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International Mail order: Exporting is nothing more than selling overseas ... by mail.
by: J.F. (Jim) Straw

Believe it or don't...MOST export sales are still accomplished by direct marketing (mail order) methods.

Think about it! - Most companies that export their products do not maintain offices in other countries. They do not hire and employ sales people in other countries. Nor do they ever meet the people they sell to.

Instead of opening offices or hiring sales people in other countries, most exporters market their products overseas by mail. They sell their products in volume to other businesses who, in turn, resell the products in their country.

Although the vast majority of export sales are ... and always have been ... made by mail, the books, manuals and courses on exporting don't even mention the subject of "mail order." - Could it be they honestly don't realize that exporting is nothing more than selling overseas by mail.

WHY? - My opinion is that direct marketing (mail order) equates to "junk mail." Therefore, it would not be politically correct to mention the nasty word "mail order" in conjunction with the sophisticated endeavors of world trade.

Oh well! Some people are politically correct. - Others live in the real world.

Exporting is nothing more than selling overseas. - Because that selling is done by mail, your export sales campaign should be created and prepared as a "mail order" campaign.

Depending upon the nature of your product, your sales campaign can be designed to generate inquiries about your product - or - generate actual sales of your product.

If receiving inquiries about your product is your goal, you should use the same kind of lead generating campaigns you would use here in the U.S. - Go prospecting for potential customers. - Use postcards with a picture of your product ... announcements in trade publications ... classified ads ... news releases to newspapers ... space ads or direct mailers with a clip-coupon for inquiries.

The same holds true for generating sales for your products. - Create and prepare a sales letter that sells ... Sells ... SELLS your product. Include a price list and an order form. ASK the customer for an order. Let the customer know they can order a "sample" right now - or - request a quote for C&F/C.I.F. prices for a volume order.

One thing is for sure, if you sit on your hands and wait for overseas buyers to find you, you will be sorely disappointed.

Hey ... I'll bet ... when you read the title, you thought I was just going to tell you to sell your products by mail to consumers in other countries. - Didn't you? - Well, you can do that, too.

Fifty years ago, people in this country went through the "wish book" (Sears catalog) with eyes agleam. They posted their order and waited in anticipation for the arrival of exotic items from a far away place. - Today, it's an everyday, routine method of buying needed goods and services.

But, people in other countries are not yet accustomed to ordering by mail. Receiving products through the mail still holds intrigue for them. Especially if the product is coming directly from the "land of dreams" ... AMERICA!

Remember what I told you about export pricing. - If you can sell a product profitably for $10 here in the U.S., you can sell it profitably for $10 anywhere in the world. All you have to do is let the buyer pay the costs incurred after the product leaves your hands.

Even here in the U.S., it is now common practice in direct marketing (mail order) to quote the price of the product - plus - $XX for shipping & handling. - Do the same thing, if you sell your products directly to consumers overseas.

Where do you get the mail order shipping charges?

Would you believe, the same place you get mail order shipping charges for domestic orders ... at the Post Office.

It never ceases to amaze me that, when people think about export shipping, they overlook the U.S. Postal Service. It is the most convenient and reliable small package freight service in the world. It can have your small packages delivered anywhere in the world, usually cheaper than most other freight services.

Just two years ago, I would have had to stop there - but - today, both United Parcel Service (U.P.S.) and Federal Express (FedEx) are now competing with the Postal Service in the international delivery of small packages ... bigger ones, too. - Call them and ASK for their export shipping instructions and rate schedules.

Mail order is only a way of selling. - Exporting is nothing more than selling overseas ... by mail.

Today you can buy or rent mailing lists, with almost any demographic profile, from almost any country in the world. Those lists will be most effective if you create and prepare your sales campaign using the best direct marketing (mail order) methods.

To locate demographically profiled mailing lists of "buyers" in other countries, all you need to do is contact the direct marketing associations in the countries of interest to you.

See Also: Exporting: The Fastest Way To Grow A Small Manufacturing Business!
Exporting is, really, no more difficult than marketing your products here in the U.S. -- All you have to do is...Make a Sale...Get Paid...and Ship Your Product. The rest of the procedures can be handled, inexpensively, by the customary service providers. Beyond that, exporting can allow a small manufacturing company to grow...almost exponentially.

For a free list of direct marketing associations around the world, send $1 (postage & handling) to: PHLANDER Company, P.O. Box 5385, Cleveland, TN 37320 (Ask for International Mailing Lists #91)
For  information on exporting, visit:
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