Locating buyers from various off-line
and on-line resources is an inexpensive, fast and cost effective
way. Often, it is the only way of finding buyers - specially in
services sector and for high cost projects. However, one should
be aware of several limitations in this approach and be realistic
in expectation. Once-a-buyer can never be considered always-a-buyer.
True, repeat purchase is very common in business to business (b2b)
transactions and if you can locate a buyer - chances are, the same
guy will buy the same product again.
Resources for Desk Research
Desk research to identify buyers for a given product
require careful planning, hard work and sustained follow-up. One
needs to identify end-users of the product as well as all intermediaries
between seller and end-user. For example - buyer of handicraft could
be retailer or distributor. An understanding of the distribution
process is a great help and possible first step in the research
for identifying potential buyers.
Perhaps the most used and often the easiest resource to start with - trade directories are easily available in off-line and on-line versions, convenient and often the first step in your research process. However, it is also the least productive resource. Trade directories are mainly used for locating suppliers - so being listed in the directory is perhaps better way of getting buyers than searching it for buyers.
Greatest limitation of trade directory is lack of information on latest activities of the company. It is great to know the address and brief background of a potential buyer - however, this is not going to help you much on finding what are its present requirements. Pursuing companies listed in trade directories is, at best, a trial and error process - so be ready for a long haul. Nevertheless, trade directories has its usage - however limited it may be.
A much advanced way of locating possible buyers is to analyze latest transactions of the company - what it purchased, from where, at what price etc. Though such data is generally confidential and not available for public view - import shipment records is a notable exception. In many countries, including India - limited information on import shipment is available for public access. For example - we have a database of 65 million shipment records from major Indian ports, spanning last 4 years. For more information - please visit Export Import Data from Indian Ports
There are several international sources for shipping intelligence like Piers (USA), Clarkson Research Services (UK), MarineNet (Japan) etc. However, apart from being very expensive, the shipping records may show cargo agent as buyer.
There are still other ways like analysis of annual report of a company that can provide valuable information on on-going and future projects, funds allocated etc.
Outsourcing Desk Research - Trade Leads Service
Perhaps, trade leads is the best resource for an
exporting company. In this age of Internet and e-mail - trade leads
has assumed a remarkable user-friendly role in helping small and
medium enterprises (SME) throughout the world. In fact, for many
Indian SMEs, it is the only way of capturing new markets.
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 6, Issue 9
; August 26' 2005