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Export Tips

Export Solutions has published more than 250 articles on Export Strategy and building international businesses through distributor networks. We source Best Practices and inspiration from more than 300 Distributor Search projects across five continents. Our goal is to help the industry by providing practical commercial guidance to translate Export dreams to tangible brand presence on the shelves of supermarkets in 96 Countries.

What Distributors Want to Know

Strong distributors are overwhelmed by calls from brand owners looking for new partners. Export Solutions lists 20 factors that distributors assess when evaluating your company. ...

What Makes a Great Distributor CEO ?

View 20 assessment criteria for evaluating Distributor CEO's.This ranges from delivering on business plan commitments to dedication to your business. ...

Customer Relationship Assessment Grid

Every distributor claims great relationships with global retailers such as Walmart,Carrefour,Tesco, and Costco.Use Export Solutions Customer Relationship Assessment grid to measure your partners capabilities with leading retailers.  ...

Export Catalyst -New Sales from Old Markets

Export Catalyst is a new export development tool. Export Catalyst stimulates incremental sales and productivity from your existing international Distributor network. ...

Brands-Analyze your Contribution to Distributor Profit

What is your brands contribution to your distributors company profitability ? Export Solutions supplies a template with 20 key assessment criteria to help you analyze how your brand contributes to the financial health of your distributor network. ...

Distributor Capability Assessment Grid

Export Solutions established 15 assessment criteria to identify "Best in Class" performers as well as "under-achievers." This template allows you to rate Distributor performance and alignment with your companies vision . The grid can also be used as a reference check form when evaluating new distributors.  ...

Searching for New Distributors

Export Solutions makes life a little easier for more than 2,700 Export Managers. Our time saving database serves as a helper in identifying qualified, local brand builders in 96 countries. Click here for free sample distributor list.Total coverage is more than 7,300 distributors of supermarket products. New ! Search by country, category , or distributors spe ...

Distributors Need to Make Money Too- Ten Tips

Exporters need to focus on how much money a distributor makes from representing their brand. Many distributors are family run operations,relying on thin net margins in the 3-5 percent range. Distributors are attracted to brands with existing sales that will add scale to their operations. ...

Distributor Search Best Practices

Selection of a strong local partner is a key step in your export development process. Learn Export Solutions Best Practices for international Distributor Search. ...

Distributor Data Sheet

One page Fact sheet summarizing Distributor capabilities. A resume or "CV" for Distributors. ...

Currency Exchange-Tough Tactics for Tumultuous Times

Dramatic currency gyrations wreak havoc with retail pricing around the globe. Distributors devote more and more time to f/x management than brand building in some countries. Unfortunately, most export managers distance themselves from the problem until they receive an urgent call from a distributor faced with a 10-20 percent price increase in local terms. Re ...

LEAP: Distributor Strategies to Attract Profitable New Business

How do distributors attract the right new business ? Strong Distributors are always looking for strong established brands to add to their portfolio. Export Solutions LEAP strategy is a dynamic approach to building distributor business. Includes development of a targeted new brand acquisition strategy and module dedicated to Marketing your Distributor Brand. ...

Distributor Search Help

Can we help you ? Export Solutions serves as a Distributor Search helper for many leading European and USA companies. We help through our immediate access to owners of leading distributors in all of the 96 countries covered by our famous database. Distributors everywhere respect Export Solutions and our database and provide our client projects special consid ...

Export Express Winter 2017

Our Winter 2017 issue of Export Express includes feature articles: New World Order 2017,Next Stop Cuba,"Select your Distributors, Do Not Let Your Distributors Select You", and a Distributor Assessment Capability Grid. ...

Brand Manager Assessment Template

Yourt Distributor Brand Manager represents your key day to day contact person. Successful Brand Managers are good partners who deliver resulst , not excuses. Is your Brand Manager an experienced veteran or new hire ? View our Brand Manager Assessment template ...

New Distributor Interview Agenda

Initial distributor interviews are critical meetings to establish the basis for a business partnership. Our New Distributor interview Agenda lists 9 key elements for a successful meeting. ...

Distributor Warehouse Visit- Best Practices

How often do you visit your distributors warehouse ? Warehouses serve as the precious nurseries where are brands await sales to customers. A periodic warehouse inspection reveals important insights into a distributors business.Read our Ten Tips on a productive warehouse visit.  ...

Ten Tips: Converting Promising Leads to New Partnerships

Have you ever experienced an incredible first meeting with a distributor ? Strong alignment , good fit, everyone smiling, timelines agreed. Then, nothing happens ! The export manager may take up to six months to translate his outlook from "done deal" to "dead deal".  There are two reasons why this occurs: First ,distributors are positive, competitive at ...

Ten ThingsThat Distributors Like

           1. Respect for their Right to Make a Reasonable Profit Distributors have profit targets just like manufacturers do. Distributors measure total supplier contribution, defined by sales multiplied by gross margin. How much value do you receive from your distributors relative to your contribution to th ...

Distributor Assessment Road Map

Most companies maintain diverse distributor networks: A mix of large and small distributors, categoryspecialists, and those focusing on brands from your home country. Which type of distributor delivers “Best in Class” results for your company ? An important consideration is your brand ambition and investment level for a country when evaluati ...

Ten Things Distributors Dont Like

1. Unrealistic ExpectationsCategory growth ranges from 1 % to 5 % in most Western countries. So how can a manufacturer demand a 10 % increase in sales in a mature market ? It's possible if the brand plans a major increase in marketing spending. However, normally, business growth parallels overall market conditions. 2. Direct Contact with their assigned Re ...

12 Tips to Derail Export Diverting

1. Conduct Extensive Due Diligence on all New Distributors Visit each new distributor’s office and warehouse to calibrate the size of his business with other principals. This includes reference checks from existing manufacturer clients as well as from leading retailers in his home country. Run a Dun & Bradstreet or Equifax financial report. 2.Desi ...

Who is Your Brand Champion ?

Successful distributors may represent twenty companies or more, with each brand shouting for attention. Exporters should identify ,develop, and applaud a  Brand Champion at each of your distributor partners. A Champion is someone who is passionate about your brand and values leadership results for your company as something deeper than just selling anot ...

Contacting New Distributor Candidates

Every export manger has performed the time consuming function of reaching out to potential distributor candidates in a new country. The process is usually successful, but requires patience and perseverance. Top distributors are overwhelmed with new representation inquiries. These requests must compete for attention with the hundreds of emails in the distribu ...

What is your Perfect Store ?

Retail stores serve as showrooms for our products, the destination where supply chain inventory is translated to a sale. Leading multinationals such as Unilever,Coca Cola, Mondelez, and Con Agra are placing renewed emphasis on in -store execution through "Perfect Store" initiatives. Basically, perfect store programs seek to optimize supplier and store sales ...

Six Steps Before you Hire a New Distributor

1. Reference Check with their existing brand owners.2. Store visit to view in-store presencefor current brands handled.3. Call at least one retail buyer for a reference check. 4. Conduct a credit check through Dun & Bradstreet or Equifax. 5. Search local legal records for lawsuits against the company or owner 6.Secure independent local legal inpu ...

Ten Tips: Measuring Distributor Enthusiasm for your Brand

All your distributors express enthusiasm and commitment for your brand. True passion for your partnership is measured by what distributors do, not by what they say. Listed below are ten tips to consider when measuring Distributor enthusiasm for your brand. 1. CEO commitment and involvement The CEO steers the distributor ship and sets the tone for your busi ...

Ten Tips: Getting Better Results with Big Distributors

I admit it: I like big distributors. They feature more critical mass which allows them to invest in people and technology. Retailers and large distributors are "co-dependent", leveling the playing field. Also, big distributors get paid first during financial crisis and usually offer better multi-channel coverage and retail services. However, many small-mid s ...

Taking Your Business to the Next Level

Next Level Business Management A client asked me a good question. This Export Manager stated that he always achieved his personal objectives, sold his brand across all countries, and maintained a pretty good group of strong distributors. What strategies could be implemented to drive his business to the next level ? My basic response was that this company ne ...

Ten Tips: Getting a Distributor to Love your Brand

The classic industry question is: "How do you maintain distributor focus on your company priorities once you leave the market ?"There is no easy answer, but a solution is to encourage a distributor to "fall in love" with your brand and company. Falling in love is based upon an attraction to a person and enjoyment of spending time with them. The same feelings ...

10 Tips: From Homesick Shelf to Category Captain

Many supermarkets offer sections dedicated to products from foreign countries. The "Homesick" shelf allocates one meter, mini departments, represented by iconic niche brands from the USA,Germany, Italy,UK, Brazil, or Mexico. Despondent expatriates rush to this section hoping to find their favorite candy or "sauce" brand from back home. Often, this represents ...

Twelve Signs that a Distributor ( Retailer) is in Trouble

Early indicators suggest that 2016 will be another challenging year. Global outlook is not gloomy,but growth appears to be dialing back in emerging markets,causing concern,but not panic. Certain markets, retailers, and distributors are still in the doldrums, suffering a severe hangover from the recession.Listed below are twelve signs that a distributor or re ...

Best in Class Distributor Standards

Is your distributor (or importer) network “Best in Class”? Alignment with a strong partner will deliver superior results for your brand. Export Solutions evaluates and analyzes hundreds of distributors per year. Frequently, our point of view is requested to establish criteria for selecting the best distributor candidate for a brand owner. Recappe ...

Distributor of the Year

Every supplier should organize a contest to recognize their Distributor or Sales Team of the Year. This strategy has proven to be one of the most efficient and effective business building ideas. Sales People Love to Compete-Let’s face it. Sales people are competitive and if they are not………you may be aligned with the wrong sales te ...

Distributor Database: Frequently Asked Questions

Who created the distributor lists ? Our proprietary lists were compiled by consumer/food products professionals with 29 years working with distributors, importers, and brokers in Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Asia and the USA/Canada. The carefully researched lists contain distributors, importers, and brokers who are the leading local companies at suppl ...

Build Relationships to Build Business

Many of the most successful business deals are clinched long after 900 pm. Barriers come down once your buyer or distributor escapes the handcuffs of an office environment. High impact schedules filled with meetings, emails, and deadlines leave us too little time to cultivate relationships. Technology, travel , and industry globalization have created seismic ...

Big Distributors vs. Small Distributors: Your Best Bet

A common industry debate revolves around the size of the distributor (or broker) you choose to represent your brands. Does your company prefer to be positioned as one of many brands in a leading distributor’s portfolio? Or is it your company strategy to be a "big brand" in a smaller companies operation? Read below to understand the "pro’s and con ...

Good Store vs. Bad Store: Report Card

Good store versus Bad store ? How do you evaluate whether the store you just visited was a “good store” or “bad store” in terms of your brand presence? Clear communication of a brand’s in store objectives is critical to achieving good visibility at store level. Your retail sales team (direct or outsourced) should be aligned with ...

Distributor Search 2016

Export Solutions recently celebrated the eight year anniversary of the launch of Export Solutions distributor database.Many of my friends from export will recall the story behind the birth of our database. I was faced with the challenge of identifying distributor candidates in Italy for a  large multinational . I attacked the project the "old way" ...

New Years Resolution - Upgrade Your Distributor Network

Every company includes distributors that appear as chronic under-performers. Year after year, management listens to excuses and we patiently “give them a little bit more time.” 2015 results are in and it’s easy to spot the problems: big country, small shipments. The new year is the right time to implement a process of upgrading your distrib ...

Route to Market: Direct to Customer vs. Distributor

Export Managers frequently evaluate tempting offers from global supermarket chains desiring to purchase “direct”, eliminating the local distributor/importer middleman. While this can be an attractive strategy in a few scenarios, it often sets a dangerous pricing precedent which becomes difficult to “unwind” when you seek to optimize s ...

My Way: Finding and Selecting the Right Distributor

Hiring the right local partner is the third most important step in optimizing your sales. This follows creating a product with a unique consumer value proposition and willingness to invest in brand development activities. Listed below are some practical tips on selecting the right company to represent your brand. Identify a Pool of Preliminary Candidates Cr ...

Distributor Contracts: Review and Refresh

Suppliers review their Distributor contracts for two reasons: At the start of a new distributor relationship or when the current distributor has resigned or failed. Most exporters simply revise their standard distributor contract with a new name and make a few minor adjustments when entering a new partnership. Export Solutions frequently reviews distributor ...

Distributor Performance: Recognize the Leaders, Push the Laggards

The start of a new year is an appropriate time to review distributor performance. This process starts with the evaluation of the usual metrics such as shipment results, market share, and success delivering new item placement. Normally, distributor performance ranges across the spectrum from outstanding results delivered by top distributors to under-achievers ...

Straight to the Top

You think you are busy ? Try serving as the owner or managing director of a distributor. The typical distributor represents 10-20 companies. This role is comparable to parenting 10-20 children, each vying for attention and requiring care everyday , not to mention the needs of the distributors own employees. A distributors days are filled with back to back me ...

Distributor Types: Different Experts for Different Situations

All distributors are not created equally ! Most exporters recognize obvious differences based upon the size of distributor and breadth of service offering. Export Solutions has identified six common types of distributor business models. Global brands maintain a mix of distributor relationships. Some partnerships are new while others have evolved for thirty y ...

Distributors: What Every Brand Owner Wants to Know

Export managers receive baskets of offers from distributors desiring to represent well known brands. Distributors should structure their company credentials presentation to address key assessment points for the brand owner. Listed below are Export Solutions tips for distributors looking to enhance their position as a viable candidate for an important new bus ...

Treat Distributors as your Best Customers

Every export manager and salesman puts on their best smile when meeting with the buyer at a major supermarket chain. We bend over backwards to be flexible to meet their costly demands, all in the questionable spirit of partnership. In return for our loyalty, supermarket buyers focus on total category sales, private label, and maximizing internal profits by p ...

Best Practice: Form a Distributor Advisory Council

It's a universal battle to secure your fair of your distributor networks time and resources. This is the nature of working with an external sales team where you are effectively renting a "share" of the organization's time. Forming a Distributor ( or Broker) Advisory Council represents a proven tactic at obtaining more distributor senior management focus and ...

Distributor Margin/Broker Commissions: What’s Fair?

Short Answer-Prevailing Rates* 12-15% Distributor/Importer Margin Leading Companies/ Brands with Major Marketing Support 20% Distributor /Importer Margin "Average size" Brands with Some Marketing Support 25-50% Distributor/Importer Margin Niche brand with little or No marketing support 2% USA Broker Commission Leading Companies/Bran ...

Introducing MITS - More in the Store

A great Clorox sales theologian named Tom Palmer introduced MITS "More in the Store" to me . The core philosophy was that if you focused on execution at store level that incremental volume would be pulled through the system. This concept represented a departure from the old adage that a "loaded customer (warehouse inventory) was a happy customer". Retail st ...

Distributor Participation on Global Account Teams

10 companies deserve recognition as “Global Food Retailers”. The list is easy to compile, including the familiar banners of Carrefour ( 38 countries), Metro ( 21 countries), and Walmart (17 countries) plus a few others. Global retailers wield tremendous clout over their suppliers for more than their critical mass. Their uniformity of format, info ...

Route to Market: Distributor vs. Direct

International Brand Export Managers frequently evaluate tempting offers from retailers desiring to purchase “direct”, eliminating the local distributor/importer middleman. While this can be an attractive strategy in a few scenarios, it often sets a dangerous pricing precedent which becomes difficult to “unwind” when you seek to optimi ...

Retailer Business Review Time

This is a good time of year to conduct your annual business review with key customers. 2015 shipment records and market share data are now available. Annual negotiations have been concluded for most and retailers have launched their own plans to grow sales in a challenging 2016. The annual Business Review represents a unique opportunity to discuss your busin ...

Breakthrough Results

Think Big! An adjustment in mindset towards “What if” can deliver game changing results for your business. In today’s business environment, execution of the same plans and same promotions as the past will deliver mediocre results, even for leading brands. The consumer goods industry contains many success stories where hungry innovators chal ...

People Power: Distributor Brand Managers

Brand owners demonstrate significant due diligence in selecting a new distributor. This includes lengthy negotiations with the distributors owner and development of a marketing plan with their senior management.  Typically, you sign a contract and then they introduce you to "John" ( example), a 30 year old Brand Manager with a marketing degree who will ...

New Distributor Assessment Grid

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Export Solutions Distributor Lists : Best Practices

Distributor Specialization: View the “comments” field of each distributor listing for clues on Distributor category specialization and brands represented. Web Site: Visit distributors web sites for more company information. No web site listing indicates a smaller distributor. Export Solutions subscribers enjoy ”one click, live access&rdq ...

Distributor Database: Frequently Asked Questions

Who created the distributor lists ? Our proprietary lists were compiled by consumer/food products professionals with 28 years working with distributors, importers, and brokers in Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Asia and the USA/Canada. The carefully researched lists contain distributors, importers, and brokers who are the leading local companies at suppl ...

Mid 2017 Report Card

Congratulations ! You've survived the first half of 2017. Export shipment trends are positive in the Americas,Asia,Middle East, and Africa. Europe enjoys a decent year, as as small waves of optimism cross the continent. Value oriented shoppers are still eating,but demanding more choices and more product information. Export Solutions clients are typically rep ...