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Do´s and dont´s in the Spanish market

Andrés Moreno

Many times I am asked about how to sell more electric bikes in Spain. Most companies that ask me are looking for answers in a market where they have found a good distributor or wholesaler, but the orders are just very few.
Most times the wholesaler is being blame by the manufacturer for lack of success.
Most times too, wholesalers blame manufacturers because they offer nothing more than just a normal “Buy and Sale” type of business, with no extra value apart from bikes.
Both are right, and both are wrong.

Meanwhile during this fight, the bike and e-bike Spanish markets are growing a good percentage every year, and stores and importers are popping up every where, despite that Spain is inside one of the biggest economic crisis of its history. More than 25% jobless and a country´s debt that has so many digits, that one could make a Paella with them.

What does this mean? Simple, Spanish society is changing quite a bit, they see the benefits, including saving money, of using bikes and electric bikes for their daily routines.

Nonetheless, most bigger Central European companies are failing to acquire good sales or even maintain the same distributor for more than a couple of years.

I believe normal bikes and electric bikes and all around them can be a great solution for many people in Spain. New jobs could be created and people will be able to save money and get fit.

Here I present you some of my findings and a few rules to make better sales. In fact, some of these rules will help you to sell in your country of origin too. But beware, Spanish people are much more careful now and they will buy only if they can trust that the company is behind the product.

Translate your catalogs, presentations, handbooks and if possible your web page.
Let me ask you a question, would you buy a 1.000 € vehicle if you could not understand what you were buying? I guess not.
Three years ago I offered my translation services to one of the worlds biggest bike company operating in Spain. They told me they will do them by themselves. Three years later the translations are still not made and their sales are not only poor, simply they are almost non existent. In fact, three of the worlds biggest bike companies operating in Spain still have their catalogs for download in German or English, and their sales are lousy.
Invest in translating, and don´t let your wholesaler in Spain do the job. They are there to sale, not to translate.
Help them and they will concentrate in selling. And please please, give the job to a professional translator who is specialized in bikes and electric bikes, not just any translator. By the way, I believe it is illegal to sell products in Spain without the handbooks and other documents translated into Spanish. Be careful.

Build your after sales service even before you start selling in Spain
. You might think it should be the other way around, but it is not.
Just recently a mechanic contacted me because he had a problem with a torque sensor and, when he asked the wholesaler in Madrid for help, the wholesaler told him to call Holland because they did not know how to fix the problem.
Who is to blame? The wholesaler or the manufacturer? None and both. The wholesaler does not want the manufacturer to believe they can not do the job. The manufacturer thinks the wholesaler should do the job.
But I believe the manufacturers should give the right tools, translations included, to wholesalers, maybe with videos explaining how to fix normal problems and other important information.
And nowadays, with the power of internet and multimedia, nothing could be easier. Although some still believe that organizing expensive trips and making dealers and wholesaler to travel to a place to get trained, is better than using smart communication. Of course, in the mother language.

Exports departments should be run by somebody who speaks Spanish good and who knows the country well.
Or externalize the service. Normally wholesalers speak fluent English, but if nobody from your company is an expert in the Spanish market, knows the culture, or has lived there for more than a trip to Mallorca, how will you know if the job is being done inside your policy envelop?

Develop a communication/press service together with your wholesaler.
There are dozens of specialized blogs that will pick up the news. Big media probably too. Only, the advantage of using blogs to is that for the same price, you can direct the information to a very segmented public. And let´s say the truth, I was the only Spanish journalist in Bike Expo 2012, and the only one in Eurobike specialized in electric bikes.
The bigger magazines still do not find benefits informing about electric bikes. Which it makes me think about the next point.

Invest time and money in advertising. Now that you have your translations, your after sales service and your communication department, it is the time to pay communicators for what they do.
I don´t mean you have to go out there and start buying banner spaces or organize events everywhere. But I can really say that a banner still attracts many more visits than a normal article which, after a few weeks, is not so easy to find, whether a banner is always to be found.

Use the tourism industry as your ally. Fifty two million foreigners visited Spain last year. Mostly from Germany, England, France and Italy. When they come back to their countries, they have lots of stories to tell.
What if they had a lot of fun driving one of your bikes? Wouldn´t they speak good about your company? Do you see the big benefit out of this action?
Many programs are being subsidize in middle Europe by companies together with political institutions, and sales are on the rise. But in Spain those programs are almost inexistent, due to the technical bankruptcy of the Spanish government.
As I experienced in a program I made in Ibiza, hoteliers will love to offer this service to their clients. But they do not want to buy bikes or electric bikes. They will want a company to do the service for them. But to open a rental service by an entrepreneur is very costly and one of the biggest problems is to invest in buying e-bikes.
Solution: Together with your wholesaler offer bikes for a very low price, or even for free in the beginning, to rental business to launch your new actions in Spain so that they can offer their services for a low price too. Thousands will try your bikes. Even more than in 4 days at Eurobike. Specially this year that has rained so much)

These has two win win situations:

  •     the more the Spanish people see tourist going on electric bikes, the more they will want one
  •     the more fun a tourist has with an electric bike, the more likely they will buy one when they go back to their country.


Be patience.When mountain bikes where well known in USA, nobody had heard of them in Spain. Now is one of the segments with better growth. The same situation happened with mobile telephones. Position your company nicely on the market, with enough investment and collaborating with your wholesaler. The rest will come.

Be present at big fairs and organize events with your wholesaler.
Are you present at Interbike, Eurobike, Taiwan fair? Yes? Then, why not in Spain? Many times when I talk to distributors in Spain they let me know, without saying, that you just let them alone. Help them as much as you can or send your South Europe sales manager to help them with the job. There are a few good fairs in Spain to go to, where local authorities can be reached. Having your representant there is paying respect. Something we all want.

Events and programs are also very important. The more your bikes are seen and tested, the more your distributor will sell so will you.
Better in Spring and Fall.
And be creative. Spanish people love music and dancing and fun. Introduce some music in the event, maybe a clown. At the end, what you want is people trying your product and to make an statement.

Solidarity is the magic word. Yes, I am asking you to give. In fact I have been asking you to give during the whole article. You must give in other to receive from life. Do it just for the pleasure of helping people.
An example, almost 30% of the working force in Spain is jobless, but they still depend on some kind of mobility to go out there to find a job. Normally gasoline for their cars. What a good feeling will be to offer some of your vehicles to help some people in Spain?

Vehiculosverdes.com has developed successful programs in Spain since 2007, has published more than 300 articles about electric bikes and has translated several Extraenergy magazines into Spanish, in which most companies have been presented already to the Spanish society.

We will be happy to help companies translating their information, guiding them in advertising campaigns, organizing events and writing press releases for the media. We love electric bikes and we show it.

Spain needs electric bikes, Spanish people are asking for electric bikes, the world needs more electric bikes. Will you just stay there watching or will you be part of the solution?

contact:

Andrés Moreno
Theresiastr. 8
50354 Hürth
+49 (0) 2233 71 33 887
+49 (0) 15775660962
info@vehiculosverdes.com
http://vehiculosverdes.com
Skype: notenfades
 
 
 

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26/10/2012
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