It is no secret that we are living in a global economy. The most successful companies are those that know how to compete within it, making their competition either change how they are conducting business or who they are approaching for business.
With so many options available to buyers, a business must be willing to compete, and they must have the resources to do so. So, how do you show you are willing and able to compete with other companies, especially within the international marketplace?
There are several ways in which you can hone a competitive edge to help you approach large international buyers.
Making a Connection
Business is about building relationships and trusting those with whom you wish to work. Once you have built your network and nurtured your relationships, you can afford to be a little pricier and a little stricter and still win over your customer base.
With this, the first way in which you can approach large, international buyers is by networking. It is essential to get to know your market and become a familiar face in the industry. This does not mean just advertising. Advertising is only the beginning. It helps get your name in the industry; however, advertising does not convince people to trust you, your products, or your business model. Your name may be out in the world, but now you need to show your face and shake some hands. Attend events such as business functions, industry awards, or even charity gatherings. Frequent the places where the people in your industry make an appearance. This often leads to business relationships, over time. The key to developing these relationships is sharing common interests with your customer base that can then lead to discussion about potential partnerships.
Cultivate Relationships to Grow Your Circle of Influence
It is not enough just to shake a few hands. Once you have met people while attending business functions, it is important to cultivate those relationships. The key is to be a trusted associate, one with whom business partners feel comfortable calling to ask a question or for advice about your industry. From there, these people will reciprocate and become resources to help grow your business. They will be more likely to introduce you to the buyers for whom you are looking. There will be trust that cannot be matched by a competitor who only advertises with dollars and does not put time or effort into meeting influencers in the community.
Offer Open Account Payment Terms
It is clear that who you know will help you approach large, international buyers. However, how you operate will help you obtain their business. In the world of international business, this means offering open account payment terms.
A business that often purchases large machines or larger orders of widgets and other products often requires an extended payment option. The idea of having to pay for such a large purchase in typical payment terms can cause these large, international buyers to leave the table. They will shop elsewhere, no matter how much they like, trust, and respect you. As a matter of fact, the standard in the industry is offering open account payment options. So much so that most companies are now including these terms as part of their standard purchasing agreements.
The key is to be able to stay in business while waiting for payment. Many companies utilize international trade finance companies, such as Tradewind, to help keep the business afloat while payment is pending. A factoring company will purchase your invoices, and they will await payment from the buyer upon invoice maturity, so that you have access to working capital while your customer can adhere to an open account payment arrangement. The factoring company will then charge interest, allowing them to make a profit as well.
As opposed to traditional financing, this process is often seamless. The client seeking financial assistance is not accepting a loan. Instead, the client is simply selling his or her invoices for immediate funds, with the idea that the invoice will be paid, under the terms of the agreement between the client and the buyer. In contrast, traditional financing can take months for approval and must be repaid under non-flexible payment terms. This leaves the client vulnerable to not having operating funds as needed.
As a company looking to work with large international buyers, you must be able to both form a relationship and offer services as needed (and expected) by the buyer. In order to achieve this, it may be best to consider factoring offered by reputable trade finance companies, such as Tradewind, to help keep your bottom line profitable and your business moving forward.