There is nothing that I enjoy more than assisting overseas businesses to make more sales in the UK. In fact, I have been advising private companies, public companies and government agencies alike who identified the UK as a lucrative market to sell their products, services or attract substantial investments.
London is the primary global financial centre. No other city in Europe can match the capacity, experience and expertise. During Brexit, Frankfurt and Paris were placing themselves as contenders. However, London continues to be the major financial centre globally.
As long as Brexit induced financial services relocation is concerned, it became clear fairly quickly that the services originating from the USA were looking to go back to New York or Chicago instead of Paris or Frankfurt.
Therefore, London continues to be the major financial player globally with very little competition from the rest of Europe.
As the business or government agency you are looking to increase your sales in the UK – what is the secret?
I see overseas businesses and dedicated government agencies employing some of the three following solutions.
Hiring a Sales Personnel in the UK
Labour market in the UK is highly skilled and it is possible to find the right people for the job fairly quickly. They come with specific language skills, suitable experience and expertise and some of the best university degrees worldwide, as well as their own bespoke networks.
One of the advantages of hiring a sales personnel this way as these candidates would already have substantial local know-how, experience and expertise.
For instance, you are looking to be able to sell your products to budget chains such as Tesco for instance. You need someone with suitable experience and expertise who would be able tailor an attractive offer to the vendor, but will protect your bottom line at the same time.
It is a highly competitive market to participate and sell. Therefore, you need the right team with the right experience. At the same time, you need to be prepared to appreciate the local know-how and adapt your thought, marketing and sales process to the local market conditions.
Transferring Sales Personnel from Home Country to the UK
Another choice is to transfer some of your existing sales people from the home country to the UK.
The advantage of this approach is that you will have someone who understands and is well versed in your business.
However, there may be several disadvantages associated with this choice. For instance, poorer language skills, the need to learn about the local market and business culture or inability to access the key people within buyer organisations.
In my own experience, the sales people who are usually transferred from their home country to make sales in the UK are already well versed in the market and key players. They are already making good sales.
However, the business organisations appreciate that the geographical proximity to key people and buyers may generate more sales. Therefore, transferring the sales personnel to the key market appears a logical next step to be made.
Employing a High Level Connector
An opportunity to employ a high level connector is another opportunity. For instance, regular sales teams are insufficient and you need to break the ground running by employing someone who is capable of making key connections for your business or organisations.
A high level connector is different from sales personnel as the role is to create the good will, attract the interest of the key buyers and bring about the first contract.
The overseas business is usually not well known in the UK. The offer may be of interest. However, you still need to be able to attract the necessary attention and the interest of the key people to lay the foundation for the sales to happen and a contract to be concluded.
Often, I hear overseas Embassies complaining about not being able to access the key-decision makers or players within the desired organisations and not being able to get past the switchboard.
The UK is a highly competitive market and a home to a number of multinational organisations operating globally. Therefore, employing a high level connector may help you to be put forward before the key players and decision makers and going well beyond the switchboard.
A high level connector relies on a personal high value network and thrives on expanding it on a daily basis as well as finding ways of being relevant to the old contacts.
What are the main takeaways for making sales in the UK
The UK is a highly competitive market and a home to a number of high profile global players.
In order to boost your sales in the UK, you need one of the following:
- Hire a local sales force;
- Transfer sales personnel from the home country;
- Identify a high level connector to be able to appear in front of the most important stakeholders.
It is also important to understand that generating sales is a specific full-time role, which needs to be paid for and may require substantial investment.
For a number of businesses and individual countries the UK still represents as a number one choice to be present in and generate sales. However, the UK has at least a choice of 200 individual countries and territories to do the business with.
In no way this means that the doors of opportunity will be closed for the new entrants, it only means that one needs to demonstrate significant effort to convince the key decision-makers that it is worth their while and an overseas business is a serious business partner.
As you are looking to expand your business to the UK and are not certain about the right next steps you need to consider, schedule a phone call with me.
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Saule Voluckyte, M.A.E.S, LL.B, FAIA
I have been working exclusively with UHNWI in Mayfair, London since January 2008. I built specialist knowledge and expertise required to serve ultra high net worth individuals investing, operating and relocating to the UK or Switzerland.
Within the industry, I am the single adviser who is able to traverse the different areas of expertise and bring a comprehensive approach across: global structuring, UK immigration, international taxation and FOREX to develop their global wealth strategy, while they build, grow and expand their wealth worldwide.
Previous experience as one of the senior advisors for the government, made me a go-to person when delicate and uncomfortable scenarios involving heads of state need to be handled with care and preserve privacy.