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On the one hand … on the other …

“Exporting will not compromise our domestic business…”

You have just received your first test export order. You have been actively looking for this for many months. It is disappointingly small compared to typical orders from your home market even after your sales team has committed a great deal of their time chasing it (they are dehydrated). You find that you need to devote considerably more time and effort to process this order and deliver it to the satisfaction of your new prospect. You have produced and allocated stock for your new export customer to demonstrate your efficiency but unexpectedly a major existing client needs some of these lines. You decide to satisfy this customer to the detriment of the embryonic export account with an as yet unproved track record because there seems to be more at stake.

If you fail to pay the same attention to an export trial order as you would to your regular home market, your export business may never come to fruition. Even at this early stage in the relationship, the export customer may be forgiven for challenging you as to whether your products and service are really as good as you promised. Your customer will be expecting your delivered products to match your samples - and to sell through. They will want to be confident that you can replenish their stock and deal swiftly with any complaints or returns. They will need you to communicate with them professionally and deliver according to their instructions. Ultimately, they will want to be sure that they can order again from you - and in increasing quantities. The challenge here is to prioritise judiciously.

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