Why Is the Conversion Rate of Foreign Customer Inquiries Always so Low?

tendata blogTrade Data Provider

ten data blog29-04-2024

When engaging in foreign trade business, attention to meticulous details is crucial, alongside a macroscopic perspective. Streamlining and standardizing the workflow of foreign trade activities are pivotal steps in the process of business expansion. In this guide, Tendata will walk you through step by step on how to build closer relationships with customers through responding to inquiries.

foreign trade customer,foreign customer,foreign customers

I. Identifying the identity of foreign customers.

Understanding different types of foreign customers corresponds to different communication methods and requirements, which is a strategic approach to conducting business. Foreign customers can be categorized into manufacturers, traders, intermediaries, wholesalers/retailers, capital goods purchasers, and individual consumers. Based on the characteristics of customers' identities, attention should be paid to the following:

a. Manufacturers:

- Characteristics: Large, stable procurement volume, emphasis on price and quality.

- Considerations: Quality and price discounts, streamlined processes, specialization, prompt production feedback.

b. Intermediaries:

- Characteristics: Large procurement volume, emphasis on price.

- Considerations: Commission issues, confidentiality agreements, price discounts, professional advice and services, prompt production feedback.

c. Wholesalers/Retailers:

- Characteristics: Small procurement volume, diverse product categories, emphasis on minimum order quantity and styles.

- Considerations: Organizing inventory products, providing choices of new styles or colors.

For foreign trade novices, when receiving an inquiry, it is necessary to extract valid information and clarify the initiator's position and type of inquiry. If the inquiry comes from a customer at the managerial level, the response should be thoughtful and meticulous, meeting their informational needs, preferably exceeding expectations to deepen the impression of your company.

II. Clarifying the needs of foreign customers.

Specifically, clarify the following points:

- Understand first, then quote: Analyze inquiries from foreign customers in detail, avoid impatience, quick replies may not necessarily capture the customer's heart, only high-quality responses can be effective.

- Avoid asking questions already provided: Read the inquiry content carefully and avoid asking questions that have already been provided by the other party.

Helping foreign customers take one step further: Think from the perspective of the other party, consider under what circumstances the customer would ask you this question, and if you were the customer, what kind of response would you expect.

III. Analyzing foreign customer inquiry information.

After clarifying the needs of foreign trade customers, it is necessary to analyze the inquiries in detail. The following are some classifications of potential demands that may be involved in foreign customer inquiries: target price, minimum order quantity (MOQ), OEM/ODM, sample delivery, additional product requirements such as color/size, language issues (whether support for other languages, especially product manuals), export experience requirements, certificate requirements, payment methods, logistics issues, company qualification requirements, etc.

Suggestions for quotations are as follows:

1. When multiple products are involved in the inquiry, it is best to list an Excel spreadsheet for the customer, making it easy for the customer to understand the quotations of various products at a glance.

2. When faced with prices lower than the cost price given by foreign trade customers, professionalism and sincerity should be maintained to impress the other party. When unable to reduce the price further, do not assume that foreign customers will choose a lower-priced supplier over you. At this point, you need to have confidence in your product. Persuade foreign customers with various arguments, such as informing them of the variety of similar products on the market, the reasons for each price range, and the reasons for pricing your own product. See if there is any data to support your point, such as market prices of raw materials, etc.

3. When foreign customers think your product prices are too high, whether you need to reduce the price to meet their requirements depends on the specific needs. Some foreign customers in certain countries believe that once you reduce the price, the product quality may be affected, and they will not cooperate with you. In this case, we need to convey your value through the strength of the product and factory. Arrange for foreign trade customers to visit the factory in person, or directly provide product pictures, product operation videos, factory pictures, and factory videos to them.

Regarding sample delivery, the suggestions are as follows:

1. If customers request samples in the first email, it is better to consider carefully before replying. Consider whether there has been consultation with very professional product information before, and whether strong purchase intention has been expressed. If so, samples can be sent, but arrangements need to be made with the customer for freight; if not, such customers can choose not to send samples, or suggest taking photos or shooting product videos for them to see, and wait for their satisfaction before making a decision. Of course, if your company is strong, you can choose to send samples so as not to miss any trade opportunities.

2. If the communication has been good before, but the customer finds the sample quality to be poor after receiving the sample. First, it needs to be clarified whether it is a problem with the quality of the product itself or damage caused by transportation during the sample delivery process. If it is the former, you can try to negotiate with the customer whether both parties can compromise; if it is the latter, it is recommended to send samples again or explain to the customer, showing them before and after photos to win their trust.

IV. Replying to foreign customer inquiries.

The following points should be noted:

1. Clarify the needs of foreign trade customers.

2. Avoid lengthy email content.

3. Ensure the completeness of the reply structure.

4. Consider the price and product positioning in peer competition.

5. Actively promote and leave room for customers to reply again to establish interaction.

6. Check if your product industry expertise is sufficient.

7. Appropriate reply time for inquiries.

8. How to write effective email subject lines.

Your company's advantages can be reflected in the following aspects:

1. Fast delivery.

2. Absolute price advantage.

3. Years of production or foreign trade experience.

4. Participation in local exhibitions or industry-renowned exhibitions.

5. Possession of its own research and development team.

6. Cooperation with well-known brands or companies.

7. Possession of certificates, quality assurance.

8. Providing OEM and personalized customization services.

Appropriate follow-up time:

1. Try to reply to foreign trade emails and inquiries within 24 hours.

2. If you want to contact the best, it is recommended to use corporate email.

3. It is recommended to log in every working day and regularly check for updated emails.

4. Mobile communication tools can be bound to facilitate timely contact.

Email subject lines are also very important. Here are a few things to note:

1. Use the names of customers and suppliers.

For example: To David McIntyre from Kevin Wang, or To JC Penny from Blue Sun Company. Using the "To... From..." structure makes it clear to foreign customers who the recipient and sender of the email are. Additionally, if it is a response to an inquiry, it is advisable not to change the subject line too much, as foreign customers may have a certain impression of the inquiry they sent.

2. Use product quotations.

For example: Discounted quotation for Model 123, priced at $8.99, FOB Yantian. This kind of subject line is clear and concise, allowing foreign customers to know the specific quotation for a certain model product at a glance. However, when the product model is very long, adjustments need

to be made carefully to avoid being misjudged as spam and filtered by the server.

3. Use the product name based on customer demand.

For example: European market Model 123 digital photo frame, or digital photo frame product catalog with patented design. Such email subject lines not only highlight the type of product the foreign customer is inquiring about but also highlight the advantages of your own product.

V. Importance of follow-up with foreign customers in the later stage.

After replying to emails, some customers may reply within 3 days, while others may vary. Follow-up actions should be taken according to the specific situation.

1. Contacting customers for feedback.

If customers feel they have no need for our products after receiving a follow-up email, they usually express that they will contact us in the future. In any case, getting a reply from the customer is good enough, indicating there are still opportunities in the future.

Follow-up skills:

For such customers, it is recommended to maintain contact by sending introductions to new products or new quotations. Believe that with the passage of time, the possibility of becoming your customer is still relatively high. At least let foreign customers have an impression of you, even if they don't need your products temporarily, they will think of you first when they have a need in the future.

2. Customer indicates a temporary lack of need.

If the customer feedback indicates a temporary lack of need for your products but they will ask about other products or detailed questions related to the products.

Follow-up skills:

For this type of customer situation, for the company, responses should be made based on the actual situation. Regardless of whether help can be provided, it is recommended to always give replies and suggestions. Even if it is temporarily unable to become a customer, a friendship can be established first. After all, their questions are related to your company's products. As the Chinese saying goes, "The more friends, the more business opportunities," especially in the business field.

3. Seizing the opportunity to explore intelligence.

Follow-up skills:

In dealing with such foreign customers, if the company has a good relationship and a large scale of old customers in the United States region, you can choose to introduce two to them to showcase your strength. However, before replying, appropriate responses should be made based on the promotion of the company's products in that region.

Standing in the position of foreign customers, think more about the real purpose behind their questions. Generally speaking, simply informing the company name is sufficient, and be cautious about disclosing the contact information of the other party. If there are no customers in the U.S. region, you can add introductions to some other country's customers to showcase the company's strength and subtly hint to foreign customers that we do not yet have partners in the U.S. region. If you cooperate with us, it will help you develop the entire U.S. market. Additionally, if foreign customers do not reply for a long time, do not worry. It may be that they did not open the email in time, or they are temporarily busy arranging other priorities, or they were filtered by the system, and the specific reasons are difficult to determine. In this case, it is recommended to send another email to inquire whether the email has been received and whether they are busy with other matters, and inform the seller that they will continue to wait for further news.

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