Posted by: changholt | October 10, 2011

The keys to motivating international distributors

At HSI we have been helping companies grow their businesses through international outsourcing and entry into new markets. When entering foreign markets you have to rely on your foreign partners and distributors. So how do you motivate these representatives?

Here are 9 keys needed to motivate your foreign representatives:
1. Communication. The importance of communicating frequently, quickly, clearly and completely, can scarcely be overstressed. Good communication alone won’t guarantee success overseas, but because of distance and language/cultural differences, bad communication can assure failure. Specific examples: – Information on competition world-wide. – Your product advantages (Help him sell )

2. Service. You must service both products and orders. You must provide for both spare parts and servicing abroad. You must establish a warranty procedure. You must support your distributor’s local service

3. Training. Here or there, but it is an essential investment for long-term success. Both engineering and (especially) sales training. As my father told me its better to train someone and have them leave your company than not to train them and have them stay.

4. Feedback. Ask your distributor’s opinion. Respect it, but do not rely totally upon it. Get him in the habit of communicating with you. In today’s world you better have a skype account and be willing to talk to your partners at all hours of the night. Don’t make them always bend to your schedule.

5. Commitment. If you are committed to him, let it show. Your body language and tone are just as important as the words you say.

6. Motivational Spark. Have something “new “ on each trip. Don’t use visits to dwell on one order or on problems only. Use training sessions out of his office (work / play seminar) for motivation and building personal loyalty as well. Don’t give them all your tricks on your first visit. They will have expectations of greatest that you can’t meet in the long run.

7. Local Promotion. Often best to give him/her discount and let him handle. Sometimes more involvement is helpful, but sometimes not. Think local and Act Local…. its a lot more difficult than it seems.

8. Periodic evaluation. Is he meeting his own goals? Your? Specific steps? How does he evaluate your assistance? Make sure your goals/objectives are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely – time component)

9. Help him build his/her business. Send him leads. Nothing say “I love you” like a good sales lead. All to often we forget the challenges these foreign enterprises are undergoing. Give, give, give….

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