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Finding the international buyers for exports

The dream of any exporter is to sell his/her products/service to a genuine and well-paying buyer/importer. But the numero uno question is how to find the buyers for exports. We get this question constantly from every single person willing to export or already exporting. This article is about the current methods to find the buyers, reasons for failures and ways to find the right buyers for exports.

The current method of finding the buyers are as follows:

  • Website/Social Media/Digital Marketing:

Website has become the vital part of every business in modern days. It is a virtual store front or office serves your customers literally 24/7. The importance of having a website has become as important as registering the business as legal entity. Website is also a status symbol of business nowadays.

Social Media is part of our daily activities. Social media is unavoidably influencing the consumer behaviour. It is hard to ignore if you want to make sales.

Digital Marketing is at its peak now. After 2008 recession, Digital marketing is the main marketing channel for almost every business around the global to boost the sales.

  • B2B portals:

B2B portals were once the comforting zone for buyers and sellers when it was difficult to network. Its main purpose is to showcase your product and company details so that the buyer gains some trust to contact the supplier. Alibaba is one of the reasons to empower Chinese manufacturers. But your competitors will also be there. It is exporters obligation to check the credibility of the inquiries.

  • Country visits:

County visits are key to exports and imports since the world started trading. Every country citizen can visit few or many countries based on the power of their passport. This develop the trade ties between the countries.

  • Buyer Sellers meet:

Buyer – Seller meet is either organised by Government bodies or business networks. This is the most effective where the trust factor will be high.

  • Embassy/Chamber of commerce/Export Promotion bodies:

Embassy/Chamber of Commerce/Export Promotion Bodies are the first point of contact for both importers and exporters. They provide effective service.

  • Commission agents:

Commission agents or foreign agents are widely used method to find the export/import methods. As it removes the risk of dealing with fake buyers or suppliers.

  • Relatives or friends in aboard:

Relatives or Friends in abroad often become the first buyer of our products. Especially when our products are appealing to the diaspora community. The whole process of exporting becomes easier when we deal with relatives or friends. But not everyone can have this opportunity. In some cases, we cannot depend on relatives or friends for business.

  • Trade fairs:

Trade fairs energise and boost the growth of trade. Trade fairs happen on almost of every single day in one or other parts or places in the world. Even at this age of internet, trade fairs are important to strengthen the exports. In fact, internet and digital marketing has made trade fairs even more powerful.


These methods are known to everyone who tries to export. Every training or post about ‘how to find buyers will give the same information. But there are struggles in effectively using these methods in balance. The following are the reasons for failures:


  • Lack of planning and preparation:

Exporters unaware of market and product potential lose their money whatever method they choose. Exports business is uniquely different form the domestic business. In Exports venture, 80% effort is about planning & preparation and 20% is about execution. It is sad to see the exporters jump to design a website or become a B2B member without a proper plan and preparation. It is like starting to travel without deciding the place and direction.

  • Lack of understanding:

Each method mentioned above requires unique approach. To use them effectively, Exporters should know what would work best for them, what is their key strength, why should they use a channel, what is the cost involved, how to make best use of them. Buyers don’t choose a supplier just because they have a product, he/she needs. Buyers look for supplier who can add more value to their business. Exporter should be able to exhibit their uniqueness/advantage.

  • Lack of choosing the right market or market segment:

Exports market has huge potential because of its vast opportunities. It is ultimately Exporter’s choice to choose their market wisely. Not all exporters can export to every type of buyers. Exporters with good understanding of product and market potential choose their buyers accordingly and grow their business. Buyers have the choice of choosing their suppliers so is the exporters.

  • Lack of knowledge:

The primary reason for exports failure is that lack of knowledge. Knowledge is to use the available resource and tools to equip themselves for the challenge. The challenge is the fast-changing business trends. Exporters should be able to take quick actions based on data, news and current trends.

  • Lack of allocating the market budget:

Marketing is vital to make exports sales. The buyers will buy from you only if they can clearly see the benefits of buying from you. It is must to have a website to reveal your competitive advantage. The challenge is not to find the buyers but how the buyers can find you (exporter). So, the important task is to place your product/company at your buyer’s visibility. Remember, the chance of buying from you is high when the buyer approaches you.


It is very simple and easy to overcome these struggles by doing the following:


  1. Export Potential Analysis:

Export Potential Analysis is vital and basic step to justify your product and market selection. Following are the basic Export Potential Analysis to do before thinking about marketing or even doing a website:

Product differentiation at National Tariff line:

Products to be analysed using other countries H.S. code to study its potential.

Yearly performance and scope of the product:

Products to be analysed on their yearly performance and forecast its demand.

Analysis of winning sector of the product:

Products to be analysed to find out its winning prospects such as packaging, usage and cost factor.

Seasonality of the product’s export:

Products export season and annual calendar to be analysed.

Price comparison with other countries:

F.O.B and C.I.F prices are compared for pricing strategy.

STEEP analysis:

Social, technological, economic, environmental, and political factors analysis of a country.

Trading relationship between countries:

Analyses trading agreements between the countries and its advantage to an exporter.

Exports potential to the market:

An analysis to find out the most suitable importing countries for a product.

Market diversification analysis:

An analysis to diversify the product to other lucrative markets.

Single market analysis: winning product segment analysis: 

An analysis to explore different market segmentation for a product in a target market.

Market concentration analysis:

An analysis to explore how diversified is an importing country. That is whether it depends on a country to fulfil its domestic demand.

  1. Market Study:

Market study involves both primary and secondary research. Primary research includes understanding the trading system of the country, consumer behaviour, current economic performance, country’s export and import strength, weakness, opportunity and threat. Secondary research involves understanding the customs laws, practices, main governing bodies, finding the major players in the country, best performing products of your country in that country, visiting their Embassy or trade representatives in your country.

  1. Market entry strategies:

Once after the market study, the exporter will be able to understand the obstacles and opportunity of exporting to that country. Now, it is the time to explore the best suitable ways for you to export to that country.

  1. Marketing activities:

Exporters should decide the mix of marketing activities to be carried out. Marketing budget should be based on your market entry strategy. Understanding your buyer will help you to develop/design the website focusing on them. This will help you to generate high quality leads/prospects suitable for your capacity of exports. This will promise the consistency of your business growth. It is ultimately exporters effort to make the importers to buy from them.

  1. Social Media and Trade fair strategy:

The main purpose of social media is to increase your product and company visibility and influence. Thus, gaining the consumers trust. Social media such as LinkedIn, Slack, Twitter, Instagram help you to achieve the result. Well planned social media strategy will help you to stand out from the social media noise.

Trade fair/Buyer – Seller meet/B2B strategy: Exporters should know how to make the trade fair/sales meet successful. Buyer will decide only if they see/hear what they need to see/hear. An actionable strategy will place you at an advantage over your competitors gaining a long-term buyer.

The above steps are called Exports Marketing Strategy. If you are wondering how to do the Exports Marketing Strategy, Our Exports Marketing Strategy program is suitable for you.

To know more about our Exports Marketing Strategy Program, watch the video below:

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Exports Marketing Strategy Programs Details:


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