Ultimately there is still plenty to do which can be done and above all continued communication is key. Reconnecting and communicating more than ever with your customer and prospect base has never been more important, even if the actual transacting is not possible at the moment.
Believe me – your customers, your stakeholders and your future sales revenues will thank you in the longer term for your commitment to keep going and to keep conversations flowing.
Think carefully about your new approaches
Evidently continuing the sales talk when the conversation has already started is much easier and justified than beginning a completely new cold approach to a prospect during this challenging time.
There is certainly divided opinion on this too, with a school of thought believing it would be insensitive and perceived as potentially ill placed to be still pitching products to new contacts.
Others who conversely think that provided it is done in the appropriate manner and from a place of not purely profiteering but to support and provide further mutual opportunities for customers and suppliers then it is fine to do so.
Personally, and working fortuitously in an area of largely health-oriented food, drink and supplement products where there is currently high demand for these kind of items I am more in the second camp. After thinking about this and not feeling like I could or should last week I come now from a viewpoint that my approach could benefit a new customer who may be experiencing supply issues or actively seeking a product that can be offered amongst my clients and producer networks. By not asking the question or making the tentative approach there could be missed opportunities. Moreover even if business now isn’t a possibility you have nevertheless initiated a conversation that can then be picked up quicker later down the line as a result of this initial effort.
So if you are comfortable doing so I would encourage you to positively put yourself out there, leveraging your existing network wherever possible to reach new potential customers overseas. Whether that is via Linked In or introductions from other business connections that you have, there are a number of ways to reach out. You can also tap into the resources of various support organisations who may be able to provide some valuable business connections or initial insights into your target markets.
Actually writing an export strategy and action plan
Finally when it comes to developing export business for brands then to do so it is always imperative to have a written export strategy and action plan, something which most companies through reactive opportunism with export don’t actually do (mainly because they just don’t have the time and know how in how to approach this!) A recent survey with PWC and the Chartered Institute of Marketing highlighted that approximately only a third of exporting UK companies actually had a written export strategy in place.
Channelled positively with what is happening around us at present and the opportunity to step back and reflect then this can be a great time to work on a higher strategic level on your export strategy and overall growth plan of your business.
There may still be uncertainty as to how the new future post Covid-19 is going to look and how we will need to adapt as businesses, brands and entrepreneurs. However it is clear that a planned structured approach to exporting works- as does having the ability to continue moving forward with your overseas sales pipeline, market knowledge and cultural awareness. What you do now and the ability to keep moving forward and staying positive has the potential to help define how your 2020 export revenues will ultimately end for you.
So keep having those sales conversations, keep communicating and keep believing in a brighter export future ahead.
As always for any export support or guidance then please get in touch.