Deciding to sell globally is always a consideration but it comes, with challenges. Smaller companies are always looking for new opportunities to sell products and global sales are growing exponentially. Once you have chosen an overseas country to do business with, it is a good idea to call others in your industry who may have a list of agents they have worked with. The agent chosen should be someone who knows the language and is familiar with the part of the world you are targeting. If global sales are in the company’s future, the agent must also know and understand your company’s strength and advantages inside and out. This involves having the agent spend time working alongside your staff. Once the agent knows and believes in your product, they are more likely to be motivated to sell your product.
Managing the new sales team member:
Another thing to be considered is how you will go about managing the agent. Even your best employee at your company needs direction. This is doubly important for agents in the field. Offering good direction and staying in contact by email and phone is crucial. There will be times in the field when your agent will be asked to make a decision for your company regarding price, shipping schedules, etc. Quoting prices, talking about availability, or negotiating should always take place (after the plan is agreed upon by both the agent and the company). Pulling prices out of the air and trying to compete by negotiating on the fly is not a great strategy. This method will quickly give a bad impression and the sale could be lost.
With global business on the rise, Skype and Face-Time are becoming more popular for quick communication between the agent and parent company staff. The extent to which the agent can bargain with the potential client should be decided before the off-site meeting occurs. Without good communication, this is not possible.
Note: it is always better to call your agent on a one on one basis. In other words, an old fashion phone call will build trust between the two parties on a more personal level.
It is difficult to find a great agent and even harder to keep one. They can and will generate many sales for the company if they feel appreciated and if their commission structure is sound and based upon good business models. Find out and understand the commission structure of other agents in the field and what the market will bear. This will help you keep your agent and develop a great working relationship moving forward.
Current News Flash:
The “Geosynthetics 2015” environmental conference will be held from February 15th to the 18th in Portland, Oregon, organized by the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFA).
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