Flying the flag – How to sell overseas
Living on an island, sometimes the UK can feel a little removed from the rest of the world. The power of on-line business and marketing has gone some way to overcome the barriers placed around Britannia, but the culture of British business can still seen to be a little on the reserved side compared to the rest of the world.
Ask anyone what British business is like at the moment and you’ll get back the usual moans and complaints of ‘oh, it’s picking up a little bit, but we can’t see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just yet…not with the stalemate of the financial climate’…or even the less optimistic ‘British business? We don’t make anything any more. It’s all going down the pan, I might as well sell up and invest in Australia.’ The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Nobody really thinks British business is failing or shrinking..the issue is that British business is akin to all the other British stereotypes, of either individuals, the landscape or the food. In short, British business is seen as reserved, genteel, understated and with a lineage of prestige and pedigree.
So it was with great relief as a marketer that the final episode of Top Gear showed with great pomp and circumstance just how great British business is doing (at least in the automotive and engineering industries, but then, we can’t really expect Clarkson to talk about much else). The show proudly demonstrated the skill and expertise on offer from British businesses and workers to the rest of the world in a ‘traffic jam’ displaying what is being made in Britain today…and it filled The Mall completely with high quality, technologically superior and beautiful products.
For the rest of us, what lessons can we learn from Top Gear’s brass and unashamedly patriotic display? How can we enlarge our markets overseas without harking back to the days of Empire and market our products as the services and technology of the future? We at Marketing Innovation can help with the design and implementation of your growth projections abroad, but in the meantime, here are a few of our favourite tips:
Knowledge is everything
It is vital to research how fitting your product or service is to a target country or region. How appropriate is your product? Yes, quality data collection may be time consuming, but it will save both time and expense in the future
Pick the right sales presence
Local distributors or selling direct? How are you going to manage your sales at a distance? You will need market intelligence right from the offset.
Export strategy? Yes, you need one
Don’t just think that because you already have an excellent product that you automatically need to start exporting. Sometimes exports just don’t work for some businesses. If you work to a properly drawn up and considered strategy, it will make your decisions clearer in the future. Plan your investment requirements for both the long and short term.
What’s the best distribution option?
How quickly can you respond to demand? What costs are implicated for long distance or multi-boarder frontiers? How are you going to establish your distribution channels and are you picking the right options? How are you going to pick your distribution partner?
So many other aspects affect selling overseas, from Customs, insurance, flexible cash-flow and potential customer policies. But it’s not all a headache. The world is waiting to buy British, they already like what they see and they want more.