You identified the most promising export market with numerous opportunities: great! But how do you find potential buyers, and how to get your foot in the door? This is where matchmaking skills come in. An essential trait for people on the outlook to generate new business. Follow our 5-step guide and you will surely find the right business match for your organization.
Finding the right business partner requires thorough research. Before jumping directly into creating and contacting a long list of random buyers, make sure to prepare first. Below you will find the 5 stages for successful matchmaking:
1. Who are you and what are you looking for?
You might think you can dive directly into databases and search for lots of potential buyers in your target market. Don’t do it! What people often forget, is that your organization is the most important part. You probably think: ‘I already know what I’m doing and what I’m looking for’, right? Think again.
- What is your unique value proposition?
- What products in your assortment will you export?
- What segment are you targeting? Are you aiming for the low-, mid- or high-end of the market?
- What are your wishes and needs when it comes to the ideal business partner and your new target market?
Knowing who you are and what you want is key when searching for a proper match. The more specific you are, the better you are able to find a match fitting to your organization and products. It allows you to find and select the potential partners that will get your product at the right place in your new target market.
2. Make a profile of your ideal business partner
At this stage, you have your company profile, wishes, and needs ready. Now you can proceed to identify the type of business partner you need. This can be either an agent, importer, importing wholesaler, or retailer. Also, think of other values and factors you consider important for business relationships. It might be helpful to trace the supply chain backward. You have identified the segments. So, in what outlet is your target segment buying your product, and who supplies them? The answer to these questions gives you insight in what type of business partner to look for. It’s all about the selection of relevant business partners!
3. Search for potential buyers
Now that you have both your company profile and that of your potential business partner in place, let the search begin! On the internet there are countless sources to find potential buyers. You can use google, however – and even better – you can also select companies that match your profile in buyer directories. Doesn’t that sound great? Another great source to use is the websites of trade fairs. They often have a list of exhibitors in which you can search for companies by entering search criteria like type of company and product category. Put all the relevant companies you find on a long list. Based on this initial list, go one step further and check if these companies match with the profile you identified earlier.
- Does the potential partner cover your target market and segment?
- Does it have a complementary product assortment?
- Does it fit with the profile you made?
If yes, go ahead and put the organization on your shortlist!
4. Make sure to have your pitch ready
There are different manners to contact the companies on your shortlist. One way is to pick up the phone and contact the potential buyers. If you find prospects via exhibitor lists of trade fairs, you can visit the trade fair and meet several potential buyers at once and face-to-face. Either way, always make sure that you have your pitch ready when meeting buyers. What makes you unique and different from competitors, and why should potential business partners choose to work with you? You should be able to shortly and clearly describe this.
Don’t be disappointed when you do not have a match straight away. Expanding your business internationally will take a long-term commitment. Make time to ensure effective follow-up on the contacts. Send a short, to the point, and personalized email to potential business partners. Tell them who you are and what you discussed by phone or at the trade fair. Make sure to create trust and meet the expectations of potential buyers. Remember: you only need one good business relationship to get your business started in a new market. Good luck!