Finding Importers For Your Products
A tutorial on how to export to Poland.
Any company interested in exporting, or setting up business in another country, needs a good understanding of the way that country works.
Each market has its special features. The business structure differs from one country to another. Mentalities differ, too, so prospecting new customers is not done in the same way in Germany, Sweden, Italy, China and the United States.
You must absolutely understand that if you are going to export your products to Poland you must adhere to the Polish culture.
To succeed you must enter the Polish market the Polish way. That means that there are things that you should do and things that you should not do.
The Polish market is quite well developed. There is a lot of room for growth and new firms, but there is very little not available in Poland now. So it is particularly important that you start your market entry properly.
As you try to enter the Polish market your competition will be foreign companies that have adapted to the Polish rules of business. You will be competing with companies from all over the world who have adapted their strategies and who are moving forward with the development of Central and Eastern Europe. To succeed in competing with them you must use the same basic techniques and follow the same basic rules as they do.
You must first remember the words of former German Chancellor Willie Brandt. He told some American businessmen, "When I am selling to you I must speak English, but when you are selling to me, dann mussen Sie deutsch sprechen" (Then you must speak German.)
When you introduce your company in Poland, you must use Polish. As an alternative you may use a picture gallery to get attention, but to get beyond an introduction, you must use Polish. Even if you want to deal with English speakers only, the local culture demands that you recognize the Polish language and make your introductions in Polish.
They first want to see your products.
Then they want to see your prices and catalog.
Then they will ask about your firm.
And they want the information in Polish.
Give the people what they want.
Do not send unsolicited letters of introduction to anyone.
First, if your letter of introduction is in English, Polish people probably won't read it.
Second, the English language business portals in Poland are not in the business of selling foreign products to Polish companies. They will just put your company on the spam blacklist and you will not even be able to use their other services.
Third, don't assume that the director or owner of the company is the decision maker. Most of the time the decisions to purchase are made by junior people. If you send mail to the boss or director, you are liable to lose any chance of success at all because by sending spam to this person you have shown yourself as someone who is unreliable and unprepared.
You may not consider yourself unreliable, unprepared or a spammer. But others will. Remember that you are doing business in this market and not your market. The rules of correspondence and business here are the rules that apply. If you don't follow them you suffer the consequences and your competition succeeds.
If you send an email with your offer or a letter of introduction, IT IS SPAM. SPAM is a serious problem and you should not consider yourself exempt from the penalties. Don't send unsolicited offers of introduction.
Use the Polish search Engines And Directories to get information where they look. Get information about submitting your page to the Polish search engines and directories.
Everyone wants to find someone to sell on commission. How do you find a commission agent?
In Poland you do not find a commission agent on the internet. The internet here is like the internet everywhere. It is filled with amateurs who blindly send offers to every email address that they can find and who hardly ever, if ever, sell anything.
Professional distributors and commission agents most often enter agreements with companies that show their products in trade expositions or who advertise in newspapers and trade magazines. Isn't that what you do?
So your best first step is to place a Polish language advertisement in a couple local newspapers. And then you consider advertising in a trade magazine.
The advertisement that you use should be cleverly written to use the power of the internet. For example, our best results come when our advertisements refer people to a Polish language gateway internet web site. When they get to the gateway web site our gateway web site delivers our offer/catalog directly from the internet, captures their email address and leads the customer to our contact point; a Polish language speaker in Poland or a client company's business development director.
Let me show you a specific example. We were recruiting English speaking Polish nurses for a US based company. We placed this advertisement -
"Western company hiring Polish nurses that speak good English. Good pay. Information is on internet at http://www.qlbr.com/nurses.html "
- (in Polish) in a nationally published newspaper known as the place to look for jobs. The response was overwhelming.
We almost always have some advertisement in one of the newspapers that we use to find customers and commission agents for our products. It is simply the most effective thing to do. We have been operating here for years as a foreign company. It works for us. It will work for you.
Remember before someone does business with you they first want to see your product. Then they want to know the price. Later they want to know why they should deal with your firm.
How many times have you walked into a store, walked around, looked at the products and then walked out because you did not see what you wanted? Maybe the product was somewhere on the shelf or in the warehouse. But you did not see it. So you left.
And then if you see the product that you want, what is the next thing that you do. You look at the price. And if there is no price, you get uncomfortable.
Do you waste time wandering around the store, looking at presentations, giving personal information and asking questions. No. You leave if you don't quickly see what you want.
Your web site is an on line store. And your customers are much quicker to leave an online store that a real store.
Like most web sites, your current web site probably does not give the people what they want in the way they want it. So people do not buy from you they way they should.
If you want to find distributors and customers in this market, you must, without question, adapt your internet program to this market. If you want Polish customers, you must give them what they want in the way they want it.
You do not have to change your current web site. Just use a gateway.
Our data in Eastern Europe shows that most of our sales that come from the internet (by this I mean the ones that are not directly the result of our off line advertisements sending people to the internet.) come from search engine listings and on line telephone directories. And the most effective are the on line telephone directories.
The most used on line business directory, for international trade work, in Poland, is the Poland Business register. You should be sure to have your company listed in that directory.
For Free Advertising, go to QuickLink Business Directory