Overview: Should I visit the country I’m exporting to?
I’m Geoff Runcie and at the start of 2015, I was lucky enough to be involved in a series of sessions with the International Trade expert, Murdo Beaton. We were accompanied by Abdul Mann, whose team has built a range of international trade solutions under the brand EDGE. Abdul helped to explore some of the ideas Murdo presented in his answers about visit Exporting Countries.
Today you’ll hear one of ten questions presented to Murdo, but if you want access to the entire session or future sessions, there is a link at the end of this blog. Alternatively, feel free to drop me an email on Support or visit www.edgectp.com.
A full transcript of this session has been provided below.
Should I visit the country I’m exporting to?
Yes, it is almost a fundamental requirement to visit the country you intend to export your product to. In today’s global market a lot of business is done through intermediaries. These are professional intermediaries that come in the guise of distributors or agents. It’s important to visit with them and to identify exactly their position in the market, to get to know them. To make them part of the team. Hugely important.
Even if one is not dealing with distributors or agents, if one is dealing directly with an end-user in a foreign market, it’s even more important to have face to face contact on a relatively regular basis with these end-users. Because making yourself present in the market is the best form of advertising that your company can get, to get yourself known in the marketplace.
Yes, buyers like to know the company that they are buying their product from but they also like to see the face of that company, and as a business leader, or as a sales director, yes of course massively important if you can to visit the foreign market.
Not only that but I guess, visiting these foreign markets is cheaper due to cheaper airline tickets etc. are available to you, and the ability to be able to understand the cultural differences allows you to feed that back into the product you’re creating. So it’s valuable research, not only from a market point of view but it gives you that information back.
Of course, it does. If you’re not able to visit the market for one reason or another, it’s not always easy to get your end customer to come and see you, but if you’re dealing with the distributors and agents then it might be easier to get them to visit you here. Again, all part of the exercise to make these intermediaries an extension of your own business.
Build a relationship, build trust…..
Building a relationship, building trust, building confidence. In the whole supply chain.
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What about the situation Murdo where you get somebody to call you out of the blue? You’re in your office, you’re in the factory, you’re producing your widget. You get a phone call, it’s a foreign buyer and he says he’s found out about you through a friend or the internet or whatever. He’d like to buy your widgets etc and you’re sending it to Bolivia or wherever. Would you need to go to Bolivia or would you just send it?
(Laughs) Well, when you get an enquiry like that I would say, yes, of course, be courteous and deal with the enquiry initially in a courteous manner, but don’t jump out of your chair and run down to your bank manager and say you’re going to be paying off the overdraft within the next six months. Because business doesn’t happen like that. So, these types of enquiries that come in from out of the cold, we don’t know at this stage if they’re genuine or not. So, we have to research them and we have to identify their source. We have to research their source, albeit we’re researching the source from an external point, but we can still do that. We can find out enough about the source o this enquiry to give us confidence in “Is this worth following up or should we dump it because it’s just going to waste our time?” But, the main thing I would say is, be polite with these enquires. Don’t just shrug your shoulders and say you can’t be bothered with it because you don’t know who they are. Don’t do that.
So you quote them happy and they’ve come to a point where they’ve said “I’d like to have the goods.” and you’re ready to send them the goods, should you visit the country or just send them the goods and visit Bolivia when the opportunity arises?
As we were sad a few minutes ago, you are going to research the source of the enquiry. If the research has been done properly it will have told you whether or not this source is likely to offer you substantial potential. If it does then I would say visit it. If it doesn’t, but it’s one that you could start developing and may progressively offer you that, then you don’t need to visit the market immediately. You can start culturing this relationship from an external point. But if the potential at the very immediate point looks like being hugely exciting then maybe there is merit in thinking of visiting the market.