Expanding into the German market can be a lucrative business opportunity, but it requires careful planning and preparation. In this article, we’ll share five practical tips to help you succeed in selling to German customers.
1. Preparation is key
Before entering the German market, it’s important to thoroughly assess your sales, marketing, product, and HR strategies. This will help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that your expansion goes smoothly. Once you start being active in the market, all efforts need to go into scaling your activity, and you need more time for structural work and internal improvements. Also, German customers will appreciate spotless preparation with professionalism, which you’re seeking in the German market. You can do this internally, but seeking the help of external experts can be a good move, as they often have a new and unbiased view of your operations and can bring new ideas for improvement. A solid marketing strategy, well-defined sales processes, and precise documentation for customers are all essential to succeed in the German market. Additionally, conducting market research is vital to understand your target market, competition, and potential clients.
2. Localise your content
In international expansion, language and localisation are critical factors. Your marketing and sales content must be translated and adapted to the German market to be successful. This includes everything from your product to your customer success programs. By localising your content, you show appreciation for your international audience and customers and demonstrate that you’re serious about the German market. You can find some more information about localising content here.
3. Build trust
Germans are risk-averse and must be reassured when purchasing, particularly regarding technology. Trust is a crucial aspect of the sales process, so start early to inspire confidence and security in the German buyer. This means meeting local standards, being active in relevant associations, and addressing security & compliance topics in your sales process. Consider credentialing your business with reputable relevant certificates, labels or rating portals.
4. Be aware of cultural differences
When working with a diverse, intercultural team, misunderstandings can quickly occur. It’s important to avoid stereotypes and prejudices and to understand the unique character traits of each person. Germans are not just French people who speak German, and the sales process in Germany differs from France. Understanding these cultural differences will help you navigate the German market more effectively.
5. Provide detailed information
Germans value facts and buy based primarily on detailed information about your product or service. To be successful in the German market, it’s important to be upfront with information about your product and service, including detailed documentation, customer testimonials, and product sheets. The decision-making process in Germany is also more democratic, so it may take longer to reach a decision. Still, once the German buyer has decided, they are usually very loyal and committed to a long-term customer relationship.
In conclusion, selling to German customers requires careful preparation, localisation, building trust, cultural awareness, and providing detailed information. These tips can set your business up for success in the German market.
Need support for any of the steps mentioned above? Reach out to our team of French-German expansion experts!