7 ways to build relationships with foreign companies
Products, technology or prices do not make the purchase – that’s all in the relationship. Brian English of Qupact International writes that Canons of Channel Management can change the distribution channel management approach for exporters seeking to build relationships with foreign companies.
Several years ago, we helped a Cork company understand why its distribution channels are not working and what needs to be done to increase sales. One of the channels, in particular, was a mystery because the product’s suitability was perfect and the customers it dealt with were exactly what the Irish exporter was looking for. He was based in Norway and the more we searched, the bigger the puzzle became. Finally, we asked the obvious question: When did you visit this partner for the last time? And the answer struck us – seven to eight years ago!
When we learn that 25 years of channel management have taught us, everything is in the relationship. Products, technology or prices do not buy anything; This is something only strong and sustainable trade relations can create, and the main challenge for a typical monolingual exporter living on an island is to build and maintain a long-term relationship with a foreign partner.
Over the years, we’ve refined a set of principles that we call channels of channel management. We glue them to the walls of exporters and force them to sales managers and CEOs across the country. Together, Canons develop an attitude towards the distribution partners of a company that needs to be shared by all members of the export organization. When the company is fully adopted and used to inform day-to-day decisions, the entire company is directed to external distributors – its feet on the streets in overseas markets – transformed.
1. Resources: Place your channels at the center of your universe and organize your resources around them.
An exporter must recognize that its distribution channels are a legitimate part of its sales organization and not external supplements. Only if this philosophy is followed can it provide the sales channel organization with sufficient resources. This includes all employees from material planning to after-sales service.
Reward: Find out who in the channel is ultimately responsible for selling your products and identify all people who will be rewarded for the sale.
You need a champion in each channel partner. He is the person who is directly interested in the success of your products or services. His reward can be money or in the form of congratulations, recognition from colleagues or customer satisfaction.
3. Risk: Never expect the channel to take a risk with your business that you would not take on with your own business
Too many manufacturers expect their channels of creditors, stocks, regulations and margins to take risks they would never take on with their own businesses. This is a true test of the exporter’s understanding of the partner’s business.
4. Relationships: Keep in mind that the relationships with end customers are those of the channel, not yours. That’s why you use the channel in the first place.
In the complex global economy we live in, customers often trust local suppliers they depend on, trust and trust in for many years, if at a good time. or in the worst case. Exporters often forget why they hired the chain altogether – because it has these relationships. It is important to always remember that the value of the chain in the supply chain is respected in order to build lasting relationships.
5. Face Time: Maximize face time
That’s not enough in seven years! As an exporter, you should plan a visit to your resellers quarterly, for the first year or two, and at least twice a year. Break down the bread and make small discussions, regardless of what’s required to make a personal connection and whenever you can.
6. Loyalty: Always show full loyalty and long-term commitment
We often compare channels to partners and there is no better analogy in terms of loyalty. Once trust is betrayed, it is very difficult – if not impossible – to rebuild. Years of hard work can be offset by a single bad decision based on a lack of communication, greed or misunderstanding of a situation. Ultimately, the relationship is not between companies, but between people, so trust and loyalty.
Honesty: Be honest and transparent in all transactions
It is certainly possible to cheat everyone from time to time or vice versa, but it is never possible to build a lasting business relationship between the partners without openness and honesty. Openly dealing with a channel conflict with full disclosure strengthens the relationship rather than the damage.