International lead follow up is key to your success. Here are a few tips to aide in your venture into international marketing.
People Buy from People they Know and Trust! Establish your credibility with Travel Agents and Tour Operators. Relationship building is essential, so be reliable and demonstrate knowledge of your business or destination, and industry. Certainly don’t promise more than you can deliver. Fully disclose rates/costs with taxes and gratuity included or expected. Know that the laws in Europe are strict and enforceable.
Get Things Right the First Time. Don’t forget your business cards. Include your complete and correct fax number, email, and website address on your business cards and in any follow up communications. Avoid using toll-free numbers unless you know they will work from other countries. Avoid vanity numbers since there are no letters on telephones oversees.
Use the Tour Operator’s business card as your tool. Note their gender for future reference. Is the country listed on the card? City and/or Country access codes for fax and phone? If not, learn to use the telephone book phone service pages or internet sites like www.countrycallingcodes.com
Qualify your leads by selecting the ones that are right for your business. Respond as quickly as possible. Use a shipping or mailing method you know and trust.
DVDs are a great way to show your destination or business to buyers. Utilize the internet for formatting specifics. State tourism offices use a universal or multi-region format, when creating master DVDs, to ensure that the DVDs can be played worldwide.
Shipping and Mailing. Send all the materials or information requested. Use a shipping container that is the right size for the shipment – not too big or too small. Improperly sized boxes can split, get crushed, or even pop open. Re-enforce corners and seams with tape. Protect breakable items, like videos, with bubble wrap, etc.
Unless requested, do not send every single piece of promotional material you publish. Don’t send the kitchen sink. It’s expensive and storage space is usually limited, so they will throw it away if not needed.
On shipping and/or mailing labels, postal code (zip code) placement is important. Follow the Tour Operators business card example.
Europe – before city
UK – before country (example London, N19 5PR)
When shipping documents use appropriate customs forms and fill them out completely and correctly to avoid costly duty charges or returns. Label shipments “For Free Distribution, No Commercial Value,” “For Promotional Use Only” and check the” “gift” box on the form. Assign a per unit cost that international customs officers can accept as realistic.
Cut Costs. Make use of Email. Acknowledge receipt of emails. If possible, use auto-response if you’re out of the office for an extended time. Update your email signature to ensure the contact information is current. Use a courteous greeting and closing, as well as a more formal/professional tone. Curt messages come across as rudeness in many cultures.
For international faxes, dial 011 for international access. Use the correct city/country codes. If you receive a fax from an international Tour Operator, acknowledge it, even if it may take you some time to respond completely and appropriately. Don’t leave them wondering if you received their fax.
Research shipping options. Combine materials into one shipping container, if appropriate. Communicate effectively with the shipper to discover discount opportunities. Try FedEx’s Great Rates Hotline: 877-463-7408
- Follow up is following through.
- If you say you’ll send it, send it.
- If you make a promise, keep it.
- It’s your word, don’t break it.
- And, be patient. Results take time.