How to Get Leads in China Market
The Internet has changed the landscape of e-commerce and traditional business. Its potency to expand the business globally attracts startups and established companies to move forward on globalization.
Connor Adams Sheet of International Business Times said, “China is one of the world’s largest and most alluring markets, and as it continues to become a more attractive destination for foreign investment, entrepreneurs and investors are flocking to the country to take advantage of the many benefits of doing business here.”
Quite frankly, the premise bears a fact. However, while it is an alluring and attractive market to pursue, foreign brands still have some apprehension to enter the China market. To ease the tension, we thought of giving you practical tips on how to get leads in China market while your run the business at your homeland. The secret is to leverage on the power of Internet in China.
A lead (also known as) sales lead is a person or entity that might be interested to buy a product or service.
According to Go Globe, “Internet usage in China is growing; every 1.6 seconds, a new Internet user is added to the Chinese Internet population. Chinese Internet users are spending more time online (20.5 hours per week as compared to 18.7 hours in 2011.”
The Internet is the most effective way to reach out to Chinese consumers since this where they usually flock every day. Just imagine the exposure and online presence you can build if you are serious in getting leads.
You might think they are basic bulleted pointers, but most of the time the mastery of basics often lead you to go deeper and wider understanding of your target market.
- Connect – the best way to connect and get leads is to connect virtually with LinkedIn. It is a highly effective social networking business platform that executives and entrepreneurs use to find new prospects, clients, and business partners. However, the website has its own set of rules on connecting people. Make sure you read its terms and conditions before using it. If you don’t have time to manage it, work with your assistant to maintain it and update it for you.
(Power tip: Find an established Chinese partner who is familiar with the local market, legal processes and has good contacts locally.)
- Conduct – through social media websites and other Internet platforms, conduct some research about China, the China market and the rules governing China Internet laws. If you wish to use web 2.0 tools such as blogs, websites, and videos, start Googling the dos’ and don’ts of China Internet.
You may also use LinkedIn to conduct research by joining groups and asking some of your connections that know best the China market and culture. There are many available resources such as case studies and white papers about China market that provides information regarding its current situation, challenges and opportunities.
In this way, you will know whom you should connect with, make friends and be active on forums.
(Power tip: As you spend time on research, you get to know what platform to use, how to introduce your brand, and see a bigger picture of the China market.)
- Communicate – assuming you have found a handful of local contacts; you can take a big step forward in communication with the use of marketing platforms.
If you wish to pursue China market, communication is a crucial aspect to target your audience. You cannot say what you need to say about your product or service. You need to communicate it in ways on how the China market receives and perceives it.
To effectively communicate, you may need the assistance of translation companies to translate your marketing copies, including the translation of business cards, catalogs, brochures, and web localization to further make a big step to leverage on the Internet. Work with a translation company for dubbing marketing videos and multimedia into Chinese and Mandarin so you can share them to your local audience using homegrown Internet websites and social media networks.
(Power tip: Make sure you partner with a local translation company that can work with you for long-term. While there are some translation agencies that offers one-time payment on short term, it’s best to work with someone who can also help you with other business-related issues in China and can introduce you to other local entrepreneurs.)
- Cooperate – having a local partner poses opportunity and risks. It is important that you work together as a team and cooperate hand-in-hand. “A good partner is an incorporated company that is about the same size as your firm, at least partly Chinese-owned, and well-connected in the Chinese market,” said Peter Adriens a professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business. It’s best to cooperate with your local partner and know the China Internet laws since you will be operating under their jurisdiction. In this manner, you must cooperate with your local partner and the government. (Power tip: The result of strong teamwork will give you more exposure to local entrepreneurs and consumers as you get to know the people, language and culture.)
- Comprehend – it is not enough to know the current market condition of China through studies, news and reports. You must understand the culture, language (even some basic Chinese or Mandarin language) and how homegrown startups operate their business in a local setting. Adriens mentioned an example of how business are done. He said, “In China most business gets done over drinks in social settings, as opposed to in America, where it often goes done in the boardroom or on the golf course. And decisions are more often made informally during conversations rather than on paper, a fact that helps keep the country’s “old boys network” alive.” (Power tip: China is a dynamic market. The secret is to build long lasting relationships to people you met virtually and in person. Maintain your contacts and be generous to reciprocate what they did for you at an opportune time. Do business the “Chinese way.”)