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Marketing to Distributors

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So, you are looking for new distributors for your business. Finding new distributors doesn’t have to be that hard. Here are a few ways you can establish business relationships with new distributors.

Trade Shows

One great place to connect with potential partners is at trade shows. Especially if they take place in the markets you are targeting. As an example, to find upcoming trade shows in North America, the Trade Shows News Network (TSNN) publishes data on the top events in the United States and Canada.

A very helpful tool on the TSNN site is a searchable database of shows worldwide, enabling you to filter upcoming events based on industry focus and country. Having a booth at an international trade show is one of the best ways to find new distributors.  Ensure that you put a sign on your booth that you are looking for new channel partners (distributors or representatives)

Government Resources

The U.S. government offers tools designed to help American exporters connect with international buyers. Two useful federal programs are the Gold Key program and the International Partner search.

The Market Access Program of the Foreign Agriculture Service is designed to help promote exports by subsidizing the cost of overseas marketing and promotional activities.

Also, check if your state has offices overseas. Many U.S. states have foreign offices staffed with personnel who can help connect you with industry experts and potential partners.

Trade Associations

Trade associations are another avenue for connecting with potential partners. The World Trade Centers Association for example has 317 affiliates in 88 countries. World Trade Centers provide physical infrastructure for conducting business as well as programming and networking opportunity events to connect U.S. exporters with buyers and multipliers in local markets.

A potential source for information about trade opportunities, market data, and partners in many countries around the world are local chapters of the American Chamber of Commerce.

Industry associations can often provide detailed information and introductions related to specific industry verticals in each market. Some U.S. trade associations have affiliations with similar trade groups overseas, so the industry group that serves your niche in the marketplace is a good starting point.

Online Marketplaces

Amazon Business is an online B2B platform. It serves businesses of all sizes and across all industries. It’s an online marketplace that connects buyers, manufacturers, and sellers.

Alibaba is a well-known online marketplace for B2B e-commerce. It has more than 40 industry categories and connects buyers and sellers in more than 190 countries. U.S. exporters can join for free and test the platform.

Your Existing Network

Companies that are established in their industry and already have distributors may be able to leverage existing contacts to find new partners.

One strategy you can use is to approach a potential end-user of your product for introductions to their suppliers.

Stanley Chao, president of All In Consulting, agrees that leveraging your existing contacts is one of the best ways to find new distribution partners. “The best way to find good partners is always word of mouth”, says Chao. “You have to know people in the industry who can steer you to the right place”.

Source: American Express