Saturday, July 07, 2012

Helpful International Trade B2B Solutions

Continuing to clean out the electronic cobwebs of 24 years in business before I head into retirement, I am adding more of the valuable resources I have compiled over those years here on the blog so you to can use what I have found to be some of the best and most helpful import export business and b2b solutions available.

Remember always the archived posts are listed on the right side of this blog - you have to scroll down a bit to find them - they go back to 2006 and are well worth your time.

OK, here we go.

First up, we have which has been has been a top auction style site (alternate for eBay) offering new, overstock, closeout and recertified products covering more than 25 categories. They claim to have over 6 million members (they call "deal hunters") - great merchandise that comes from brand name manufacturers and other certified professional sellers.

Next up we have which is a Liquidity Services, Inc. marketplace where professional buyers can source commercial surplus inventory and government surplus assets in an online environment. Bulk lots are sold by the truckload, pallet, or small package, and conditions range from new in a box to customer returns and used. They have a wide variety of product categories includes apparel, computers, electronics, housewares, industrial equipment, vehicles, and much more.

GoIndustry DoveBid is a leading provider of asset management services. If surplus or idle assets are no longer needed, they will assist you to better understand what they are worth, whether they can be re-deployed elsewhere in your organisation, and if not, sell them at auction on your behalf.

Next is a resource that I use almost every day. This site provides free information on making a calls from one country to another. No need to bother the operator when you can easily find it here.

Country Calling Codes

This is a FREE online resource.

This next FREE online resource is one you should always reference before picking up the phone to call someone in another country. Be sure you are calling them during normal business hours - THEIR business hours, not yours - this will help you keep from making a bad impression by calling them at 2 am and expecting them to be in their office -

This is a FREE online resource.

How to Handle Sample Requests

Believe me - you will get sample requests!

Some people actually have made a business out of requesting free samples and over anxious to do export business agents, distributors and manufacturers are WAY TO EAGER to waste their precious time and resources sending them to dead end requests that will NEVER turn into paying customers.

Here is the actual text from a manufacturer who had reached their limit on FREE samples and it follows a similar post I made previously in this blog that was the exact practice of a $10 million a year vitamin manufacturer.

Up to this point in time all samples used to sent pre-paid by us (the agent, distributor, manufacturer.

Going forward we will require your account number with FedEx or DHL or any other transport company you wish to use to send you the samples. All samples will now be paid for before they are shipped.

Sending samples by courier or airfreight is expensive. We work on very low margins and sending samples pre-paid has cost us a lot, but we are willing to work with you....the charges which you incur in getting the samples from us will be deducted from your invoice at the time of shipping your first container load.

Our payment terms remain unchanged. 100% advance at the time of placing order and approving samples. We start processing only after receiving money in our bank.

Ron here again - how is that for putting the burden of proof on the sample seeker and keeping everything on a professional level.

One last B2B solution to help would be export agents, distributors and manufacturers.

Most states, if not all, have International Trade assistance offices. These are in addition to what the US Department of Commerce has available at the federal level.

The state offices "used" to have trade leads available to companies within their states. These leads were gathered at trade shows the state had sponsered which means there are far more valid than those you will find through some free online trade leads board.

If you are an agent or distributor for a manufacturer domiciled in a stated other than the one you reside, these offices will still work with you because you are helping a company within their borders to bring new revenue and potentially new jobs into their state.

How to find the state international trade offices?

Simple, but with one caveat - I no longer recommend using Google for business searches. Some of the changes they have made in the past 6 months have made their results for B2B searches far less reliable than they were for the past 12 years. I now recommend you use Bing or Yahoo search engines to do your B2B searches and for this one simply type in "your states name" or the states name you wish to investigate followed by trade office or state name followed by international trade office.

That is it for this update.....I hope you find all the above and past and future updates useful to your import and export business.

Ron Coble