Staff Selection and Training In the Office

Staff Selection and Training In the Office

Staff Selection and Training In the Office

The Export office should be in the permanent care of an individual who has a full knowledge of export procedure and documentation. Ideally, he will have studied and passed the examinations set by the Institute of Export. He should be capable of handling all correspondence with overseas clients and agents during the absence of the Export Manager, who should be prepared to delegate to him all the routine work involved in export sales, including the placing and progressing of customers' orders with the Production Department, arranging Letters of Credit, shipping and customs documentation and insurance. The Export Manager, blessed with the assistance of a reliable and experienced office supervisor, is free to devote the major part of his time to other vital aspects of his work, including research into new overseas markets, the scrutiny and appointment of agents and the framing of export policies geared to meet specific market requirements.

In the Field

In selecting salesmen for work in export markets one must look, generally speaking, for individuals with higher qualifications than is usually necessary when filling vacancies in home market territories. This is because the overseas salesman must often assume greater responsibilities than his counterpart at home. He will undoubtedly be responsible for far greater potential business, is likely to be under much less supervision than the home-based salesman and many of his duties, such as the control of local agents, liaison with local distributors or the supervision of local depots, are of a managerial nature.

It is evident that an overseas salesman must have a good education. It is desirable that he should also possess some technical qualifications because, unlike the home-based representative, he will not have the assistance of a technical service department close at hand. An essential qualification, and one that does not appear to be given sufficient weight in many overseas appointments, is the ability to speak fluently the language of the people in the overseas territories concerned.

In arranging a training programme for salesmen who possess all or most of these qualifications, the Export Manager should stress the importance of familiarization with the habits, tastes and general way of life of the people in the specific markets to which a new salesman is to be assigned. So much of the success in selling is dependent upon achieving a good rapport with one's customers, that a man who lacks the ability to understand the motivations of those to whom he is required to sell cannot achieve the best results. (In a companion volume in this series' WE have attempted to examine in depth the need for a careful understanding and appreciation of buyers' motives.)

Secondly, the overseas salesman should receive training in the pattern of the markets in which he will operate. He needs to know the distribution of population, the concentration of industry and the extent and calibre of competitive activity within those markets. He requires instruction in the business practices of the countries concerned and should also have some understanding of the political and economic conditions which exist.

Thirdly, he should be provided with a good grounding in export procedures and practice. These should be coupled with an explanation of the procedures followed by the company in its handling of export business.

Finally, the new export salesman needs to know as much as he can about how the product is produced, its selling features and how these compare with those of both domestic and international competitors, the company's costing policy and how his product is packed, shipped and distributed.


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