Perhaps the most daunting challenge any budding
exporter faces is to find buyers for his/her products. Selling in
international market has never been simple - with diverse language,
geographical distance, cultural difference and lack of market knowledge
posing real challenge to any manufacturer/ exporter.
However, given right homework and planning, selling in overseas
market today is easier, simpler and less expensive than it was a
decade ago. There are many silver linings in the forms of positive
Govt Policy, favourable international climate, less tariff and non-tariff
barriers and above all easy and inexpensive access to an incredibly
powerful and all-encompassing medium like Internet. Never before
in the history of human civilization so many people from so vastly
different places and societies freely interacted with each other
as we witness today in Internet.
So, how do today's exporters take advantage of this favourable business
climate and become successful ? The answer lies in thoughtful planning,
effective implementation and perseverance.
In fact, large number of Indian exporters have used these advantages
successfully as reflected in unprecedented export growth witnessed
over last 10 years.
How To Find Buyers
To put it simply, there are only two ways you can
find buyers of your products - either you find the buyer or buyer
finds you. Your sales strategy must take into account both the factors
and plan for effective use of both sources.
Some of the ways to locate buyers are :
Some of the ways of attracting buyers are:
- Searching directories, trade literature etc.
- Using buyer-seller meets organized by trade associations
- Conducting Market Research
- Employing Commercial Agent/Representatives
- Subscribing to information services etc.
- Promotion (e.g. direct mail)
- Trade Shows
- Search Engines etc.
We shall analyze each source in detail and examine what steps an exporter
should take to make best use of the opportunities.
How Important is the Internet in your Marketing
10 years ago - buying agents and trade shows were
the two most popular avenues for selling in international markets.
Participation in overseas trade shows was, and still is, prohibitively
expensive for most small and medium exporters. Internet has not
only made available new avenues for sellers, it has also drastically
changed distribution pattern. Today, conventional distribution channel
of Indian seller to large importer to distributor to local stockiest
to retailer is severely disrupted as small retailers from USA and
Europe regularly visit Indian web-sites and order directly. This
is a win-win situation as both buyer and seller stand to gain substantially
by transacting directly without middlemen. It does add to business
risks but profit margins also become very impressive by going direct.
In coming years, we shall see more and more buyers coming through
the Internet route. To be successful - you should be able to make
best use of this opportunity that was not available to your predecessors
even 10 years back.
Happy and Productive Surfing
Dr. Amit K Chatterjee