Our good friend, Alfredo Coppola, is Partner at e-Storm International Consulting, a marketing services company with offices in Canada, California, Europe and Asia. He recently offered his advice for Canadian tech companies wishing to sell into the US.
“Before investing the time and financial resources on setting up regional US sales offices, consider these three low-cost strategies for establishing credibility with prospects south of the border. It’s all about dressing up to appeal to Americans and not being perceived as a “foreign” company. And even more important, eliminating the “not invented here” mindset that may clog your relationship-building efforts with US-based prospects.
1. First of all, invest in a virtual U.S. office. Many business incubators in the US offer these services for as little as $100 per month. A legal U.S. mailing address, complete with voice mail and mail forwarding, can be yours without the expense and tax exposure associated with physical office presence. Add this contact information to your website, your email signature and your business cards.
2. Secondly, build a network of US prospects at relevant industry events and trade shows at US cities in your target area. Being armed with a US address and phone number on your business card will significantly increase your chances of receiving a call back.
3. Ask your marketing folks to “Americanize” all press releases and industry announcements on your website. This means adding context when name-dropping or referencing local press sources. For instance, it’s meaningless to an American prospect that reads a headline about your CEO being profiled in the local daily newspaper. The solution would be to shift the focus of the headline towards the content of the article, rather than its source. The same applies when announcing a big Canadian customer win. Americans may not think much about you winning a major contract with Telus, for example. Such a headline should mention a win with a “Tier 1″ telecom carrier rather than just the name of the customer.”
Solid tips and good common sense Alfredo! Thanks for sharing these with us.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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