It is almost expo season, and there is a strong chance that you will be approached by an international buyer at one. Are you prepared to handle this kind of opportunity? This article will focus on how to complete your pre-show due diligence, maximizing your success during the show, and how to nail that post-show follow-up.
Your Pre-Show Homework
Research markets ahead of the show to see if you would want to do business there. The International Trade Administration makes this easy for you to do, with their Country Commercial Guides. These are reports on market conditions, opportunities, regulations, and business customs created at the U.S. embassies worldwide by the Commerce Department, State Department, and other U.S. agencies.
The International Trade Administration also offers International Company Profile (ICP). The ICP provides U.S. companies with a comprehensive background report and full analysis on specific foreign companies.
If you receive a meeting request ahead of the conference, you can get in touch with your local U.S. Commercial Service office representative to see if they can authenticate the company reaching out to you.
At the Show: Leverage the advantages and tools that you have available.
Tip One: Made in the U.S.A.
Display a “made in the U.S.A.” sign at your booth to show buyers seeking American goods that you have what they are looking for. Foreign buyers love American goods due to their reputation for being durable, made by skilled craftsmen, quality, and warranty.
Tip Two: Don’t Say No
When an international buyer stops by your booth, don’t say you can’t export, even if you never have before. Ask for their legal name and address that they use to place orders. This will allow you to research the company after the show, and before you contact them back.
Tip Three: Offer favorable payment terms, safely.
Meet or beat your competitors by offering attractive credit terms. The Export-Import Bank (EXIM) can help you compete in international markets by providing your business with invoice insurance. This will protect your business from buyer nonpayment and will expand your borrowing base for improved liquidity.
After the Show: Level the Playing Field
It is very important to vet any company that approaches you. Vetting will help ensure the buyer is legitimate and credit worthy. This is where you could use the International Company Profile or local U.S. Commercial Service office again. You should also check the Consolidated Screening List to make sure the U.S. Government allows you to sell to the international customer. If a company, entity, or person on the list appears to match, additional due diligence should be conducted before proceeding.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States has been supporting U.S. small businesses for over 87 years. If you are interested in learning more about EXIM and how we can help start your export journey, please request a free consultation here and one of our trade finance specialists will be happy to assist you.
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August 08, 2023
EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.