As an exporter, finding buyers for your product can be the most difficult challenge in your business, particularly when you're just getting started or are selling in a new market.
Selling in another country is never easy. You need to adapt to cultural norms, language, and travel barriers in order to succeed. But new technology makes the world smaller and makes finding buyers overseas much easier than it was in the past.
Many foreign countries have state-sponsored or state-controlled companies—called trading companies—which import products, usually in bulk orders. Do your homework and identify countries you believe your export would be great for, then contact their embassy in the U.S. or their agency directly in their own country.
United States-based embassies usually have a representative who can help you, and they almost always speak English.
Different agencies are going to specialize in different imports, such as raw materials, agriculture, electronic/IT equipment and more. Having a foreign representative on your side can help you find exactly who you need to be in contact with.
Some foreign agencies are proactive and have buying agents in the U.S. actively looking for suppliers such as yourself. Again, your local embassy is a great place to start looking for these specific buyers but don’t forget the power of the internet.
Browse the country’s import-export agency’s site, or simply search for local representatives. When you do make contact, ensure you’re dealing with an official or accredited representative with the authority to do business on the agency’s behalf.
Just as there are wholesale distributors in the U.S., there are wholesalers in other countries. Dealing with private firms instead of government agencies may be much quicker, and letting them deal with the red tape of imports is a big benefit, too. U.S.-based import-export organizations have lists of reputable foreign distributors, saving you the time of searching for them yourself.
While your margins may be smaller by selling to a middleman, the time you save trying to sell your exports directly to the market may be well worth it.
Similar to foreign agencies having their own agents looking for your products, foreign wholesalers do as well. The difference is usually these agents are middlemen, finding great export products and buying on behalf of the foreign wholesale distributor.
Dealing with a local agent can be far easier than dealing with a foreign-based agent. These agents are usually very motivated since they’re paid on commission.
Your Own Salesperson
Don’t believe you have to do all the work yourself. Just like foreign wholesalers commission buyers to find imports on their behalf, you can commission a sales representative to find individuals and firms for your exports. Your cost of goods will rise by having to pay your sales representative, but you’ll be free to concentrate on manufacturing your product or searching for other markets yourself.
People and firms want to import your products, but it’s just a matter of finding them. Incorporate one or more of these five strategies to find potential buyers for your exports.