If Mexico is the right market for your products, how do you go about finding the right representation? There are many ways to look for distributors south of the border. You can start by searching online directories. However, these distributors usually take on multiple product lines and may not give your products enough attention.
For this reason, I suggest bypassing the directories and heading straight for social media sites such as LinkedIn. Joining industry specific groups on this site will get you to the right people. Searching competitors will also lead you to distributors and as an added benefit, it will confirm if your market entry strategy is going in the right direction.
If someone on your international team speaks Spanish, they can post a classified for free on segundamano.mx. The site is very user friendly, and posting is quick and easy. However, speaking Spanish it is not a requirement for posting distributorship opportunities in Mexico. Many Mexican distributors are U.S. educated or have learned English. You might even reach U.S. expats living in Mexico, through a post in English. Nevertheless, it is important to note that social media searches do not guarantee finding the most technically qualified distributors.
For assistance with finding highly specialized distributors, consider going on a trade mission. When I directed a chamber of commerce in Mexico, I hosted a number of successful trade missions from the U.S. There are hundreds of trade missions every year throughout Mexico, both in the resort areas and the interior cities. Trade missions provide one-on-one meetings with pre-screened distributors and networking events with local businesses.
You can further target your distributor search by retaining a Mexican head-hunter to find distributors for you. Recruiters are a very good screening tool. They know the local market and can verify past performance to determine potential for reaching sales goals. Just be sure to clarify in writing the terms of the distributorship and point out that this arrangement is not a direct hire opportunity.
If you prefer to have the search and distributor relationship completely managed by a third party, you have the option of using an international trade consulting firm as well. Hiring an experienced consulting firm will be an advantage for companies who plan for a larger in country expansion in the long term.
Whichever route you decide to go, take your time to make the right decision. Results will depend on how much due diligence is put into the process. Prescreening potential distributors with a questionnaire is a good practice to follow. The information will screen out candidates that are not the best fit, and get you to a short list of qualified distributors faster.
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