Marketing > Finding export agents
Finding a suitable agent is not always
an easy task. Unfortunately, while there several individuals
who may operate as ‘export agents’, they
may not have the experience, skills, or the drive to
actually become successful agents. They present themselves
as export agents because it sounds a glamorous job,
but once they become more involved they realise how
difficult it is and may abandon the idea and leave you
stranded. It is essential, therefore, that you find
an export agent that can prove to you that they have
the background to do the work for you!
It may also be the case that you are
marketing a very technical product that requires an
agent with specialised skills – an engineer, for
example. Finding such a person may prove illusive. Similarly,
you may be seeking someone with experience in a particular
country, such a German- or Spanish speaker. Again, finding
this person may prove difficult (worse still, if you
are looking for a Spanish-speaking engineer with export
What do you need to look out for?
We discussed these issues in the previous section and
we feel that they are important enough to repeat here.
When seeking an export agent to assist you, you need to
bear the following in mind:
- Does the export agent have the skills and experience
to do the job?
- Does the export agent have the technical knowledge
to market your product(s), especially if you are selling
a very technical product?
- Does the export agent have a good network of contacts
that he/she can turn to for help?
- Does the export agent have a working knowledge of
the foreign marketplace (for example, do they understand
the culture and speak the language)?
- How many other companies does the export agent represent?
- Does the agent represent any competing or similar
- Does the agent represent any complementary products?
- Does the export agent have a suitable personality
to successful market/sell your products abroad?
- Do you think that you can get on with the export agent
on a personal level?
- Can the export agent provide you with any references
from other companies they have helped, and if so, go
ahead, check these references?
- Do you agree with how the export agent proposes to
market your products?
- Is the export agent affordable (is he/she proposing
reasonable expenses and commissions)?
- Is the export agent prepared to enter into a formal
contract with you?
- Does the contract or agreement with the export agent
impose any restrictions on you (a) in terms of exclusivity,
(b) with respect to the period of the agreement, and
(c) as far as non-performance or conflict issues are
concerned (i.e. can you get out of the contract if you
Click here to access the issues you need to consider when
contracting an export agent