Responding to inquires!

Basic Rules

Reply quickly or not at all: Delay implies lack of interest to the prospect's needs. Also, MOST IMPORTANTLY, delays give competitors more time to win the business. Use E-mail, fax, airmail or express delivery as appropriate.

Answer all questions: The inquirers may ask many questions, but should not have to ask the same questions twice. If one of your standard letters answers the questions, send the letter. If not, revise the letter to answer the questions.

Use a business-like tone: Impersonal letters and responses don't make a good impression. Edit your letter and make it specific to the inquirer. Be friendly and courteous, but avoid slang or informal responses. Include name, title and contact information in all correspondence (phone, fax, E-mail and Web address). Print all letters on company letterhead.

Reply in the language specified: Most inquiries are in English. Some are in the author's language but ask for a reply in English. If the inquiry is not in English, have it translated so it’s clear what the prospect wants. Translate the response if requested. Commercial translators will do this for a fee. Some colleges and universities also offer translation services.

Enclose product brochures, price lists and other information: Use your materials to answer most questions, so that the next communication will be a request for quote!

Handling Requests for Information and Price Quotes

Handling requests for information and price quotes. As inquiries lead to interest, prospects will send you a “Request for Quote”. Your “Export Quotation” in response should cover all costs to produce and deliver the goods, plus ancillary fees and markup.

Although formats can vary, “export quotation invoices” or “Performa invoices”, cover the following points:

  • Date prepared
  • Exporter's name, address and telephone/fax/telex numbers
  • Buyer's name and address
  • Buyer's reference number and date of inquiry
  • List and brief description of requested products
  • Price of each item
  • Trade discount, if applicable
  • Country of origin of the goods
  • Gross and net shipping weight (in metric units where appropriate)
  • Total cubic volume and dimensions (in metric units as needed) packed for export
  • Delivery point
  • Terms of sale
  • Payment terms and method, including currency to be used for payment
  • Insurance and shipping costs, specifying who will pay
  • Total charges to be paid by customer
  • Estimated date of shipment arrival
  • Any other terms of the proposed sale
  • An explicit expiration date for quotation

When you and the buyer have agreed on the final price and terms, a “Commercial Invoice” is used for billing.

A commercial invoice lists the quantity, weight, unit price, and total price of each item exported, along with other basic information about the transaction (such as the address of the shipper and seller, and the delivery and payment terms). The buyer needs the invoice to prove ownership and to arrange payment. Some governments use the commercial invoice to assess customs duties. 

Next - Preparing goods for delivary! >>

<< Previous - Finding over-seas buyers & distributors

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Table Of Contents

  1. Is exporting for you?
  2.    >> What is exporting?
  3.    >> Myths about exporting!
  4.    >> What is the possibility of success?  
  5.    >> Do you have the money to export?
  6.    >> Can you handle the "risks" of exporting?
  7. Developing an "export marketing plan"!
  8.    >> Market Research
  9.    >> Export Market Entry Strategies
  10. The process of Exporting
  11.    >> Finding over-seas "buyers" and "distributors"
  12.    >> Responding to inquires
  13.    >> Preparing goods for delivery
  14.    >> Getting Paid!