What is the best career guide for aviation
Interview with Hans Rudolf Wöhrl
Hans Rudolf Wöhrl was born with a talent for retail: his father founded the Wöhrl-Modehäuser company in 1933, today one of the most successful fashion chains in Germany. Hans Rudolf Wöhrl learned the trade of retail salesman, and he not only trades in textiles: his second passion is aviation, his business activities in aviation have changed the market forever. He spoke to the career guide about the basic rules of successful trading and his understanding of his role as a trader. André Boße asked the questions.
Hans Rudolf Wöhrl, 62 years old, is the second son of the textile entrepreneur Rudolf Wöhrl. After training as a retail salesman, he took over the Wöhrl fashion stores at the age of 23. In 2002 the company is converted into a family corporation. In addition to trading, aviation is Wöhrl's second passion. At the end of the sixties he got his pilot's license and trained as a professional pilot; later he also acquired the flight license for large passenger planes.
In 1974 he founded the Nürnberger Flugdienst (NFD), and sometimes Wöhrl himself sits in the cockpit of one of his planes. In 1992 he sold his stake in the company. In 2003 Wöhrl took over the ailing airline Deutsche BA and renamed it dba. In 2004 the dba was in the black for the first time in its history; In 2006 the sale of dba to Air Berlin is announced. The holiday airline LTU, which has been reorganized by Wöhrl, is also sold to Air Berlin in 2007. Overall, Wöhrl has stakes in more than 50 companies through its investment company Intro Group.
Mr. Wöhrl, successful trade always has to do with communication and business relationships. How do you rate the internet in this regard?
The Internet does not change the relationship between retailers and customers, but it does speed it up and enables the quick exchange of images and other information. A prerequisite, however, is a well-considered and targeted effort. Those who just bury their customers with superfluous stuff will end up with a negative reaction.
Do you order goods yourself on the Internet?
I don't buy anything online for my personal needs, but my employees use it to order office items or books, for example.
In some industries, retailers try to establish closeness - for example, by using each customer without being asked. Do you fear that the respectful and detached relationship between dealer and customer will be lost?
I already have this fear, but the question arises whether that really does harm? The style and tone of business dealings are subject to constant change, and what was impossible yesterday can be daily practice tomorrow. But I find the Duzen a real bad habit that really bothers me. Then I slip out a sentence like: "Have we played together in the sandpit?"
One of your basic rules is: “Act as you expect others to!” Is that just a code of honor - or is it also a guarantee for successful trading?
This rule applies when applied to fair play in business dealings. But no matter how rude a person is, he can certainly be honorable in his way of working. Therefore, I refer to politeness and upbringing to enable interaction between people of different origins, different ages and social standing.
What behavior of a person with whom you are interested in a trade bothers you in particular?
I don't like people who haggle and advertise things that are either nothing special or too expensive. That just offends me, because if someone thinks they can pull me off the table, then they'll think I'm stupid or at least inexperienced.
How do you react then?
Very simple: I either cancel right away, or I unpack my bag of tricks and show him where Barthel gets the cider. Conversely, it applies to me that my first offer is always my best, i.e. a particularly fair one. I always want to close deals quickly and easily, because time is precious to me. That's why I don't appreciate lengthy explanations and long discussions.
You have successfully sold both clothing and airline tickets - two completely different things. Are the basic rules of a successful trader the same everywhere?
Every industry certainly has its own rules of the game, and these differ from country to country. But you can already say that the basic data are always the same. A person should choose what he likes to do, because only if he also enjoys a job, there is a chance that he will be successful with it. For myself, I see myself as a service provider because I enjoy dealing with people, i.e. really “serving”. So I never owned a factory, for example.
And the topic of additional services?
Basically, I can't find anything objectionable about developing a business model in which the services consist of the “basic price plus additional services” package. Especially with an airline, the additional services add up to a considerable item. But why should someone who flies from A to B buy their ticket on the Internet, print out the boarding pass themselves, take no luggage and also don't want to eat or drink anything on the plane, pay the same price as someone who does all the others Services? This results in considerable savings, especially on short journeys, and an average value is anything but fair. The Ryanair model, for example, clearly focuses on cost leadership - and the company does this so consistently that in the end it can really offer the cheapest flight-only prices - and still generate decent profits
What do you think of the sometimes harsh tone in shops?
I often hear the rough tone even in specialist shops - in other words, where you don't even expect it. Anyone who believes they can deal with their customers harshly often just wants to give the impression that they are so good that they don't even need to respond to the customers because they are wrong anyway. But that only works for a certain time.
Suppose you have the opportunity to spend a day with a group of young professionals in the retail industry. How would you organize the day to give them something to take with them?
I organize days like this every now and then, and they go down very well. I spend half of the time asking questions to get people to approach things from a completely different perspective. I tell the second half from my wealth of experience.
And in the evening?
I show that it is important to create trust through social interaction.
To the company
The company, founded by Rudolf Wöhrl in 1933, experienced its first rapid growth during the economic boom in the 1950s. The Zetka store (short for “reliable clothing”) developed into a chain of fashion stores with branches in Bavarian cities. In 1970 the company was taken over by the two sons Gerhard and Hans Rudolf Wöhrl and was run by the second generation until 2002.
With the transformation of the company into a stock corporation in 2002, Gerhard and Hans Rudolf Wöhrl moved to the supervisory board and thus withdrew from the operative business. Two years later, Gerhard Wöhrl acquired the majority of the shares and initiated the successful realignment of the company. From 2007 to April 2010, the older son of the company's founder, Rudolf Wöhrl, held the position of CEO. To date, the Wöhrl group of companies in Germany has 40 locations with around 2,625 employees. The annual turnover in the 2009/2010 financial year was around 362 million euros.
View interview with Hans Rudolf Wöhrl as PDF
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