Export Sales & Business Development In Africa
Having made as reliable an assessment as possible of the suitability of your product or service to the markets in West Africa, then comes the decision as to exactly how marketing will take place. The range of possible options include: agents, distributors, selling direct, collaborative projects and trade shows, all of which we might now briefly consider.
Recruiting & Employing Sales Agents in West Africa
Agents acting on the exporter’s behalf will usually visit potential customers for the purpose of taking orders, and will normally command commission to the tune of 10 per cent the cost of goods exported. The exporter subsequently despatches goods and forwards invoices direct to customers.
The main problem confronting the exporter is that of locating a good and reliable agent to act on his or her behalf, something with which most export information and advisory services are usually more than qualified to assist.
Appointing Sales & Trade Distributors in West Africa
Distributors undertake services very much akin to those carried out by agents, and might additionally maintain stocks of the exporter’s goods. Distributors might sell products through their own already established chains of agents and distributors. All goods and services are sent direct to the main distributor.
Setting Up Collaborative Projects & Joint Ventures in West Africa
Collaboration finds companies in different countries carrying out certain services and providing facilities for exporters abroad, in return for reciprocal representation of their goods and services in other countries.
Trade Shows, Exhibitions & Conferences in West Africa
One other method of selling direct involves attendance at Trade Shows, Exhibitions & Conferences in the country to which the businessman intends to export. Orders originate by direct approach from customers. Follow up sales and repeat custom usually comes from regular attendance at trade shows.
Even small businesses operating on an international basis should consider taking a stall at any of the many international trade shows held in Africa and abroad. For many exporters it is from attendance at trade shows that the vast majority of business originates.