Business Support, a market research trip to mid-Anatolia

In the early morning of a sunny day in Istanbul, I received a phone call from the Netherlands. The caller was the owner of a family business specialized in the worldwide import and export of agricultural machinery for over 40 years. The company supplied new, used and overhauled heavy agricultural machinery to a wide and diverse clientele all over the world.

They had already established a number of contacts over the internet and had tried to communicate with them by telephone and email, but with little result. Now they were looking for a business partner who was familiar with the Dutch culture. Their goal was to import used agricultural machines from Turkey into the Netherlands on a regular basis

They had been searching for a business partner in Turkey for three years, but without any success. The problem was that those people in Turkey they did manage to get in touch with either did not speak any foreign languages, or had no clear image of the kind of business they were looking for, or did not work in a professional manner. Some others, who did speak a little English, looked up on the internet what the local prices in the Netherlands were and asked a price three times as high as what they would ask a local buyer to pay. The firm was looking for a reliable channel for the import of high volumes of farming machinery, for which the price negotiations were to be conducted on a realistic and professional basis and manner.

[Despite the great potential of used agricultural machinery in Turkey and the ample presence of local dealers who would be only too willing to sell, the company did not succeed in coming to business in Turkey. The contacts they had did not get them any further.]

Upon the company’s request, BST started its role as an intermediary by approaching the contacts that the client had already established. Prior to that, together with the client, we had drawn up a profile of the type of contacts he was looking for and the requirements they must meet: the numbers, types and makes of machines they were able to deliver per year, at what price, if their enterprise was a wholesale or retail business, etc. We talked to each of the contacts over the phone. Several of them had to be struck from the list, but via our own network we also found new potential candidates.

Our systematic approach yielded an accurate ‘long-list’ of potentially interesting partners. On this basis we could make a realistic estimate of the size of the market. Together with the client we made a selection of a number of potential suppliers and potential local partners, and made appointments for face-to-face in-depth interviews and meetings with each of them, in various provinces where the desired products were available in the right quantities.

BST’s findings and the information we provided convinced the client that Turkey offered sufficient potential for their import plans.

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