Desk-based and internet research can provide useful leads when planning cross-border trade. In addition, a carefully prepared market visit to the Republic of Ireland (RoI) can expand your knowledge and contacts. It allows you to meet potential customers while researching the market for your products.
Market visits can take the form of centrally organised trade fairs and trade visits. Government agencies in both Northern Ireland and RoI can also arrange personal contact with key decision makers.
Before committing to a market visit, it's important to decide what you want to gain from it.
Preparing for a market visit
Make sure you have clear objectives for the visit. When researching a market, it's important to investigate:
potential competitors' pricing
opportunities for promoting your products or services
You may also want to:
identify potential partners or distributors
generate sales leads
raise your company profile
Seek to meet with relevant industry figures where possible. There is no substitute for first-hand experience of your particular market.
Prepare suitable promotional literature for distribution to new contacts. Find out critical information beforehand, eg:
your target business' working hours
You can get advice, support and information from a number of Northern Ireland and RoI agencies. These can help you make business contacts. They can also advise you on attending trade fairs. InterTrade Ireland have a range of cross-border trade support schemes and Invest Northern Ireland can provide support for trade visits and exhibitions.