Novices get top ten tips from the experts as Export Week kicks off

14 November 2013

THE secrets of effective selling and top ten tips for successful exporting were revealed to an audience of almost 100 new and would-be exporters, at the latest We are International event in Leeds.

Author, life and sales strategist, Darren Kelly, whose new book Hello Profit is published this autumn, discussed his ‘3D formula’ for global sales growth at the We are International Export Network breakfast event at commercial law firm, Pinsent Mason, on Tuesday (Nov 12) to start UKTI's Export Week.

Darren Kelly, outlined the success of jobless Scotsman, Bertie Forbes, who de-camped to New York and started the Forbes Lists, and also quoted serial investor, Warren Buffett’s phrase that “simple is not easy” said that successful selling could be distilled to being interested and optimistic, having personal, customer and company gratitude and building trust.

Partner in Fitzpatrick International, Batley near Bradford,  Ernie Fitzpatrick, described how product analysis   and studying customer needs helped him increase sales of a British-made Christmas pudding to Australia from £10,000 to £1.4m in two seasons. Among his top ten tips were that being adaptable and innovative were vital to exporting.

Managing director of specialist hygiene products, The Proton Group, Normanton near Leeds, Murray Angus, who exports to Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, USA and UAE, said that businesses should adopt a common sense approach and not get wrong-footed by exaggerated cultural differences.

He said: “Generally speaking, if you’re professional, polite and purposeful that is all that is required.” He added that agents and distributors needed to be assessed carefully as many tended to over promise and under deliver. In general, Europe was a good market for first-time exporters as it has a pro-British approach to UK products and no tariffs or trade barriers.

Export sales manager with Optimum Medical Solutions, Leeds, Victoria Boldison, whose business was founded in 2008 and already exports to 50 countries, said that playing on the British brand and heritage gave confidence to overseas customers as did being open to ideas and optimistic. She said: “You must view exporting positively and not see it as a threat.”

Alan Young, regional director for Yorkshire Bank in the East of England, who welcomed delegates, said Yorkshire Bank’s experience was that for many customers economic conditions appeared to be getting better. This was reflected in the number of businesses coming to the bank seeking advice and international trade finance to target new overseas markets.

He said: “Increasing exports is a way to help the economy to grow which is one reason why we’re pleased to support the We are International Export Network event. We have an experienced team in Yorkshire led by  international trade finance manager, Terry Ventress, who can give guidance and de-mystify the financial aspects of overseas trade for our customers. We have a wide range of experience and financial solutions to create the right approach for their needs.”

International business director at Bradford-based sink manufacturer, Astracast, says: “For companies new to the export market or looking for a fresh start in overseas sales this was an excellent and very interesting event. The last speaker Victoria Boldison summed up the principles of good exporting simply and concisely.”

Business manager at Scarborough-based potato products manufacturer McCain Foods, Jim Hughes, says: “As a global brand we already have a presence in every country but we are always seeking ways to do things better, including our route to exporting. These were excellent presentations at a very, very good event which really opened our minds to new opportunities for our business. Our meeting with 'Export Ambassador' Ernie Fitzpatrick was extremely helpful”

The export network is a key element of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s We are International campaign. The initiative – delivered in partnership with international trade specialists Chamber International, UKTI Yorkshire and Humber, Enterprise Europe Network and MY Export Hub – aims to add £1.6bn to the City Region economy and create thousands of jobs during the next five years.