Skip to content

Making export contacts

How do you make a connection with someone who’s thousands of miles away? This article will help give you a solid start for finding and making export contacts that will benefit your business.

You will learn

  • Places you can go to meet potential contacts
  • About the Overseas Market Introduction Service
  • About organisations who can help you make export contacts

Making export contacts in the country that you want to break into will make it much easier to succeed. If you can develop a great working relationship with a pre-existing business in that market, they can help you establish your brand over there by sharing useful market tips.

However, before you dive right in and start looking for potential export partners and advisers, make sure that you’ve got a good understanding of what they can actually offer you. Once you’ve got a few people in mind that you think could be really helpful to your business as you start to export, do a little more research. Make sure that the business or partner you’re considering working with has a good track record of success and is actively operating in your area. You don’t want to find that your new partner is actually bad for your reputation in that country.

Email complementary businesses in the area

You’ve done your research, so you know what other businesses are big in the market you’re trying to break into. Send them an email which lets them know that you’re moving to the area and are looking for some advice and potential collaborators. Because your business complements theirs, they won’t need to worry about you poaching their customers, and you might even be able to add value to what they’re currently doing. You’ve got nothing to lose by reaching out and trying to build a relationship. Sure, not everyone will be interested or even respond, but you don’t need them to, as long as one or two people get back to you.

Attend trade shows

Trade shows are incredibly useful when you’re starting to export. Not only will having a stall help raise the profile of your business, but you’ll also be able to wander around the show yourself and network with the other businesses owners who are there. Meeting face-to-face and chatting about your plans with other people starts to build a relationship between you. The most important thing to remember when you’re interacting with others is to get their contact details if you think they could be useful to your export goals. That way, you can follow up with them after the event and develop your connection with them.

If you’re worried about your networking skills, check out our top tips to help you make a great first impression and lasting connections.

Make use of the Overseas Market Introduction Service

The Department for International Trade runs the Overseas Market Introduction Service specifically to help you make connections in an international market. They have people working across the world that they can connect you with so you can get up-to-date, first-hand market information and advice to give you the best chance of success in that market. And, because they’re part of the British diplomatic network, any referral that they make to local businesses on your behalf will look professional and credible.

Find out more about the service or contact their team for more advice.

You could also make use of the Department’s International Trade Advisers, who can help with all the individual elements that make up a successful export business. You can register your interest in meeting with a trade adviser for free here.

Trade Associations

If you’re a member of any trade organisation, use their connections and recommendations to help you when making export connections. Things like the Federation of Small Business and your local Chamber of Commerce can also help point you in the right direction for international partners.


When you start to export, you’ll need to spend some effort making export connections to help you break into the market successfully. Use the links you already have, as well as drawing on the resources from organisations like the Department for International Trade to help you establish useful overseas connections.


Give the world a taste of Yorkshire

Get your free guide to exporting food and drink to find out how you can give the world a taste of Yorkshire

Written by:

Beth Ellin

How's Business content writer

Email Address: