because he needed one for his kitchen installation activi­ties. The next step, namely founding his own Swiss branch, could therefore be done fairly easy by the same local tax advisor.

For cost reasons, Mr. Pfleiderer decided not to have a showroom at first; instead, sales would take place through local trade fairs and exhibitions, as well as a direct sales approach he had designed himself according to the “Vorwerk” model, which he used very successfully in Germany. His skilled, well-trained salespeople just had to gain access to the potential customer’s house or apartment, and then they could build a virtual kitchen for the amazed customer on the spot, using his proprietary computer simulation program. Once they had gotten that far, an order was usually within reach. Another advantage was that, thanks to fairly high profit mar­gins, he was able to live well on just a few orders. Now he planned to transfer this approach to Switzerland, and there was no reason to expect anything less than a complete success.

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Fail in foreign trade - Ten ways to waste money abroad: The fifth case: Set a maximum limit of one year for entering an international market (six months are even better)

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Fail in foreign trade - Ten ways to waste money abroad: The fifth case: Set a maximum limit of one year for entering an international market  (six months are even better)

An article of InterGest, partner of ti communication

Mr. A is a specialist in cold meat and sausage products and his factory in the heart of Germany is famous for its wonderful ham. Now in its second generation, his company markets meat speciali­ties throughout the whole of Germany.

Every time he goes shopping in his local supermarket, Mr. A asks himself why it is that imported products are so successful here and wonders if he might also succeed in selling his products abroad.

If the Italians are so successful with their Parma ham and you can find Spanish Serrano in just about every refrigerated shelf in Germany, why shouldn‘t it be possible to sell German ham in London? Mr. A calls his team together and outlines his idea of investing in the British market – after all, as everybody knows, the British still have a thing or two to learn when it comes to matters of international cuisine. His employees think the idea is good and everyone agrees to put the plan into action as quickly as possible.

Indeed, work commences the very next day. A market study is drawn up to assess the competition, a team flies out to London to conduct test purchases and sample the products already on offer. Logistics are also considered, potential profit margins assessed, and the packaging modified to fall in line with British tastes. In short, everything is geared towards assured success.

Mr. A is extremely motivated. He has meanwhile set up a sales office, so that his customers will not have to import the products from Germany and has already begun organising tastings in the most important supermarkets with the aid of his new employee in England. People react positively to the samples and his first listings are as good as in the bag.

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