The reading level for this article is Expert
There is profit to be made in exports. The international market is much larger than the local market. Growth rates in many overseas markets far outpace domestic market growth. And meeting and beating innovative competitors abroad can help companies keep the edge they need at home.
There are also real costs and risks associated with exporting. It is up to each company to weigh the necessary commitment against the potential benefit.
Ten important recommendations for successful exporting should be kept in mind:
Obtain qualified export counseling and develop a master international marketing plan before starting an export business. The plan should clearly define goals, objectives, and problems encountered.
Secure a commitment from top management to overcome the initial difficulties and financial requirements of exporting. Although the early delays and costs involved in exporting may seem difficult to justify in comparison with established domestic sales, the exporter should take a long-range view of this process and carefully monitor international marketing efforts.
Take sufficient care in selecting overseas distributors. The complications involved in overseas communications and transportation require international distributors to act more independently than their domestic counterparts.
Establish a basis for profitable operations and orderly growth. Although no overseas inquiry should be ignored, the firm that acts mainly in response to unsolicited trade leads is trusting success to the element of chance.
Devote continuing attention to export business when the local market booms. Too many companies turn to exporting when business falls off in the domestic market. When domestic business starts to boom again, they neglect their export trade or relegate it to a secondary position.
Treat international distributors on an equal basis with domestic counterparts. Companies often carry out institutional advertising campaigns, special discount offers, sales incentive programs, special credit term programs, warranty offers, and so on in the domestic market but fail to make similar offers to their international distributors.
Do not assume that a given market technique and product will automatically be successful in all countries. What works in Japan may fall flat in Saudi Arabia. Each market has to be treated separately to ensure maximum success.
Be willing to modify products to meet regulations or cultural preferences of other countries. Local safety and security codes as well as import restrictions cannot be ignored by foreign distributors.
Print service, sale, and warranty messages in locally understood languages. Although a distributor’s top management may speak English, it is unlikely that all sales and service personnel have this capability.
Provide readily available servicing for the product. A product without the necessary service support can acquire a bad reputation quickly.