In today’s world economy, it surprises us that many businesses large and small shy away from pursuing international sales opportunities. While the realities of language barriers, shipping regulations, import regulations, letters of credits and wire transfers can appear scary, doing business around the world need not be difficult or risky.
Like any transaction, the key to doing well internationally is to establish a level of trust between the companies involved. These days, most of the communication from foreign clients reach us by way of email. We do not treat these people or opportunities as secondary, rather we strive to answer their technical questions and make commercial offerings with the same accuracy and urgency as we provide to our domestic clients. This quick and clear transfer of information lets a potential buyer know that they are important and that you value their potential business. Because of email and language translate programs, written communication is most times much clearer and more effective than a verbal exchange. As the relationship grows over days, weeks or months, both parties will work through more technical issues, negotiate the commercial side of things and with good faith dealings on both sides put pen to paper on proper proposals and purchase orders.
That sounds easy, but what about the pitfalls associated with commercial transactions and logistics? On deals that are not in the millions of dollars, it is our experience that over 90% of foreign entities accept that a wire transfer between banks participating in the Swift program is both he most convenient and simplest way to complete transactions. The paperwork, fees and risks are minimal when compared to letters of credit or doing business on open terms. Of course as the relationship grows, moving a trusted oversees partner to open terms is something that we have done successfully in places like Russia, China, UK and Australia.
Probably the single biggest key on the logistics side is selecting a freight forwarder that has extensive experience moving product in to the destination country. This may mean different carriers for different areas of the world. Often times the customer desires to direct the freight, so providing them with accurate weights and dimensions (often in kilograms and centimeters) is required. A word of caution here…there are export restrictions placed by our government which forbid the sale or re-sale of goods to restricted countries and business entities. For information on this, it is best to review all federal trade regulations.
It should come as no surprise that the most difficult part of the process is the actual paperwork. Most countries place very exacting requirements on the importers of products; from requiring a license for every item code brought in to fumigated packing materials, to certain types of shrink wrap. While it may ultimately be up to the client to jump through these hoops, cooperation and patience on the seller’s part is required to further cement the relationship and to insure future business.
Because we take the steps outlined above, Hydra-Tech Pumps has been able to share our passion for providing pumping solutions to at least 20 countries around the world. Beyond the lands mentioned above, we placed pumps in Malaysia, Ireland, Denmark, Ukraine, Poland, Greece, Turkey and others. So regardless of the political climates around the world, there are many great business opportunities around this growing smaller planet.