I’m often asked by new clients if we have experience in their industry.
The underlying belief here seems to be that you need “connections” to do business with Japanese companies or need to “know someone” in order for distributors in Japan to take you seriously.
This is simply not true.
We have cold-called thousands of Japanese distributors and I can say with great confidence that the vast majority of Japanese distributors are extremely open to hearing about new business opportunities… if the products being introduced are a good match for their customers and are presented in the right way.
There are three keys to getting Japanese distributors interested.
First, make sure that you are approaching the right companies.
Your best bet will usually be Japanese distributors that are already handling other complementary foreign products, have existing relationships with the right distribution channels and customers, and have a strong track record with other similar products.
Here’s more information on how to evaluate Japanese distribution candidates.
Second, make sure you are talking to the right person.
This will often be the president or another senior manager at smaller distributors. In our experience, it is impossible to get through to this person via email or by calling the number listed on their website.
Here’s one technique for contacting potential distributors in Japan that works if you don’t speak Japanese.
Finally, make sure that the opportunity is presented to the distributors in the right way.
First impressions matter.
Also, the best distributors are very selective in the products that they carry and need to be convinced that your products are a good fit for their business.
Learn more about how to convince potential Japanese distributors to carry your products.