One of the questions I regularly get from my clients at export & import coaching, consulting sessions and workshops is ‘Where can I find buyers or suppliers for my exporting or importing business?‘
That’s a critical question. It’s very important for a business to have good sources of leads. So, today I’ve decided to show you some of them and help you expand sources of leads and opportunities for your international business. Here they are:
- Bilateral Chambers of Commerce. In Canada, we are very fortunate to have trade associations and chambers of commerce that represent both Canada and foreign markets. The examples include Canada-EU Chamber of Commerce, Canada-India Chamber of Commerce, Canada-China Business Council, etc. Their mandate is to increase trade between both countries, and they usually have contacts of reliable buyers or sellers.
- Industry association in a foreign market. For example, if you source food products from South Africa, contact SA Food Industry Association. Are you looking for the chemical industry buyers in China? Connect with China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation and so on. Need help with other industries? Come to our workshop on May 08, 2017 in Toronto.
- Your existing suppliers and/or buyers. People in the industry know each other and talk to each other. So, if you are looking for the suppliers or buyers of the non-competitive product, ask your current buyers or suppliers for contacts. They can help you find new leads.
- Trade or Export Promotion Agency of the country of origin or destination. Most major economies have trade or export promotion agencies. For example, Canadians, looking to export their products, can contact the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service for the contacts of the buyers abroad. Canadians, looking to import the products from Australia, can contact Austrade to get the contacts of the Australian suppliers.
- Trade Directories. These are large databases of business contacts by industry, location and other metrics. They provide access to the contacts for a fee. The examples include Dun & Bradstreet, Scotts Directories, etc. You should know that the accuracy of data may sometimes be an issue, and they don’t provide the background of the contact.
- Internet. You can also use LinkedIn, XING, and other sources including online directories and boards. You should use them as your last option. Only do it if all above failed. The huge issue of the Internet sources is the risk of fraud. It is much higher there as anyone can post a profile and the Internet directory has no way to validate its identity.
I hope that information will help you find new buyers or suppliers faster and avoid fraud and costly mistakes.
If you have any other questions about international trade, export or import, you can ask them at the upcoming workshop ‘How to Start Your Export & Import Business from Scratch’ on May 08, 2017 (next Monday) in Toronto, ON at the following address: 489 College Street, Suite 100 Toronto, ON, M6G 1A5 Canada.
Or if you’re unable to join us on May 08, you still can send your questions by replying to this email, and we’ll try to help you out.
Look forward to getting your export & import questions and helping you out.
Igor Chigrin, CITP
Export & Import Consultant