DIRECT EXPORTING 1. Direct relations desirable but costly.—The ques tion as to whether direct or indirect relations with the foreign market are likely to be the most profitable is one that cannot be answered without reference to other considerations. It depends upon the character of the market at home, the possibilities of develop ment there and abroad, the output and turnover, the capital available, the securing of the proper person nel for an export department, to mention only the most important factors. The last is not the least difficulty in the path of direct exporting. Thus far Americans have been, generally speaking, poor lin guists, not inclined to spend long years abroad or make a thoro study of the intricacies of the. usages of foreign markets. • The export commission house, with its organization already built and operating, can take on additional products with little extra charge and, up to a certain point, handle them more economically than the manu facturer who has to maintain a separate selling or ganization for the purpose. But the more rapid ex pansion promised by the latter method will often be thought to outweigh the initial handicap in financing as well as the early conveniences furnished by the commission houses.
2. The buyer seeking the seller.—It is by no means always necessary for the seller to seek the buyer. Members of European importing firms or their rep resentatives visit America to get in touch with the manufacturers of articles in which they specialize. Paris, Hamburg, Leipzig, London and Lyons are visited regularly by buyers from North, Central and South America and to a limited extent from Asia, Australia and Africa. The sample fairs, the infor mation bureaus of commercial museums and of cham bers of commerce play important rotes in bringing these buyers in touch with the manufacturers.
In order to attract buyers in large numbers, a city must possess these institutions of commercial intelli gence and must offer to foreign visitors the facilities which will permit them to obtain a good bird's-eye view of the industrial products of the country. The commercial prominence of Hamburg was in no small measure due to the excellent commercial museum, the many export exhibits and the concentration of repre sentatives from the various industrial centers of Ger many. The tendency in America has been for the
business man to under-rate the importance of exhibits and export museums.
Many of the larger importers of Australia, South Africa and British India maintain permanent branch offices in London. Some foreign offices are found in the United States, but they are relatively unimportant.
3. Selling by mail.—Selling by mail in foreign countries introduces two or three features that are not met in domestic mail selling. The time elapsing between advertising or circularizing and the receipt of orders is relatively, of course, much longer. Then, it is highly important that the advertising matter should be adapted both in language and thought to the read ers for which it is written. Nations differ, as we know, not alone in language and laws, but in their customs and outlook upon life. The impression that Americans' "do it now" appeals make on South American merchants is the exact opposite of that hoped for. Arguments which would convince a New Yorker might arouse suspicion in the reader in Amsterdam. To do business successfully by mail with foreign readers, it is indispensable to study their ways and manner of thought and adopt a sympathetic and courteous attitude towards them.
Advertising in export magazines and technical journals will frequently bring surprisingly good re sults. Where the market is highly competitive and travelling salesmen of other or the same nationality are regularly on the spot, advertising as the sole means of promotion will naturally prove inadequate.
4. Mail-order business.—Selling directly to the consumer by means of advertising is a phase of for eign trade which has received too little attention from American firms. The American patent medicine firms seem to be the most energetic in this form of trade development. However, a well known Chicago mail-order house does a large business by mail in Mexico. The introduction of mail-order methods in European and South American trade may well claim the serious consideration of the American exporter.