The U.S. market offers a lot of opportunity for logistics companies located in Asian countries – such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Australia, to name a few.
But, maybe due to distance or time zones or culture, it’s difficult for logistics services providers to connect and build relationships with prospective customers in the United States. The U.S. is a big market, with its own way of doing things. It’s hard for any logistics company outside of the country to understand what logistics decision-makers are looking for – or know which are the best companies to focus on with their sales and marketing campaigns.
It is important to know that this challenge is not for lack of interest on the part of U.S. companies. All North American businesses sourcing from Asia are focused on finding the best logistics partners – and many realize the best providers will operate out of Asia exclusively. But, from their perspective, it is just as hard to know how to find good Asian partners as it is for those logistics companies to find them.
So, what can logistics solution providers in Asia do to sell more to U.S. companies? Here are two ideas to get you started.
(For more ideas, read an earlier post we wrote on the topic – How Foreign Logistics Companies Can Find Customers in the U.S.)
First, Be Targeted
The Asian and U.S. markets are very different. Research can help understand your market segments and price points, but until you start talking to real prospects, it’s all just theory.
Getting those first conversations started is, of course, the hard part.
U.S. logistics decision-makers place a lot of importance on credibility and experience of their logistics service providers with their type of business and products. This makes getting started all the harder for foreign companies who are limited in their ability to pre-qualify and know what prospects are best for what they sell.
A smart tactic companies should use is to be very specific with their marketing and prospecting. In other words, go small. If your company has experience with apparel, for example, start with similar businesses. Focusing on a specific market, or industry does not mean there is less opportunity. Being good in a niche that you know well gives you credibility with new customers. It all helps to differentiate yourself so you are not competing with as many companies, either.
Once your company is committed to leading with its strengths and marketing to the types of prospects you can service best; you need to get their attention. This starts with finding and connecting with the right people at those companies.
Do Real Research
Here is the second tip, which will help you avoid wasting a lot of time and money. Buying prospect lists for email campaigns doesn’t work. The goal is quality of contacts, not quantity. But there is an easy and more effective alternative. 95% of the contacts you are looking for are on LinkedIn.
When you know the types of companies you want to work with, and a few of the right job titles. Finding the right people on LinkedIn is simple – yet there is still some work involved.
This leads to two hurdles, where most companies stumble. First, research is hard and takes persistence. LinkedIn and Google searches are very effective. But, taking the time to gather this data is time-consuming and tedious. Most sales and marketing people won’t do it (thus the reliance on buying lists that are not targeted enough).
The second hurdle is creating the right messaging and content that gets these contacts to engage with your company. Foreign companies often struggle with creating content on their website or blog that sounds natural to U.S. logistics professionals. The way logistics professionals talk – their vernacular – is different than Asia and Europe.
Remember, marketing is about selling solutions to your customer's problems, not your product. The tone and messaging in your marketing has to align with the problems the customer is experiencing. This is difficult to do across business cultures, but possible with the correct strategy. That’s the only way U.S. buyers will engage with potential new suppliers like you.
There are many opportunities for Asian logistics companies (from places like Singapore, Hong Kong, China, or Australia) who want to sell to the American market. Shipstarter.com can help you get started. Visit www.shipstarter.com/connect to learn more.