Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,


Posted in:

Export Development for Manufacturers

There has been a lot of press about the increases in exporting here in the United States. With 95% of the world population living outside the USA, it is no wonder that we are all looking at markets outside the country. Approximately 74% of the global commerce occurs outside the United States and with our domestic economy growing at a slow 2% in 2013 it becomes obvious that we are missing out on an opportunity that could propel the economy into high growth and create jobs across the country.

I have visited manufacturing plants all around the country and in my opinion; all of them could export if it was a corporate goal. The decision to export, needs to start at the top of the organization, this will ensure participation throughout the structure and achieve the commitment necessary for a long term project. While opportunity drives us, the success is in the details, and for a US Manufacturer to embark on the exporting path, help is highly suggested. Fortunately, there is an incredible array of qualified help available for manufacturers, from local, state, national and private sources. In fact, there are so many different overlapping sources of help available, it can be confusing. I always suggest that people get involved with an organization where there are private sector members with exporting experience. You will always need more information as your export business continues to grow and experienced exporters are a rich source of direct experience. Every business that begins to learn about exporting will develop their business acumen within the organization, which is why I suggest that you immediately segregate the export and domestic sales teams in the company. By separating the two departments, the export sales department will develop much faster and provide the clear link between management, sales and the foreign customer.

I speak on the subject of exporting across the country and there are endless questions from people wanting to get into this expanding market. My first key point is about the rule of international relationships. For businesses here in the United States, 75% of a business deal is transactional (price, quality and delivery) and 25% of the entire effort is relational (personal relationships, previous business experiences and length of association). This relationship rule is totally reversed when working with international customers. To achieve successful, repeat and long term international business, you must follow a 75% relational and 25% transactional model. At our company we go further to describe the international relationships as business marriages. This unusual description identifies just how deep seated our relationships are, and truly need to be, with our international customers.

Exporting can also be described as an enigma for a business. The requirements are there, yet to close the business deal; it is just out of reach. In some cases no matter how hard you try, the sales escape you. Take a step back and look at it from the international customer’s point of view. This generally clarifies the problem as to why you are not competitive in their environment. It also could be the packaging, cultural differences or something as simple as the color. To be in international business you must learn to listen to your customer, or you will not be successful in the long run. We regularly send our sales team to personally visit the customers in the foreign countries. Nothing can replace direct contact and firsthand knowledge.

We all want growth, and the export market is certainly the place to find it. Building your business with exporting as a percentage of your total sales adds stability, innovation and excitement to your product line. Now is the time to be a manufacturer who exports!

Roy Paulson is President of Paulson Manufacturing Corporation.