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There is no greater mystery about export selling than there is about domestic selling. The scene of operation is simply transferred abroad. In the main, the same methods that are successful at home can be adapted to foreign conditions. The foreign demand for the product must be created or its existence definitely determined. The proper type of representation must be selected and trained. The product may be sold directly; by the distribution of samples or catalogs; by advertising; or by establishing branch selling offices. The selling may be done indirectly by agents or salesmen who have been schooled to perform the same functions as have been found effective at home. The success of any sales campaign will depend, first, upon the adaptability of the product to the market (as to both quality and price); second, upon the degree of intensity with which the customer-demand can be maintained. The distribution machine must be ready to function, however, as soon as the consumer is ready to buy. Therefore, the problem is a dual one of setting up the distributing organization and converting it into a reliable selling force.


The manufacturer is constantly receiving inquiries from abroad. Unless he already has a foothold in the foreign market or is advertising in export journals, the inquiries arise either from his domestic advertising which may find its way overseas, or from foreigners who have seen his product here and consider it salable in their countries. These leads are useful barometers that indicate a potential demand. No sales campaign, however, can be based on these inquiries alone. Obviously, the careful market analysis already described is imperative. Otherwise, the exporter exposes himself to misrepresentation and the other dire results that inevitably accrue from the selection of incompetent representatives.


There are a number of foreign-language periodicals published in the United States and circulated abroad. In addition, many American trade journals have wide foreign subscription lists. These publications solicit advertising from manufacturers and maintain service bureaus which furnish their clients with market analyses, lists of foreign buyers, and credit information : on the subscribers and others who reply to advertisements. This has proved an excellent means of testing the adaptability of the product to a given foreign market, of surveying the field for agents, and of evaluating the relative merits of prospective representatives.

• Sources of Foreign Credit Information; Trade Information Bulletin No. 292, revised.

TRADE OPPORTUNITIES, GOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE The Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, through its foreign offices and in collaboration with the Department of State, makes available to interested exporters the inquiries and requests of foreign buyers. These “Trade Opportunities' are published in Commerce Reports under key numbers. Supplementary information is available to bona fide exporters through the district and cooperative offices of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce. Also, all trade inquiries directly received by the Bureau from abroad are carefully investigated and later issued to our exporters and importers.


COMMERCE REPORTS of (issued weekly)

No. 4312
NAME: Smith & Jones, Ltd.
ADDRESS: 18 Upper Rushall St., Johnstown, Staffordshire, England.
METHOD OF OPERATION: Importers, exporters, and sales agents.
PURCHASE AND AGENCY for marine Diesel and semi-Diesel engines of 200

horse-power, for fishing boats, small tugs, and yachts.
QUOTATIONS: c. i. f. Johnstown, England.
TERMS: Cash against documents.
FRADE OPPORTUNITY SUBMITTED by American consulate, Birmingham.


Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce


Complying with your request of recent date, the Bureau transmits the address or addresses relative to the "Foreign Trade Opportunity” indicated on reverse side.

Persons receiving this reserved information are cautioned that it should not under any circumstances be published, or given secondary distribution in any form. It is furnished with the understanding that it is to be used ONLY for the benefit of American firms and individuals.

A complete report on the firm named on the reverse side will be sent you upon receipt of your request, accompanied by remitance of 25 cents. Make check or money order payable to the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce; stamps not accepted.

This information, which is supplied without responsibility, is to be used exclusively for promoting the sale of goods PRODUCED in the United States.

SHIP AMERICAN GOODS IN AMERICAN VESSELS WHEREVER POSSIBLE. Facts about all American steamship lines can be obtained from the di strict and cooperative offices of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce.

(Back) Figure 3.-Specimen Foreign Trade Opportunity. Similar services are performed by private organizations, many of which use the same system of key numbers and publish the “Trade Opportunity” (naming the country of origin) in their various journals or circulars. These leads have been found valuable in the selection of new agents and in the consummation of individual export sales. (See fig. 3.)

. Sources of Foreign Credit Information.

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