Background: Globalization has opened up new possibilities for firms of all sizes to operate internationally. In that context, especially small- and medium sized companies often have limited resources and market power, which makes efficient relationship building with new intermediaries a key component when entering foreign markets. Therefore, approaching foreign companies and potentially engaging in new business relationships should be a strategic managerial issue.
Purpose: The main objective is to analyze how Swedish SMEs in the textile industry should approach German buyers in accordance to their preferences, taking cultural differences into account, as well as maintaining and developing the relationship. The focus will primarily be on the on the stages where the initial contact has been made, thus aiming at advancing in the development process. For this to be achieved, Swedish sellers must know what values to communicate to their counterpart.
Method: A qualitative approach has been used in order answer the purpose of the thesis. We have gathered our data from ten in-depth interviews; five with Swedish sellers and five with German buyers. The essential part of the data collection was done over telephone.
Conclusion: The most critical components that are found to be vital in developing a successful buyer-seller relationship include trust, satisfaction and commitment with all their related aspects. It was found that the product offer plays a critical role in the Early Stage of the relationship development process. Communication is essential for the building of trust and satisfaction and supplements the actions of commitment shown by the parties.
Having an understanding on what values the counterpart appreciates and when these are especially important in the respective stages of the relationship building enables the firm to adapt its relationship marketing to the buyers preferences in a cost efficient and successful way.
Source: Jönköping University
Authors: Bonde, Wictor | Lübken, Verena | Settergren, Martin