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Exporting to the USA: How to find the right business partner

A business partner can play a decisive role if you want to export products and services to the US. It is therefore all the more important to find the right partner, understand his actions and avoid false promises.

Offer your potential partner in the US a wow effect
Offer your potential partner in the US a wow effect

"This is a great product, we must do something with it!" It's not unusual to hear a sentence like this from an American. Don't be deceived if you introduce a product in the USA and receive such positive feedback. It is not really a promise at all, but rather an elegant method Americans use to keep people happy. Potential American business partners, endeavor to come across as courteous yet persevering. So contact the potential business partner several times, if you do not receive an answer right away and get a definite promise or refusal. To do so, however, you should be aware of what kind of partner you actually need: 

  • How do you want to position your product?
  • What other products may a partner have in his portfolio?
  • Should the partner have their own network?
  • What tasks should the partner take over?
  • Which philosophy should the partner represent?
  • What kind of support will you bring into the deal? What can you offer in the win-win relationship?

Once you have found a suitable partner, it is important to cultivate and expand this relationship intensively. Do not assume that once a partner has become aware of you, he will take over the complete marketing of your product. Your help and commitment are even more important once you have succeeded in finding a partner. This can lead to a competitive edge, especially in the beginning. Later, the contact can be used to define common intermediate goals and to control the course of business.

Financial security

When exporting to the US, make sure you are financially secured. Either ask your business partner to pay in advance or only deliver the product in small quantities.
If you are considering consignment stock, it is important to be familiar with the legal requirements. In the USA there is no retention of title, unlike in Switzerland. In the event of inventory discrepancies or if your partner goes bankrupt, it is difficult to retrieve the goods. The US bankruptcy office can also seize goods that have not yet been paid for. 

Switzerland Global Enterprise's support

Together with the Swiss Business Hub in the USA, Switzerland Global Enterprise compiles lists of potential business partners for you, checks their suitability and arranges contacts.

Learn more about our distribution partner search

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