When Alliance experts started the assignment for Harley Davidson, the company already had dealers in Istanbul and Ankara. On the one hand this was an advantage, since all processes for delivery to Turkey were in place and any contractual issues were solved. On the other hand it was also a disadvantage, since the current dealers were not eager to expand. For us it was important to explain that with another mindset and approach a Harley Davidson dealership could be very successful, even in a somewhat smaller city.
The investment for any party who becomes a Harley Davidson dealer is substantial, since you need to buy stock in advance and you need to furnish your shop and service center. The combined investment can easily amount up to € 200.000, depending on the country. This strongly decreases the pool of candidates, and on the other hand directly filters out people who ‘just want to give it a try’. When you find a candidate, he or she must be serious.
Eventually Alliance experts found in each region two to five candidates who were interested in having a meeting with representatives of the Harley Davidson headquarters for South East Europe in Athens. We took the Greek dealer manager on a tour along the various cities and introduced him to the Turkish candidates.
Language was already one issue, since mostly the Turkish decision makers were older and did not speak English. Younger staff were used to solve this problem. Harley Davidson invited several candidates to come over to Athens for further meetings and negotiations. However, here was reluctance with the Turkish candidates just because of the language issue. This resulted in a lower yield of dealers for Harley Davidson than would have been possible with a full selection procedure in Turkey.
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