The first communication with potential customers for your exports is a complex process and for sure not a matter of sending just an introductory mail.
Major buyers are overwhelmed with mails, calls and meetings every day. Moreover, they have long-lasting relationships with their current suppliers, so their interest in new propositions is quite limited. Sending just an introductory mail most likely won’t reach them or even if, they won’t open and read it!
The first real milestone is always the personal communication with the relevant contact person in the company and this takes a lot of patience and persistence. As bigger the company, as more efforts and tries it takes! Very often you have to call 40-50 times, before you make it to talk to the right person. One time the buyer is in a meeting, the other time at lunch, the other time in holidays and so on.
But even more important, when you finally get the buyer on the phone, he still is busy and you have just a very small time window, to get his attention and to make him decide that it’s worth to give you a chance.
Within these few seconds (!) you must be able to make your export pitch.
Don’t try to start a small talk. And for sure it won’t be enough to say that you have a good product.
Be ready in few sentences to communicate the unique selling points of your proposition.
The best way to do that, is to prepare a script, with the most important points of your pitch:
- Short introduction of your company
- Your main product categories
- Your specific competitive advantages
During your phone conversation, ask your partner to send him right away a short teaser presentation, so he can confirm the receipt before hanging up. Even better, get him to open the presentation while he is talking to you, so you can guide him through the most important slides.
Don’t expect any decision from your first call and don’t make the mistake to ask for it.
What you are looking for, is a feedback from your prospect:
- Are there chances for a cooperation?
- What are the criteria for starting a new supplier?
- What are the problems the buyer is usually meeting with new suppliers?
- What is the buyer looking for?
Listen very carefully! This feedback is more precious than any general market study and the key to make the next steps.
Again, don’t try selling at this first communication!
What you should do instead, is to propose that you will respond in written to all issues the buyer has mentioned.
Your pitch call should close with a date for the next communication.
Now, you have the time to work out a mailing, customized to each prospect, which will consider on all information you have received through the first pitch call. Based on this customized mailing, in the 2nd call you will get the chance to convince the buyer, responding to the needs and interests, expressed by his own!
Major buyers like good propositions and this starts from an efficient, professional first communication.