This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

Tutor Jeff Lewis, MBA BSc MIEx talks about the IOE’s Effective International Sales and Marketing training course.

When I have asked people the question “how did you start to export”, the vast majority replied that they had been contacted by a customer – and responded. A reactive export sale is good business, however, a proactive sale will contribute a lot more to sales growth and profitability.

Exporting presents us with huge opportunities to grow our sales, but it is not just a case of pricing our products in a different currency or including a different language instruction manual, it is about understanding the market you want to sell to, getting access to potential customers and promoting your products in a culturally acceptable manner.

Our Effective International Sales and Marketing course has been designed to take companies from the start of the internationalization process to growing market share.

What the course offers is the key knowledge on how to research new international markets and how to do competitor analysis, enabling you to establish your unique selling points in the destination market.

Also covered are the advantages of using a business partner, such as an agent or distributor, and more importantly, what methods  you can use to find a suitable partner.

Many people ask why they should use a partner and not go direct to the new market – this is, of course, a choice only you and your business can make – but with a business partner you get access to their local knowledge, competitor information and pricing comparisons. An agent or distributor will allow you to overcome communication issues and understand the cultural requirements of doing business in a specific region –  reducing time in establishing your products in the export market.

Another big issue is, once you have a partner in place, how do you make sure they are “order getters” and not just “order takers”. How do you motivate them into promoting your products and not just waiting for enquiries? Positive communication is essential for this, however there is a fine line between positive communication and just asking for business – you will need to consider things like:

• What information will help them be proactive with your products?
• Do they cover all the market sectors that your products could be sold into, and if not, could you offer application information to help them sell into a new industry segment?

Obviously, maintaining a profit is a very important aspect of exporting and you will need to consider questions such as:

• What is it going to cost to get my products in front of export customers?
• What commission or discount do I offer my business partner?
• What additional costs do I need to consider (such as documentation)?
• How do I find out about preferential trade agreements and the effects these have on my competitiveness?

All these points are explained in the course, using examples from “real life” situations, showing the process that you need to go through to be able to work out how competitive you are going to be in the destination market.

Our aim is to show attendees how to be positive exporters, how to make sure products are suitable for the market, how to find business partners, how to use their partner’s core competencies, such as being culturally aware, and how to grow business.

The course is ideal for commercial staff, customer services, export administrators and all other “customer facing” departments. Different elements will be more beneficial for different departments, however, the overall benefit for all attendees is being equipped to successfully grow international sales.