by: J.F. (Jim) Straw
Believe it or don't...MOST export sales are still
accomplished by direct marketing (mail order)
Think about it! - Most companies that export their
products do not maintain offices in other countries.
They do not hire and employ sales people in other
countries. Nor do they ever meet the people they
Instead of opening offices or hiring sales people
in other countries, most exporters market their
products overseas by mail. They sell their products
in volume to other businesses who, in turn, resell
the products in their country.
Although the vast majority of export sales are ...
and always have been ... made by mail, the books,
manuals and courses on exporting don't even mention
the subject of "mail order." - Could it be they
honestly don't realize that exporting is nothing
more than selling overseas by mail.
WHY? - My opinion is that direct marketing (mail order) equates to "junk mail." Therefore, it
would not be politically correct to mention the
nasty word "mail order" in conjunction with the
sophisticated endeavors of world trade.
Oh well! Some people are politically correct.
- Others live in the real world.
Exporting is nothing more than selling overseas.
- Because that selling is done by mail, your export
sales campaign should be created and prepared as a "mail order" campaign.
Depending upon the nature of your product, your
sales campaign can be designed to generate inquiries
about your product - or - generate actual sales of
If receiving inquiries about your product is your
goal, you should use the same kind of lead
generating campaigns you would use here in the U.S.
- Go prospecting for potential customers. - Use
postcards with a picture of your product ...
announcements in trade publications ... classified
ads ... news releases to newspapers ... space ads
or direct mailers with a clip-coupon for inquiries.
The same holds true for generating sales for your
products. - Create and prepare a sales letter that
sells ... Sells ... SELLS your product. Include a
price list and an order form. ASK the customer for
an order. Let the customer know they can order a
"sample" right now - or - request a quote for
C&F/C.I.F. prices for a volume order.
One thing is for sure, if you sit on your hands and
wait for overseas buyers to find you, you will be
Hey ... I'll bet ... when you read the title, you
thought I was just going to tell you to sell your
products by mail to consumers in other countries.
- Didn't you? - Well, you can do that, too.
Fifty years ago, people in this country went
through the "wish book" (Sears catalog) with eyes
agleam. They posted their order and waited in
anticipation for the arrival of exotic items from
a far away place. - Today, it's an everyday, routine
method of buying needed goods and services.
But, people in other countries are not yet accustomed
to ordering by mail. Receiving products through the
mail still holds intrigue for them. Especially if the
product is coming directly from the "land of dreams"
Remember what I told you about export pricing. - If
you can sell a product profitably for $10 here in the
U.S., you can sell it profitably for $10 anywhere in
the world. All you have to do is let the buyer pay
the costs incurred after the product leaves your
Even here in the U.S., it is now common practice in
direct marketing (mail order) to quote the price of
the product - plus - $XX for shipping & handling.
- Do the same thing, if you sell your products
directly to consumers overseas.
Where do you get the mail order shipping charges?
Would you believe, the same place you get mail order
shipping charges for domestic orders ... at the Post
It never ceases to amaze me that, when people think
about export shipping, they overlook the U.S. Postal
Service. It is the most convenient and reliable small
package freight service in the world. It can have
your small packages delivered anywhere in the world,
usually cheaper than most other freight services.
Just two years ago, I would have had to stop there
- but - today, both United Parcel Service (U.P.S.)
and Federal Express (FedEx) are now competing with
the Postal Service in the international delivery of
small packages ... bigger ones, too. - Call them and
ASK for their export shipping instructions and rate
Mail order is only a way of selling. - Exporting is
nothing more than selling overseas ... by mail.
Today you can buy or rent mailing lists, with almost
any demographic profile, from almost any country in
the world. Those lists will be most effective if you
create and prepare your sales campaign using the best
direct marketing (mail order) methods.
To locate demographically profiled mailing lists of
"buyers" in other countries, all you need to do is
contact the direct marketing associations in the
countries of interest to you.
Exporting: The Fastest Way To Grow A Small Manufacturing Business!
Exporting is, really, no more difficult than marketing your
products here in the U.S. -- All you have to do is...Make
a Sale...Get Paid...and Ship Your Product. The rest of the
procedures can be handled, inexpensively, by the customary
Beyond that, exporting can allow a small manufacturing
company to grow...almost exponentially.