Selling without borders: How do I sell in another country without a sales representative
The world has never been more connected than today, technology and business have virtually erased the frontiers between countries. But, why is closing long distance deals still so complicated in this reality?
Not having a sales representative in the country where you try to close the deal can turn the negotiation (or even the first approach) three times more difficult. Even though we are living in the age of connectivity, there are traditional-thinking businesses, looking to modernize in their own conservative way.
Why working without a sales representative could be a problem
Nobody wants to make mistakes. People, although we are emotional beings and we are part of companies with other emotional beings, we tend to be much more cautious when it comes to making corporate decisions. In an international scenario, where your client is outside the country where you operate, distrust is one of the main reasons why they might decide not to work with you. There are different reasons for this kind of behavior, to mention a few: previous experiences that were not so positive and are associated without foundation to your company exacerbated by the lack of direct contact.
Another very common commercial situation is the predisposition to the country of origin of your business, because of those negative preconceptions that some people may have over certain cultures. These obstacles will always be there, what will make the difference is how you anticipate them and how you face them in a strategic manner.
Taking into account that all companies seek to reduce costs, increase their profits and obtain the greatest possible benefits, we must be prepared to adapt to them, otherwise the clients will slip out of our hands and our effort to have captured their attention will have been in vain.
You need clients and you need to transmit credibility, but how can you achieve this without a person representing your company and preparing the ground to close the business deal?
How to sell without a sales representative
If like us, doing business internationally has not been as easy as you thought, we share with you some of the things we have been putting in practice:
Empathize with the client
Before the first call, do a small research, get to know them. Customize your speech and the media you use (PDF, PPT) to give them the importance they deserve and eliminate any data that they may consider irrelevant. Empathizing with the client not only helps you create lasting relationships, it also allows you to create a powerful sales presentation that will provide greater clarity of the needs that are sought to satisfy and highlight the advantages that your company can bring over the competition.
Be honest with what your company can do and more importantly, with the commitments you make. Like the Titanic, not fulfilling something that you promise may be the iceberg that will sink your ship.
Become valuable to the customers by offering differentiated services. If customers feel that only in your company they find what they are looking for, and besides that, you show interest in their business and you prove to know how to help them, you can close that sale no matter where you’re at.
Engage with the customer’s needs
Some of them may know what they need, and others may not be as clear as they should be. Be audacious and deepen the request made by each client. The fact that you offer 100% of your experience to formulate a proposal will undoubtedly make you gain your client’s trust.
Find out about other ways of doing business
Any new company that is implanted in a foreign territory must keep the essence of its corporate identity but should always be flexible enough to adapt to the local market. There is a lot of information on the web about this, but there is nothing like seeing the day to day of a foreign market with our own eyes. Set a business trip as soon as possible and absorb any little aspect to help you sharpen your approach. Knowing the country of origin of your potential customers can be extremely advantageous for your remote sales strategy.
Think outside the box
Companies seek to be at the forefront, what can motivate them to buy or hire your services and not the ones of your competition? This is a question you must ask yourself constantly.
Press the answer accelerator
The time of response that customers demand is very short, you are in a race with probably another 5 local suppliers who want the same customer as you. It doesn’t matter if your team is in another country, you must fine-tune communication with your internal team to accelerate your ability to react to new requests. A fluid communication is something that the client will surely appreciate.
Take care of your reputation
As part of the ways of doing business, in many countries before a meeting, people seek to know more about you frequently through internet. Monitor your social media networks and take care of your website, these are your main business cards! It is worth mentioning that also the case studies are another valuable tool to use. If you have one in hand speaking about your company, you could post it in a visible place, for example in your website’s home page.
Being invasive is a dangerous practice
Do not bomb your potential client with a list of missed calls, without a good dose, this can cause a bad first impression. A good speech, a well written email, a phone call to the right person and even a package delivered at the right time can be the trigger for a first big meeting and why not, a lasting relationship.
Call your allies
Your clients are your allies and your representatives, a portfolio of successful stories speaks very well of you. Positive references can be an indispensable tool when closing long distance business. Ensure a valid basis for what they say about your company and show it on social media and on your website!
Being an outsider is not always a disadvantage
If like us, you find yourself in a country that allows you to reduce the costs of producing/delivering your services, then use it! If you need to offer samples, free trials or free customer service to close the deal, then do it. Depending on your industry, this might show that you have a solid enterprise.
If none of these tips provide any results, hiring a representative is not the end of your finances. You can save some money hiring him/her specifically for being the face of the company and for being the link between your team and the client. His/her job shouldn’t ask to work as much time as the rest of your team, which allows you to pay a little bit less. Just make sure that the person has a flexible agenda so that you can set meetings according to the availability of your client and not the other way around.
In addition, this person should easily absorb how your business works to construct strong selling points. It is always an advantage that your representative is also bilingual to transmit more professionalism when speaking in the native language of the client, but also to communicate efficiently with your company.
Make these tips your day to day weapons and you will be closer to do successful businesses miles away.
Good luck and thank you for reading!Authors: Gabriela Martinez and Andrea Narváez Gabriela Martinez holds a master in Brand Strategy from Université Lumière Lyon 2. She currently works as Commercial Manager for People Connection, a software development company and also a content aggregator for TelCos in Latin America. Recently the group started its operations in Canada, Gabriela is in charge of creating the customer portfolio acting as an intermediary between the development team and the clients. She has worked for reputable companies, including Laureate International Universities, l'Opéra de Lyon, among others. Andrea Narváez holds a Marketing and International Business degree. The international business orientation allows her to understand and deeply analyze international markets and its behaviors. Visionary and passionate, she has a growing business with an environmental care orientation, which is addressed to an specific target, the kids. In her free time, Andrea collaborates with other entrepreneurs, attends business events and signs into academic programs in order to keep growing as a professional and an entrepreneur.