The international trade arena today functions largely on the transmission of complex information often realized via face-to-face communication. This can be attributed to the growth rate of world merchandising in the past decade, increase in the number of international players, nature of goods being exported/imported (read variety as well), above all the advent of technology in various aspects of foreign trade.
Now the bottom line is that the dynamics of global trade is continuously evolving. Thus giving rise to an imminent need for successful business relationships to be established for credible and sustainable trade transactions to take place.
Reasons why buyer-seller relationships must not fail–
Mutual benefits aside, what can be the contribution of successful, sustained firm-to-firm relationships to international trade? Relationships between exporters and importers can have major implications on international trade flows as well. While successful relationships can lead to expansion for firms on both sides, failed relationships can disrupt production cycles. This is in addition to wasted money and resources. In fact, relationships gone sour might be so expensive for an importing firm that it might even choose to stick with an exporting partner even if the transaction is not favorable. For the obvious reasons, there is always the threat of losing the deal at the slight instance of instigation. Considering the cyclical nature of trade transactions, any disturbance can have a cascading effect on the rest of the entities in the system.
There still could be a large number of importers who buy from a specific exporter only once, yet there are many trade relationships that are long-lasting, with the same importer and exporter trading with each other for years at a stretch. It is this longevity that helps establish the much-needed brand value and credibility, particularly in the international arena.
Tips to work on the buyer-seller relationship in foreign trade-
1. Focus on being transparent with your prospective trade partner-
You can be trust-worthy only if you’re honest and transparent on your dealings. This will automatically reflect on the products you represent. Imagine that a particular deal has almost materialized for your firm when your prospective buyer learns of an almost exact copy of your product being made available for a fraction of this cost. While this could deter your ability to negotiate and push the deal towards closure- there is a learning here. Ignorance can be feigned the first time around on rips-off but going ahead an active clause stating this as well as differentiating factors of the original can be included in proposals presented. Additionally, this also calls for extensive research to be done before launching a product into the export market initially and time to time later as well.
2. Setting realistic expectations that can be followed-through always-
Setting the right expectations whether it is a deadline or a product specification and it is uniform always. The slightest change needs to be necessarily communicated or a discrepancy reported. Let us understand this with an example- An exporter A used a plain white display box to ship his goods- as they were targeted for the international market and their requirements. A blank box allowed distributors to add their own name, logo and the language most suited for their local market. Now, this website featured a box that came with colorful graphics and text. This evidently confused their distributors as they logically assumed that the package mentioned on the website was what will reach them. Though the situation was effectively addressed by providing additional promotional material etc.- there was a necessity that came up wherein exporter A had to review all the material used and ensure it was in line with what was indicated in the website. The proposals included the necessary literature on packaging as well.
3. Observe and adapt to your offerings to global customers-
Never make the mistake of replicating whatever works back at home onto a foreign market. Observe, pay close attention and then adapt- be it the packaging of the product or establishing a channel of communication. Everyone and every business have their motivations for staying in relationships. Listen to your global partners, learn their goals and understand what motivates them. Ensure that your offerings are aligned with their goals and style of dealing in business. For whatever it means- maybe fun videos as against cumbersome manuals, or the manner in which the product is presented as a package, etc.
4. Share knowledge that will help partnerships succeed –
The more you are able to quip your buyers and distributors with knowledge, the more conviction they will have to continue the relationship. Segregate your learnings so as to all parties in the receiving end of the transaction. Create a resource /knowledge pool for marketing the product that can be accessed by saying distributors you recruit to sell your product. The same can be practiced for information on changing laws, rules, and policies that pertain to trade as well.
5. “Trust” always holds the key for building long-term international business relationships-
Trust is a culmination of various efforts- an exhibition of earnest and credible behavior, setting the right expectations, being able to listen and adapt, and sharing relevant knowledge. Once the foundation is solid in a buyer-seller relationship, it paves way for long, lasting and fruitful relationships. It is but a fact that the costs of the acquisition of new customer are manifold while comparing it to maintain the existing ones. And with trust, you get to keep them with ease and imagine the prospect of getting references from them without efforts!
Technology helps crack buyer-seller nexus- begin using EXIMAPS.
Now how does one determine the underlying mechanisms that drive the formation and durability of these relationships? How does one learn the role of the long-term compatibility of a trading partner? Should you differentiate between short and long-term relationships, how can you derive the actual numbers? Do you find yourself shooting in the dark for data and analytics on the above front?
It is important to get the numbers first, what else is possibly as tangible as seeing a figure that can help you direct your efforts? If you are deluded about buyer behavior, preferences, and import history – how do you envisage your business plan and growth from there? With EXIMAPS, all of these changes. Each buyer’s real physical existence is verified by a core team of analysts, all of his/her transactional histories can be tracked no matter the frequency of business. Making informed, high-value business decisions as well as working on the foundation of an uncompromised buyer-seller relationship is only possible with fool-proof information of purchase history of the buyer, details of transactions, existing supplying markets, etc. EXIMAPS not only facilitates this prospect of knowing your buyer better, so as to proceed with reassurance but also offers a host of other features on trade intelligence.
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