How to Win Buyers and Succeed in Overseas Markets Part I - Hazards of business through Internet

Selling in international market is never simple where language, geographical distance, cultural difference and lack of market knowledge can pose formidable challenge to any manufacturer/exporter. This is more so when buyer and seller interact through as anonymous a medium as Internet.

A good understanding of what works and what does not in e-commerce is a key success-factor today. Though business through Internet is a comparatively new phenomenon, it is growing at extremely fast pace and is set to become the dominant mode of conducting business in near future. Ignore it today at the cost of your own peril tomorrow.

In this series, we shall look at factors that can effectively help in winning overseas business as also moves that can chase away potential customers.

The First Step - Building Trust

At the heart of any commercial transaction, there is a belief or understanding that the purchased product/service will help in

  1. Reducing overheads/cost of existing product/process
  2. Ensure more business/profit
  3. Bring greater convenience

We buy a product or service after satisfying ourselves about one or more of above primary conditions. The next step in buying process is to identify a supplier who can deliver the required product.

However, mere ability to supply a product is not enough to win a buyer. The seller must be able to convince buyer about quality, reliability, price and many other factors. To put it in one sentence - the seller must win buyer's trust.

Building trust is a complex and often long process, specially when buyer seller do not interact face to face. Your communication, style of working, behaviour of staff and many such factors may assume much greater role in building trust than they are in conventional business.

How to Build Trust

Unfortunately, there is no simple, sure-fire solution. If your product is saleable, you are trustworthy and follow established business principles there is no reason why you can not win buyer's trust. Important thing here is that buyer must perceive you as trustworthy not what you think of yourself or your actual standing in domestic market. So, it is extremely important that you project a positive image about yourself through your communications. Do not take for granted buyer's perception - he/she may not know about your reputation in domestic market. The buyer is more likely to form an opinion about you based on inputs received from you. That is why communication is so very important in e-commerce.

 In this age of virtual reality and business through cyberspace, it is not enough to be reliable and trustworthy but perceived to be so by your customer. In next few articles, we shall discuss how to project positive image about your company.

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol 3, Issue 24 October 3' 2002

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

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