Import export leads are the key to getting into international trade successfully. If you’re trying to export your products, then you need to know who will sell them and which countries will accept them. If you want to import products, then you need to find international suppliers for the products you want to import.
Without leads, your business is dead in the water. So how do you go about finding leads? This article will walk you through the process.
The process of getting quality import export leads is simple, but it does take time. You should start by researching and choosing two or three main countries you want to do business in. From there, you can start building your list of import export leads. Taking a focused approach will bring you better results than a broader approach.
Next you should starts going to industry trade shows, both in the countries where you seek to do business and in your home country. Try to attend larger trade shows because it will be easier to make more connections there.
Also spend some time forging contacts with your home country’s embassies in the countries where you seek to do business. The Commercial Officer will be able to give you an import and export directory of companies that you might be able to do business with in the country. This is a great place to start your list of import / export leads.
Most of the time the list is provided for free, but sometimes you might have to pay. Sometimes they even sell more in-depth analysis of these companies so that you can learn more about them before you make contact.
You can also contact your own state’s trade office because some states maintain their own trade relationship. The U.S. Gold Key Matching Service (Export.gov) is another good place to start building important connections.
Keep in mind that U.S. business owners may want to start their trade relationships with Canada and Mexico due to the North American Free Trade Agreement. The agreement makes connections in those two nations a bit easier for newcomers. However Asia import/export businesses that do trade and commerce with China can also be beneficial.
There are a few trade associations you should belong to if you want to get connected with quality distributors or suppliers. The North American Importers Association (usacan.org) is a great place to look for an import export business opportunity, although they do charge membership fees for you to get into contact with the best leads.
LinkedIn and the Small Business Exporters Association (sbea.org) are both great sources for free b2b trade leads. Alibaba.com is a good place to get several buyer leads by getting quotes from suppliers.
When building your import / export leads list, also make sure that you look at the U.S. Embargo and U.S. Denied Persons lists to make sure that you aren’t doing business with individuals or businesses that the government has banned. Also check other export and import controls to ensure you aren’t breaking any laws.