Sharing Advice Cassie Hodges  | May 16, 2017

Trade Tips Tuesday: How to Find Foreign Buyers and Make International Sales

In honor of World Trade Month, we are partnering with the United States Department of Commerce to help your small business learn the ins and outs of exporting. Through a series of “how to” videos and tips, you’ll learn how your company can break out into new markets through the power of international trade. Check back every Tuesday in May for the latest installment.

Trade Tips Step 3: Find Foreign Buyers
Many U.S. businesses want to begin exporting but have trouble finding the right foreign buyers. The U.S. Commercial Service offers many resources to help small businesses expand their sales internationally. Some of these resources include trade shows and trade missions. Identifying and contacting international buyers is the next step toward achieving exporting success, so read these tips to get those international sales today:

Sales Channels
Business owners often wonder how to make sales in foreign markets. Many exporters have found international success through working with the right local sales representatives. Working with a local sales agent, representative, or distributor can help to identify sales and marketing opportunities, manage local regulations, and handle logistics on the ground. Before entering an agreement, you should speak to an attorney about the country you are targeting. Your local U.S. Commercial Service office along with their colleagues at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate can work with you to find representation overseas. Watch this video to learn about the best approaches to expanding your international sales:

Customized Services
One of the biggest concerns new exporters have is how to get around the various culture and language barriers. The U.S. Commercial Service is here to help U.S. exporters find overseas buyers and export partners around the world. Their exporting agents can help you identify the best markets, industries and foreign buyers around the world. Identifying qualified international buyers or partners may not be as simple as finding customers down the street, but you don’t have to do it alone. Watch this video to learn about the many resources available that can help you find international buyers:

Trade Shows
Attending or exhibiting your goods at an exporting trade show is a great way to meet potential partners and buyers. Many potential foreign buyers attend export trade shows here in the United States. By attending trade shows and exhibiting your product or service, you are able to find foreign buyers without the hassle of travelling internationally. Trade show listings can be found on Export.Gov. The U.S. Commercial Service sends specialists to trade shows that gather market intelligence that can help match you with foreign buyers. Watch this video to learn more about the great benefits of attending export trade shows near you:

Trade Missions
The best way to identify potential buyers in foreign nations is to visit the countries you’re targeting. One way to do this is through a trade mission. State and Federal government agencies sponsor trade missions all over the world. When travelling as a group, participants in the trade mission can create more business opportunity than they would if they were travelling alone. Trade missions are a way for U.S. companies interested in exporting to visit export markets and meet potential partners, local government officials, and others who can give first-hand insight on the business opportunities in the region. After the trade mission, the U.S. Commercial Service will help you follow up with your new contacts and maintain communication channels:

There are many business opportunities available internationally through the internet, or cross-border e-commerce, to be exact. Cross-border e-commerce is how consumers buy goods and services online from businesses in other countries. Thanks to technological advances and changes in international trade laws, business owners can now consider people in foreign countries to be potential customers. The two main kinds of cross-border e-Commerce are business-to-business and business-to-consumer. A good way to sell internationally is through popular social media networks. Many American business owners are now using a successful mix of these sales channels:


Click here to learn more about how to become export-ready and to discover what other resources the Department of Commerce and Export.Gov has to offer, and check back for next week’s tips on how to get paid and finance your export transactions.
Previous: Trade Tips Tuesday: Planning Your Market Entry Strategy