Introduction To Export
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
- 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
- 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.