With the advent of on-line selling across borders, websites that can provide product information and pricing 24/7, and the busy pace of business, it can be tempting to try and open new markets through the available marketing medium.
This saves the cost and time of the long flight to a new country, the long waits at airports, the hassle of finding reasonable hotels and the time away from the domestic business.
But for serious exporters, it’s certainly worth the effort to make that trip and experience the market first hand. Apart from statistics that indicate that the likelihood of sales increases dramatically when you go there personally, you get to meet your buyer, or agent, or distributor. These are the people who will drive your sales success in that market, and you need to eyeball them. In many countries and certainly in Asia and the middle east, the relationship comes before the business.
Appreciating the depth of potential in a new market, the way product is promoted and labeled there, the taste of consumers for similar products, the key attributes that interest buyers (and these may not be the same ones as back home), and any issues in storing, distributing and supporting the product (or service) in the market, can only really be gleaned by seeing it first hand.
If you don’t have the time, but are serious about export, perhaps you need an experienced international sales rep to do the hard yards for you. And remember, through the Government’s EMDG scheme, 50c in the dollar of marketing expenses over $10,000 (and up to a $200,000 max) can be claimed.
So for a serious tilt at a new market, go for that visit and establish how big an opportunity it could be for your business expansion!