We are used to the understanding that the promotion of their products for export for Ukrainian producers is a long and financially rather expensive process. Therefore, an example of TPK “Vankor”, a domestic manufacturer of quartz sinks, which, as they say, is only a year old from the family, can be considered unique. In fact, the formula for such success (the company exports its products to six countries) is very simple: because they really wanted to. Nevertheless, we asked Павел Хараман (Pavel Kharaman), who in the company is directly involved in the organization of exports, to tell what was behind this “because they really wanted to.”
This is really the case when Ukraine has fewer clients in a young company than abroad. “Last summer, we launched mass production of car washes, and their first and only Ukrainian customer was the Epicenter network. Such a limited opportunity to massively sell products here and made, as they say, “look for character in foreign worlds.” In other words, look for export opportunities. They were looking almost from scratch, because even the kitchen sink market itself was “terra incognita” – unexplored, incomprehensible. “We didn’t even know which exhibitions could be useful for us.” Began to visit them at random. NOT bypassing the stands of those exhibitors-furniture makers at foreign exhibitions who used the same furniture components in their furniture, which the Vankor, a young and ambitious Ukrainian company, learned to produce at a high quality level in a short time. The first foreign client happened at the Cologne exhibition, where, as you know, there are a lot of kitchen furniture manufacturers. It turned out to be a large German company that has offices in several countries. Then there was an exhibition in Ukraine, in which the company took part as a full-fledged participant, inviting potential customers from different countries who were in its customer base to its booth. As a result, they were enriched by several other real customers from Belgium and Bulgaria. Now the company’s products are also bought in Holland, Turkey and France. The goal is that the “export-domestic market” ratio be, so to speak, classic – 60 to 40, because so far it is not.
To achieve such an indicator, the company aims at Canada (the local market seems very attractive for its products), as well as at the neighboring US (there is even a potential customer there). If for many colleagues in the Association the Asian market is the most promising, then for the Vankor TPK it is not. It was “occupied” by regional manufacturers of similar car washes (mostly Indian). Although their product is of low quality, but that market is quite comfortable, therefore, Ukrainian carwash – although better material – will not be competitive there. The Arab market is a distant prospect, because it has not yet been studied, therefore it is incomprehensible.
“Thanks to numerous contacts on a personal level, I came to the well-known British retailer company Kingfisher, my interlocutor shares the good news. – She seriously became interested in our sinks, negotiations in the active phase, we expect her representatives to come to our production. At first they intended to show our possibilities of mass production of quartz sinks, but corrected this intention with a more strategic Show to distinguished guests is not what we do, but what we are not doing yet, but we are quite capable of our potential. Which we will develop in a short time, if we receive large orders from this British chain of stores. Actually, only the very fact that Kingfisher became interested in our goods – invited us to come to the negotiations, come to us – adds credibility to our young company, and our competitive features to our sinks. The fact that such a company conducts negotiations with us on cooperation is a victory for us. ”
The first stage of the formation of a young company – work on the quality of the product – has been completed. The next step is also very important – the development of its own design and color expansion of the range.
– Many of your colleagues in the Association over the years and through uncommon labor will break through their export routes, and you managed to find yourself almost immediately in Europe. Maybe this is because with a product like yours, it is easier to do this than by offering ready-made furniture?
– I have been working at Vankor, exporting recently, and in the furniture industry for a long time. Furniture exports are not new to me, so I’ll say that on the contrary, exporting kitchen sinks is much more difficult than selling finished furniture abroad. Why have we been successful in this sense? Because they had an overwhelming desire – anyone to become exporters. So, maybe we didn’t go entirely in the traditional way – through participation in international exhibitions, with the involvement of substantial funds, – and we acted like this by the “partisan” method – raids into the “rear” of potential clients, but there is a result. We wrote to potential customers a lot, offering to pay attention to us, at exhibitions really didn’t bypass an exhibitor who might be interested in our car washes. And how many of them were sent all over the world, to various trading companies, so that the product could be valued, that they are called, really, and not only by its descriptions! Many have established not just business, but deep – personal – contacts with representatives of companies that interested us, and this approach has proven to be effective. I came to the company “Vankor” not only from an understanding of the effectiveness of this method, but also with experience to put it into practice.
That is to say, this moment, we in the export direction did not start the movement from scratch, which also contributed to a fairly rapid and tangible impact. I was already convinced: more often you trust not the company and its products, but the representative of such a company that you know well, with whom you communicate on a wide range of issues, not just specifically business. How do you communicate not only at the negotiating table, but regularly on Facebook, in an informal atmosphere. To whom you help and in something goes beyond the business interests of your company. Because of such partners you will acquire new useful acquaintances: his partners can become yours too.
There is one more effective way to find foreign customers outside the exhibition pavilions. This is the presence of Internet platforms on which you can present your products. Many do not know about them or do not attach importance to them – and in vain. It was the American client that we found on such a platform, which is a relatively new marketing tool that was lost by those who started exporting attempts 8-10 years ago.
And more advice. During exhibitions Do not show your product passively, but find maximum opportunities to show visitors what your product is capable of. At one of the Belgian building exhibitions, we surprised visitors by actively mocking their washers. In their eyes, they scratched them in every possible way, exposed them to aggressive substances, baked hot pans, threw metal layers into them from above, and showed the result: see, they should have something!
The heading “Success Stories” was founded in the framework of a grant project with the support of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine, the project name: “Increasing the level of cooperation and trust with joint participation in international and national government procurement” – TENDER TOGETHER.