Top export tips from the IOE

Lesley Batchelor
Director General at Institute of Export
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Post date: Tuesday, 7th August 2012

Selling internationally is very complex, but, as with most things, is easy with help and appropriate training. Lesley Batchelor, Director General, Institute of Export (IOE), provides insight into five research areas it’s crucial for new exporters to get right before they start.


Research – to understand the new market that you’re going to. Not just the GDP figures and statistics, but who you are going to sell to. What is the business culture – from business cards to wearing suits? How do they do business and what will you need to change or adapt to operate in this market – what makes them tick? Walk a mile in their moccasins!

Research – to understand all the factors that may impact on your price. What duties does the market impose? What is the local tax that we call VAT? How many days do they take to pay? What method of payment do they use and how much does that cost? Which currency do they use and how can you plan to mitigate any risks involved in selling with this currency?

Research – to be sure they need your product or offering, or how much modification it may need to be accepted. Does the colour offend or mean something? Red is lucky in China, but what does it mean in other markets? Translations are important. Is it law that you operate in the local language?

Does your product use electricity voltage? And will the cost of these modifications make it prohibitive to sell to this market? Remember, it is much easier to fulfil a demand than to try and create one.

Research – your trading name; can you use it in its current format? What does it mean locally? Check its meaning in the vernacular, too and, most importantly, is someone else using it? Check the market’s attitude to copyright, design rights and trademarks. Find ways to mitigate the risk or don’t start selling in this market – choose another.

Research – how are you going to deliver your product? Packaging protects as well as attracting attention at selling point. What is the infrastructure like away from the main cities – not just the road system for delivering physical product but also broadband? Would a lack of broadband jeopardise the delivery of your offering or the support for your customers or business partners? What other areas would this impact upon?

There are many more issues around selling internationally that are overlooked at the peril of sustainability – and, most importantly, making a profit on the sale.


The IOE have contributed four pages of news and views to Global Trader, Summer 2012. To read the entire publication, click the ebook below. 

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