Going global pt 2: Building relationships with customers abroad
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By Tony Moscrop, chief executive, Dufaylite
14 March 2012
Tony Moscrop advises regularity as a key part of building successful relationships with foreign companies
My last post was the first in a series about 'going global' discussing how to enter the international market by following our footsteps, which hopefully whet your appetite for conquering markets overseas. This time round we look at how to build lasting relationships with customers abroad, without basing yourselves there permanently.
Once businesses enter the global market many are at risk of becoming complacent and 'treading international waters', as abroad there is no doubt that you will be competing against major global organisations and companies operating in their own country. So, no matter how great your network, I can't stress enough how important regular communication is – strong relationships really are the key to success.
Once a connection has been established with an overseas reseller, it's important that you work on building and maintaining that relationship. Due to the distance, a contact can 'age' quickly, so frequent communication is essential. At Dufaylite, for example, we aim to meet with resellers face-to-face on a regular basis as it is crucial that we understand their company and its market first hand.
In an ideal world we would have monthly or quarterly visits to customers or distributors, but as we all know too well travelling abroad that frequently is just not a cost effective option. Thanks to the digital age, telephone, e-mail, Skype and even some social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn are the perfect ways to maintain a working relationship from the comfort of the UK.
I've had many virtual meetings with clients while I'm sat in my office – never has Australia or America felt so close. However, don't be fooled into thinking it's just about relationships; there is no excuse to drop service levels just because your clients aren't round the corner. All companies want to work with businesses that they can trust, wherever they are based around the globe.
So, my top tips to remember are to listen, interact and educate your exporter to maximise sales opportunities and build that lasting relationship. It's your business, so get involved and get personal.
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