Once a buyer has made an enquiry about one of the products or services, the following key steps are typically required to complete the sales contract process.

Tips for making your first sale:

  • Research buyers
  • Review their web site
  • Compare designs, materials, quality, pricing
  • Look for new trends
  • Contact purchasing manager
  • Send high quality photos of your best products
  • Send price lists
  • Send samples
  • Try to make your first sale
  • Make first shipment
  • Follow-up regularly
  • Provide good service

1. Receiving an Inquiry

A buyer typically sends the exporter an email to inquire about one of their products or services. It is important that the exporter makes sure that they acknowledge receipt of the inquiry by email or phone within 24 hours, or they may lose the sale. If this is the first time this Canadian importer is contacting them, it is common for them to request samples, as well as ask for quotes for various amounts of the product

2. Quoting a Price

The exporter will need to prepare an export quotation, or pro forma invoice. They should be as clear as possible about costs, delivery, product, service, date of shipment, and payment terms. They can obtain freight costs from the freight forwarder and information from the bank to draw up the quotation. If the Canadian buyer is looking for a large order, it is customary to allow a discount for volume (for instance, 5–10%).

3. Making an Agreement

If the buyer is happy with the export quotation and the samples, they will send a Purchase Order. The exporter may need to negotiate back and forth a few times to come to an agreement that they are both happy with.

The negotiation process is very important. The exporter must make sure that they understand all the terms of the agreement. Refer to page XX for more information on negotiating and terms of agreement.

If the exporter is satisfied with the details of the Purchase Order, they will then prepare a Sales Contract. It is important to make sure to include shipping and payment terms. Once both the parties have signed the Sales Contract, the sale is confirmed.

Clearly state what the price includes, so customers know that additional requests—like special packaging or tags, shipping and insurance—may increase the price. Also, state the time period for which the quote is valid. Keep time periods short in case exchange rates change.