We have been exporting to the Gulf region since 1999. A long time! I am often asked what are my top tips for export, and succeeding in such culturally different and competitive environment. So, in the spirit of UK Trade and Investment’s Export Week, I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for exporting.
1. Be prepared to adapt your services and products to the local market conditions – just because you successfully sell something in the UK or Europe doesn’t mean it will appeal in the same way overseas. Make sure your, marketing, customer service and produce lines are appropriate to the local markets.
2. Don’t expect to pick up contacts on the first few visits – you may have rocked up with great enthusiasm and with great products/services. However, in the Middle East, it is all about establishing solid relationships and building trust first, orders come later
3. Train any staff with direct contact with the market to appreciate the local cultures – differences are striking and it is essential that everyone UK side knows what is acceptable and what is not.
4. Continually review market conditions. You or your team may only visit the market quarterly, but make sure you have mechanisms in place to be alerted to any political, social, legal or financial changes which might impact on your market.
5. Persevere and don’t give up! Be prepared to invest time and effort (and money). If your products and services are sound, you will succeed in the end.
And finally, use the British Embassy and UKTI who are fantastic in the support they offer.