Recommendations for your First Business Trip and Follow-up
The first meeting with your sales agent in the country, polishing off last minute points and get on the same page as far as presentations and objectives are concerned, how the clients are to be approached.
- If you have a Power Point presentation start with this.
- Show your product and service and make a brief proposal as to how your two companies can work together and the advantages the clients will obtain from your products and services..
- Show interest in your potential partners point of view, get to know who his clients are, who he is currently working with, volumes and forecasts, specifications and terms of delivery.
- Negotiate the possible collaboration, which and how much of individual goods or services, conditions of delivery, prices and how you will work together.
- Take note of all that is said during the meetings; especially the more salient points of information that your opposite number may supply on the potential clients companies and their future.
- Pay attention to the protocol of both the country and the companies, think of your posture, the level of your language and listen to your interlocutor.
The Meeting with the Clients
- Concentrate on the advantages of r product, but without overdoing it.
- Emphasise any advantages there may be such as easy and close access, general cultural and operational similarities and technological coincidences.
- Make sure that all important pints have been clearly understood.
- Accept any invitation to lunch of dinners.
- If you have a series of visits, keep control of times leaving sufficient to get to future reunions.
- Maintain an open positive atmosphere during the meeting.
However well the first meeting went, if you do not follow up afterwards, you will not get any orders.
Once you get home, you have to keep open active lines of communication, both with your partners (sales agent or distributor) as well the potential clients.
- Within a maximum of a week of arriving home, you should send a mail to your potential clients for the times and the meeting, you should include details of agreements, samples and any information that was requested and any steps which have to be taken as a result. Copies should always be sent to the agent.
- Samples, colour swatches, etc. should be sent as soon as possible.
- Make sure the samples are properly prepared and that they are accompanied by any certificates that may be necessary with a prestigious company.
- Although you should communicate regularly with the client, it is the sales agent who will have to keep in close personal contact to keep up to date with needs and possible new developments.
- Make sure that you get first hand feedback from the first delivery and that the agent keeps a vigilant eye on subsequent deliveries.
- When speaking to the firm, make sure they tell the best times to get in touch with them regarding future needs, scheduled deliveries and, above all, when to get involved in new product developments.
- If you don’t receive an order in a reasonable time, write to ask if circumstances have changed, and, if the answers are not clear, make sure the sales agent makes a personal visit to find out why.
Keep records of all meetings, who and when you spoke, samples and price offers and the time-frame in which results can be expected and follow-up initiated.
Regular Communication with Agent Distributor
- Develop a good personal relationship with your agent/distributor. An agent who is happy is a much better salesman that one who isn’t, however good the product.
- Part of keeping an agent happy is to make sure he counts on the back-up of the factory making him feel confident when visiting clients (joint visits). Another good point is for him to be “kept in the ring”; regular visits to factory, constant information on new developments.
Fulfil your Promises and look for Solutions
- Confirm orders and ask for clarifications.
- Keep client informed of all possible difficulties and problems that may come up.
- Control loading and follow-up on transport.
- Look for solutions.
Keep lines of communication open and positive: possible increase in volumes and new products.
Conclusions / Recommendations
- Set out management plan for the market
- Make sure you are using the right channels
- Keep a consistent quality of product and service.
- Make sure you keep to delivery dates, don’t make unfulfillable promises
- These points will make you a reliable supplier.
- Try to keep communications in the language of the country as it will increase chance of success.
For further information on how International Team Consulting can help your success in foreign markets, please do not hesitate to contact us.