International Sales Strategy
This week I have had several questions from solo entrepreneurs and very small businesses on how to build their international business.
Well that is not quite right.
These people do not have an international business. They just want international clients.
Obviously they had not thought things through. They are just looking for quick and easy ways out of a slow economy.
And this can be an excellent idea for many businesses… after they do a bit more work.
First, let me show you the two categories of requests that came in this last few weeks.
These are the people who ask for miracle solutions to get international business.
- “I have this wonderful shoe and want to sell it to many different countries. Can you please sell it for me?”
- “I want to sell all sorts of products abroad. I have a warehouse. What do you want to sell for me?”
- “My company sells widget services. What business sectors are best to sell this to?”
I get the impression that these people just woke up one morning and decided to “start an international business”. They have no real business project.
Do they inspire confidence?
Is there any way to help them?
And there is a reason.
They are still at the vague idea phase. And it is their idea. International clients appear to be the way out for them.
Not until there is a real business plan.
And this takes some work and international market research.
The next danger is falling into the next category.
The next category of questions is slightly different. These small businesses seem to have some sort of business structure. But their questions show that they are not living in reality.
These companies are usually only interested in paying commissions on sales.
So they want to find someone who will:
- Take their idea
- Do all of the international research for their idea
- Take on the entire risk of wasting their time on someone else’s idea
- Accept to get paid only on commission
As I have mentioned before, it seemed like they were looking for a McDonalds type service.
- A fast food place they could just drop by at the last minute, order some international sales, maybe place a side order and leave just as quickly as they came.
Is this feasible?
The people with these skills do not need to work with this type of company.
Not until there is a real business plan that can work in today’s world.
Cross-cultural marketing takes time. And it also takes work. A lot of work. And this means you cannot get good work for free or at fast food prices.
One of the first tasks on the International Sales Road Map is to identify what type of international business activity you have.
A very common mistake is to think you have an international business, and need services like mine, when you barely have an export business.
Another common mistake is using marketing tactics that do not fit your type of international business.
And another common mistake is not taking the time to think about your international clients and determining where your offer fits in with their needs.
When you get any of these wrong, everything you do is a waste of your time.
When To Look For International Sales
You need to have a good vision of your reality. And this starts with knowing what business you are in.
- This is personal work.
- Only you can do it.
So the solution is always in your hands. It means you have to get up and take action.
- Stop looking for fast food solutions and get to work.
- Keep taking action… this time to stimulate your own creativity.
- Talk to people. Find the right people. Ask questions. Find the right questions.
- Take the actions you need to discover your international business.
Your own approach to business is key in difficult economies.
- Get rid of limiting habits, beliefs, assumption and perceptions
- Become personally responsible
- Strive to acquire a good vision of business reality around you
- Do the work you need to do
Of course you will have an even harder time selling ice to Eskimos in a down economy. A little business intelligence is needed.
But even if you lack business intelligence, the right approach, and consistent baby steps, will show you what you need to do.
The trouble is that this often involves you doing more work, taking more action…
…action of all sorts.
Will you do it?
Or will you just shoot off emails in the wrong directions and be happy with your efforts.
You should only look for international sales when you are ready.
What do you think? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.
Photos from Shutterstock.
Filed under: international sales strategy
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