Getting international buyers for an import export business is one of the biggest challenges many entrepreneurs face. It becomes increasingly more difficult when you’re at the start of the venture or are just trying to source international buyers for the first time.
Exporting your goods and services to a foreign country is never easy. You’d have to overcome a lot of barriers, understand new cultures, languages, and have capable partners that can make your efforts achieve any form of success.
1). Register With Export Promotion Councils (EPC):
By registering with Export Promotion Councils, you can stay up to date on the needs of other countries on your product line, what companies are reaching out to them to get information on potential exporters, and how to properly market your business in those countries.
The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is one you can start with. Unlike other government agencies, they’re very responsive over the phone, especially their Lagos chapter.
2). Find Local Buyers Who Represent Foreign Companies:
For the crude oil export business, for instance, there are a lot of buyer mandates in various countries, including Nigeria. These individuals act on behalf of the refineries they represent all over the world, and they go out in search of genuine crude oil sellers in the country.
Instead of trying too hard to reach out to refineries to no avail, searching out genuine buyer mandates will enhance your crude oil brokerage business.
The same applies for every other business. By reaching out to local representatives in your country, you can build an export link to the international buyers.
3). Become Active On LinkedIn:
LinkedIn is the foremost global business hub that connects entrepreneurs from all over the world. More global business deals are now concluded daily via interactions that first began on LinkedIn, making the platform highly valuable for global trade.
You can take advantage of this platform by setting up a great profile, engaging with the community, and promoting your services at the same time.
When you build a personal brand people can connect with on LinkedIn in respect to your product and service offerings, people who need what you have to offer will reach out a lot to you.
4). Fill Orders From Local Buyers Who Export To Foreign Organizations:
Another route to take is to supplement the orders of local companies who have international customers to export products and services to. By supplementing their operations, you can ensure they’re up to par with their supplies, although you remain indirectly connected to the end client.
5). Register On International Trade Platforms:
International trade platforms like Alibaba and several others have made the global import and export business a whole lot easier, as they have opened far more opportunities for businesses who have products and are constantly looking out for importers that can facilitate a certain minimum transaction.
By registering your export business on Alibaba, your chances of getting international customers looking for businesses like yours to export to them, increases immediately.
6). Have An International SEO-Ready Website:
While registering on an online trading platform like Alibaba is important, it is highly crucial that you have an international SEO-Ready website. The advantage of this is when international companies or buyers are searching Google for businesses that can export certain products to them, your company would be easier for them to find.
If you use highly experienced SEO experts to scale up your online visibility on search engines, you will not just improve the chances of being found easily online, but also stand a good chance to land on the first page of Google.
7). Do Email Marketing:
Email marketing gets results, no matter how small, as long as you’re marketing to the right audience. You could have a lead capture tool on your website, which you’d use to gather email addresses. With every email gotten, you can send them periodic emails about your products and services, and also include deals and promotions that could get the receiver interested.
8). Hire Overseas Agents On Commission Basis:
You can get reliable sales agents by contacting the Chamber of Commerce, Export Promotion Councils, and independent consultants in whichever country you intend to export products to.
Overseas sales agents will interface directly with the buyers and will always let you know their position on any potential purchase.
9). Contact The Countries Chamber of Commerce:
As stated above, the Chambers of Commerce in several countries can help you not just get sales agents, but can also help you find valuable contacts.
Reaching out to them in a bid to build a supply chain network of international buyers from their countries is a great step to take. After which, you can go ahead to approach the suppliers you learn of and introduce your business to them.
10). Participate In Trade Fairs:
Engaging in trade fairs is a great way to introduce your products to international buyers. These international companies usually visit a lot of trade fairs to see what’s new in the market, who’s selling what, and which businesses are the best options to work with.
China, for instance, is one country where trade fairs are held regularly. People from all over the world travel to China during their trade fairs, as it is a great time for them to find competent suppliers.
By joining trade fairs in your country, you can advertise your products to the world.
11). Get Import Lists From Foreign Embassies:
Most countries have state-controlled companies that import products in large quantities. You can do a thorough research on the countries your products would be a great fit for and contact their embassies in your country, or directly reach out to them through their company’s website contact details.
To make it easier, if you can get a foreign representative with connections to help you through the process, getting a signed deal would be a whole lot easier.
12). Internet Marketing:
This involves the use of SEO, email marketing, social media marketing, Pay-Per-Click advertising, and a whole lot more to boost the visibility of your business to prospective international buyers.
This is usually capital intensive and would require you have an experienced digital marketing team to help you create and execute an effective digital strategy.