10 key steps to help grow your international sales

Emily Lambert
Trade Advisor - Export Academy | Department for International Trade South West
18th January 2021

Selling your product or service internationally is great, but doing so with confidence and understanding will take your business to the next level. Spending time understanding and implementing the different strands of the export journey will allow your product or service to flourish in new markets.

Expanding your overseas operations will go a long way to securing the longevity of your company in an increasingly concerning business landscape. 

Here are our 10 steps to growing your sales; each one of these steps will be covered in our free to attend Export Academy virtual workshops. Sign up today to find out more.

1. Review your export potential

Whether big or small exporting offers increased sales, as well as domestic and global competitiveness. Exporting also reduces your reliance on the British market, thus making you less vulnerable to economic fluctuations. You know that you are ready to export if you have already demonstrated efficient communication and good relations with your current customers, as well as the capacity to handle the extra demand that comes with exporting.

2. Develop an export plan

Look at who your customers are already; will you find a similar demographic overseas? What climatic or geographic factors affect the use of your product or service? Are modifications needed to make your product appeal to foreign customers? Find available grants and financing to make your business export-ready and build a proposition for each of your target markets.

Export Academy: Preparing to do international business: Why export? – Book for Free Now >

3. Research and prepare to visit a market

GREAT.gov.uk exporting guides are a great way to start researching your prospective markets, including detailed legal advice. Pay attention to the news for disruptions and cultural events affecting your chosen market. Look online for real-life case studies and export successes, and research potential overseas competitors. Allocate your resources carefully to make the most of your visit.

Export Academy: International Market Research / Selection – Book for Free Now >

4. Explore routes to market entry

Firstly, develop your intercultural awareness and find a proposition appropriate to your target audience. Use DIT officials and British Embassies within the country to find safe and reliable partners and use your contacts to grow awareness of your business. Get involved in International Business Network Clusters to find helpful business export connections at home.

5. Find out about selling and marketing your products overseas

Look at the differences between domestic and export marketing fundamentals, as both of your markets will have specific needs. Invest in digital opportunities and create a digital marketing plan. Monitor market activity with social media and update your business plan accordingly. Construct a unified brand for your business which upholds your reputation around the world.

Export Academy: Selling Services Overseas Part 1 & 2 – Book for Free Now >

6. Think about cultural and linguistic challenges

It is important to recognise culturally sensitive areas such as religion and develop your team’s intercultural understanding to improve global relationships. Incorporate cultural differences into your business plan for a better chance of finding overseas business partners. Find reliable translators but consider participating in language and culture workshops.

Export Academy: International Market Research / Selection – Book for Free Now >

7. Prepare to manage finance, payment and risk

Set up a letter of credit to ensure that you get paid for your exports. Learn how to manage foreign financial transactions and research trade taxation; adjust your product/service pricing to consider these. A balanced evaluation is important, so underpin your performance objectives and assess your partner’s capability.

Export Academy: Preparing to do international business: Getting Paid – Book Now >

8. Prepare to protect your intellectual property

Create contracts with partners in both languages if applicable and use those contracts to manage product exclusivity. Investigate what protection can be put in place and attend Intellectual Property Rights workshops to further your understanding. Get familiar with the export laws of your target market so your contracts are indisputable.

Export Academy: Basic Export Procedures – Book for Free Now >

9. Prepare to fulfil your orders and get your documentation right

Without the right documentation, you will be unable to export, and incorrect documentation can waste time and money. Export documentation includes Certificates of Origin, EUR1’s, ATR’s, Letters of Credit and ATA Carnets. In addition, there may be country-specific export taxes. To avoid incorrect documentation, get professional advice for yourself and any business partners you may have overseas.

Export Academy: Classification, Origin and Valuation – Book for Free Now >
Export Academy: Introduction to Incoterms Rules – Book for Free Now >
Export Academy: Export Licensing and Controls – Book for Free Now >

10. Choose your distribution, shipping and delivery methods

Don’t just choose the shipping method best for your budget, but for your product. Consider using distribution and commission agents to help you navigate the various methods of delivery. It is important to understand the role of customs and export payments in order to export successfully.

Export Academy: Export Pricing and Distribution – Book for Free Now >

The perfect way to address one or all of these 10 steps is to attend our free Export Academy virtual workshops. Delivered by the Department for International Trade and designed for small and micro-businesses, the workshops aim to give you the tools and confidence to sell around the world. Find out more and sign up here.

  • Export Academy - a free programme to support your international sales

    With 2020 being a challenging year for most businesses, we want to support you to get your exports back on track in 2021 with the launch of the Export Academy in the South West.

    Export Academy gives new and novice exporters the skills, knowledge, and confidence to start selling goods or services to customers around the world.

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    Start your journey today, join the Export Academy and trade with confidence.