We speak to many UK companies that are daunted by the prospect of exporting and don’t know where to begin. As a Nation we seem to have lost the initiative to go out into the world and to sell our products. However, many companies are doing that with great success and there could, and should, be many more that do so. If you are one of those companies yet to start on the road, this is for you.
Exporting is full of unnecessary mystique and jargon, but the starting point for developing an export plan is much the same as for any sales strategy, having the right product in the right place at the right price:
What do you do that is special? What is it that makes your customers buy your product and not a competitor’s? how do you differentiate yourself from other, perhaps similar products?
So when you look to export find markets where there is a demand for your product, or where they sell products that are similar to yours, and never underestimate the value of adding a ‘Made in the UK’ to your packaging.
Identify your market – how can you characterise your customers? Where do you sell best, is there one type of customer that you sell to more often. How do you target new customers, what do you look for? Where do those target markets exist? Where do the same type of customers exist? For instance if you sell in small speciality shops here, look for similar outlets overseas.
How do you decide on your pricing now? Do you win business just on low price, or does your quality mean you can attract a premium? Once you have found similar markets to yours in export markets you need to think very carefully about pricing – and that does not always mean cutting price. You have to consider your route to market: are you going to sell through a distributor, direct to retailer or direct to consumer. You also need to price in any additional costs you might have. But if you find the right distributor, they can take away a lot of this burden.