Sales and Procurement
International sales and procurement professionals book orders for individual customers, coordinate sales through foreign distributors, or make purchases from foreign suppliers. Sales managers and representatives identify prospective buyers, present the company’s product or service, and close orders. They negotiate prices, payment terms, and delivery conditions within the framework of company policy. They may also coordinate preparation of bids for competitive procurements from government or corporate customers and provide a liaison for ensuring that customers’ needs are met.
Careers in Sales and Procurement
International Sales Manager
International sales managers are responsible for their company’s sales efforts within a defined territory. You will evaluate target markets, set overall volume goals, and establish sales quotas for your sales representatives. The manager is responsible for motivating staff and ensuring that sales targets are met.
- Key to Success: An ability to concept and implement strategies that achieve sales targets in each market. You must be capable of creating a global vision and communicating it to your staff. This position demands strong presentation skills backed up by a working knowledge of the principal languages in your company’s major markets.
- Average Annual Salary: $113,000
Responsible for seeking out sources of products and services that the company requires for its operations. For example, you will be comparing domestic and imported products and purchasing from both sources. You’ll be expected to locate the most suitable goods and services at the best possible price and ensure that they can be delivered where and when they are needed.
- Key to Success: An ambitious and entrepreneurial spirit will allow you to enjoy the opportunity to contribute directly to your company’s bottom line, and you will be rewarded accordingly. You must be capable of managing assets and meeting efficiency targets for inventory control. You must be aware of currency fluctuations, terms of trade, and contract conditions that affect the purchasing of materials.
- Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Foreign Trade Consultant
Foreign trade consultants are independent brokers who monitor activity in specific markets and earn commission by matching buyers and sellers. As a consultant, you will not take title to the goods, but you may earn commissions based on the volume of sales in the market you are managing. You will assess a company’s product line and advise them on what is exportable. You will also advise on local regulations and product adaptation and help design market entry strategies.
- Key to Success: Confidence in decision-making and in recommending solutions is key for all consulting fields. You’ll need excellent knowledge of the market in which you work, and the analytical skills to assess your client’s strengths and weaknesses. Negotiating skills are required to match sellers with distributors or major buyers. You should also enjoy the challenge of constantly learning about new situations, assessing different client problems and finding innovative solutions.
- Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business, Economics or related field
As an international trader, you will be involved in both the export and import of goods and services. If you work for a trading house, you may act as an agent on behalf of buyers and sellers, which means that you do not take title to the goods. Or you may act as distributor, in which case you do take title. You will provide an integrated package of logistical services, including transportation, documentation, shipping, and insurance. Traders tend to specialize by product, and there is a great deal of teamwork involved within the organization.
- Key to Success: International trading requires a great deal of adaptability and the ability to maintain control under pressure. Strong communication skills and knowledge of the language and culture of the trading partners is also essential.
- Average Annual Salary: $85,000
Export Sales Representative
Export sales representatives are most likely to be employed by companies with a small number of foreign customers buying relatively technical products where it is not practical to hire sales personnel in the local market. You are the front line of the company’s sales efforts, providing leadership in discovering customer needs and determining product solutions.
- Key to Success: Strong interpersonal and writing skills, and a good understanding of the business culture in your target market. Negotiating and sales skills are a must to close the deal. Since you may often work alone, and must meet sales targets, you will need to be highly self-motivated.
- Career Tip: Attend seminars in sales techniques and develop proficiency in different foreign languages to give you an extra edge.