2-Step Process to Marketing Your Import/Export Business

If you’re starting with imports, don’t ignore the following information; you’ll work in basically the same manner.

Your first step, before you initiate contact with any manufacturer, is to do some basic market research:

  • What products are hot sellers in the domestic marketplace? Focus your atten­tion on products that you know well or are bestsellers in their market niches.
  • Are these products hot sellers in your target countries?
  • If not, are there situations or markets that would put these products in great demand if the products were available?
  • Who manufactures these products?
  • What’s the selling price of each product, and of competing products or brands, domestically and in your target countries?

Once you’ve researched some companies, you can move on to step two and begin a campaign. One choice is to look for manufacturers of one of the products you’ve researched. Then either search online or call the company, and ask for the name of the person to whom you’ll want to write. If the company is small, you’ll probably want the president or owner. If it’s a larger concern, you might want to direct your letter to the vice president in charge of sales or the sales manager.

In corresponding, make sure to address these points:

  • Introduce yourself and your company.
  • Briefly outline the potential of the overseas market.
  • Outline the product’s potential within that market.
  • If possible, explain why and how your company, out of all the others, will be able to position the product best. For example, if you have experience with like products, be sure to say so.
  • If you already have contacts with foreign distributors, explain that you have foreign reps for overseas sales.
  • Let customers know you care about them, their wants and needs.
  • Ask for a personal meeting to further discuss the possibilities.

Send emails, or letters, to several companies. It’s best not to start with two clients that have the same type of products because if they both respond, you’ll have to compete with your own clients. But if you’ve exhausted your first line of attack (without success), go back and try other clients in the same product line.

Now, wait a week to 10 days. If you haven’t heard from your target manufacturer(s), send an email follow-up. Suggest some available times in which you could talk.


You have several options for finding goods:

  • Travel abroad on an import search mission.
  • Wait for foreign manufacturers to contact you.
  • Attend trade shows.
  • Contact foreign embassies’ trade development offices.
  • Turn to a reliable trade platform

Traveling abroad may sound like the most delightful of these options, but it’s not always practical in terms of time, money or other commitments you may have. It’s not a must, so don’t fret if you can’t manage it. The big plus is that you can view foreign products in a realistic setting, checking out what sells where, why and for how much.

While traveling in search of products to import is fun and lucrative, experienced importers also rely on manufacturers contacting them. This method has two important bonuses: 1) You don’t have to go anywhere to search for merchandise, and 2) you don’t have to persuade anybody to export their merchandise. If they’re contacting you, you know they are interested. This option will be more available to you as your company grows and you make contacts all over the world, because you’ll find that other companies will come to you — often sooner and more frequently than you might imagine.

Trade shows are also a terrific way to meet foreign manufacturers, distributors and representatives. Foreign trade shows or fairs, set up by foreign governments to showcase their own manufacturers, are held to tempt potential importers. You’ll have to travel abroad to attend some shows.


Many countries and geographic regions also sponsor trade offices where you can find specific information on manufacturers of everything from toothpicks to truck tires to fur coats.

Obviously, the most effective way to find goods is turning to a reliable trade platform, like eGTCP.COM, which provides integrated services for the roles on the supply chain, such as Order matching, Financial service, Credit inquiry etc.

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