Working with clients abroad always carries with it, a few extra challenges compared to normal domestic business. For one thing, there are a lot of countervailing laws and regulations to submit to. You will also need to make the thousands of miles you are from your client, seem like mere meters. Every small and large business is on an equal footing when it comes to international trade. Just because you are small, doesn’t mean you get left behind in the dust of multinationals. The things that prevent a strong relationship with foreign clients are centered around communication and logistics.
Reaffirm their intent
A client needs to know where you are regarding your trade deal with them. As Covid-19 has put a massive strain on supply chains, now is the time to reaffirm with your foreign clients that you are still motivated to stick to your obligations. So, set up a meeting with them over the internet to talk about the situation and report any concerns you may have. This has to be actively done by yourself and your managers. Managers should be given the task to file an update report on their tasks and how their actions are making it better. In the meeting with the client, go through each department and let your managers talk to them about what is going on. This meeting is all about strengthening resolve, reminding everyone of the goals you agreed to achieve together and providing the evidence that you are sticking to them.
The pandemic has shown business leaders that sometimes a backup plan becomes plan A. Creating secondary channels to export your goods to the client is highly advisable. As with the latest global shock in the Suez, you need to go around any problem that you may face. Customs clearances are particularly under the spotlight, as protectionism rears its ugly head in America, China and the EU. Working with customs brokerage is therefore a great way to avoid the headaches and let the professionals get your products cleared and transported to the client. The broker will do all the paperwork and communicate with the port authorities and customs agents of the country you are exporting to.
Make a new roadmap
Companies around the world are creating new roadmaps for their recovery. Your business should be giving clients a similar kind of roadmap, that works towards getting back to normal again. When can you get back to the full export level? When can you lower the price of the products being exported? Can you reach out to new customers during the pandemic? When will sales return to normal? When will you begin marketing campaigns to help the client sell the products? All of these questions and more should be included in your roadmap to recovery.
The export market has taken the brunt of this pandemic. However, it’s doing a lot better now and foreign markets are beginning to return to normal due to the vaccine rollout. Are you ready to return?