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A strategy to win over European buyers

An alternative strategy to win over European buyers - Guide My Growth

The European market is of great interest to many businesses in Africa, Asia or Latin America. Over 400 million potential customers who have money to buy and who are interested in having many products and services to choose from. What’s not to like?

However, I see many businesses taking an approach that does not get them good results. This approach is: collect as many email addresses as possible from potential European buyers, for example at trade fairs. And then reach out to these contacts with a general email.

By a general email, I mean an email that is not tailored to the buyer that you are approaching. Though this may seem like a good strategy – it saves you time – it can actually have a negative impact on your business.

In this article, we’ll look at a strategy to win over European buyers that can bring you lasting success.

A message of indifference

Using a general email to approach your potential buyers is like filling your hand with small stones and throwing them, hoping you will hit something. This approach sends the message that you are not interested in understanding the buyer’s needs or establishing a long-term relationship.

It may make the buyer decide that you are not serious about the business transaction. It can even imply a lack of professionalism. At the end of the day, the conclusion is simple: a general approach tells the buyer that you have not taken the time to understand their preferences. This immediately creates a barrier to trust.

Consequences of a general approach

Reputation damage

If you send out a generic email without tailoring your message to each individual buyers, it damages your reputation. It shows a lack of commitment to establishing a relationship with the buyer. The buyer may decide that your business is unprofessional or not truly interested. This damages your reputation and also damages the potential for a fruitful partnership.

Brand devaluation

A general email positions your business – and thereby your brand – as one of many businesses that are trying to sell something. A buyer will not notice you if you cannot present a strong value proposition that shows them why they should choose you instead of your competitors. If you don’t have a unique selling proposition, your brand may be seen as unremarkable. This will further reduce your chances of winning over a European buyer because they too need a product or service that helps them stand out from their own competitors!

Erosion of earning potential

If your product or service is not perceived as unique – AKA, it is considered easily replaceable – buyers will look for the lowest possible price. The general approach fails to highlight the unique value that you can bring to the table and makes it difficult to justify premium pricing. In addition, if you position yourself as the person who has a problem (you want to sell your product) and the buyer as the problem solver (buy my product and help my business!), your negotiating position is already weak and you are leaving money on the table.

Guide My Growth has created a free EU Export Guide for producers and exporters that explains the most effective strategy to win over European buyers. Click here to request the EU Export Guide.

This is what you need to know before you approach European buyers

While the European market is very interesting, entering it requires a well-considered strategy. The key lies in understanding the importance of long-term relationships for European businesses and knowing how to handle the challenge of standing out among the many suppliers trying to get their attention.

Long-term relationships are very important!

European buyers value stability and continuity in their business relationships. Changing suppliers frequently is expensive and leads to uncertainty about continuity of supply. So, they are hesitant to engage with new sellers. This hesitance on the part of buyers is a big problem for businesses that want to enter the European market.

European buyers are changing their selection process

Every day, more new exporters and suppliers enter the European market. This means that European buyers are getting more and more emails and phone calls with offers. They have therefore started implementing measures to help them do pre-selections. These measures include email filters and pre-qualification questions for phone calls.

Unfortunately, many businesses overlook the importance of making a good first impression. Or, they may not be 100% sure how to do this. The result is that they struggle to establish lasting relationships with European buyers.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression

Whether at a trade fair, business event, or through email, making a good first impression is crucial. This oversight is a missed opportunity to showcase your commitment to professionalism, understanding, and a genuine interest in meeting the buyer’s needs.

Build trust through transparency

Transparency is a cornerstone of trust, especially in international business. When you are trying to win a European buyer, transparency has to do with clearly communicating your business values, practices, and commitment to meeting their needs and requirements.

It also has to do with being open about your processes, pricing, and any other relevant information, as it can may contribute to the success of your endeavours.

Doing so helps to establish a foundation of trust without which no long-term relationship can survive.

The alternative strategy to win over EU buyers

The road to success in European markets is paved with thoughtful strategic planning. Strategic planning that is based on recognising the importance of long-term relationships, understanding the challenges of a saturated market, and implementing a comprehensive approach to make your business stand out.

This strategy to win over European buyers consists of three steps and is explained in detail in our free EU Export Guide which you can request below.

Readiness for European buyers

How prepared is your business to engage with European buyers? This requires an understanding of the market, entry requirements, and cultural differences.

Mutual fit assessment

This is about determining whether your business is a good fit for European buyers and – equally important – whether they are a good fit for your business. Building a lasting relationship requires a mutual understanding and compatibility to ensure a good partnership.

Creating visibility

Stand out from the crowd through a targeted and personalised approach. This is about creating compelling product messaging that resonates with European buyers and that demonstrates your commitment to their needs and requirements. The information you collect in the first two steps will help you create effective marketing and communication campaigns.

Guide My Growth’s free EU Export Guide can help you achieve success

Guide My Growth has detailed this alternative strategy in a free EU Export Guide which offers a roadmap for businesses seeking to make lasting connections with European buyers. Request the free EU Export Guide today to begin a journey that will require dedication in the short term but also promises lasting success in the long term.

Unlock lasting success through adaptability and continuous learning

The European business environment is always changing and a successful strategy requires continuous adjustment.

This means that you will have to reassess your readiness for European buyers on a regular basies, to ensure that your business remains aligned with market demands, regulations, and buyer requirements.

There are many ways to remain informed about changes on the EU market. You can attend industry events and trade fairs, engage with local experts, and read market research reports.

Your ongoing commitment to learning also helps to position your business as an informed and flexible partner. This improves your competitiveness. It also increases your credibility and appeal to European buyers because they appreciate partners that can grow and adapt as the market changes.


Winning over European buyers requires a strategic mindset, adaptability, transparency, and a commitment to continuous learning. This is an approach that requires more effort and takes more time. But it is also a strategy that brings you a higher chance of success in the highly competitive European market.

Our free EU Export Guide serves as a valuable resource to support you in this endeavour, providing insights and actionable steps to guide your business towards success. Request the Guide now to unlock the keys to your strategy to win over European buyers!

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