The keys to making your first International Sales Offer

oferta comercial internacionalYour first sales offer addressed to an international prospect must be especially well thought out.

Ultimately, this offer will be decisive for the future of your business relations with future foreign clients, and will form the base of your working conditions, both short and long term.

Therefore, it must reflect the seriousness and professionalism of your company, but also your command of the sector in the area in which you operate. This is what will differentiate you from your competitors and show that you are adapted to the demands of the market.


  • Always stick to your commitments and never make any promises you can’t keep
  • Make sure the offer is correct. One simple mistake can close the doors of a market
  • Ensure you propose realistic deadlines according to your sector
  • Think ahead and make sure there is no delay in preparing your offer: it is better to have your business proposal ready a day before than a day late… If a delay is inevitable due to an unforeseen event, it is essential to notify the customer as soon as possible, and give them a new date they can expect to receive your offer.
  • Be responsive: delaying your response can cause you to lose a contract. It is important never to give a potential customer a negative impression of your sales skills.


There are several different types of sales offers. In the European Union, the most common method is to propose a budget, if the proposed payment method is not a letter of credit.

Your first sales offer is decisive for the continuity of your relationship with your prospect. Take care not to forget anything and make sure it meets the needs of your client. Keep in mind that a wrong offer can prevent you from closing a sale. Below is a list of the main elements to include in your offer:

  • The name of the sender, the recipient and the date
  • The name, reference and price of the proposed items, specifying the currency
  • The total price of the quote, specifying the currency
  • The delivery time of the products
  • Incoterms and delivery address
  • The payment method
  • The expiry date of the offer. This information is essential. In most cases, we recommend a period of three months.

We also recommend that you indicate the following elements:

  • The net and gross weight of the order
  • The plot number
  • The order confirmation
  • The type of packaging

We would advise you to prepare your offer completely in the language of your prospect. If this is not possible, prepare it in English. Be careful with syntax and spelling too, be wary of online translations.


In some countries, an offer is considered an almost complete proposal and it is not a good idea to start negotiations after submitting it. In other countries, the offer simply marks the beginning of the negotiations, so you must be prepared to see them through. Negotiations can cover a variety of issues, such as delivery quantities, annual purchases, payment method, etc.


As consultants, we have observed that the follow-up of offers in SMEs is generally done too lightly, and often due to a lack of sufficient human resources. Very often, the first offer does not match the first orders. Most of the time, this offer is used more to show your prospect your way of working (price, reactivity, etc.), and marks the beginning of your business relationship. Keep in mind that, although your prices fit your prospect, it does not mean that they are ready to change providers. Here are our tips to ensure good follow-up:

  • Follow up by phone, but keep in mind that several visits will be needed before the first order is on the table
  • Never show your disappointment to your potential customer if they do not place an order – on the contrary, be understanding so you always keep the door open for them
  • Keep in touch with your prospect
  • If your prices are not appropriate, try to obtain information on your competitors’ prices
  • Consider making another appointment with them

Bear in mind that your first offer marks the beginning of a new business relationship. You will gradually become familiar with the expectations of your prospect, and if you know how to nurture this relationship, your work will be more likely to be successful.


At International Team Consulting we have developed an important know-how in multiple sectors, supporting since 1995 hundreds of Spanish, French, German, English, American, Moroccan, Italian and Portuguese industrial companies in their export processes to international markets.

Contact our international trade consultancy for more information regarding our outsourcing and sales outsourcing services for industrial companies in international markets.