Good Business Over a Glass of Tea - Wacker Chemie AG


Good Business Over a Glass of Tea

It’s a land of contrasts. On one hand there are the glistening skyscrapers of Istanbul, a rapidly growing metropolis. On the other, you have rural Anatolia with its old villages and simple farms, where time seems to have stood still and money is scarce – there’s certainly none for building materials. Looking after this sales region is no easy task. But for the team members of WACKER Turkey it’s familiar terrain. “This is the culture we grew up in and we can deal with the contrasts well,” says Hande Bucuklar, head of WACKER’s Istanbul office.

From their base in Istanbul, Hande Bucuklar, Deniz Vezir and Ece Döker (left to right) are boosting business in Turkey.

Twelve members of staff work under her leadership looking after countries like Azerbaijan, Georgia and Israel as well as Turkey. The fact that the majority of the team is made up of women surprises many German visitors. But in fact there are many different sides to Turkey. Whilst there may be parts of the country that are steeped in tradition – in the business world women often call the shots.

Istanbul, with its 15 million inhabitants, has a European and an Asian side. The Bosphorus is the dividing line with two bridges connecting the two different worlds. For motorists they are notorious bottlenecks. “A distance that should take 20 minutes often takes hours,” customer sales representative Deniz Vezir says knowingly. She commuted herself for several years. Since the fall of 2013, the new Marmaray Tunnel running under the strait has provided some relief.

Whether Asian or European – what unites the people in Turkey is their laid back approach to dealing with others, which extends to business partners too. People are friendly and flexible. At meetings with clients, the first thing to do is have a cup of Turkish Chai (spiced tea) or coffee. Before moving on to business, there is first a bit of small talk about soccer or the family. And people always completely understand if you are late for a meeting – in such a large and vibrant city, appointment times tend to be approximations rather than fixed numbers. “We take things as they come,” says Ece Döker, a regional sales manager.

Direct contacts are important. However, the emphasis on personal relationships also has a downside: many sales managers often have to travel for three weeks out of four – Turkey is more than twice the size of Germany.

The Turkish economy has been developing well for some years now with a lot being invested in infrastructure. Good news for WACKER, whose biggest market in the region is the construction industry. The business has expanded since starting out as a simple subsidiary. Roughly speaking, that’s now about 20 years ago. This year, WACKER is toasting its 100th birthday and Team Turkey is joining in with their own little anniversary. Everyone is optimistic that the years to come will be just as good, particularly in terms of qualitative growth. “With increasing prosperity, a certain quality consciousness is also developing,” of that much Hande Bucuklar is convinced.