Saturday, April 28, 2012

More Import Export Business Questions Answered

The following is the exact text of an email with multiple questions that was received earlier this week:

I graduated from international trade managment program and my dream is to run my own import export (broker/agent)connecting buyers and seller from Africa and Asia to the rest of the world. I am stuck with practical and technical tools (sofware or web):
-which webstite to use to search buyer and sellers
-which tools to use for good quotation
-which tools to use to find the product
-which tools to use to avoid that buyer and seller connect
-which customer relation managment tools etc..
 basically i can't start anything please clearly state that i could find the answer in your book and i will buy it.

Now to my reply.

First, if you are going to be in business, treat all your correspondence like it is going to be read by a potential customer or client or basically someone that is going to ultimately make you a profit.

In that regards, even if you are sending an email to a family member or friend, practice your correspondence skills on them to help you enhance your profit making correspondence.

While the modern "texting" mentality may mean you can get away with symbols and abbreviations and still be understood, it is simply your best interest to send only the BEST correspondence possible as the person on the receiving end may judge your professionalism by how well you address them in an email or letter.

I was going to reply to the person who sent me this email but historically it has proven to be a waste of my time to do so as you will see if you read this post to conclusion.  This person basically has not read much, if any, of my blog posts nor is likely to take action upon any suggestions that might be provided to them.

One item in our blog suggests strongly that you all either set up your own domain name and email address with it or at the least set up a NO COST/FREE email account rather than using Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL.

I will not repeat the reasons why here, go read the post. This person sent me an email from a Yahoo email address - in many instances my emails are intercepted by their spam filters and the person most likely will never see my reply, thus it would be a waste of my time. Gmail has spam filtering but is much less severe as Yahoo.

The next item - SPELLING - Look through this one paragraph email and find how many spelling errors there are? If you cannot find 4 then you need to begin using your spell check a little more in your outgoing correspondence.

Treat your outgoing correspondence and the people you are sending it to with respect - it might just be what decides if you make a profit or do not - subtle things matter, especially in business.

Remember, you are either in business or you are simply pretending you are - make up your mind.

OK, now to each of this person's questions (I have left the misspelled words intentionally in the questions) -

1) -which webstite to use to search buyer and sellers -

I address this multiple times within the blog and there are references within the course but they are not your be all do all.  There is not going to be ONE or TWO websites that we refer you too that will be the MAGIC goldmine of suppliers and buyers, they simply do not exist.

Even with the suggested resources that the course publisher provides and I provide here in the blog - IT IS YOUR BUSINESS and YOU must do your due diligence on the companies and individuals you are going to deal with - YOUR BUSINESS - REMEMBER!

There are paid websites that cost $99 a month that will give you the actual shipping manifest information for ALL shipments coming into the USA but MOST people want something that is FREE so they waste their time chasing the fantasy buyers that number in the millions on the free trade lead boards on the Internet. The $99 a month service shows you the REAL buyers but most people are unwilling to invest in this kind of real business TOOL.

2)  -which tools to use for good quotation -

I am not really sure what the person is asking here? He keeps referencing TOOLS like there is a piece of software that will do all the work for him and there isn't - the best piece of computer "hardware" that he has is sitting a couple of inches above his shoulders.

Does the course teach you how to prepare a quotation - Yes, of course, but is there a TOOL to make it a "good" quotation that "guarantees" your offer will be the one they buy?? - Absolutely NOT!

3)  -which tools to use to find the product

This comes back to question ONE above so it simply repeats but again references TOOLS like there is some MAGICAL software or hardware that will do the work for you.

4)  -which tools to use to avoid that buyer and seller connect

I address this within the blog and there is information within the course about how to avoid having the buyer and seller find out who each other are but quite frankly, in today's Internet connected world, it is very difficult to prevent this from happening.

This is one of the reasons I have always like operating as an export agent for a commission rather than as an export management company.  If I have an agreement with a company to pay me a commission and I am continuing to bring them new business, there is continued value in them not cheating me from my commissions.

Could I conceivably be cheated? Yes. However, there are methods you can employ to help you determine if this might be happening that are addressed in the bonus resources we offer with the exporting courses.  You can sit around worrying about all the variables on this but if you take the right precautions and make your services worthwhile to the buyer/seller, you reduce the chances of this from happening.

5)  -which customer relation managment tools etc..

This one is kind of amusing. Customer relation management tools - here we go again with the TOOL scenario. The short answer to this one is NO, neither I nor the publisher has any suggestion for CRM software.

Here in the Amish country where I live they have a saying - "don't put the cart before the horse" - this applies to this person in that stop worrying about things that don't matter right now and do what you have to do to learn HOW TO START AN IMPORT EXPORT BUSINESS and GET SOME CUSTOMERS first, then grab a piece of CRM software recommended off of a business forum like and move on. STOP with thinking you need some special TOOLs to get started and do just that GET STARTED.

It is unfortunately obvious that even with simple TOOLS available, this person will not use them, i.e., SPELLCHECK