As a salesperson, when communicating with foreign customers, in addition to knowing the characteristics of their products, they must also clearly know what the customers really want. How to tap customer needs? Directly asking customers is one way, and early mining of open information is also a very important strategy.
In fact, not all buyers are your intended customers or potential customers. Through the analysis of foreign customers’ purchasing ability, purchasing price range, supplier situation, purchasing cycle, and qualification information, you can understand whether your supply matches the customer’s purchasing needs. Matching, so as to screen out suitable customers for key communication and development, achieve precise marketing, and realize the improvement of work efficiency. As the saying goes, knowing oneself and one another can survive a hundred battles.
For the preliminary research, foreign trade companies can use big data to analyze the actual situation of the target market and judge the purchasing habits of customers, so as to grasp the needs of foreign customers.
Analyze the actual situation of the target market
Through data analysis, foreign trade companies can clearly understand the distribution of their products in the market, where are the markets with large quantities, where are the markets with good prices, product volume and price trends, market trends, product distribution, channel structure, etc. information.
First of all, we can focus on follow-up and analysis of foreign customers who are currently communicating and other customers in the same market. Even if some markets are not China’s largest export destinations, as long as there is a substantial increase in imports that year compared with the previous year, It means that there is still a lot of room for customers in this market to tap. Then, we can analyze the overall market situation, including: how big is the total market capacity, how much market share has been developed by the peers, what proportion has been developed by itself, and how much space is left for mining; how to objectively treat the so-called “” “Good market” and “bad market”, whether there are suitable buyers for these markets to develop; in a more competitive market, where is the competitive advantage of your products, and whether you can focus on developing side markets.
In normal work, I have encountered a customer who said: “We do it in the global market. The product market is mainly in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The price in the Indian market is not good. We will not do it.”
The so-called “do it in the global market” is a typical ignorance of the main market direction of one’s own products. In theory, any product can be sold globally, but no matter what product it is, you must first determine where the market with large purchases is and where the market with good prices is, and then combine the characteristics of your own products to determine that the focus is on development and volume. The market is still a market with good prices.
If the grasp of the market only comes from B2B (Business-to-Business) platform inquiries, there will be great limitations. From a platform perspective, inquiries cannot accurately reflect the true distribution of the market. For example, there are indeed many customers in the Indian market who care about prices, but it does not mean that there are no good customers in this market.
There is a general manager of a foreign trade company. He worked in a large state-owned enterprise for more than 10 years before doing foreign trade business, and later chose to start his own business. He has always felt that the Indian market is not good, so he has never done the Indian market. It was not until the company’s sales manager developed an Indian customer that he reversed his inherent views. The Indian customer receives the domestic quotation and sends it to the sales manager, but never lowers the price. The general manager was very curious, and went to participate in a professional exhibition in India specifically for this client, and met him at the exhibition. After communicating, I realized that this Indian customer is a “rich second-generation” who has received European and American education since he was a child. Compared with traditional Indians, his way of thinking and business is very different, and he is not only concerned about price.
This shows that a market or a person’s habits may change. Only with data can the market or customer’s purchasing needs be truly separated.
Judge the customer’s purchasing habits
Manager Wang of a certain company in Zhejiang has been contacting an American buyer. He and this buyer met at the exhibition. At that time, the two parties had a good conversation. Manager Wang learned that this buyer ranks very high in the industry and has a large annual purchase volume. Manager Wang always thinks that this customer will place a big order someday, but after several years of continuous tracking, there is little gain. He has never been clear where the problem is.
Later, Manager Wang understood the problem for the first time through the data: This American buyer had been purchasing from several Chinese suppliers before 2018, but has switched to Vietnam for procurement since 2018. Manager Wang analyzed the buyer’s purchase price based on Vietnam’s export data and found that the buyer’s purchase price was slightly lower than his own quotation. After a comprehensive judgment, Manager Wang came to the following conclusion: This customer did purchase a large amount and recognized Chinese products. However, the buyer had to abandon Chinese products due to the increase in purchasing costs due to the increased tariffs imposed on Chinese products by the United States. And sourcing from Vietnam. Therefore, on the basis of accounting for the customer’s overall purchasing ability and cost factors, Manager Wang formulated a tiered quotation strategy for him according to the size of the purchase volume, and finally won the American customer.
In the process of customer development, generally strong customers are selected first. This kind of marketing thinking is no problem. However, it is not that the greater the purchase volume, the better the quality of the customer, but the better the customer’s purchasing needs match the positioning of their products. Whether the supply and demand match between the two parties is also based on the analysis of the customer’s purchasing habits.
Client’s purchasing ability
By analyzing the buyer’s purchasing ability, combined with its own supply capacity, foreign trade companies can locate suitable buyers. Buyers who have just started to purchase our products may also be looking for other more suitable suppliers and may consider following them as key customers. In addition, for customers who are strong in purchasing related products, you can also see if there is an opportunity for product cross-selling. For example, if a foreign trade company is doing detection products related to the epidemic, then you can also contact customers who previously purchased medical consumable products to see if they can find sales opportunities.
Customer’s purchasing cycle
Through the analysis of the procurement cycle, we can understand the distribution of customer procurement in the off-peak and peak seasons, at which time point the procurement is relatively concentrated, etc., so that we can choose the appropriate time point according to the product production cycle and delivery cycle to contact or communicate with customers.
Customer’s purchase price range
After analyzing the customer’s purchasing cycle, it is necessary to understand the buyer’s purchasing price system. Based on this, high-quality buyers within a reasonable price range can be selected, and buyers whose purchasing prices are close to or higher than the quotation will be taken as key targets for follow-up. The price system can also help us to quote customers more reasonably, so that low quotations will not affect profits and high quotations will lose customers.
Customer’s supplier situation
First of all, it is necessary to determine whether the current buyer chooses a single-supply or multiple-supply. Many suppliers supply at the same time, which is a routine operation for foreign professional customers. Of course, if there are new suppliers involved in the near future, it would be even better, indicating that foreign customers have the need to increase purchases or replace suppliers, and key communications should be conducted. Next, learn about the buyers’ active suppliers. Active suppliers include those who have maintained stable cooperation and those who have just started to cooperate. By comparing and analyzing yourself with active suppliers, you can find your own advantages. These advantages are also the key “weapons” for communicating or communicating with foreign buyers in the later period. With these advantages, we may be able to help customers solve practical problems and make it easier to impress customers.
It is recommended that companies find customers that match them, and focus 80% of their energy on 20% of customers. When you have the ability to win large customers, it is best to cooperate with larger companies first. Because it is possible that you have 5 small customers in your hands, and the benefits they bring are not as great as the value created by this one big customer. Of course, in actual operation, we must judge the customer’s purchasing habits and arrange resources and energy input reasonably.
The above is a research on the needs of early customers, screening buyers who match them. Traditional Chinese medicine pays attention to “seeing, smelling, asking, and cutting”, among which “wang” and “smell” are observations, which are the two aspects of “analyzing the actual situation of the target market” and “judging the customer’s purchasing habits” as we mentioned earlier. “Ask” is to ask questions. In the questions, we often explore the explicit and implicit needs of the customer. Only when the basic situation of the customer has been grasped, the key questions can be raised, so that the customer can truly feel your professionalism In this way, you will have a sense of trust, and at the same time, it will be able to organize your own needs more effectively and achieve efficient communication results. “Cut” is to meet customer needs, solve customer problems, seize the opportunity, and complete sales based on the conclusions made to the target customer.
The needs buyers tell you are only the needs they want to tell you, and cannot be the only criterion for judging the quality of customers. Any business is profit-seeking, and customers also convey their needs to you from the perspective of their own interests. To dig out the true needs of customers, we still have to rely on seemingly cold big data, because it will not lie.