How to find distributors and sales agents in other countries?

How to find distributors and sales agents in other parts of the world?
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How do you find agents or distributor in other parts of the world? And can you convince them to promote your products or services? They have access to the customer and will only give shelf space or attention to your offering if it sells better than something else.

Alliance experts helps you to find and convince the right local partners

Worldmap Alliance expertsAlliance experts is specialised in selecting the right agent or distributor for your exports. We are active in over 40 countries around the world. We live there, work there, know the culture and speak the language. And we think from the perspective of the local distributor.

First you need to have the right sales strategy

Potential agents or distributors will ask you how you want to approach the market, and what support you will offer them. If you never have been to the country business wise, then working with us always starts with a business orientation visit. For this two-day visit we arrange meetings with potential clients, end-users or retailers, whatever is relevant for your offering. We will discuss with you the best possible way to enter the market and start selling.

If you sell fast moving consumer goods or basic products

The quickest way to sell is to get you on she shelves of major retail chains. These are not difficult to identify. The hard part is to get a meeting with the right purchasing manager and to convince him or her. This requires a good presentation of your products, shipping options, pricing structure, brand positioning and support in marketing. For supermarkets and drugstores you may have to pay listing fees, which is a compensation for the retail chain for the risk they take in granting you shelf space.

We help you optimise your presentation, we arrange the meetings with the right people and accompany you to overcome cultural differences. You only have one chance of presenting yourself.

Starting with online sales first may be an alternative. This way you can test your brand with lower investments and prove that it can sell well in the market.

If you sell specialty products

In this case we will have to look what type of distributor would fit with your brand positioning. If it is a good fit, the distributor will also be interested to work with you. Finding the right distributors is the key challenge here. For consumer products we may find them more easily than for business-to-business products. Their market share is important: how many clients do they serve already?

For specialty products, knowledge transfer, training and detailed marketing materials are important. The more support you offer, the more likely a distributor will put effort in selling your services or products. It will also be important to invest in your local online presence.

If you sell services or customised products

If you sell customised products or services, then you need an agent, who will sell on your behalf, in return for a commission. Agents can be individuals, as long as they have a good network in the relevant industry. But working with a company can bring you in touch with larger prospects. Working with an agent who provides complementary services may be a good option, but will often limit you to the agent's customers. And in many cases he will promote his offering first, and only then your service.

Even with online services it may be wise to appoint a local sales agent, especially if the sales process is relatively complex. The agent can provide implementation services or additional services. Be careful with granting exclusivity for a country or customer segment and also discuss what to do with the sales that you generate directly.

Contact me to help me determine my sales strategy!


We list potential distributors or agents and check their interest

The actual agent or distributor search starts by giving you an overview of the market, and list a broad range of potential distributors or agents. We discuss this long-list with you, to see what type of companies you want to focus on.

In parallel, based on the business orientation visit and your market entry strategy, we draft a partnering profile, describing your company and the type of partner that you are looking for.

We then approach the companies with your profile in hand. We call them in the local language, get through to the right decision maker, send your profile and follow-up to see whether he or she is interested in an appointment. In our calls we also check whether the company really fits your needs. This results in a short-list of mostly three to five companies.

We visit the companies with you and support in negotiations

Once we have the short-list of companies, we try to arrange meetings for you shortly after one another, so that you can come over and spend your time efficiently. We prepare these meetings with you, so that you can present yourself in the best possible way.

Especially in countries where you have a significant cultural differences with, visiting your prospective partner is extremely important. You can do conference call in a later stage, but during negotiations you certainly have to be there.

We come with you, guide you around, provide translations where necessary and evaluate the meetings with you. This way you can make the right decisions.

We offer you a complete package, tailored to your situation

Alliance experts has experienced business development specialists all around the world. Our people know the market and can give you a head start. Furthermore, we will help you to avoid common mistakes and legal problems.

Our fees for an agent or distributor search differ per country, see the table below. If you haven't done business in the country before, we will first do a business orientation visit to give you insight in the market and prepare you better. After this visit you can stop or you can switch to a different market entry strategy, such as online or by setting up your own sales.

Countries Business orientation visit Distributor or agent search
USA, Japan, Australia, Singapore USD 4,000 from USD 12,000
Western Europe, UAE, Saudi Arabia USD 3,000 from USD 10,000
China, Brazil, Kenya, Ghana, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Jordan USD 2,000 from USD 6,000
Poland, Russia, Iran, Thailand, India USD 1,500 from USD 3,500

For other countries please contact your nearest specialist. The prices mentioned for the distributor search should give you an indication in case the following is all true:

  • You are an established company and already sell the product or service in your home market with substantial volumes.
  • Your product or service is unique in what it does. Having 'a good quality for a reasonable price' is mostly not sufficient.
  • If you are not the manufacturer yourself, you have the exclusive rights for the countries that you are aiming at.
  • If the differentiation mainly depends on your brand (e.g. with cosmetics), you have a clear brand philosophy and your company makes considerable investments in branding. If you expect your distributor to do most of the advertising, you will have a hard time finding one.

In other cases it may take more time and effort to find the right business partner, and our fees may be higher. During the business orientation visit we can give you a good impression.

Contact me to talk about my specific situation!


Is your company ready to be represented abroad?

Please note that in order to do an effective partner search for you, preparations are needed:

  • Your company has a website in English, and preferably the language of the target country.
  • Presentation materials, product descriptions etc. are available in English, and preferably the language of the target country.
  • You have a draft in English for the distribution or agency agreement, and you have a good idea of what would be realistic fees and percentages.
  • Delivery conditions and international logistics are clear and described.
  • There is an outline for a marketing plan, specifying the proposed way of promoting the products or services in the target country.
  • Once we have found three to five suitable distributors or agents, you can come over within a few weeks to have the meetings that we arrange for you.

The better you are prepared and the more attractive you make it to work with your company, the more choice you will have for an agent or distributor. The most wanted distributors or agents will be selective who to work with and will ask you about your marketing plans, branding efforts and your sales support.

Alliance experts can help you all around the world

Alliance experts can do your agent or distributor search in the USA, Brazil, Colombia, the United KingdomGermanyFranceItalythe NetherlandsPoland, RussiaTurkey, the Middle East, with countries like Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (such as Dubai or Abu Dhabi) or OmanIran, KenyaGhana or other countries in Africa, IndiaChinaJapanThailandMalaysia, SingaporeIndonesia and Australia. For other countries, please ask one or our specialists.