Five questions for Anton Pramatarov
What is your position at AEGIR-Marine?
I am an Area Sales Manager for AEGIR-Marine. My roots are in Bulgaria, and I’m responsible for Russia, the Baltic states and Eastern Europe, with the exception of Poland. I am also ASM for Greece, Cyprus, Iran and the Middle East.
What is special about these European regions?
When I started in Eastern Europe it was sheer pioneering, we had no real foothold. The way of thinking and acting is very different and you have to know how to deal with this. In those countries, the order of doing business is as follows: relation - price - quality. You have to work on that. They won’t do business with people with a typical Western attitude like "I'll tell you what you need". Your message should be: "I have something that might cause a little less headache”. Don’t put any pressure on business relations, grow the goodwill value. Greece and Cyprus are totally different in terms of mentality. In those countries the order of business is: price - quality – relationship. They are there very price conscious.
What is your main challenge?
Bridging the difference between various mentalities. This requires a constant paradigm shift, prioritizing the needs of your prospects and customers. And take personal differences also into consideration.
How is the market developing?
Russia strengthens its economy, despite the sanctions. They have everything in their own country, and are not dependent on other countries. In addition, large companies in Russia are state owned and have a monopoly, so the market is very uncluttered. It is difficult to get in, but once you're in, they are good and loyal customers. The Russians have a Western working approach, and their ships are modern and well maintained. But the mentality remains Russian.
Other Eastern European countries are dealing with more challenges, they do not have the Russian natural recourses. Therefore, they do not show the same growth rates as Russia. Still, AEGIR –Marine does have a market there. A partner that is able to deliver supplies on a short-term, of good quality and at a competitive price.
What makes you proud?
Our first assignment for an Eastern European client was retrofit to PRIMAIR. Far-reaching projects like this can only be based on trust. In addition, we have signed some great service package deals in Greece. Of one particular customer we docked 42 ships in one year. In Azerbaijan, for the first time we now have a number of customers. We had a Bulgarian business relation who frequently filed for tenders that never evolved in concrete orders. This year we finally overhauled fourteen ships for this client. I think that is a good result.