Preparing to export your products overseas is hard work.
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But unless you find a way to sell your products to foreign customers, your efforts will just be a big waste of time. If you are a small business with limited resources, the internet might be the most important international sales resource in your company.
The internet has proven itself to be a valuable tool in selling to a domestic customer base. Its capacity to manage information and establish contacts have revolutionized the selling process, giving small businesses the ability to compete with larger companies. When it comes to selling internationally, the internet's power is increased exponentially. Using online tools, even a beginning exporter can promote its products abroad with minimal effort.
The primary online tools for selling internationally are a quality website and the ability to communicate electronically. As your exporting business grows, you can add other features such as online marketing campaigns, search engine maximization, and online cataloging & ordering.
But for now, you can leverage basic internet functions to jumpstart your sales abroad. Here's how:
Build Confidence in Your Company
A high-quality website goes a long way toward building confidence in your company and its products. Unlike domestic customers, foreign customers find it difficult to verify your company's credibility through traditional methods. Your website may be the only opportunity you have to convince foreign customers that your business is capable of delivering a quality product.
Provide Information About Your Products
Likewise, your website might be the only avenue foreign customers have to learn more about your products. To be effective, you might need to modify your current website to provide more detailed information about the products you are exporting. Another option might be to design a new webpage tailored to foreign customers. The international page can be accessed via a link on the main site, making it easy to find.
Research Potential Clients
The internet is a great way for customers and clients to learn about your company and products. But it's also a great way for your company to scout out potential clients who may be interested in the products you export. Start by searching for retail outlets that specialize in selling products similar to yours. Retailers are always looking for new merchandise and your product might be a perfect fit. Along the way, you can also expand your search to include distributorships and other foreign agents who can help place your product on store shelves.
Receive and Respond to Inquiries
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the internet in international selling is its ability to directly connect you with foreign customers and clients. Customers can make inquiries about your products and receive a quick response without the hassle of an international phone call.
You can invite inquiries by providing your e-mail address and contact information on your international website and product packaging. However, by providing an e-mail address, you are making an implicit commitment to respond to inquiries on a timely basis. If you aren't able to respond to inquiries within 24 hours, then don't invite e-mail inquiries because chances are long delays will only harm your sales efforts.