Managing Overseas Distributors. When Three’s NOT A Crowd

‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’
English language idiom


I was recently talking to a colleague about managing overseas business relationships. I shared some of my experiences managing different distributors, both in the same country and overseas, which she found interesting. Naturally, these delivered varying levels of success, but here’s how I tried to do things.

I was employed to manage and generate sales, so I didn’t leave it to my distributors to do this all by themselves. The saying goes ‘Two’s company, three’s a crowd’ I like to have a three-way working relationship, that looked something like this:
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Creating Demand On A (Non-existent) Budget


Building a brand in a new territory takes more than just finding a distribution partner, sending a price list and waiting for the orders to roll in. You need to do some work to create demand, both with the end-user of the product (consumers) and with those that will help you get your products or services to market (distributors/retailers). I see this as the work of the Sales Manager, rather than relying on distribution partners.
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Why Overseas Partner Searches Are More Involved Than You Think


During the past two years, Xport has carried out several Partner Searches for Finnish companies who want to grow their overseas business. This has been done for several different industries going to different countries. We have done this to invite people to meet at a trade show booth, arrange face-to-face meetings or find distribution partners.

Naturally, we don’t have direct contact to all the potential purchasers in every sector in every country, so this is how we go about the task: More than just cold calling, it is not a quick process. It often involves several calls & e-mails over a period of weeks.
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Treenaa asiakaspalvelua englanniksi Seinäjoen Superkesää varten!

Superkesä blog post image FIN

Maksimoi myyntisi – hyödynnä tuhansien kesävieraiden tarjoamat mahdollisuudet

Keskiviikkona 6.4. Into Seinäjoki järjesti tilaisuuden hotelli Almassa  “Seinäjoen Superkesä 2016” -kampanjan käynnistämisen merkeissä. Seinäjoen Superkesä on sarja tapahtumia, joiden odotetaan vetävän suuren määrän vierailijoita Seinäjoelle. Luonnollisesti suurin osa näistä on kotimaanmatkailijoita, mutta myös ulkomaalaisia vierailijoita odotetaan mm. seuraaviin tapahtumiin:

  • Taitaja2016 – ammatitaidon SM-kilpailu
  • Asuntomessut 2016
  • “Round table” – kansainvälinen tapaaminen
  • “Nordic King” ravitapahtuma PowerParkissa
  • Power Truck Show  PowerParkissa

Näiden lisäksi väkeä vetävät myös maakunnan vakituiset kesätapahtumat, kuten Provinssirock, Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat, Vauhtiajot, Solar Sound, Ilmajoen Oopperajuhlat ja Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. Into Seinäjoki haluaa kannustaa paikallisia yrityksiä valmistautumaan niin koti- kuin ulkomaistenkin kesävieraiden vastaanottamiseen parhaansa mukaan!

Xportin tiimi tarjoaa erityisesti hotellien, ravintoloiden ja vähittäiskauppojen henkilökunnille suunniteltua asiakaspalvelukoulutusta englannin kielellä. Koulutus on yrityskohtaista, käytännönläheistä palvelutilanteiden harjoittelua äidinkielenään englantia puhuvien valmentajien kanssa.

Lue lisää

Improve Your English for Seinäjoen Superkesä 2016

Superkesä blog post image 2

Maximise the Sales Opportunities Offered by 1000’s of Extra Visitors to Seinäjoki


On Wednesday 6.4, Into Seinäjoki held a meeting at Hotel Alma to launch their campaign, Seinäjoen Superkesä 2016. This is a succession of events during Summer 2016, that will see a large number of additional visitors to Seinäjoki. Naturally many of these will be Finnish visitors, but international visitors are expected for several of the events;

  • Round Table international meeting
  • Taitaja2016 – Vocational education event
  • Asuntomessut 2016 – Housing Fair
  • Nordic King race meeting at Power Park
  • Power Truck Show at Power Park

These are in addition to the regular events in Etelä-Pohjanmaa: Provinssirock, Seinäjoen Tangomarkkinat, Vauhtiajot. Solar Sound, Ilmajoen Ooperajuhlat, Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. Into Seinäjoki wants to encourage local businesses to be prepared to receive the extra visitors including more international tourists.

To help local retail, restaurant and hospitality businesses, the Xport team is offering its combined experiences in these industries to offer customer service coaching in the English language. Read more


Cooperation blog post

The Xport Associates group, international skills in Etelä-Pohjanmaa

This post is adapted from an earlier article in the online magazine ‘Ostrobothnia in English‘ written in June 2015.

It is often said that there is a strong Entrepreneurial spirit in Etelä-Pohjanmaa. I didn’t really understand what that meant until we started Xport at the beginning of 2014. I certainly didn’t know that I might have some of that spirit in me. As soon as we announced Xport to the world, people would say ‘Oh, you should speak to my friend’ and that friend would then take the time to offer some advice of their own, trying to help us find our first customers.

That is what gives South Ostrobothnia
its unique business environment.


At first I found it funny to hear people using this word so often, ‘how does cooperating help us grow our business’ I thought. I have learned, though, that cooperation does lead to business.

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