1. Get a voicemail system to receive your calls.
You can have a dedicated phone number that allows you to record an outgoing message and receive unlimited incoming messages for as little as $24 a year ($34 the first year) - that is $2 a month. (NOTE: I did not say $24 a month, I said $24 a year after the first year which has a $10 setup fee.)
The voice messages are then sent to you via email and you can play them back on your computer anywhere you might be in the world. You can find these services advertised on the net, but if you would like the name of the service I have used for 5 years you have to get either the Import Export Toolkit or the Exporters Master Training package.
Sidenote: everyone loves their children and grand-children but you should not put their voice on your outgoing message - if you do not like your voice, write down what you want to say and have a friend or relative with a better voice record the outgoing message for you. And, please, do not have your children or grand-children in the background when you are calling someone - you only get one chance to make an impression.
2. Get a dedicated fax number.
Here again you can use the same service as the voicemail and have them send your faxes to you via email as PDF documents that you can then view on your monitor and print out, if necessary.
Sidenote: I often use a dedicated fax number as a means of qualifying an import lead's validity - if an "importer" has the same number listed for both their fax and phone number, they are most likely just getting started, or are sample seekers who have no intention of buying anything. Don't waste your time.
3. STOP USING YAHOO AND HOTMAIL email addresses.
I have spoken to many people who will not bother to read an email if it is sent from a Hotmail or Yahoo email account. So when trying to do business via the Internet DO NOT try to do so with a Yahoo or Hotmail email account and expect people on the receiving end to take you seriously.
Gmail.com offers the best FREE email system right now and although it will probably reach a point where it too is looked down upon in the business world, it is still fairly new and does not have the BAD stigma attached to it that Yahoo and Hotmail have achieved.
BETTER YET - Follow advice on our last post about getting a website and begin using your own website Email system to send and receive your emails.
Yahoo and Hotmail email systems are two of the MOST restrictive systems that I and other business owners I have spoken to have found - many, if not most, of any email with the word dollar, or symbol for dollars $ or mere mention of order or other commonly used business terms will send your email into their spam folder. Oh and forget about an email with an attachment like an invoice.
4. STOP SENDING FREE SAMPLES.
Do your due diligence on a lead first, make sure they are a legitimate business and even then DO NOT SEND FREE SAMPLES - advise them that you will ship samples at wholesale cost and they will pay shipping "in advance" but that once you receive an order for $1,000 or more, you will deduct the wholesale cost of the samples from their first order. NO NEGOTIATION. Scammers know you want and need business and they will use this against you.
The above method was provided to me from the owner of a very successful vitamin manufacturing business (about $10 million a year successful) and it is the exact method his company uses, no exceptions.
5. FREE TRADE LEADS.
Forget about the trade lead boards, legitimate importer don't need them, they have the Internet and will find their sources of supply via the websites of the manufacturers and/or exporters. The majority of the FREE importer (buyer) leads are 1 person wannabee startups but the vast majority are SCAMMERS and FREE SAMPLE SEEKERS that will not only break your bank but waste your most precious asset - TIME!
There is a way you can find REAL importers using your best friend on the Internet - Google. I will not provide the exact details of how to find them as this is reserved for the BONUS resources we give to our customers who purchase either our Import Export training course or just the Export training course.
But I will tell you that GOOGLE can be your BEST friend in identifying REAL importers or REAL products that you seek to export and the key I will reveal is to learn how to use their "ADVANCED" search techniques. Other than that, if you want a full, detailed description of this search strategy you will have to get one of the two above mentioned courses.
Finding REAL IMPORTERS using the method I discovered is great, however, in the world of marketing, which type of lead is better? A lead that you find, then contact and try to sell OR a lead that has already seen that you have the product(s) they are looking for and now they have called you or sent you an email?
COMMON SENSE - the lead that is coming to YOU is the BEST lead you can find in ANY BUSINESS. And what is the best way to help potential customers find you and your products? Yes, you guessed it, a WEBSITE (re-read the post previous to this one).
Hope you have found value in the above TIPS and suggestions.
International Trade Services