- One of the main reasons many exporters are successful is that they have selected the right overseas partner. This partner has provided them with an added-value service and, in many instances, given local competitive advantage. The consequences of failure of an arrangement can be far-reaching in terms of costs, time and a negative impact on local reputation.
In other words, your agent or distributor can make or break your company's efforts in that market.
- Differentiate yourself from your competitors in order to win the attention of the major sellers and distributors – there are only a few key players per market.
- Have a 5 year plan for how you go about exporting your product in the medium to long term – this will give greater focus and structure to your initial movements.
- Have a clear regional strategy whereby you might target a country like Colombia or Canada first in order to test the waters before trying to break into a bigger market like America or Brazil.
- Find the people who are busy and be sceptical about the people who approach you first – the best sales reps are the ones who make you wait for a deal.
- Exclusivity has to be earned so don’t rush making an agent or distributor your exclusive representative for selling your product.
- Test the waters with a new sales rep by hiring them on a trial period with clear targets and a clear time-frame for them.
- Be specific with your terms and regions in your contract to avoid any confusion or legal complications.
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