Initial Contact, Handshake, Agreement From a U.S. Perspective
iTEC10 - THE international ICT event Hanau, Nov. 24th, 2010 Kristina L. Garcia Managing Director German State of Hessen U.S. Office for Economic Development
Contact, Handshake, Agreement From a U.S. Perspective Similarities Differences How do I start doing business in the U.S.? Am I ready to do business in the U.S.? Resources: who can help me do business in the U.S.?
Similarities: U.S. vs. Germany
Both countries are western = cultures have a lot in common = making it easier for Germans to do business in the U.S. •Be on-time for meetings •Call if you are running late •Shake hands when you meet someone •Exchange business cards •Look people in the eye •Overdressed is always better
•In general, Germans are well-traveled •Many have vacationed in the U.S. •Many have already done business in the U.S. •Quality of German products and services are well-known in the U.S. •U.S. and Germany have a strong tradition of doing business together •Numerous German companies located in the U.S. and vice versa •Over 1,000 U.S. companies located in the State of Hessen alone
Differences: U.S. vs. Germany Differences – there are also many…do not underestimate •Do not discuss religion or politics ! •No coffee at meetings sometimes! •Receptions have end times! •Americans don’t take vacation (not really) ! •Invest in an answering machine •Email responses expected with 24 hours! •Asking questions is okay !
First Contact – Where to start?
•Research and get to know your competitors in the U.S. •Answer queries from the U.S. •Attend conferences and tradeshows - global or regional •Talk to as many people as possible – people like to share info in the U.S. •Get to know the culture - combine business and pleasure
First contact – How can you achieve it? •An introduction is the best, BUT nothing wrong with a cold-call! •Start at the top - increases chances of getting the decision-maker •Don’t let hierarchical issues stand in your way •Americans are impressed by titles, BUT they do not rule •Asking questions is okay in the U.S. - you don’t have to know everything! •Follow-up is essential
Market Analysis: Do Your Homework! •Is there a market for your product or services? •Know your competitors and companies with a particular region •Check their pricing •Understand the Economic Structure •Sufficient qualified personnel •Salary Levels and expectations of staff •Use the expertise of local hires
Resources •U.S. Economic Development Offices in Europe •Council of American States in Europe •www.case-europe.com •U.S. Economic Development Offices in the U.S. •Hessen Agentur GmbH & Hessen U.S. Office in New York will liaison introductions to U.S. State offices •Invest in America •German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC)
Resources: Invest in America International Trade Administration Program at the Department of Commerce Promote and supports foreign direct investment in the United States, contributing to U.S. job creation, innovation and competitiveness. How can you benefit? •Provide economic and industry info •Provide info on incentives •Answer your inquiries •Put you in touch with local and state governments •Chambers of Commerce – State and Regional, city Level
Resources: German American Chambers of Commerce 60 years of successfully supporting German companies enter the US market and their market expansion plans in the US. •Market Studies •Office Representation •Business Partner Search •Trade Show Support and Assistance •Recruitment Service
New York – Chicago – Los Angeles – Atlanta – San Francisco
Establishing a U.S. Presence •Decide on a location •What are your requirements? Where are your targets? •Hire a lawyer •Establish a relationship with a bank – you need a credit history •Start in a business Center – keep overhead low at first •Find local leadership – preferably with contacts •Create a mixed team – German and U.S. employees
Marketing in the U.S.: Localization is Key! •Create a marketing plan – review with a native business person •Marketing materials - localization is crucial •Website – first impression – it has to be excellent •Use bullet points •Press releases, blogs, podcasts, mailings
Marketing in the U.S.: Visibility Increase Your Profile! •Join Industry Associations & Professional Groups (regional or national) •Access to member directories •Potential partners and/or clients •Attend as many networking events as possible •Host business events with partners – keep costs down •Look for speaking opportunities •no more than 20 minutes for speeches •Join Groups on “Linked-in” •Show off – Americans love awards (technical or business)
Excellence from Hessen Trust the foundations of your success in Germany, bring it to the U.S./Canada with flexibility to fit into cultural differences.
Thank you for your attention!
Oliver Beil, Director USA HA Hessen Agentur GmbH Abraham-Lincoln-StraĂ&#x;e 38-42 65189 Wiesbaden I Deutschland phone: +49 611-774 8655 fax: +49 611-774 58655 Kristina L. GarcĂa, Managing Director German State of Hessen U.S. Office for Economic Development 420 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10018 tel: 212-703-5566 fax: 212-703-5256 Kristina.Garcia@hessen-agentur.de email@example.com www-invest-in-hessen.com