I often get contacted by companies that would like to export to Romania. Most of them are obviously well prepared: they have done their market research, they have a strategy, and they know what they are looking for on the Romanian market and what their objectives are. I love working with such clients. There is unfortunately a different category of clients, and their approach sounds like this: “We want to export to Romania. Do you know a distributor for our products?” Well, I know many, but it doesn`t mean they are the right one for you. Why?
Any serious manufacturer or business services provider knows the devil sits in the detail. It is not enough to know how big the market is and whether any trade barriers might impede you from achieving your goals. You need to know how suitable your product is for that market, how big the current demand is, how big it might be in the future, what is your company`s potential there, what is the level of competition, what are the prices for similar products there.
Only after knowing all this information can you create a proper pricing and marketing strategy, start thinking about ways you can get on the Romanian market and the kind of local partner you need. If you want to acquire a big chunk of the market, then you should know your competition very well and go for the top distributors that have the largest networks and fulfil all the conditions required by your product. (If you export cheese you won’t need me to tell you that you need to find distributors that have the proper systems to store your cheese at the right temperature. It’s logical, isn’t it?)
Finding the right distributor on the Romanian, and indeed any new market, requires a bit of effort. It is not enough to buy a list of names or to go for the first name on a website. If you do that, you do it at your own risk. In Romania everything is about connections, and without an introduction you might never get an answer to your e-mail.
A proper research implies discovering and talking to potential candidates in order to identify an interest in your products. Understanding their policies and capabilities as well as their interest for medium or long term cooperation will give you enough information to be able to negotiate effectively.
All this takes time, energy and money. Properly done, it has long term financial benefits and will enable you to make lasting connections. It is a process which could take weeks or even months. If you are in for just buying a list of names, don`t be disappointed if things don`t work out the way you expected!