What is an international sales agent?

The Fundamental Role of an International Sales Agent

An international sales agent is a professional responsible for the relationship with an import and export company. In other words, this agent represents a company and charges commissions for transactions that have been previously negotiated.

De Algemene Raad van Internationale Handelsagenten is een instelling die verschillende functies kan vervullen, afhankelijk van het land en zijn specifieke wettelijke kader. Over het algemeen is deze raad echter een professionele organisatie die internationale handelsagenten in een bepaald land of regio samenbrengt en vertegenwoordigt.

An import and export company must have a reference person who can and knows how to manage its commercial dealings abroad, i.e. the international commercial agent is the mediator between the company and the international client.

For this reason, the figure of a commercial agent is almost essential in international transport, since he is responsible for carrying out the necessary procedures to expand the market of the company for which he works.

Het Spaanse ministerie van Industrie, Handel en Toerisme speelt een cruciale rol in de ontwikkeling en promotie van de internationale handel. Een van de belangrijkste elementen op dit gebied is de figuur van de internationale handelsagent, die export en import vergemakkelijkt en de aanwezigheid van Spaanse producten op buitenlandse markten bevordert en vice versa.

What are the advantages of an international commercial agent?

  • Analyzes a company’s target market

In order to be able to sell or market a product abroad, as well as the services of a company, it is necessary to carry out a study of the country you intend to target.

In the case of an international sales agent, they will be responsible for researching and studying the market to find target customers.

  • Create your ‘Ideal Profile’ of the agent

Before hiring the commercial agent, we must be clear about what profile to have. That is to say, at an international level it will be the image of our brand and must meet some basic requirements to represent our company.

We can focus these decisions on professional factors (training, experience…), personal factors (availability, age, communication skills…) or demographic factors.

  • Search for potential candidates for a future transaction

Finding customers seems simple enough, but finding the best ones is much more complex. It is therefore advisable to use the data combination method and draw up a list of the requirements we want our ideal customer to meet and look for those that are most likely to become one of our best customers.

This action can be carried out by telephone, social networks, online directories…

  • Performs a filter of the candidates

Once you have this list of ideal customers, you have to score them according to the values they have given according to our requirements.

We can look at aspects such as references, experience…

  • Savings on fixed costs

With an international commercial agent you will only spend on transportation costs, i.e., you do not have to maintain a fixed cost since this agent only works for the trips he makes for the company, which means savings in fixed costs.

  • Rapid entry into the international market

Hiring an international commercial agent provides us with a faster entry into the market of the country we want to target, since he already has contacts and knows how to move and operate in that country.

  • Faster processing

As we have just mentioned, getting to know the country beforehand saves time and money. The international commercial agent will tell us which administrative procedures to initiate in order to have everything in order.

Waarover onderhandelen in een contract?

The main elements when negotiating between a company and an international commercial agent are the following:

  • Sales target
  • Remuneration, i.e. the sales commission, which may be variable depending on the type of customer or fixed.
  • Exclusivity: It is recommended that exclusivity be reciprocal and that the services and/or products and the area to be covered be determined.
  • Duration of contract
  • Early termination: Penalties or conditions must be established in the event of early termination of the contract.

Een agentuurovereenkomst tussen een internationale handelsagent en een bedrijf legt de voorwaarden vast waaronder de agent de commerciële belangen van het bedrijf zal vertegenwoordigen op een specifieke buitenlandse markt. Dit type contract is essentieel om de zakelijke relatie te formaliseren en de rechten en verantwoordelijkheden van beide partijen vast te leggen.

Types of sales agents

There are different types of international commercial agents, depending on the needs or specializations of the company, they can be differentiated as follows:

  • Import agent

Its main function is to search for product manufacturers in certain foreign markets to import them to established customers within the company.

  • Export export

In this case they are the opposite of import agent. They specialize in finding customers in specific foreign markets for manufacturers in their home country to promote business between the two countries.

  • Agent of import y export agent

They are known as brokers. Their main mission is to locate foreign suppliers that manufacture products at a lower level than what is offered in the market of origin.

An international commercial agent can be found in the main schools, although they can also be searched through LinkedIn or the Chambers of Commerce of the market of origin.

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