German Market Characteristics
The German market is different. Everybody who wants to sell to Germany
will recognize it very fast. But what makes it so dfferent?
The German Market is Peripheral
If you want to sell to France, you have to be in Paris -
and you have 90% of the market nearby.
If you sell to the UK, you have to be in London - and
you have 90% of the market nearby.
If you sell to Germany you have to be everywhere. There
is no single town dominating everything - particularly not Berlin.
There are core areas for some market sectors. Frankfurt is such a core
area for the finance market, Berlin for the governmental business and
Munich for the IT companies. But Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne,
Stuttgart, Nuremberg are also important places for the business. And
what about Bremen, Hannover, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Leipzig . . .
Resulting from that, German sales reps travel a lot when
they have to visit their German clients. 40,000 km per year in the car
is not much - and even on Germany's excellent roads without speed limit
this travelling consumes a lot of time. Companies thinking about the
German market for the very first time should consider this
Germany speaks German. Not really a surprise. But a
hurdle for many vendors.
English flyers might work for some vendors but you will
notivce soon that you need a German approach to be successful in the
German market. Even if many people in the German IT organisations
understand English pretty good, speaking German to them is a benefit
for and easily opens doors for newcomers in that market. This means
that starting to sell to Germany, you should have
- German website
- German flyers
- German reference story
- German speaking sales reps
and a German office address and telefone line will also
be a plus.
But you should not only see this as a hurdle only. Once
you managed that you
will quickly notice that this can turn into a huge advantage. Many
vendors fail in selling to Germany due to that hurdle - leaving a
bigger share for those who successfully solve that problem.
If you are coming from a country with local laws
like English law, you will quickly notice that German law is
much different. But beside that you will find parliamental acts like
'Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz' and procedures like
'Umsatzsteuersofortprüfung' which are very specific for Germany and not
seen much in other places of the world. Just have good consultants
helping you with these issues. And do not forget the passing off law
(also known as company name law, German: Markenrecht) which
is is relatively important and consists of a great value of dispute.
Conflicts with that law can quickly result in penalties exceeding
20,000 Euros. The necessary preparation is to register your company
name as a brand, concrete as something that Germans call 'Wort- und
Bildmarke' (word and picture brand).
More information about German law: German defects liability law