In the last years, the distinction between major, mature markets and emerging, more easy markets has disappeared. In all markets there is a hard competition with hundreds of strong competitors.
Buyers on the other hand show limited interest in listing new producers as they have their established, well-selected pool of suppliers.
They have to manage their day to day operation and listing a new supplier is for them a time-consuming process.
An overwhelming competition and low interest for new listings minimize the chances of your export efforts.
Your only chance to get buyer’s attention is to offer an unique value, something your competitors don’t have.
So ask yourself, what is your value proposition?
Hopefully you don’t answer “a good product”, because this is the weakest claim you can make. All your competitors say the same.
To develop a compelling value proposition you should follow a structured process:
Step 1 Website
The corporate website is your business card. It is not what will bring you into business, but it can push you out from the very beginning. Your website should have a decent, state-of-the-art design and communicate the main characteristics of your company in a clear and user-friendly way. Though, over-sophisticated, over-loaded websites are not helpful, less is more!
Step 2 Qualifying your prospects
Big prospect lists are a bad sign, as most probably you are running a very generic market approach and this cannot lead to results. It is important to work over your prospect data, to evaluate them one by one and finally to select few prospects, who are fitting best to your products and services. The selection should be carried out based on specific, pre-defined criteria and in cooperation with the production department.
Step 3 Competition analysis
A strong value proposition starts from knowing your competitors. Before you approach a prospect you should know their current suppliers, analyse their products and identify points where you feel yourself superior.
Important criteria are:
- product characteristics / product innovation
- product advisory
- flexibility in customization
- marketing tools
- lead times
- minimum order quantity
Step 4 Competitive advantages / unique selling points
Don’t expect the buyer to explore and to recognise your competitive advantages. This is something you have to do, communicating them from the very beginning and to the point.
Focus on characteristics where you have a real advantage, instead of numerating many points, just because it is filling space.
Probably this is the hardest part in creating your value proposition. You need to be confident about your specific strengths!
In reality most of the times, companies make a huge list hoping that one of the points could be the right one for the prospect.
Probably not all of your products in your assortment are equally strong. Instead of presenting all your assortment, prioritise the products of specific interest for the specific
Step 5 Your export pitch
The information is one thing, to communicate efficiently the information another! Your first goal in approaching a prospect is not provide all the information you have, but to get his attention and to awaken interest. This means that you have to create a pitch with limited, but selective information. Keep in mind you have seconds to convince a prospect to deal with you further. Once you have his attention, he will ask for all further information, which is needed to get into business.
As more customised your pitch, as more convincing it is. Invest time to adjust your pitch template to the profile of each prospect. This investment will pay off.
Step 6 Call script
Due to GDPR regulations you most probably will need to have a call first, before you can send your pitch to a prospect. This first call will last only few minutes and it is important to take your chance for presenting your company and your pitch in a professional and efficient way. There is no space for small talk. Prepare a detailed call script and prepare yourself before starting your calls.
Step 7 Taking advantage of prospects feedback
A common mistake is considering only positive responses as success. The very first goal in export development is the feedback of prospects especially if the decide that they won’t cooperate with you. Talking to them they can provide within seconds important inside information and valuable input regarding your value propositions. The feedback should be documented in a structured way and used within your company for evaluating and improving your proposition.
The value proposition is not a generic company presentation it is a process.
Ask yourself about how strong your current proposition is and make the required improvements.
You will see a significant increase in your export development performance.